How to decorate with whimsical collections

Steal these ideas to highlight colorful groupings of objects in your home

Hanging hearts

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1. Bold backdrop

A lipstick red wall sets off black-and-white family photos on a living room table. Handmade valentines dangle from a picture rail.

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Scientific vase

Thomas J. Story

2. Perfect chemistry

A rack of 24 test tubes is repurposed as a centerpiece.

The glass vials contain elegant lisianthus blooms and fragrant rose geranium leaves plucked from Cynthia Warren's garden.

Red bed

Thomas J. Story

3. Salvage chic

Originally a pocket door, this headboard got a dreamy update with bright white paint decorative molding and delicate sconces that cast a soft light.

Pans and more

Thomas J. Story

4. Everyday art

In the kitchen, citrus walls and white cabinetry add a nostalgic feel to neat groupings of colorful useful items. Salvaged metal drawers keep small wares accessible but out of view. 

Fun finds

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5. Global treasures 

Souvenirs and found art ― including an Indian mirrored shirt a Thai horse puppet a Oaxacan rattle and framed moths ― share space on a persimmon-colored wall.

Card art

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6. Visual aids

Like a clothesline of ideas three 18-foot cables on the wall of Warren's studio hold previous designs and bits of inspiration to spur the creative process.

Working pegboard

Thomas J. Story

7. Tool time

"Girly macho" is how Marc Duncan refers to Warren's graphic and playful juxtaposition of rusted vintage tools mounted on pink pegboard in her garage turned workshop.

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