Here’s an unpopular opinion: bohemian style, otherwise known as ‘boho’ isn’t all that. (Yup, I went there.) And I say this as a former boho-chic-enthusiast turned more practical. While there’s still so much to love about this eclectic, crazy style—from the plant décor and wild colors to the macramé wall hangings—sometimes there’s a mismatch between what the design attempts to create and what people actually put in their homes and bedrooms.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are four reasons why boho style is actually terrible, according to design experts.
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It’s Actually Just a Big Mess
“Perhaps Cher Horowitz said it best, ‘Up close…it’s a big ole’ mess,’’” says Jennifer Braidwood, Owner & Product Designer at BRAID & WOOD Design Studio. “Oftentimes the boho design style is synonymous with a tsunami of wicker and rattan, an assault of layered global patterns, or quite simply…just a whole lot of ‘stuff.’”
Whether we want to admit it or not, she’s right. From the baskets and bins (that don’t always go together) to the multiple wall hangings and bright, mismatched colors, sometimes the vision and the execution of our boho style don’t quite connect.
“Boho design can be done tastefully,” Braidwood continues, “But right now there’s a lot of bad boho out there.”
Let’s be honest, while boho chic can be beautiful, there’s an element of disorder that just can’t be ignored. And especially when it comes to our homes, spaces that are intended to be comforting, having a style that feels cluttered and disorganized is definitely not ideal for some.
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It Can Be Expensive
Designing a room or entire house can be pricey—regardless of what trend you lean towards. But when it comes to boho, that price range can be pushed to the extreme.
“To achieve this style, there are a lot of elements needed,” says Andrew Barker, Founder of HomeownerCosts, “Aside from the colors, the boho style has specific materials and types of furniture requirements. It can be costly especially if you are on a budget.”
He’s right on the money. Plus, this unrealistic financial expectation may lead to other design issues, too. For example, this could be a factor of the boho ‘messiness.’ As people strive to create the look in their homes, they settle for the next-best thing, which can often lead to a mismatch of items and colors that, while cheaper in price, become cheaper in presentation, too.
Boho is undoubtedly expensive, so perhaps it’s better incorporated in a vacation or rental home, Barker suggests.
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Boho Isn’t Actually Trendy Anymore
Design trends are always changing. What’s ‘in’ one month won’t necessarily be cool the next. And, as far as boho goes, some design experts actually think that it has reached its peak.
“[There’s already been] a decrease in boho layers and clutter,” shares Lauren Martin, Founder of LM Design Associates. At first, Martin had attributed this shift to bigger cities and their fast-paced culture—for example, New York City. But more recently she’s seen a shift in California, too.
Not to mention people have been spending much more time at home recently, and more homes are beginning to embrace the ‘less is more’ philosophy.
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Clutter and busyness can be overwhelming. As we consider recent trend shifts—not only in home design but every aspect of life—people are quick to lean towards minimalistic concepts and a ‘keep it simple’ philosophy.
“With hectic lives leading to an increase in stress, whether that is from the workplace or anything else in daily life, people are going to want their homes to be a sanctuary,” says Ryan Jones, Founder of Land of Rugs, “Minimalism is a great way to do this, and has been proven to reduce stress. Boho, with all its layers, is essentially a fancy way of adding clutter to a home.”
And as we move into the next year, experts believe that boho will continue to lessen in preference and importance. “People are shifting towards a desire to un-clutter their homes and settle into a simplistic low maintenance style of living,” says Braidwood, "After all, our homes have been our sanctuaries, our offices, and our classrooms over this last year.”
As people become more intentional about their home’s interior, they’re also considering the overall functionality, too. Does a busy, cluttered-looking style actually help when it comes to emotions, usefulness, or upkeep?
“Plus,” Braidwood adds, “No one wants to spend their Saturday dusting 25 wicker baskets.”