Bohemian design is a free-spirited and relaxed aesthetic that incorporates different cultures and design styles to create an eclectic look. It’s a laid-back style that would suit a traveler with a penchant for colorful and unique pieces.
Inspired by artists and nomadic travelers, Bohemian interiors embrace different cultures with an emphasis on organic elements, punchy colors, and layers of patterns and textures.
After all, this design style is rule-breaking – opting to welcome the unique and unusual instead of the muted aesthetic of the modern design.
Photo source: Annie Schlechter
To understand more about this interior design style, let’s start with a brief history of the Bohemian style
Bohemian design has become part of popular culture with its influence on fashion and interior decor. But before this became a trend, it came from an ideology borne from a complicated history.
While the Bohemian style has been associated with the hippie movement of the 60s and 70s, it was initially a term given to Roma nomadic gypsies. People who originated in the Balkan area of Eastern Europe, in a region called Bohemia.
As the connotation of gypsies and their nomadic ways became synonymous with artistic freedom and liberation from society’s ideals, “Bohemian” became equated with a culture, or rather, a counter-culture associated with creativity and a disregard or social construct and status quo.
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Consequently, it was quickly romanticized as an ideology and a statement against the bourgeoisie in 19th century Paris. During this period of social and economic instability, artists, creatives, and intellectuals alike lived a life of poverty. As a result, they turned to using old garments and clothing. And much deeper than that, emerged a need to express creativity in eccentric and highly artistic ways, unbridled by the societal expectations of that time.
Soon after, Bohemian became an alternative culture that valued creativity over materialism, artistic expression over rigid social norms. In Henry Murgier’s play, Scenes de la vie de Boheme, it embraced frivolity, freedom, and joys of youth instead of the monotonous ‘conventional life’.
Photo source: HGTV
What is Bohemian Design Style?
Bohemian design style, or ‘boho’ style, is a colorful, patterned, and multi-cultural mixture, filled with unique elements and layers that catch your eye. It’s a fun design style that brings together eclectic decors and asymmetrical layouts.
With a history inspired by artists, the boho style is naturally a carefree, casual, and relaxed aesthetic. Unlike modern or minimalist styles, this design doesn’t follow any strict rules. Contrarily, it is defined for its lack of structure and random approach to styling.
In simpler words, it’s a very flexible approach.
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With no hard and fast rules, it is styled based on your enjoyment. Here, you mix and match pieces that add comfort to your space to create your own definition of a feel-good atmosphere.
A popular take on the bohemian look is Justina Blakeney’s design philosophy, “Jungalow“, a play on the words ‘jungle’ and ‘bungalow’. As the name suggests, this approach seeks to create a jungle oasis focused on incorporating plants into our home to enhance comfort and coziness. Similarly, it is characterized by its use of bright colors, bold botanical prints, layered textiles, and a mix of travel and thrift finds.
Photo source: Essential Home
Another fan favorite is designing bohemian aesthetics with a modern touch, otherwise known as “Boho Chic“. With a slight twist, this term mixes modern and bohemian to create a laid-back style while using the clean, oftentimes minimalist look, for a more contemporary touch. Boho chic often described as a “more is more” approach.
Photo source: Hommes Studio
In all of these interpretations of the bohemian design style, one thing’s for sure, it embraces creativity and the freedom to come as you are. This way, your home comes to life through your personality and personal taste. At the end of the day, it all comes down to incorporating design elements that reflect your life, travels, and memories.
“The Bohemian life is centered around art, music, literature, and political discourse. Furniture is selected for comfort and interest. Objects are collected only as they represent memories, friends, beliefs, etc. Nothing is selected to impress others, only to reflect one’s life story and values.” – Beverly Solomon, Beverly Solomon Design
Like the ideals of granny chic interiors, Bohemian is maximalist design as it seeks to create bright and eclectic spaces that make use of colors, patterns, and decorative embellishments. With blatant adornments like tassels, fringes, or sequined fabrics, it results in a distinct look that sets this style apart from the rest.
It brings together different, and sometimes contrasting pieces, in an effort to create a look that’s never boring.
Photo source: Pexels | Taryn Elliott
Now that we know more about this interior design style, let’s jump into our tips on how to enhance elements of a bohemian look and feel at home. Here’s how you can express your individuality with boho decors.
Mix and match patterns and textures
Whether it’s a marriage of bright colors, geometric patterns, or a cozy collection of knitted blankets, bohemian style is all about layers, layers, and more layers.
Think throw blankets on a couch, some pillows on top of a Persian rug, or different patterned rugs overlapping with one another. By adding these elements, you can immediately add more warmth to any room. This is also great for gathering spaces like the living room or at the patio, as well as private spaces like your reading nook.
Aside from this, don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and decor that you think wouldn’t typically go together. This way, your space can be more visually interesting and distinctive.
It will also fully embrace the concepts of vibrant, youthful, and unconventional in the best ways.
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Pro tip: Layer rugs, pillows, throw blankets, cushions, beanbags, and many more cozy elements in your space. Take note that there’s no such thing as “too much” for the Bohemian style.
If you’re looking to create comfortable floor-seating, then this design style would be perfect for you. Just make sure to use an area rug and place big and soft pillows and blankets atop it to create a cozy nest. To upgrade this setup, pair similar patterns or colors to create a cohesive look.
