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House Tour: Colorful Home Decor

Splashes of vivid pink, turquoise and lime add a playful spirit to designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd's artful family home.

By Sara Bliss

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Mom and kids
Rick Lew
Rick Lew
Rick Lew
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When interior designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd and her husband, Jim, bought their 1840 Victorian house on Long Island, in New York, she envisioned it as a kind of laboratory for her decorating ideas. "The place needed modernizing and the rooms were all very different," says Eileen. "But its quirkiness appealed to me." Once they finished updating the landscaping, revamping the porch and putting in a new kitchen, Eileen turned her attention to the decor. Instead of settling for safe colors, she picked a vibrant palette, finding inspiration in all sorts of places—favorite art, fabrics and pottery. Each room now crackles with unexpected hues—magenta, azure and spring green. "Some shades are meant to be bold, others quiet, and a few should surprise," says the designer. "Together, they make the space exciting." She also likes a mix of furnishings and accessories, combining mass-market and thrift shop pieces with antiques and original art. The result is rooms that are perfectly suited to Eileen's eclectic style while still being comfortable, especially for their children, Emma, 11, and Luke, 9. "I want my kids to experience the joy of growing up in a creative house," explains Eileen. "And I want us to live a colorful life."

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Living Room

Eileen based the paint shade in the living room on the blue of the damask curtains. "It's a very happy color," she says. Shots of fuchsia and Kelly green echo shades in the pictures—a mix of fine art and tag sale finds—hung gallery-style. To balance the dynamic hues and brighten the room, Eileen, who designs a fabric collection for Duralee, chose a cream sofa and rug. Yet she doesn't worry about kids and dirt. "Nothing in here is too precious," says Eileen. Paint: Benjamin Moore Seaside Resort 725

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Colorful Cabinets

To highlight a few of her favorite objects, Eileen painted the inside of a corner cabinet in the formal dining area the same shade as the living room. "I like to repeat a color several times in an interior—it's an easy way to tie all the rooms together."

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Dining Area

An upholstered banquette paired with a round table and chairs creates a cozy dining area near the kitchen. Eileen's own painting of flowers was a springboard for the green and white color scheme. "We're here all the time, so I wanted it to feel sunny," she says.

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Playroom

The playroom gets pizzazz from a floral-patterned carpet. "I love orange and gray together, so I built the room around the rug," says Eileen. Inexpensive boxy white frames create a gallery wall of Emma's and Luke's drawings. Some are placed on picture ledges to make rotating artwork easy.

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Daughter's Room

As a starting point for her daughter's white bedroom, Eileen covered two big pillows in a peppy graphic print from the Scandinavian home furnishings company Marimekko. "Pink is Emma's favorite color," she says. She trimmed the walls by hot-gluing vibrant grosgrain ribbon and added wallpaper to the inside of a knickknack shelf unit to match. For a finishing touch, Eileen placed a starburst mirror above the vintage bed. "It's just the right happy note," she says.

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Eileen's Basic Decorating Tips

  • Buy art because you love it. Thrift stores, flea markets, antiques stores and online galleries are sources for inexpensive pictures.

  • Lots of cushions—she calls the effect "pillowscapes"—are a great way to show off color without making a big investment.

  • Use solids and small geometrics on a sofa—save big prints for window treatments and accent pieces that can be easily changed if you tire of them.

  • If you like the color combinations in a picture, repeat them in your decor.

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Get the Look

Here are our picks for stealing Eileen's style:

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Get the Look

Here are our picks for stealing Eileen's style:

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Get the Look

Here are our picks for stealing Eileen's style:

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Get the Look

Here are our picks for stealing Eileen's style:

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Get the Look

Here are our picks for stealing Eileen's style:

Kiki Table, chiasso.com, $48

Originally published in the July 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and styles are subject to change.

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