Bohemian Decor Style: A Complete Guide
Bohemian Decor style, aka Boho, is about as free-spirited as it gets when it comes to interior design. Picture the eclectic beauty that meets your eyes when you stroll into an Anthropologie store—artsy, vintage, and exotic. This style can be a kaleidoscope of color or neutral-based with muted hues. There is always a sense of mix-and-match, showcasing a variety of cultures from around the world. Bohemian Decor style, overall, has a vibrant, lived-in, everyone-is-welcome feel. Mixed textiles often rule the room, along with patterns galore, bold colors, layering, and live plants.
Where Did Bohemian Decor Originate?
The history of this home decor style is debated and can be confusing. But three historical phases seem to be dominant contributors to Bohemian Decor. First up: the nomadic Romani people. They originated in India and traveled through multiple countries before settling in Central Europe in the 1200s, bringing various global elements to today’s Boho style. Then we have Bohemianism from post-revolutionary France, which imparts the artistic, countercultural mood to the decor. Finally, the 1960s American Hippie movement lends a retro, carefree, and eco-friendly energy to the style.
Who Does Bohemian Decor Appeal To?
Typically, this decor style appeals to those who live a nontraditional life, like travelers, writers, and artists. But really anyone who appreciates mixing and layering textures, patterns, colors, and natural elements could be easily drawn to Bohemian Decor. These are people who ascribe to a “more is more” design mindset but in a way that feels crafted and meaningful.
Worldly, Yet Lived In
Here are some specific elements of Bohemian Decor. Collectively, they suggest a mix of global, artsy, vintage, and earth-minded overtones.
- Mix of textiles such as fringe, burlap, silk, chenille, velvet, macrame
- Rich, saturated earth tones: golden yellow, emerald green, sea blue, deep red, warm orange
- Neutral colors: beige, browns, ivory, black, terracotta
- Chunky furniture pieces upholstered in leather, suede, or velvet
- Wicker, rattan, or bamboo accent pieces
- Oriental, handspun, animal-hide, sisal, or solid-color rugs — often in layers
- Handmade art, pottery, sculptures, and tapestries
- Anything travel-related like maps, globe, and vintage luggage
- Lighting: rattan lamps, fairy lighting, standing metal lamps, sconces
- Plants, plants, plants!
- Novels and books of poetry, short stories, and other creative writings
- Mirrors with interesting shapes or frames
- Brightly hued or patterned throw pillows, especially in unexpected shapes like half-moon or seashell
- “Found” items from flea markets
Bohemian Decor Style, Room by Room
How can you achieve the Boho look in your home? One room at a time! Let’s walk through each space of your home and talk about options.
In Your Living Room
A Bohemian Decor living room is meant to be a place for gathering with loved ones and those new friends you made during that African safari. As an anchor piece, consider a velvet loveseat or sectional in burnt orange or emerald green — or go softer with cream or gray. Don’t be afraid to pile up the colorful, heavily patterned throw pillows. Since this decor style is unconventional, the seating can be, too: like a papasan chair or a rattan swinging chair if you’re feeling spicy. Plush cushions for floor seating can be stored in a wicker basket in the corner. The rug? Colorful Moroccan or simple sisal will do; feel free to layer. Other furnishings could include a simple, natural wood coffee table, preferably distressed; a bookshelf laden with novels, poetry, and travel guides; and a patina copper side table. Drape a chenille woven blanket across the back of a couch or loveseat. Adorn the walls with abstract or botanical art, or anything you’ve collected while traveling. Of course, plants in the living room will lend a verdant appeal to this space.
In Your Kitchen
Since every culture in the world seems to value eating together as a social event, your kitchen is a natural place to infuse Bohemian Decor. Warm shades on the wall — whether a deep orange or a neutral shade with warm undertones — will say “welcome” with no words. An exposed plaster finish adds a rustic dimension. Consider cabinetry in natural wood, or in a color that’s either bolder or softer than the walls for contrast. Terracotta tile flooring and a colorful Mexican or Moroccan backsplash can transport you to an exotic locale. A chunky wood dining table and chairs add to the warmth and casual feel. Exposed shelving is the perfect showcase for colorful vintage glassware and foodie items collected from travels, like hand-made wine bottles, vases, or baskets. Add rattan pendant lights and a Moroccan rug, bright or faded, to complete your Boho kitchen.
In Your Bedroom
The bedroom is your home sweet haven. So, perhaps most of all, this room should reflect your personal style preferences. For example, a Bohemian Decor bedroom palette could be bright and playful, soft and tranquil, or anything in between. A variety of looks can be accomplished simply through a thoughtful blend of colors, textures, patterns, and materials. For example, the headboard of your bed could be shiny brass, cozy rattan, live-edge wood, or an upscale upholstered velvet number. Bedding can start with a thick, cream-colored comforter and go from there with equally neutral yet textured pillows — or pillows in assorted hues and interesting shapes. Alternatively, pick a color, like blue, and display every variation of it in pillows and blankets, varying the patterns. A throw blanket with heavy fringe or tassels is unmistakably Boho. Layer in a textured wool rug in vivid or muted shades. A simple wooden dresser and nightstands will fit right in, or painted if you prefer. A gallery wall of abstract art framed in assorted colors of distressed wood frames would work well here, as would a grouping of distressed straw sun hats. You can even create a corner for reading or writing, piled high with vibrant pillows and blankets for optimal comfort. A rattan chandelier will light up the space with a cozy flair.
In Your Bathroom
Mind if we mention plants again? Because (a) plants love humidity and (b) plants add an organic element where normally we see a lot of hard, flat surfaces. Speaking of which, tile options are so fun and practically limitless at home improvement stores and online. However, if you happen to have a collection of colorful handmade tiles that you haggled for at a Guatemalan marketplace, your bathroom (or kitchen) would be ideal showcases. For the vanity, natural or brightly painted wood are great choices. You could also hang Turkish bath towels — all the rage for their lightweight absorbency — on a bamboo towel rack. In fact, bamboo is a durable, sustainable option for other bathroom accessories like shower caddies and bathmats, lending the same warmth as wood.
Embrace the Eclectic
Almost anything goes for Bohemian Decor, as long as it’s not too pricey. That’s because the Romani, Bohemian, and Hippie cultures that fuel this style are all about living simply. The other great thing about mingling assorted elements together is that it offers a “collected over time” impression. Just remember, your imagination is the real designer. So have fun and go Boho!
Last Updated August 30, 2023