Bohemian Style in a Modern World

Bohemian style (aka “boho chic”) is well known for its vibrant, colorful, eclectic aesthetic, full of patterns and textiles and displays of accumulated global goods. But many of the elements of bohemian style can actually be transplanted onto a rather contemporary space with surprising success. Certain elements of this laid-back look can work to warm up and “friendly up” a non-bohemian space. Let’s look at how.

Bohemian style lampshade hanging

Eclectic Décor Scheme.

Eclectic Décor Scheme - floor pillows

Clashing colors, patterns, and accents create an immediate feeling of bohemian style. But because the clashing is done with such confidence and abundance, it actually doesn’t feel like clashing anymore – its intentionality is what makes it “flow” so effectively.

A Laid-Back Approach.

Bohemian A Laid-Back Approach for Chair

This applies to life as much as to the space itself, and to individual pieces in a bohemian space as much as the overall ambiance. This can be accomplished with earthy furnishings, rich textiles, and bold hues.

Mixed Patterns.

Mixed patterns for bohemian style

This is often manifest in a bohemian space with layers and layers of mixed-pattern throw pillows, or patterned area rugs with patterned wallpaper (or both!). A contemporary space is given a subtle carefree boho vibe with some deconstructed mixed patterns – floral dining chairs and an adjacent room’s floral wallpaper, for example.

Bohemian chair with mixed patterns

Here’s another example of mixed patterns. When thrown together on a single piece, such as the floral and stripe prints on this chair, the fun, eclectic effect of pattern mixing is heightened. Basically, a good rule of thumb is: you can never have too many patterns. (Or plants. Or pillows…)

Intricate details.

Bover Barcelona Lights

When layering and patterns and visual feasting is a style’s m-o, the more intricate a piece’s details are, the better it will fit in. Bohemian style welcomes all such ornate designs.

Tie Dye &Suzani&Ikat, Oh My!

Magnolia Home - Bohemian design

When it comes to bohemian design, more is more, which, in turn, is more again. This compilation is actually a rather toned-down collection, since the hues are all similar. Boho design can also beautifully combine multi-tonal suzani or ikat prints that might otherwise seem to clash.


Wood patterns for ceiling lighting fixtures

Versatile pieces can work well in bohemian spaces if they have a sense of what I sometimes call “flowiness.” Curves and movement in the design make for a seamless integration into bohemian style, even if the piece itself could work equally well in alternate décor as well.

Abundant Plant Life.

Macrame containers for plants

Potted table plants, large floor plants, plants hanging from tiered macramé containers…these are just a few of the ways plant life finds its way into bohemian décor. Anywhere greenery enters the boho space, though, is a good thing – even, say, plants emerging from bamboo sticks tied together and mounted on the wall. For example.

Macramé & Lookalikes.

Flowy macrame chandelier

Drapey, flowy macramé objects are of course the essence of bohemian décor, but one can achieve a similar vibe with other objects as well. Shell or bead chandeliers, anyone?

Moroccan Touches.

Moroccan touch for blankets

While traditional bohemian décor involves Moroccan touches all over the place (think lanterns, pillows, ottomans, and throws, not to mention rugs and artwork), you can give your space a touch of boho aesthetic with some Moroccan touches. It could be something as simple as a couple of tea towels.


Rich colors and patterns

While modern minimalism certainly has its place in the design world, bohemian style beliefs could not be further from those tendencies. Start with some pattern, pile on some patterned pieces, and top it all off with another pattern or three. Make those patterns and pieces unabashedly diverse, and the effect is generally charming and surprisingly cohesive.

Crochet& Organic Textures.

Crochet and organic textures

You may not be an actual hippie, but you may feel like one when surrounding yourself with crocheted and/or organically textured pieces. Whether relaxing in a crocheted hammock chair or plopping onto a textured pouf cube at the end of a long day, you’re going to love your bohemian décor choices.

One-of-a-Kind Pieces.

One-of-a-Kind Pieces - chandelier

Bohemian style thrives on its uniqueness and individuality. Vintage pieces with loads of patina are excellent candidates (the more patina, the better). Also whimsical, original, or slightly odd pieces will look right at home in a boho space.

Wicker or Rattan.

foley cox chair - rope seat

In all its organically aesthetic glory, wicker or rattan furniture pieces work beautifully in bohemian décor. If wood and crochet had a love-child, it would be wicker or rattan.

Tribal Prints.

Bold tribal patterns for furniture

Tribal and Navajo-style prints and patterns are on trend right now, but they have always had a place in bohemian style. The tribal patterns lend a casual, organic vibe to any design space – a touch of the laid-back bohemian vibe without the visual accumulation.

Unstructured Asymmetry.

Modern wall mirror with waves design

To go along with the flowy aspect of bohemian style, pieces that embrace asymmetry in an unstructured, unpredictable aesthetic are prime candidates for inclusion in bohemian spaces.

Beaded or Crocheted Curtains.

Beaded or crocheted curtains

It’s the spaces between the elements, as much as the elements themselves, that makes a curtain look and feel bohemian. Any beaded, crocheted, or otherwise hooked-together curtain with gaps produces a fantastically noticeable yet lightweight presence.

Bold Colors.

Regan Smith ottomans

No color, or saturation level for that matter, is off-limits in a bohemian décor scheme. Furnishings, throws, rugs, pillows, and other elements are all fair game for infusing the space with various rich hues. Even over-the-top wall colors can be the perfect finishing touch on a boho space.

Plenty of Pattern.

Dining table with bamboo chairs

This concept is less focused on mixing patterns in a single vignette and more mixing the overall feeling of pattern in the space as a whole. Consider the silhouettes of these bamboo chairs, the ikat feeling of the area rug, the multiple (albeit subtle) patterns on the chairs, the pattern on the wall mirror, the pendants…all of these work to create a chic boho space with plenty of pattern.

Soft Textiles.

Soft stool with gold hairpin legs

Velvets, furs, satins, and other rich-looking (and -feeling) textiles are welcome en masse in a bohemian decorated space. In fact, the more (and diverse), the merrier.