Nowadays, in relation to style, "boho" is a term used to define things that are unconventional and artistic; however, it helps to understand the roots of bohemian style in order to pull off the look authentically in your home.
So what does boho really mean? Well, first, it's shorthand for the French word bohémien, referring to Bohemia, a region in present-day Czech Republic. Bohemia was erroneously believed to be the homeland of the Romani people, the largest ethnic minority group in Europe. Originating in India, the Romani largely led ambulant lifestyles and were known for their creativity, many being skilled artists, musicians, and tradespeople.
In 16th century France, the word "bohemian" evolved to include any artist, writer, actor, or musician who led an unconventional lifestyle, traveling quite a bit throughout major European cities with little money. A more recent hotbed for boho culture existed in Greenwich Village in New York City during the 1950s, otherwise known as the beat generation, which eventually gave way to the hippy culture of the 1960s and '70s. While the Romani people who inspired this style have experienced persecution and discrimination for centuries, after being embraced by middle and upper-class White people, boho design came to be mainly viewed as trendy and fashionable.
Click Play to Learn How to Create a Boho Style Home
Today, bohemian is more of an adjective than a noun and indicates an aesthetic that takes its influence from those free spirits of generations past. The modern boho style look is eclectic and emphasizes natural elements and vintage pieces from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. With such a focus on global influences, boho design can be prone to cultural appropriation. To ensure your space celebrates other cultures respectfully, it is essential to educate yourself about the significance of items you choose to incorporate and pay attention to where products are sourced from. Here are eighteen ways to embrace boho design in your home.
What Is a Boho Style Home?
Boho style home decor combines items that are relaxed, bold, and unconventional. The look typically involves an eclectic mix of natural elements and many colors, patterns, and textures.
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Mix Patterns and Colors With Abandon
There is a foolproof formula for mixing and matching throw pillows like a pro; but, when it comes to creating a boho style space, all rules go out the window. Bright colors and lots of patterns such as florals and paisleys mixed with natural prints and geometric patterns are a hallmark of boho style. If brights aren't for you, embrace a subdued mix of shades like olive green, cognac, mustard yellow, and rusty oranges.
Even in a living room space—like this one by Dazey Den—you can throw a mix of pillows and throws on a day bed or simple sofa for a layer of extra comfort, style, and eclectic energy.
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Use Natural and Rustic Finishes
The hippie influence of the 1960s and '70s on boho design ushered in an infusion of accessories that utilize natural or raw materials such as hemp, sisal, wood, and rattan. Think woven wall decor, macrame plant hangers, a sisal area rug, or a leather accent chair. Although natural textures are key, don't let that stop you from throwing in metallic touches like a floor lamp for a little shine alongside natural elements like this tree trunk coffee table in a living room designed by Arbor & Co.
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Put an Emphasis on Culture
Bohemian styles have significant ties to global and cultural aspects, so it's important to know exactly what you're representing when decorating your space. The Instagram page Afro Bohemian Living takes this to heart—the hallmarks of boho style are present, with distinct African culture serving as the center of it all. From the artwork to the woven baskets and decorative items, African presence is featured all throughout her home.
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Add Global Accents
Given that boho culture has a history of celebrating wandering artists, home accessories that have a global feel are important in a bohemian style space. Again, this is where being mindful of each piece's cultural significance is essential.
If you're lucky enough to travel to far-flung locales, look for beautiful souvenirs that can help you achieve a natural-eclectic feel in your home with authentic pieces; but, if you don't have that luxury, shop thrift stores, flea markets, or use apps like Nextdoor and Mercari to find global accents that are budget-friendly and closer to home. Whenever possible, try to source items directly from the cultures they originate from. Then again, you can also decorate with a vintage globe, a quirky and charming travel-centric addition.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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It's very important to keep in mind that when it comes to this style, keep it casual. Boho-style spaces are not fussy. Think floor cushions and poufs, piles of pillows or a comfy area rug, and spaces that encourage conversation, reading, and listening to music or playing games rather than watching TV or hosting formal dinner parties.
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Try Thrifted Pieces
While thrifting for that perfect find may require some serious effort, you would be surprised at how many potential boho accents you can acquire on a budget—especially when it comes to textured pieces like wicker. Emma Wilson of Wilson Aesthetics snagged this gorgeous wicker shelf on Facebook Marketplace, which serves as the perfect place to display her curated decor collection.
