When discussing decorating styles, it is impossible to pass up boho as an option, especially if you love color and patterns. Boho home decor has been around for a long time and is not looking to go anywhere as it has a universal appeal across generations.
Bohemian decor – aka Boho decor – is an interior design style that makes bold use of color, patterns, and texture. It commonly incorporates vibrant, rich colors like reds, yellows, blues, and greens, as well as ethnic patterns from across the globe, and varying textures, like velvets and satin. Tapestries and multi-hued rugs are used to decorate the wall and floors, sometimes in layers.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking to implement a boho-style room decor you should –
- Mix textiles and patterns from different cultures and places around the globe, like Oriental rugs, or Ikat throws.
- Use lamps, and candles instead of overhead lighting to create a warm ambiance.
- Choose handcrafted furniture and objects d’art that express artistry, creativity, and freedom of expression.
- Add lots of lush greenery, as is befitting any flower child’s domicile.
Boho decor has a rich history and has been used for generations. Each incarnation has brought about its own twist on the style, and today is no different. Keep reading to find out more about this gorgeous design aesthetic and how to apply it to your home in a modern and chic way.
The Evolution of Bohemian Decor
Boho came into being in the days following the French Revolution. Prior to the Revolution, an artist was considered more of a craftsman and was supported through patronage from the upper classes. Artists were essentially in the employ of the wealthy, and as such, they were expected to live within the rules and restrictions placed upon them by their standing in that society.
After the Revolution, these artists and musicians no longer had these means of supporting themselves and were cast into poverty. Many ended up living in the lower class Romani (formerly known as gypsy people) neighborhoods, creating their own community of writers, artists, musicians, and thinkers. They embraced this new lifestyle of freedom and rejected the trappings of their former life.
These artists often dressed in outdated and even Medieval style clothing and adopted the roaming styles of the Romani, who were commonly referred to as ‘Bohemians’ in France. Soon the term came to be applied to any and all who lived in this area, and then eventually to any person who lived that lifestyle, regardless of geographic location.
This rejection of their former societal restrictions carried over to their decorating, both by choice and by necessity. They were very poor, so they would have decorated their living spaces with whatever they had or could make. Hence the use of handcrafted items, from furniture to bedcoverings.
Boho Style in the 1970s
In more modern times, this decor was heavily embraced by the Hippie culture of the late 1960s and 1970s. The lifestyle of freedom from restraint, creativity, and rejection of the status quo was a siren song to those looking to break free from the societal constraints of the times.
Home decor shifted from the clean lines and subdued colors of the mid-century modern design, to a warmer, homier feel created by the use of vibrant colors and fabrics, as well as handmade items, like wooden furniture, macrame plant hangers, woven afghans, patchwork patterns, and velvet, suede, and satin fabrics.
This living room is a perfect example of how color and texture were used during this time period. Bold primary colors pop from white walls, and the woven wicker sofa is covered with vividly patterned pillows. A big green plant in the corner and the basket of daisies add a natural element.
As the Hippie culture faded in the late 1970s, boho design evolved into California Eclectic which has elements of both boho and eclectic design, but a more subdued and earthy color palette.
Boho in Today’s Home
Our busy modern lifestyles require modern solutions, and the integration of boho decor into our home is no exception. Today’s families prefer bright open spaces filled with furniture and decorative items that provide form, and function, while still creating a great space that invites relaxation and creativity. Keep reading as we go into the details of each of the defining elements of Boho decor, and how to apply them to your modern home.
Design Elements of Bohemian Decor
There are a few very specific design elements that you can weave into your decorating to give your home a modern boho vibe, without feeling like you stepped into the 1800s or 1970s, although that would be fantastic too!
Boho Decor Use of Color
The use of color is a big part of boho. Most decorating styles are more subdued, with pops of color, while boho embraces the layering of colors in all their majesty. There are a lot of ways to use color to maximum effect.
Setting the Tone
By choosing a rich jewel tone in this deep turquoise color for the walls, you can create a perfect backdrop for contrasting wall decor, a white sofa with patterned and textured throw pillows layered on.
