Let’s just say what we all know: bohemian interior design is a continuous hot and trending style. The free-spirit animal of interior design styles, bohemian design unleashes color, texture, and pattern in a way that offers a relaxed and unique aesthetic. It is eclectic, no doubt, with a nod towards global influence and an appeal to anyone who wants to give their home a personal touch. No wonder it’s all the hype! Get cozy and keep reading as we share our 7 Best Tips For Bohemian Interior Design.
What is Bohemian Interior Design?
To achieve this look would seem as simple as throwing down a fuzzy rug, getting wicker furniture and covering it with an insane amount of throw pillows. This would be a great place to start. However, the thing to remember about bohemian interior design is that it’s an unruly style. Coloring outside the lines is certainly encouraged. Without hard and fast rules, what is random, colorful, and full of personality is a clear indication that you’re well on your way to a boho interior design home.
Still, there’s an art to creating this style seamlessly. Part of having a boho interior design home comes from understanding the roots of the style. A French word bohémien refers to a group of people (gypsies) who traveled from a region in the Czech Republic, Bohemia. Later, this term broadened to include the artist, writer, actor, or musician, who led a nomadic lifestyle making stops at major European cities. After gaining renewed popularity in the 60s and 70s, today bohemian is commonly used as an adjective to describe qualities people of generations past inspired: carefree, unconventional, natural, traveled. Translated into a bohemian interior, the style embraces elements like layered textures, vintage pieces, and natural finishes.
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Bohemian decor and design is, in essence, a rule bender, but it does have some themes that are helpful to use as guides. Whether seeking to have your space take in a pure representation of bohemian design or are wanting to integrate aspects of the style with other interior design styles, use this as your guide to creating the ultimate seamless bohemian interior.
1. Go Heavy on Mixing + Layering in Bohemian Interiors
One of the keys to the heart of a bohemian interior is making combinations. Unlike the minimalist style, a boho room is unapologetic in both mixing finishes and layering elements of decor like textiles, art, and accents. In addition, due to its playful nature, bohemian interior design fuses styles together with a casual tone. For example, it’s a modern sofa with a handwoven macrame art piece above and kilim pillows to adorn in the living room. Or a brightly palm printed wallpaper with mid-century table lamps and a Moroccan wedding blanket in a well-curated bedroom design. It’s a rustic table with mismatched chairs and African baskets across the wall in the dining room. Similar to eclectic spaces, each interior of a boho interior design home is unique. What makes it lean more into boho, however, is intentional layering.
Layering patterns is a simple and cost-effective way to introduce bohemian style into your space. And, the exercise of contrasting patterns hits the mark beautifully. Textiles like rugs, cushions, and throws are certainly fun to mix and match using different patterns, shapes, and scales. If consistency is desired, have a color theme in mind. This also works with art. You can never have enough prints or paintings. A healthy wall gallery with mixed frames and sizes and mediums fits right in with the bohemian interior profile.
2. Bohemian Design is Bold: Don’t Shy Away from Rich Pattern + Color
While there are no rules in bohemian interior design style, bold patterns and colors are readily welcomed. Jewel tones like amethyst purple, ruby red, and emerald green often have a place in a boho room. For walls, darker, deep hues offer an instant luxurious feel while more daring colors like a bright blue orange invite a bazaar-like look, especially when peppered with other rich colors and patterns.
Not a fan of overly saturated color? Not a problem! Spaces with white walls can also embrace the bohemian design vibe with pattern. Global textiles like Suzanis from Uzbekistan and Berber pieces from Morocco offer a riot of color and interesting patterns in the form of diamonds, stripes, and medallions. There are also Ikat and Shibori patterns whose dyeing techniques give a more blurred effect. In the form of accent pillows, throws, and wall hangings, these soft furnishings accomplish bringing in splashes of color and pattern to a boho room.
And then there are rugs. Oh, the rugs! This is a bohemian interior design must! Typically, high pile or shag, the obvious reasons are that they provide a soft underfoot and comfort. Other options are kilims, ornate Persian styles, and geometric South Western-influenced rugs that do their thing with beautiful patterns. However you decide to introduce color and pattern into your bohemian interior, the more is more way of thinking definitely applies.
3. Fill Up on Storytelling Trinkets
If any design style tells a story it’s bohemian design. Reflecting a nomadic lifestyle, the boho space has a collection of trinkets from varied placed traveled that often have a tale of where they came from. Art, books, sculptures, pillows, lamps all function in making the boho space feel inviting, cozy and a conversation starter.
How do you get started? Select objects that vary in color and form. Bring in family heirlooms, handcrafted pieces, and memoirs from your travels. No need to go lightly here. Fill every physical space in your bohemian interior. There is no magic number of vintage brass plates you bought at the flea market that should go together. There’s no right place for that beaded bowl you brought back from Mexico. Things don’t have to match; in fact, they shouldn’t! Pieces bordering on kitsch are also a go. Little porcelain animal figurines for tabletops or floral canisters for the kitchen can bring in an element of levity and humor. Play around with placement and clustering. This is your chance to display your life on a shelf so to speak.
