What is bohemian interior design? We’ve all heard the Queen song, but how does one capture the essence of bohemia in their home? Bohemian style interior design (or boho for short), named for the bohemian era of 19th century Paris, is inspired by the art and culture of this period. 19th-century bohemia was defined by shunning conventions in everything from writing to fashion, putting the focus on personal expressionism, freedom, and broadening cultural influence, above prioritizing societal and stylistic norms.
Modern boho interior design is an attempt to channel this artistic spirit into your home in a practical and effective way, but it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five simple but effective tips for creating a stunning boho interior in your home this year.
Bohemian Interior Design: Boho Colors
One of the things to remember about the boho aesthetic is that there are no strict rules to making it work for you, with expression being put front and center. With that being said, there is something of color palette that’s most associated with the style. People tend to go for more earthy and neutral tones when creating the base of a room, accenting the space with metallic and jewel tones.
Think tan or brown carpets and furniture, with flashes of gold, vibrant green, and shocks of red scattered around the room. The extent to which you use any colors is up to you, with bohemian design touches being similarly effective in more minimal spaces, even if it’s not the norm of the philosophy.
Quick Tip – Run Wild: The point of bohemian decor is that there are no wrong answers. Feel free to experiment, add, and retract elements from your design scheme on things as simple as whims. You’ll get to where you need to be soon enough.
Bohemian Interior Design: Tell a Story with Decor!
Trinkets and souvenirs may not have much intrinsic value, but their sentimental and symbolic value can’t be understated. Picking up little physical reminders of our travels and journeys is a great way to transport our minds back to those places, without the formality of looking through old photos. Infusing your spaces with this sort of sentimental energy is a key aspect of bohemian design, whether on an international level or as a journey through your personal past.
Find spaces to proudly display the things you’ve picked up over the years, whether small models picked up in a Venetian market, a brightly patterned rug from a Turkish kiosk, or even just a snow globe from a great day at the zoo. The boho theme is you, so don’t be afraid to tell your personal story with your decorative choices!
Quick Tip – Be Practical: It can be tempting to empty the kitchen sink into your home when doing bohemian interior design, but remember that your home needs to be liveable, and no one wants to trip over a beckoning cat on the way to the kitchen.
Bohemian Interior Design: Layers
A key aspect of boho style decorating is creating layers of texture and style, with a number of different furniture and decor items. Things aren’t meant to stand alone as statement pieces, with a room operating as a piece of art in itself, using complementary touches to curate a strong atmosphere. You don’t have to concern yourself with ensuring all the pieces “naturally” go together, with eclectic layering being the name of the game.
This can mean bright wallpaper adorned, art, and wall hangings, with a stylish fuzzy throw in the middle of the room. Or, an earthy velvet covered sofa with a variety of bright and colorful cushions. Either way, don’t actively look for pieces that clash, but you do want your space to feel fresh, new, and unique, with layers of color, style, and personality.
This low, tight-fitting mid-century modern silhouette in a captivating sapphire olive color is complete with clean-lined arms that provide a subtle hint of sophistication. The addition of dramatic blind tufting further elevates the look, creating a piece that offers both style and comfort.
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Quick Tip – Draw Inspiration from Everything: Memories, journeys, meals, events, and feelings are all viable points of inspiration for bohemian interiors, so channel them all when choosing your decor.
Bohemian Interior Design: Cozy Lighting
Creating the right sense of light is an important part of creating the perfect bohemian atmosphere in your home, ensuring that the decor choices aren’t sullied by harsh illumination. Studies indicate that natural lighting is good for your mental health, creativity, and overall mental performance, while warm lighting can encourage socialization, so it only makes sense that a bohemian interior design style would put an emphasis on these forms of lighting.
The way to achieve this is by forgoing the larger, brighter roof fixtures seen in many modern homes and opting for more lamps, lanterns, pendants, and even candles where you can. This will help to curate that sort of gypsy vibe that comes with the furniture and decorative choices, with warmer lighting at the tabletop level being more natural for our brains to understand.
Bohemian Interior Design: Handmade, Vintage, Natural
Crafts are a big facet of what makes boho chic interior design what it is. With the emphasis on layering, telling a story, and amplifying exciting colors, it’s no surprise that handcrafted, artisan, and vintage pieces play a big part in what makes this style what it is. This can mean anything from a comfy chair that you found at a yard sale all the way to a custom landscape that you have commissioned by a local artist.
Vintage doesn’t have to mean antique, and likewise, it doesn’t need to mean run-down. Similarly, handcrafted doesn’t mean you have to bypass anything that’s produced for the masses. Hand-woven wicker or rattan chairs, or even accessories such as baskets or storage, are a great place to start with a bohemian living room, while sites like Etsy are rife with handcrafted pieces.
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Bohemian Interior Design: Final Thoughts
When it comes to boho interior design, the facts are that no amount of obviously bohemian decor choices will truly capture the spirit of the culture. Truly bohemian interior design has to come from inside. Follow our guidelines, but feel free to express yourself as profoundly as you like, going wild with color, material, and mismatched pieces from all over the world. If you’ve followed a guide too religiously, then is bohemian design really the right choice for you?
If you’re in need of more inspiration, then just keep searching. The internet is an amazing resource for budding designers, with there being plenty of blogs, photo collections, and digital storefronts from which you can draw ideas.