Into the Wild: A Guide to Modern Boho Style
Growing up, you may remember going over to a friend’s house and being told that the formal living room was “off limits.” Maybe you had a formal living room of your own. There was to be no playing in, and absolutely no enjoying, this pristine and immaculately-decorated room.
If the concept of the formal living room sounds like your worst nightmare, you’ll probably love boho style.
Regaining popularity over the last few years, the boho (or “bohemian”) interior design style has a few defining characteristics. The main rule, though? There are no rules. To help you put together the bohemian space of your dreams, we’ve created this guide to boho style. We’ll take a closer look at the materials, colors, and key features of our favorite boho rooms, and show you exactly how you can put these tips and tricks into practice.
When it comes to boho style, materials are everything. A bohemian look often includes natural and organic materials and fabrics, which are all mixed together to create a casual and inviting space. Think natural rattan like the Clea Lounge Chair, light oak like that of the Seno Sideboard, and the tan leather of the Mello Sofa.
On the other hand, more colorful boho spaces are defined by saturated colors and plush materials. Think sapphire velvets and canary yellow accents contrasting with a jungle of plants and dark wood pieces.
While in the past you might have shied away from mixing different types of woods, boho style loves a good combination of tones and styles. Feel free to mix your walnuts, oaks, and stained woods to make a statement. The rule stating that “all woods in a room have to match” no longer applies.
Speaking of mixing materials, layering textures is the name of the boho style game. Add a Lanna Sheepskin Throw to your leather couch, use a fabric sectional on top of a wool rug, or add natural linen bedding to your oak bed frame. When it comes to perfecting your boho style, don’t be afraid to mix patterns, textures, and materials.
Are you a ‘the more color the better’ kind of person? Or do you enjoy calming neutrals in your space? Whichever color language speaks to you, there’s a boho style to complement it.
When you think of boho interior design, you might be imagining a room featuring tons of jewel tones and bright colors layered with punchy pops of pattern. The lush green of plants contrasts with richly colored rugs, cushions, and artwork — often collected from a lifetime of travel.
If you’re more into a serene and natural look, another iteration of boho style features a neutral palette. While the boho character and warmth are still there, it’s a bit more toned down. This look features lighter-colored fabrics, natural materials, neutral-toned handmade pottery and accessories, and a mix of dried plants (such as pampas grass) with a few smaller living plants. Instead of boldly colored rugs and textiles, you’d see something like the Taza Rug.
Again, there are no rules when it comes to decorating your boho space. Take styling tips from either of these approaches, or mix things up to create a room that’s all your own.
While minimalism definitely has its place, boho style embraces maximalism wholeheartedly. This ‘more is more’ attitude applies to furniture, accessories, colors, pattern, and whatever else you want in your boho home. There’s a feeling of lush abundance in a boho space thanks to the strategic layering of textures and personal touches.
Start by adding your core, larger furniture pieces such as your sofa, armchairs, coffee table, and bookshelves. Once you have your key pieces, you can start adding in the smaller elements like books, pillows, throws, rugs, artwork, your prized record collection, and of course, plants.
As mentioned above, pattern is key in any boho space. And while there aren’t any strict rules about how you use patterns, some guidelines can ensure you end up loving your space.
To create a thoughtfully designed boho room, choose an overarching color scheme for your patterns. For example, maybe you’ll want all black and white patterns to complement your plush green Resa Lounge Chair. You can add black and white pillows and a black and white patterned rug to create interest. While the patterns aren’t identical, a unified color palette keeps things looking cohesive.
If you browse boho interiors on Pinterest, you’ll notice that every maximalist, bohemian space has at least one thing in common: plants. Whether these are dried, like the pampas grass mentioned above, or growing vines adorning your Fantol Bookshelf, adding plants to your space immediately adds life and color.
If you struggle with keeping your plants alive, check out our tips and tricks for indoor gardening courtesy of The Plant Junkie.
While a more-is-more attitude is popular when it comes to boho style, there are also ways to incorporate the warmth of this look into a more minimalist space. One way to do this is to add a smaller rattan accent piece like our Hadley Stool or the Meron Wall Mirror to a streamlined, pared-back space. Or, instead of filling your space with many smaller plants, add one large planter, like the Tuva, and a more substantial plant such as a mature snake plant or cactus. This keeps the look streamlined while adding a touch of boho style.
Mixing old and new
Any good boho space will feature a charming mix of new and vintage furniture.
That said, it’s not every day that you score the perfect vintage piece at your local thrift store. You could spend years trying to find a preloved peacock chair of your dreams or the right-sized credenza.
Instead, mix up new boho style furniture such as the Pavon Lounge Chair or Sol Daybed, with secondhand pieces you come across naturally. You might spot some ‘60s-era baskets at a neighborhood garage sale or inherit a beloved piece of vintage art from your grandparents. Add these to a room with your core boho components to create a space that will always feel like home.
Remember the golden rule of boho style? There are no rules, just general guidelines. Choose colors that speak to you, materials that add warmth and texture, and add personal touches through plants and accessories. And voilà, you’ve got the perfect recipe for a boho space.