Calling all hippies, free spirits and beatniks. If you’re looking to inject some life and culture into your home, you have probably come across the classic boho style that seems to permeate each and every interior décor blog on the internet. The boho style, also known as bohemian, was originally inspired by unconventional people marching to the beat of their own drum. So-called nomads, writers, artists and actors looked to mirror their own colourful lives within their homes and hovels by combining objects from places they had travelled to or been inspired by which resulted in an unusual if comforting cohort of textures, patterns and colours we now refer to as bohemian.
In a nutshell, bohemian style flies in the face of minimalist décor and embraces the creative and the carefree, with not even two rooms alike. If you’re looking for a truly unique look for your property, then this style may be for you.
Colour is what makes bohemian style truly unique, and it can make or break your renovation project. In saying that however, there really are no strict guidelines when it comes to boho décor. Warm earthy tones such as sandy browns and sage-esque greens are common, as are metallics. For your base colours, you might like to complement antique wooden furniture and floors with deep greens or blues. Arguably the best thing about bohemian style is the total lack of rules. You might like to keep your walls as white and blank as possible, and then opt for natural greens and browns for your furniture.
Bohemian style really does operate in contrast to contemporary minimalism. When it comes to textures and patterns, don’t be afraid to use unconventional styles. Using a dyed, handwoven throw for example and painting your walls a bold colour can foster a fun, welcoming atmosphere. Layer your throws and blankets on top of your furniture and hang tapestries and rugs on your wall.
Mixing and matching your colours, textures and patterns is the key to a true boho look. Combine natural materials such as burlap with silk and keep an eye out in your favourite local thrift store for materials with a slightly worn look – not necessarily damaged, just not particularly shiny or new. Large sheets with colourful patterns and tie-dyed pieces can be hung from the ceiling in a circus-esque fashion. Macrame plant hangers and wall art are also ideal for a truly boho look.
Truly unique bohemian furniture is not found in IKEA or Marks and Spencer. Bohemian homes tend to be packed full of furniture collected over time, from travels around the world and trips to local thrift stores. Every piece of furniture should be special to you and tell a story. The time you visited Iran on a whim and spontaneously decided to purchase a Persian rug; the time a quick trip to your favourite second hand store resulted in you and your best buddy standing in the parking lot laughing as you attempted to get an antique TV stand into the back of your hatchback. It’s important to have fun exploring your local community and selected each piece carefully. It’s important to remember that implementing a Bohemian style means mixing and matching. If you love a piece, it will fit in. In terms of your furniture colours, opt for the saturated and the bold. Low level seating such as overstuffed pillows, ottomans and beanbags can create a casual atmosphere that says, ‘hey you, stay a while’.
As embracing natural materials, patterns and colours are also central to achieving a bohemian style, embrace the natural world with plenty of ferns and hanging plants. Plants can add vibrancy to your interior spaces as well as improve air quality. You might even like to consider succulents in a variety of different colours and textures. Place your variety of plants and succulents around the room at different heights, and be sure to thrift bold and funky plant pots and holders.
Arguably it is your lighting that is the most important interior feature of the boho style. Your boho room should have understated, ambient lighting to create a warm, welcoming vibe. Rather than blaring overhead lights, layer your lighting with lanterns, candles and table lamps in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. As with your other furnishings, it’s important to embrace different patterns, materials and colours when it comes to your lampshades. Don’t be afraid to mix and match!
Three different sources of light in each room are enough to create a balanced yet ambient space. You also might like to consider using different bulbs or different sized lampshades, such as a brightly coloured drum lampshade. Layering your lighting at different heights is also important. For example, in a study you might decide on a tall floor lamp in one corner, and a vintage-inspired table lamp in the other corner on top of your thrifted dresser. Don’t forget the fairy lights! Having lighting at different heights around your room can effortlessly transform the space to atmospheric and welcoming. This includes a bold chandelier or art deco lampshade as your centre focus point.
Unlike your other furnishings, your lampshades and lighting doesn’t have to be sourced from a thrift store. Mix and match the old and the new with lighting from a combination of second hand and new pieces. You might try searching for table lampshades in the UK online using your favourite search engine, but source your larger lights from your favourite thrift store. At the end of the day, boho is what you make it. It will all come down to your own personal tastes as well as the unique specifications of your bohemian home.
Plants, people and the best vibes. From a whimsical colour scheme to bold, unconventional furniture, there is much to consider when refurbishing your home in a bohemian style. Perhaps most important, boho style flies in the face of minimalism and embraces the bright, the bold and the carefree. Although it can seem overwhelming, transforming your home from minimalist to maximalist doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s the opportunity to go wild, embrace your free-spirited nature and bring a sense of adventure and ambience into your home.