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Design 101: Bohemian Modern Style
Whether you’ve just finished flipping through a Free People catalog or browsing the “boho” tag on Pinterest, everyone has at some point, looked around their home and considered turning it into an eclectic, wanderlust-inspired oasis. Often featuring brazen patterns, eye-catching textiles, bohemian spaces are often filled with a sense of wanderlust and adventure. Together, let’s explore bohemian modern style and how this unconventional, free-spirited look came to be.
Bohemian first emerged as a true design style in the late 60s, when Beat culture and generally being unconventional became popular. Originally, the term “bohemian” referred to people from Bohemia in Central Europe. Their culture gained a reputation for being offbeat and different, and soon the term took on new meaning.
People considered “bohemian” are wanderers. They’re always collecting items from their travels and as such, their homes are filled with eclectic treasures. Up-cycling is key to the bohemian aesthetic, as is vintage or used furniture that tells a story.
Today, bohemian has expanded to include sub-genres like “boho-chic, ” “eclectic, ” and “shabby chic.” Classic style icons of the bohemian lifestyle include Jane Birkin, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, and (of course) Cher. Today young bohemians look up to celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens, the Olsen twins, Rachel Bilson, and Zoe Kravitz.
The use of textiles is key to creating a bohemian look. Rugs, tapestries, and wall hangings all have a place. Layering rugs is a classic bohemian design trick - it creates a more visually interesting space. Don’t be afraid of mixing patterns either; if the room is styled right it’ll all blend together and look seamless. Tapestries with astrological or nature-inspired motifs are popular in bohemian homes and can be used as anything from a bedspread to a curtain. Macrame wall hangings are a more recent trend, but will add texture and depth to a space.
The point of a bohemian home is for it to look lived-in. The best way to recreate this feeling is decorate with furniture that has already had some lovin’. Well-worn pieces will look perfectly eclectic and channel that feeling of comfort and warmth that all bohemian homes should have. Shop consignment stores (or Chairish!) or flea markets to find accent pieces to spruce up your space.
A true bohemian embraces color and doesn’t believe in decorating with neutrals. Common colors used in bohemian design are cobalt blue, fuchsia, green, yellow, and red. Slightly faded or washed-out versions of these colors are also beautiful and will create a softer palette. Using multiple colors in a room is a must - matching doesn’t exist in bohemian design!
Accessories are a great way to cultivate the bohemian aesthetic. Nothing shiny and new will do here - the point is to make all the decor look like it’s been collected over years of travel. Vintage shops are your best bet for this, and whip out any family heirlooms or antiques that have been collecting dust in your attic! Pulling the outdoors in by incorporating succulents, spider plants, or trailing vines into your decor gets you major bonus points. Floor pillows and Moroccan-inspired poufs are fun ways to add more seating or lounge space to a room. Lanterns, vintage chandeliers, and pendant lights are your go-to’s for making your room glow.