WRITER | LIZ JERORE
PHOTO | @HOME CABINETRY & INTERIORS
Bohemian style or “boho” emerged in the late ‘60s as influences from Africa and the Far East became popular in interior design as well as in clothing. The style is embraced by people who appreciate the vibrancy of multiple cultures and celebrate a world view. Creative free thinkers who lead an unconventional life such as avid travelers, artists, actors, and writers will often surround themselves with exotic treasures from around the globe.
This style is typically a visual invitation to lounge, relax, and absorb the exotic layering of textiles, fragrances, and artifacts. And while boho rooms tend to have certain similarities in that they are always eclectic, you will find no two rooms are ever completely alike.
Color Palette and Magical Mixing
Warm earthy tones, jewel tones, and metallic accents are often associated with boho — think deep browns, greens, and grays for base colors — and then accessorize with saturated purple, fiery orange, hot fuchsia, and electric blue. Layering colors, textures, and patterns are what makes this style come alive!
Freely mix patterns, textures, and styles that would not necessarily go together in a conventional way. Layer rugs on top of rugs, hang tapestries or a dhurrie on the wall alongside your photos and art. You can achieve a fresh, modern interpretation of boho by layering the saturated colors and patterns on a backdrop of white.
Boho typically embraces a “more is more” philosophy, unlike the minimalist aesthetic of modern. The key to using decorative materials in a boho room is creatively mixing dissimilar materials. For example: combine natural burlap and sisal with silk and chenille. Consider materials having a slightly worn look as they tell a well-traveled story. Add fringe, crochet details, and macramé to make a cozy, globally-inspired hangout.
Bohemian furniture is not a style found in a store. These rooms tend to be filled with furniture collected over time, so second-hand and vintage items are right at home here. Each piece of furniture should be special to you and tell a story. Have fun exploring your local vintage shop, and if you love it, it will fit right in!
The goal is to create a “lounge and stay awhile” atmosphere. Throw rugs or overstuffed floor pillows will create a welcoming place to relax. Choose plump sofas or chairs rather than streamlined or straight-backed furniture. Comfortable, relaxed pieces like a chaise, daybed, hanging chair, or butterfly chairs will capture the boho vibe.
Dreamy Mysterious Glow
Warm, glowing, understated lighting will unify your boho room and complete the calm and welcoming feel. Think candlelight rather than overhead fixtures; decorate with multiple Moroccan lanterns, candles, and dimmable lamps. It is affordable and easy to find globally-inspired accessories on the internet today.
Relax and Just Breathe
Nature is an important celebration in boho style. Bring your room to life with ferns and hanging plants. They figuratively and literally breathe life to a room by improving air quality. Philodendron and peace lilies are very forgiving and withstand a variety of light and temperature levels. Succulents are great for people with a less-than-green thumb. These eye-catching plants need little more than a sunny spot and occasional watering. Add a basket of unusual stones or interesting driftwood to infuse nature into your room.
Finally, your boho room will become uniquely your own with family heirlooms, handmade items, and objects from your travels. Accessories should tell your story, so feature what you love: A precious piece of needlework, vintage bottles, maps, or mismatched china — you name it. Keep in mind that while bohemian style tends to be relaxed and eclectic, it can also be chic and glamorous. Don’t be afraid to add an ornate chandelier into the mix! The only rule is that every item in the room should bring you a sense of comfort and joy and should tell a story.
Remember, if you want guidance or assurance, you may always consult a professional interior designer to review your plans before you set off on your fabulous decorating adventure. A single hour of consultation will save numerous hours of unnecessary anxiety.