When you’re decorating your home, it’s important the décor reflects who you really are. If your spirit leans towards bohemian, there’s no reason why your home can’t capture your eclectic style, unconventional attitude and carefree personality.
But if laid-back freedom is one of your defining qualities, it can be tough to find the direction that’s needed to stop your home from ending up looking like an overloaded, interior design mess.
Fortunately, our guide is here to help. We’ve got tips on how to introduce that bohemian vibe into your home to capture that unique, can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it aesthetic that defines boho style.
A bit of background
It’s difficult to define the indefinable. Bohemian style is deliberately unique and ‘laid-back’, which means every bohemian home has its own personal twist.
The origin of the term “bohemian style” might have come from the French word “bohème”, which translates into “gypsy” (also defined as a nomadic or free-spirited person). It’s possible the large Romani population in 15th century France helped shape the style, with their own set of centuries-old rules and a unique, unconventional take on life. The term “Bohemian” has since been adopted by artists, writers, travellers, hippies, musicians and actors to signify the non-traditional, artistic lives they lead. So, for a true bohemian home, art and adventure must be at the forefront.
1. Playful patterns and multi-colours
If you walk into a bohemian home and don’t see at least one garish pattern in a bright colour, you’ve probably walked into the wrong place. Defying every subdued or refined design rulebook, bohemian style is all about vibrant colour schemes and bold patterns, so a lack of either simply won’t do.
With no rules, you can be bold, take risks and be adventurous with your choices, although most bohemian homes gravitate towards warm, earthy colours – such as fiery oranges, saturated pinks and faded purples – as well as metallic shades and jewel tones.
Once you’ve chosen your warm colours, get to decorating with playful patterns. Let free-spirited adventure guide you, with lots of layered throws on your corner sofas and bedspreads, large rugs, some hanging tapestries, and throw cushions scattered every which way.
Mix and match with multi-coloured, multi-textured and multi-patterned anything, and boho décor becomes easy-as.
2. Furnish with stories
When it comes to furniture in your bohemian home, create a chilled-out vibe by going for open, welcoming furniture. For example, you could go with an expansive fabric corner sofa with large, squishy cushions like this gorgeous burnt orange Tangier Corner Sofa, or take an unstructured route by opting for beanbags and footstools instead.
Whether you buy from a traditional store or go furniture hunting far and wide, furnish with pieces that tell a story to really champion the bohemian aesthetic. Whether your piece has had the care of careful craftsmanship or been uniquely shaped by years of prior use, choosing furniture that tells a story can bring that unique character a bohemian home demands.
3. Go global
The mix-and-match attitude of bohemian style often means a typical boho home becomes filled with global influences – whether that’s items picked up when travelling or exotic knick-knacks found scouring fairs, charity shops and markets.
Bohemian style soaks up inspiration from around the world, perhaps a Moroccan rug hanging opposite an Indian wooden room divider or a Cambodian ornament sitting next to an Eastern European artefact.
4. No wall is complete without art
As a movement founded on artistic, musical and literary pursuits, a true bohemian home simply won’t be complete without some art adorning the walls (and propped up on shelves, and stuck onto kitchen cabinets, and hung above headboards… you get the picture).
Find gorgeous affordable art by hitting up local charity stores, vintage markets and artisan fairs, or do some research into local artists you can support around your neighbourhood. Of course, you could let the muse take you and create the art yourself. Get a large canvas and go for it, or make a creative mural or collage with Polaroid photos (or digital printouts) and some inspirational quotes.
5. Embrace nature
As mentioned already, earthy colours inspired by nature capture the bohemian vibe. But, why stop there? A true bohemian spirit fully embraces the natural world, so feel free to bring as much natural life into your home as possible.
Go for hanging plants to gently define sections of your home, place air-purifying plants on every available surface, incorporate decorative twigs into your décor, and collect pebbles, stones and even bird feathers and acorns from beaches and parks.
6. Layer lights
A beautiful bohemian home often has a variety of soft, low lighting that helps create a relaxed, serene ambience. Going for warm lighting also helps complement the warm colour scheme, offset the busy patterns and highlight the natural elements.
Take your lighting to an eclectic level by experimenting with lighting in layers. For example, you could drape dainty fairy lights around the back of a large corner sofa, highlight your art choices with directional lighting, find unique table lamps with patterned or filigree shades, and finish off with multiple candles and lanterns scattered wherever possible.
The best boho lights invoke a relaxed feel, being warm in colour, indirect in positioning and with shades and covers to help diffuse the light.
7. Choose your fabrics carefully
Okay, we did say bohemian is a no-rules type of situation, but there are some fabrics more suited to the aesthetic than others. As with most of our rules above, for textiles, textures and materials, raw and natural are the way to go.
More is more when it comes to bohemian style, so inject as many varieties of cottons, wools and leathers as you possibly can, while staying away from anything that looks too opulent or luxurious. The aim with bohemian fabrics and textures is to take a nonchalant approach, so anything too fussy or too elaborate will take away from the carefree vibe you’re trying to project.
When it comes to interior design, one golden rule rules all: always stay true to your personal style. When it comes to bohemian style, the same rule applies, which means free-spirited self-expression should permeate every corner of your home. Go for artistic, unique and individual takes on every décor option, embrace the eccentric and eclectic, be bold with your choice of colours, textures, patterns and materials, and adapt every idea to genuinely reflect who you are.