Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rhapsody of Bohemian Style

In a week I'm going to the UK where I'll be attending Ascot but Highclere Castle is closed! The following week I'll be in Turkey. Sun, beaches and Bazaar shopping!

Because of that, I've been looking at travel books and it seems I've been noticing exotic decor everywhere. So what exactly is this Bohemian/Boho style we hear about in chi-chi design mags and see on TV design shows? Seems to be part gypsy, part hippie, part dorm room. True, true & true!

Bohemian inspired Music Room

Beautiful Bohemian Inspired room by Chessy Rayner via CJDellatore

"Not everything has to be refined, that's too easy and too boring.  I like amusing things, funny things, offbeat things.  In fact, if anything, I wish my taste were even more offbeat."
- Chessy Rayner

Wonderful Modern Boho Style

A quick definition of Bohemian style is that it evolved as an offshoot of the free artist/fashion movement of the 1860's through the early 1900's  when arty types became tired of the constraints of formal rules for living and literally (think corsets & crinolines) in fashion. There are wonderful examples of Pre-Raphaelite portraits that epitomize the Bohemian look. Women are portrayed in flowing gowns with flowers in their hair standing amid moody backgrounds or in nature. They are lovely to look at and are the precursors to the Flower-Power 1960's when the feeling was picked up again after the strict social rules of the 1950's. Interesting that society loosened up during the World Wars and returned quickly to stricter "norms" with returning soldiers. Hmmmmmm......

Windswept by John Waterhouse, 1904

When Boho turns on you.
Anyway, the Boho style is a look for those who love color, shun conventional design rules and want that comfortable-well-worn-throw-in-some-vintage
eclectic feel of old money homes mixed with that artsy-fartsy-devil may care attitude. It's not for the faint of heart or those with OCD. It involves clutter, mix and match, scuffs on stuff and throws thrown on everything. I find that you have to be careful, it could easily turn on you and really is not the best for those following the principles of Feng Shui.

Modern restrained Boho style

I think the best Boho look involves some restraint. I like to have a color or two to start then branch out from there.  The underlying thread of color is the key.  I use complementary colors and patterns to throw into the mix. Pattern mixup is so easy with this style. Anything can really go together but I prefer to use patterns that have a correlation to my client's idea theme.

Good example of Boho sofa

True Bohemian decor in living rooms means de rigueur velvet sofas. Add fabrics from India, Sussani prints from the Middle East, embroidery, silk and cotton in ethnic patterns, oriental type carpets, art in copious amounts, lamps with really unusual shades, loads of offbeat tchotchkes and voilĂ , Bohemia! For wall color I use the choice that suits the space best or a color request of the client. 

Pretty khaki and pink bedroom

In bedrooms, I prefer a romantic approach with soft flesh tone colors, patterns mixed in the bed coverings, pillows and lovely artwork. Moroccan wedding blankets are a favorite too. Oriental rugs on the floor, flowing sheer draperies and soft lighting guarantee a beautiful bedroom.

Bohemian inspired floral arrangement

I usually follow a less is more approach in dining rooms and kitchens, but have seen stunning examples such as those below:

Boho Dining

White, gold & copper Boho kitchen

Not for everyone but fun to drool over! Overall, although the style is over the top and too messy for most clients, those that embrace the concept love it. They say it's easy to add a souvenir to the mix and easy to maintain (except for dusting maybe), just fluff up and you're good to go!

Outdoors Boho

Decorating icon Billy Baldwin probably said it best about offbeat design styles:

"Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style."

All the pictures not indicated come from Pinterest. Do you love Bohemian/Boho design? Let's hear from you and we'll see how you add it to your home! 


  1. hi, I saw the image of the Boho sofa in Pinterest and I tried for almost a month looking for the wallpaper behind the Boho sofa (dark with something loke mountains) . Can you help me to find this wallpaper? tks.

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