Photo source: Rawpixel
Add unique pops of color
You might think – duh, this is a given. But, there’s something special about boho colors that make it distinct. While there is no need to stick to specific colors, most boho-inspired spaces tend to use metallic shades, jewel tones, and warm, earthy colors to make the space feel more cohesive.
Bohemian style favors bold and bright colors that you wouldn’t typically find in a minimalist or traditional home. It embraces metallics, golds, royal blues, bright yellows to really set the stage for an eclectic mix of styles. By using these eye-catching colors as the main palette for your room and decor, you can easily transform your space to look more interesting and unique.
Despite being known for the bright and bold, don’t let this stop you from mixing up different colors that you’d prefer to as well. With the carefree nature of Bohemian style, use color to add playfulness and personality in any space. Break the rules and pair contrasting colors and decor together to create a look that’s totally your own.
Photo source: Home Decor Bliss
Another idea would be to try using jewel tones like amethyst, emerald, or ruby and deep hues to make your space more comfortable. These colors pair great with botanicals and metallic accents.
Pro tip: You can also use metallic such as gold, silver, or brass to partner with your deep or bright hues. It does a good job of making your space look more sophisticated and attractive.
If you are looking to incorporate the Bohemian style in your home but prefer a more muted approach, then you can also use white as a base color. Treat it like a blank canvas on which you can decorate your space.
Similarly, a fun idea would be to create color blocks with lighter tones for a more contemporary look that would surely brighten up your space – without sacrificing comfort and the creative nature of this design.
Photo source: Unsplash | Spacejoy
Botanicals are a must!
Boho interiors are all about transforming your space into your own lush sanctuary where you can easily relax – adding indoor plants and other botanicals is a must to complete this look.
Whether they are potted, hanging, large, or small, they can instantly make your space more homey and comfortable. Not only do plants purify your air and breathe new life to your space, they also create a relaxed vibe that you and the rest of the family will surely appreciate.
As a side note, plants also have a restorative effect on us by reducing our stress, fatigue, and anxiety. These positive effects are also why we feel more at peace when we’re surrounded by nature. Create your own lush sanctuary by sprucing up your space with plants. You’ll find that it can be a source of respite and an irreplaceable part of every room. It will make your space feel more laid-back, lived-in, and natural.
Photo source: Pexels | Tara Winstead
When it comes to styling your space with plants, look to adding these greens in empty spaces where there’s ample sunlight. Add tall, leafy plants in your living room to draw the eyes up while adding colors to your space. Place hanging or vining plants on a floating shelf for rooms with high ceilings or use colorful succulents as your table centerpiece.
Pro tip: You can also be creative with the way you hang your plants. Use handmade macrame hangers or wooden hangers to stay consistent with the use of natural decor and furniture.
Plants are a great way for you to play with contrasting patterns, colors, and shapes. Experiment with different levels of displaying your plants for it can add more visual appeal to your space. Additionally, you can also use tall plants like the Birds of Paradise or a row of hanging plants as your room divider!
Photo source: Pexels | Scott Webb
Worried your plant babies might not survive because you don’t have a green thumb? Don’t fret. You can mix in dried foliage instead, especially for rooms that don’t get as much light.
Dried plants like eucalyptus and lavender don’t only look beautiful on your bedside table, but it also brings a wonderful scent that will help make your space even more relaxing. Moreover, it comes in a variety of color schemes so you can easily pick and choose depending on your taste.
Photo source: Unsplash | Ellieelien
Decorate with handmade, natural decor
Seek to create a room that has a homely and a “sit and relax for a while” feel with the use of handmade decor and natural elements like wood, wicker or bamboo. These materials will bring instant warmth and comfort to your space.
It’s also a great idea to highlight handmade items and unique creations like paintings, crafts, or sculptures sourced from local artisans. Handmade pieces like quilts, rugs, macrame, pottery pieces and crochet creations are a welcome sight for a bohemian style home as it creates alluring and eclectic spaces that speak to your individuality. Not to mention that these one-of-a-kind pieces usually have their own unique stories to tell.
When it comes to choosing your furniture, go for relaxed pieces like daybeds, butterfly chairs, or egg chairs to optimize comfort.
Want to go for a more coastal look? Indoor hammocks or swing chairs are also a great way to add a fun twist to your space while bringing you fond memories of the beach. A great alternative to saving space if you are staying in a small apartment or if you are looking to downsize to a tiny home.
Photo source: Curated Interior
When it comes to choosing your lighting, go for multiple lanterns, table lamps, and candles to create beautiful ambient lighting rather than using big overhead fixtures. By using a plethora of lights, you will be able to create a cozy atmosphere that would further enhance the look and feel of your room.
Photo source: HGTV
Add what you love
Finally, true to its roots, the bohemian style is all about embracing decor that showcases your unique personality and flavor in a carefree manner. So, display your travel finds, family heirlooms, thrift shop discoveries, and even your own art pieces.
If you love traveling, then showing off a unique piece that reminds you of that place, a souvenir, a mug, a small sculpture, or even photos of your trip is a great way to start. You can also add vintage furniture and modern pieces to add more history and character to your space.
Don’t be afraid to mix older, traditional pieces with your newer decor as the mish-mash of old and new help to make your space more interesting and comfortable.
Photo source: Unsplash | Cole Keister