Layer on the Color
Turn a bland corner into a bohemian sanctuary with brightly colored fabrics. Drape a colorful scarf-like curtain over a sofa that is decked out with throw pillows in a rainbow of colors and designs. Greenery in the windows and the addition of Indian inspired decorative pieces complete the look.
Find throw pillows or pillow covers like this one on Amazon to help you recreate this look. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Bring the Indoors, Outdoors
Who said you had to limit our love for the boho life to inside your house? Check out this amazing patio space. Fun and vibrant colors are used to dress up repurposed patio furniture, like the massive woven chair. Throw pillows in a variety of shapes size, colors and patterns really make this outdoor room a joyful place to appreciate nature and laze away a summer afternoon.
Typical Boho Style Textures
Layering different luxurious textures is another way to add boho flair to a room. Mix and match crocheted and fur items, fuzzy or velvet pillows, wooden or woven wicker furniture. Braiding, beading, and tassels are also frequently thrown into the mix.
Nothing Neutral About It
This amazing living room is a mix of neutral colors but is still totally bohemian due to its eclectic mix of textures and patterns. In another room, the white and gray color palette could seem cold and modern, but by choosing items in these colors that are heavily textured, like the rug and the woven throw, and then incorporating warmer natural elements like the rough-hewn wood table, and brown and gold pillows, this room is anything but cold.
Made for Relaxing
This bedroom follows a similar principle, using a neutral tan wall as the background for a many-layered approach to decorating. The floor is covered with rugs of different sizes and textures in colors that are harmonious. The same can be said for the bed, which is dressed in a crisp white bedding set, with vibrant throw blankets and pillows to add that pop of vibrant color. Texture also comes from the woven detailing of the plant containers, the simple wooden nightstand, and the wall decor that ranges from a metal flower mirror to a rope macrame hanging. The combination of all of these elements could be very overwhelming if not for the calmness of the neutral color palette that ties it all together.
Boho Decor Patterns
Patterns are what really bring the boho look to life. Mixing and matching patterns is not for the faint (or minimalist) of heart. When mixing patterns, try to find objects that unify with one main focal point, or go the opposite way and just go crazy.
Use textiles and objects from across the globe to create a unique space that tells a story. Incorporating patterns from India, Morocco, and Native American cultures is common.
Common Theme in an Uncommon Way
Look carefully at all of the elements to find the one unifying aspect of the room. Native American elements, like the photos, are reflected in the colors of the striped afghan, and the chevron pattern of the black and white afghan, as well as the pattern of the little throw pillow and even the rug, in an abstract sort of way. Cacti decorative items on the table and shelving complete an unusual homage to the Southwest.
Keeping it Casual
This modern take on boho plays with both texture and pattern to create the desired effect, without being over the top. A woven tapestry adds texture to a plain white wall. Textured and patterned pillows in cream and turquoise blues contrast with the red patterned area rug in a complementary way that feels planned, not forced. The coffee table is very modern and industrial, as is the simple lamp, which helps keep the room looking current.
Vintage or Repurposed Items
The ‘Bohemians’ developed this decorating style partially from necessity due to their newly impoverished status, remember? What is more cost-effective than using vintage or repurposed items to decorate your domicile? It is also a great way to add personality and uniqueness to your space.
This delightful sitting room is a testament to what can be done with vintage and repurposed items, from the bamboo furniture that has been outfitted in vibrant upholstery, to the woven baskets that are displayed as wall art. The pretty green sideboard is a really special flea market find, as that type of furniture is high demand. The room is made even cozier by a china cabinet stuffed with books and a mass of houseplants of all different kinds.
The bohemian decor style was defined by artists, so it stands to reason that handcrafted furniture and artwork would play a role in their homes. From macrame wall hangings, crocheted afghans, and handwoven tapestries, a personal touch is always a welcome addition.
For something different, try a flower wall hanging. You can purchase a similar item, but this would be easy to make with silk flowers from your local craft store. It is simple and pretty again the white wall, but is totally unexpected.
Hanging from the Ceilings
Macrame is the art of weaving or knotting rope, twine, or string to create creatively patterned items, like these plant holders. It is an easy, inexpensive and fun craft, and useful, as you can see here.
For those of us who don’t have the knack for knotting, but love the look, Mkono offers this collection of macrame plant hangers. Click here to see more on Amazon.