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Layer Plenty of Textures
Having texture in your space is imperative for a boho-chic atmosphere, but it also matters how you incorporate them. Layering textures can play a significant role in this. Placing one rug on top of another at a different angle, or even laying a chunky knit throw on your bed can make all the difference in adding extra comfort and interest.
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Like any eclectic, interesting home space, boho-style rooms make creative use of interesting and unique pieces. But rather than sticking solely with one particular style, this concept focuses more on midcentury modern accessories as well as anything reminiscent of the free spirit hippy culture of the 1960s and '70s. For example, a mid-century hairpin leg desk mixed with a geometric print rug and a sleek white bookshelf with plants galore will achieve the look flawlessly.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Be Artistic in Your Design
No bohemian-style space would be complete without a curated, creative mix of art and books. In fact, beatniks of bygone eras likely owned way more books than they did clothing, furniture, or other material possessions.
If this decorating style appeals to you, you probably already value the arts, so you're well on your way. A goal of creating a boho style space gives you a license to pile art books on the coffee table, frame album covers as wall art, or hang an eclectic collection of art prints on a gallery wall that stretches floor to ceiling. The results are often dazzling, such as in this example of organized chaos of this blue living room designed by Dazey Den.
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Try Neutrals With Boho Flair
Neutrals work as a foundation for many different styles, and boho is no exception. If you aren't as wild about going colorful or overly eclectic, then focus more on working with your neutral color scheme and adding some boho accents here and there. This gorgeous living room includes a curated gallery wall with various art prints, keeping things cohesive while still staying true to the slightly chaotic aspect boho brings to mind. The layering of a print rug over a solid white one, and of course, the leather and wicker decor accents add to the overall theme.
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Add a Touch Of Whimsy
Boho style is meant to be playful, so try to have fun with it. This stunning apartment by Alvin Wayne has its share of plants, muted tones, and a calming presence—yet the geometric tapestry on the wall boasting bright, abstract hues adds a whimsical touch to the room without overpowering it.
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Pair Earthy Textures With Glamorous Ones
One lovely thing about this style is you do not have to choose between something glamorous vs. something down to earth. Often, the two work together perfectly. This living room by Blue Copper Design shows how it's done—opting for leather and wood accents in lightened tones to work with the airy, chic white walls and floor-to-ceiling curtains. No matter where you look, it feels comforting and inviting.Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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Add All the Plants
Truthfully, when working with a bohemian style, you can never have too many plants. They serve as the perfect functional decor choice and add life to any room in your home. This living room from Leaf and Lolo is covered with different plants in various shapes, sizes, and styles. The macrame wall hanging and the wicker baskets only add to the boho vibe.
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Give it a Personal Touch
Ultimately, boho style isn't about creating something "perfect"—it has to do with making the space feel like your own. Adding personal touches can tie things together. This cozy corner designed by Home and Spirit not only includes a string of pothos plants, but a skinny wooden plant serves as a vertical shelf and a painted mural to liven things up next to the white macrame hammock chair.
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Keep It Simple
You don't have to go all out to create a boho-centered room (unless you want to!). Keeping things simple can sometimes be the key—like this bedroom by Arbor & Co. A black and white color palette, a simple tapestry, and an oversize rug make up most of the decor here—yet it works so effortlessly.
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Add a Gallery Wall
Gallery walls truly can take a boho-decorated room to the next level. The key is to work not only with photos or art prints but also with objects. There are really no rules—and definitely no rhyme or reason—to how your art collections and objects should be arranged, and we encourage a whimsical approach wherever possible. This gorgeous example from House of Chais truly brings the wall to life.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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Bring Scandinavian and Boho Vibes Together
Boho and Scandinavian styles are often linked hand in hand with each other, though there are a few differences. Scandinavian styles focus more on simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, whereas boho tends to be more free-spirited and imperfect in its approach. However, the two styles can work together well, especially in bedrooms. The neutral color scheme and minimal decor are paired with whimsical wicker baskets, textured throws, and plenty of comforting attributes.
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Add a Statement Piece
Bohemian styles do not necessarily need a centerpiece to work, but statement pieces can absolutely contribute to the room's overall feel. This bedroom by K Shan Design has plenty of notable accents, but the wicker flower-shaped headboard truly catches your attention the moment you see it. The unusual shape and natural textures truly scream boho chic.