With a tendency towards being eclectic, bohemian design can also have a chic and glam side. Bring that out with an ornate mirror or shiny chandelier. The only rule is that every item in the room should tell a tale.
4. Lean into Handmade + Natural
Inspired by artists, bohemian design makes a point to highlight handmade items, unique creations that speak to individuality. This could be found in things like paintings, sculptures, and wall hangings. Handmade decor also supports local artisans and small entrepreneurs so it’s a win-win! There are several platforms that serve the crafty artisan. Etsy is a great place to search for handmade boho pillows.
Along with handmade, the bohemian interior design style champions natural elements. The most important of these is wood. Whether found in furniture or accents, wood brings in instant warmth and comfort, both key in boho spaces. A woven pendant lamp over the dining table or rustic wood headboard in the bedroom are core pieces that lead into bohemian design. And then, there’s wicker. Showcasing beautiful weaves, wicker is ornate offering texture to a boho space. Wicker side tables and divider screens are a great way to introduce a little of this material in your boho home. For a little whimsy, create a cozy reading corner with a hanging wicker chair. Natural touches can also show up like leather poufs, cowhide rugs, and of course, let’s not forget…plants!
5. Bohemian Interiors are Botanical Happy
Bohemian design falls a bit flat without the presence of plants…lots of them! The role of botanicals is an important one. Not only do they bring the natural world indoors, a key element of boho style, but they also improve air quality adding an energetic quality to any room. The presence of greenery, too, is uplifting and offers the connection to nature that a bohemian interior inspires.
Pretty much, the rule for plants in bohemian design is anything goes. Succulents that vary in shape and texture are very forgiving and give a sculptural artsy look to a room. With a little sun and occasional watering, these plants are happy. Snake plants and dracaenas are easy-care houseplants and some of the best that purify the air. In woven, terra-cotta, or patterned ceramic planters, these are yet another decor item to fill up space. You can also add levels with plant stands to offer visual interest. Create height with cascading leaves from a devil’s ivy or spider plant which you can drape over wall shelves or on the tops of cabinets. Bonus: use a knotted macrame hanging planter for added boho-chic charm.
Going over-the-top with plants is totally boho. Take it from the queen of #jungalowstyle herself, designer Justina Blakeney. “Adding plants is also an instantaneous way to make a home feel more relaxed, colorful, and full of life,” Blakeney says. “It looks good, it’s good for the spirit, and it’s good for the planet.”
6. Go Ahead, Embellish a Little!
Gypsy style conjures up images of beads, tassels, fringes, sequined fabrics, canopies; blatant adornment that is typical in bohemian interior design. Decorative embellishments offer that wow factor that sets this interior design style apart from the rest. Impulses should be unrestrained with a goal to bring together pieces in an effortless way.
How to do this? First, tap into your flirty and spontaneous side. Make a selection of random pieces that enhance the bohemian design you’re going for. Whether you’re leaning towards Western or a more European boho, make sure there are overstatements here and there. Decorate your space with travel trinkets, feathers or other natural collections, bejeweled frames, and lace. For these smaller items, simply: throw them together, tweak placements a bit, and allow for a little perfectly imperfect look.
Go bigger with statement pieces like large patterned wallpaper (florals and Navajo patterns work), an oversized tasseled pendant lamp, even a massive cactus plant! In terms of furniture, this could be a lacy indoor hammock strung in the living room or a hanging chair in the bedroom. And, if you really want to be effortless in embellishing bohemian interior design, go on the hunt for the grand peacock chair.
An iconic piece of pop culture in the 60s and 70s, the peacock chair is a representation of bohemian style (thank you, Stevie Nicks). It’s curly, braided, and woven designs are enough to make you swoon at its craftsmanship. Hourglass in shape and unusual in size, this chair definitely makes for an eye-catching bohemian interior design accent.
7. Add in Bohemian Style with Vintage Flair
Along with mixing styles, a simple way to jump into bohemian design is by contrasting old and new. Vintage or gently worn second-hand pieces offer a soulful element to bohemian design. They have history and soul. Placed next to something modern makes each item pop in an interesting way. A sleek-lined sofa could be draped with a fringed throw or a large round mirror could welcome guests at the entry with a patterned kilim runner. The point is that there is no need to be matchy-matchy; a nonchalant approach is encouraged here.
Older pieces like this that lend to bohemian interior design can be found in antique, consignment or vintage shops. You can also hit up an estate or garage sales for unique finds. Consider a plush daybed or chaise, a French-style side table, an old record player, or a distressed mirror as added pieces that will give a classic vintage touch. This element is commonly found in bohemian interior design lending to the storytelling and cultural value of the style.
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