Southern Charm: Quirky Meets Classic in This South Carolina Boys' Bedroom

When Mary Lauren Gunn set out to design her young boys’ shared bedroom, she looked no further than the landscape right outside her South Carolina home. Inspired by the piedmonts of the American Southeast, our Piedmont wallpaper feels right at home in this sweet family’s Southern charmer. With antique touches, subtle pattern mixing, and just the right amount of whimsy, Mary Lauren created a cozy space that’s perfect for her growing boys.

Another angle of the bedroom shows a shelf filled with childrens books, antiques, and other accessories.  
Mary Lauren brought antiques, like this duck figures, into the space to add more character and old-world charm.

What inspired the overall design of your boys' room?

Honestly, it was the Piedmont wallpaper! I knew as soon as I started this project that it was what I wanted to use. The design all stemmed from that fun, whimsical print, but I also wanted to keep a traditional and classic feel—kind of like Wes Anderson meets Ralph Lauren. In fact, maybe that’s my style all around. I think I’ve just had a breakthrough!

I also brought in a bunch of little antiques that I picked up along the years, like the brass mallard duck bookends and the hand painted duck figures. Little things to bring interest, timelessness and whimsy into the space, but that were still kid friendly.

A view through the doorway into this classic, yet quirky bedroom.

Why did you select Piedmont (Taupe) and what did it bring to the space?

I have loved this pattern for years. I was so excited to work with H&W on this project! This wallpaper is so whimsical, yet classy. The Taupe color provided the perfect warm tone for their bedroom and just the right amount of interest without being too overwhelming.

Their room is pretty small, but I knew I wanted to put paper on all four walls, so I wanted to steer clear of a wallpaper that would be too busy and make the room feel smaller. Piedmont in Taupe is the perfect background—it is still interesting and fun but gives a nice neutral tone that isn’t competing with everything else in the room. 

Mary Lauren selected a classic windowpane pattern to upholster the beds in so that it complemented, rather than competed with, the wallpaper.

How did you ensure that the other patterns in the room complemented the wallpaper, rather than competed with it?

I really love mixing patterns. It brings so much more interest into a space, especially if done right. The beds, throws, and wallpaper are pretty subtle patterns. When I chose the fabric for the beds, I picked a windowpane thread that would compliment the taupe color of the Piedmont wallpaper. The Piedmont wallpaper is so versatile though, so I really don’t think you can go wrong. It’s the perfect “exciting neutral” and creates such a beautiful backdrop for nearly anything. I have seen it used in some gorgeously chic spaces and it is fabulous.

Antique brass duck bookends feel right at home against this wallpaper's nature motif.

What special considerations did you have to keep in mind while designing for kids?

I wanted to keep it super functional. We added more storage by getting a bigger dresser and their beds also have drawers built into them underneath where they can keep all their treasures.

The space combines both Southern style and a modern sensibility with all the functionality you'd expect for a kids room.

What are your pattern-mixing tips and tricks?

When mixing patterns, pick coordinating and complementing colors. Take the size of the room into consideration—how much can the room handle without being too much? How much light comes into the room? And don’t shy away from mixing big and colorful patterns in larger rooms with lots of light! In smaller rooms with low ceilings (like the boys’ room), I kept the pattern mixing pretty subtle.

Most importantly, how do your kids like their new space?

They love it! But during those nights when I was up late doing the wallpaper installation, they got to sleep in the playroom together in their sleeping bags and have movie time. That might’ve been their favorite part of the whole room makeover experience. Oh, to be seven and four! 

Get the look: Shop Piedmont (Taupe) Wallpaper



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