What Everyone Gets Wrong About Boho Design: 5 Misconceptions

Boho design is all about a vibrant, eclectic mix that brings together artistic flair, a touch of the unusual, and a laid-back style.

However, many people get it wrong because of common myths that confuse what boho really is.

This article will bust the top five myths about boho design, helping you understand how to truly embrace and achieve this unique decorating style in your home.

1. Boho Design Means Clutter

boho decor. flexible layout with decor swaps

A prevalent myth is that boho design equates to a cluttered space.

In reality, boho style focuses on selective and thoughtful eclecticism, where each element is carefully chosen to contribute to an overall harmonious aesthetic.

Here are the key elements that makes an eclectic space:


Effective layering involves integrating various textures and fabrics that complement rather than compete with each other.

For example, a soft, plush rug can be paired with a sleek, woven throw blanket to add depth without creating visual chaos.

Statement Pieces

A boho room should feature one or two pieces that draw attention and set the tone for the room.

This could be an ornate headboard, a vintage trunk, or a striking piece of wall art that acts as a centerpiece.

Open Spaces

Contrary to the idea of filling every nook and cranny, boho design often leaves space free to avoid a cluttered appearance.

Strategic empty space allows the room's decorated areas to stand out and be appreciated without overwhelming the senses.

Tip: Focus on creating a balance by choosing a focal point and decorating around it.

Maintain openness and airiness to counterbalance denser arrangements of decor.

2. It’s All About Vintage

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A boho-inspired living room featuring a yellow armchair, eclectic wall colors and vintage pieces.

While vintage items are frequently featured in boho interiors, a diverse blend that includes both old and new elements defines the style more accurately.

Modern Touches

Incorporating modern pieces such as a sleek sofa or a minimalist sculpture can create an appealing contrast with more traditional, eclectic boho elements.

This blend can help prevent the space from looking like a time capsule.

Cultural Pieces

Boho style often incorporates items that reflect global influences, such as Moroccan lamps or Indian tapestries.

These pieces bring a layer of authentic eclectic design while telling a story through their cultural significance.

Handmade Items

Items made by hand, particularly artisanal crafts, textiles, and art, are boho staples that personalize and humanize a space.

These pieces often bring their own stories and add a unique touch that factory-made items cannot replicate.

Tip: Mix clean, contemporary lines with rustic, vintage details to achieve a modern boho look.

Use culturally inspired items to add depth and global character.

3. More Colors, More Boho

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A serene bedroom setting with a large bed dressed in crisp white linens and earth-toned throw pillows, a macramé wall hanging as a headboard, flanked by minimalist nightstands and complemented by a patterned area rug in muted tones.

Excessive color can lead to visual confusion rather than a chic boho vibe.

A thoughtful approach to color coordination can actually enhance the boho feel by creating a cohesive look.

Neutral Bases

Starting with a neutral base allows for more flexibility in adding colorful accents.

Walls painted in whites or soft earth tones can serve as a canvas for colorful textiles and accessories.

Pops of Color

While vibrant colors are essential to the boho palette, they should be used strategically to create focal points or to accentuate certain features.

For example, a bright blue ottoman or a vivid red vase can serve as eye-catching highlights.

Natural Hues

Incorporating colors found in nature, such as deep greens, rich browns, and rusty oranges, helps ground the eclectic elements of boho decor and brings warmth to the interior.

Tip: Select three or four main colors to guide your decorating choices, ensuring these hues are repeated throughout the room to maintain a unified look.

4. Any Printed Fabric Goes

A rustic entryway showcases cultural charm with a vintage wooden bench, adorned with colorful woven pillows, set against a backdrop of eclectic tapestries and rugs hanging on white walls and laid on wooden floors, under a staircase with wrought iron details.

Patterns are a hallmark of boho style, but the key is in how they are combined and balanced within the space. Boho is a selective mix of patterns that work well together.

Complementary Patterns

It’s important to select patterns that complement rather than clash with each other.

For instance, a floral print might pair well with a geometric pattern if they share a common color scheme.

Similar Color Palettes

Patterns that share similar colors can be mixed with greater ease, helping to knit the disparate elements of the room together visually.

Natural Fabrics

Choosing fabrics like burlap, silk, and chenille not only adds texture but also helps moderate more vibrant patterns, ensuring that they enrich rather than overpower the room.

Tip: Employ both organic and geometric patterns to inject variety and interest.

Maintain color consistency among these patterns to enhance cohesion and flow in your space.

5. Boho Is Just for Informal Spaces

A warm and elegant corridor adorned with a series of ornate golden pendant lights and wall sconces, a vivid pink and taupe patterned runner, plush round floor cushions, and a tapestry, leading to a bright, leafy alcove at the end.

Boho style is versatile and can be adapted for both casual and formal settings.

It can be as elegant and sophisticated as any traditional decorating style when executed with thoughtfulness and a keen eye for design.

Luxurious Fabrics

Utilizing luxurious fabrics such as velvet for upholstery or silk for curtains can instantly elevate the sophistication of a boho room.

These materials can bring a sense of decadence and comfort that is both appealing and stylish.

Statement Lighting

Ornate lighting fixtures such as chandeliers or artisan-designed lamps can transform a space, making it more elegant while still maintaining a boho charm.

Artistic Flair

Incorporating fine art or unique sculptural elements can add a refined artistic touch to any room, blending the bohemian ethos with a more curated and sophisticated aesthetic.

Tip: Mix ornate and simple elements to strike a perfect balance between casual boho flair and sophisticated elegance.

This approach allows you to adapt boho style for even the most formal of settings.

The True Essence of Boho

Boho style embodies flexibility, personal expression, and an eclectic mix of old and new, rustic and refined.

By understanding what boho is truly about, you can create a boho chic space that reflects your unique style while avoiding common design pitfalls.

Embrace the true essence of boho to transform your living space into a beautifully cohesive and inviting home.

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