No boho room is completed without plants! Greenery is essential to the feeling of freedom and nature that the bohemian sensibility ascribes to. There are lots of ways to accomplish this, even if you don’t have a green thumb.
If you love plants and want live ones, even though your lifestyle requires you to have something low maintenance, then succulents and desert plants may be just right for you. Put them in a sunny spot and remember to water them at least occasionally, and they should be alright. As you can see, they really transform this reading nook into a living space that is warm and
What a Showstopper
Use plants to create a cozy alcove for relaxing, reading, dreaming, whatever! If you have space, incorporating large plants like this incredible banana tree really gives your room a tropical vibe.
What Color Schemes are Typical of Boho Home Decor?
Teal and Pink
This unlikely color combination pops up frequently in boho decor. The dark richness of the teal walls is offset by the light pink bedding. Add gold wall decor as a compliment to both colors. This is a color combination that is also often found in Indian motifs, and so, fabrics and tapestries from India can also be mixed in for additional boho flair.
Cream and Brown
Neutral creams and browns are a great choice for a boho room. The look is brought together by using a variety of textures instead of vibrant colors. Wooden, wicker or bamboo vintage furniture and a woven tapestry complete the room.
Black and White and Brown
Similar to the look above, modern boho rooms in black and white are a great way to keep your living room current while adding touches in natural browns and wood warm up the look. Here the patterned rug and woven baskets set the tone.
When in doubt about what color to use, add all of them! A room can be colorful and chic when the details are just right. Different shades of primary colors compliment each other and keep the room visually interesting. Using lighter shades of blue as a contrast to the canary yellow walls keeps the look from being too stimulating. The craziness of the colors and patterns are toned down just enough by the green of the plants.
Quick Tips for Decorating Any Room in Boho Style
- Choose your Colors Wisely. Go in with a plan for your color scheme so your decor flows, instead of clashing. This is especially important when mixing vibrant colors and patterns. At first glance, these rooms might seem like a mashup of color, but intentional choices around a unifying theme will create a cohesive look.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. It a particular combination looks good to you, use it! This is about what looks good, but also what makes you happy!
- Textures are our friends. Using a variety of textured fabrics, woven decorative items, and rugs can create a boho vibe, even if you only use white! Craft a room that is comfortable and luxurious.
- Vintage items are a must. Scour flea markets and thrift stores for the perfect unique items to make your space your own.
- Surround your self with plants. Boho decor uses plants to keep that natural flow in the home. If you don’t have a green thumb, you can still get the same vibes with silk flowers crafted into a creative display, or botanical prints.
Boho Furniture by Type
Boho style is really created by layering covers or throws over your existing furniture, instead of buying new. Add a cover like this Native American one to give your sofa the boho look at a fraction of the cost. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Macrame Hanging Chair
An awesome macrame swing chair would be a great fit of a boho patio, or even near a sunny loft window for a reading nook. Add a few throw pillows to complete the look. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Boho Giant Pillow Cover
While note actually a chair, this pillow cover will create the perfect boho seating option! Its gorgeously colorful ethnic print trimmed with pompoms doesn’t get much better! Click here to see more on Amazon.
Add a retro bohemian style comforter set to give your bedroom boho flair. This stunning bedding set from YOUSA has rich colors and patterns to create the perfect look. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Boho Decor Items
A Taste of the Exotic
It doesn’t get much more boho than this lamp! Designed in the Turkish style, this floor lamp casts multiple colors through the stain glass bulbs. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Perfect for a Side Table
This colorful Turkish lamp is perfect for a corner table. Its beautiful mosaic glass globe will reflect a tapestry of color in your room. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Channel the Orient
Layer an Oriental-style rug like this on over your existing carpet as a foundation item for transforming your ho-hum room into a boho wonderland. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Or choose a textured rug in a neutral beige color a layering piece. Throw a smaller version of the Oriental Rug over a larger size of this rug to really commit to the textured look. Click here to see more on Amazon.
Boho Wall Decor
Incorporate a touch of boho into your bedroom with a macrame wall hanging similar to the one above. Click here to see more on Amazon.
We hope you found this guide useful! If you love the Boho Decor style, leave us a comment to let us know and help us spread the word by sharing this post with your friends!