Thursday, August 22, 2013

Can You Recognize Bohemian Decor?

There is a frequent customer that comes into the consignment shop where I work part-time. She is one of those homeowners that cannot make a decision unless everybody, their brother and their dog weigh in with   opinions on her choices. Her ideas, she said, were all over the place. She thought she lacked a defined style. What this customer lacked was decorating self-esteem. I wrote a previous blog on self-esteem and decorating (see archives). The gist of it is that you need to trust your own taste. 

True advice

The reason I bring this up again is that after speaking at length to this lovely lady it turns out that she has a long line of maternal ancestors who had a Romany background. Say what? Her hot mess of OTT decorating (according to well-meaning friends) was a true gut-feeling of the Bohemian decorating vibe!

Lovely pink Boho room

So how does one recognize that look in a room? Let's dissect a couple types of Bohemian decor starting with the example room above. 
In this case the FORMAL velvet furniture upholstered in hot pink is against a CASUAL concrete wall. The wall is decorated with a FORMAL grouping of plates and a FORMAL French mirror. An disparate group of FORMAL lights are hanging in the corner over a FORMAL end table but there is one CASUAL end table as well. Everything sits on CASUAL distressed wood floors and CASUAL sheepskin rugs are thrown around. The overall balance of formal and casual ingredients is the modern Bohemian/Eclectic look. Here's another:

Boho perfection

Lovely soft colors. Modern Bohemian does not necessarily mean loud and garish, it is the feeling or mood of the space. The FORMAL velvet sofa is made more CASUAL by having the seat and back cushions upholstered in a print/solid mixture. FORMAL chairs, tables with FORMAL accessories and lamps are sitting atop a CASUAL sisal carpet. I think I may have thrown in an area rug under the coffee table for a stronger Boho vibe.The draperies are FORMAL while the artwork is decidedly more CASUAL with the wrapped canvas edge showing. The content is ethnic with a nod to Man Ray, very CONTEMPORARY. What is the more traditional Bohemian look? Check this out:

Traditional Bohemian Decor

CASUAL slipcovered or worn velvet sofas rule here to balance the FORMAL architecture and case goods,  sometimes just a throw is used over the worn upholstery. Loads of pillows in a mixture of patterns is the posh factor. English country houses have a more formal Bohemian vibe, but everything is well used, worn and from another time. Books, plates, plants and clutter define the idea. Here is another: 

Bohemian x 10!

This is Bohemian at it's best. FORMAL wood paneled walls, FORMAL chaise and chairs, plants, FORMAL but quirky lamps and shades on FORMAL end tables. I love the CASUAL distressed painted floors without carpets, CASUAL wood roll up shades, CASUAL use of embroidered and burn-out velvet shawls thrown over the furniture and fussy lace edged pillows to lean against. Adore the little low Asian table used for tea! Here is a casual example:

Hippie Boho

Wow, this brings back memories of college days! Definitely based on hippie Bohemian brought about by students with small/non-existent budgets, old houses cut up into lower priced apartments and non-conformity. Thrift store shopping and cast offs from others defined the look originally, sometimes it wasn't pretty! This example is lovely, plants everywhere, throws over furniture and pillows galore. Love the Indian garden umbrella (source) and the peacock chairs. We used to throw scarves over the lampshades, but watch your lightbulb wattage. Fires can and did happen!

Beautiful Bohemian-styled room



 Another wonderful example of a FORMAL rug and sofa with CASUAL tables and side chair against a CASUAL brick wall. Classic mixed accessories of a FORMAL mirror and CASUAL vintage fan complete the idea.
  
So do you think you can recognize a Bohemian room and utilize some of the principles in your space? Let me know your comments and about your projects in the works!

(All pix re-printed from Pinterest)

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