Macramé fringe, wicker rattan weaves and chic patterns are all trademarks of Boho style. Combining all of these design characteristics, though, can be a challenge. Over the last few years, I’ve incorporated a lot of these elements into my second-floor walk-up. If you’re interested in bringing this free-spirited style into your home, this guide will give you an idea of what to look for and where to buy from, from one newbie to another.
The Origins Bohemianism
Often the first thing that comes to someone’s mind on the subject of Bohemianism is hippies, due to their influence on fashion and decor in the ’60s and ’70s. However, the Bohemian subculture was born in the 1800s when artists began moving into low-income neighborhoods in Paris, France. In fact, the French term “bohémien” was used to describe a nomadic person or gypsy (Romani). Bohemians appeared after the French Revolution.
What is Bohemian Style?
A Bohemian home can often be described as “curated chaos.” It’s unconventional and creative. The decor is indicative of life, culture, spirit, comfort and inspiration. Bohemian interiors break free from minimalism and instead offer a most lived-in, layered feel; they give you the opportunity to mesh details like a vintage Persian rug and macramé planter in the same room. Boho style can also be affordable if you know where to shop. But as with any iconic style, it’s important to respect its nuances. Don’t let the past define your Bohemian home.
7 Tips for Adding Bohemian Style to Your Home
1. Fringe it Up
In case you haven’t noticed, fringe is in. Yes, it had its calling in the 1970s and yes, Fashion Week runways were filled with it in the last couple of years. But fringe has truly come to shine again in the form of home decor: on lighting fixtures, planters, even hanging wall tapestries. Born from ateliers of 16th century Europe, fringe textures (or anything that feels good to touch) is one of the quickest ways to add some Bohemian flair to your space.
Fringe wall hangings are a great place to start (and an easy, inexpensive way to solve negative wall space). This 38-inch-wide Macramé by Tori Simonds is handmade by the artist from 100 percent cotton cord and usually ships in about 2 to 4 weeks.
Urban Outfitters Home might’ve passed a lot of us by when our favorite, once-affordable clothing shop began selling us t-shirts for $1000. On the contrary, their Home model (while sometimes suffering from slightly the same issue) has great options to add some inexpensive nuance to your decor. Macramé fringe shower curtains are a secret weapon in giving your bathroom a more free-spirited vibe. (Check out some other fringe findings here.)
Outside of artist websites and mass production, Etsy is your best friend when it comes to more creative fringe decor. Take, for instance, this Macramé plant hanger from Etsy seller Gemini Rain Handmade which puts a more modern twist on fringe wall art.
2. Introduce Woven Elements
I know, you thought wicker weaves were just for your patio. In a lot of cases, you’re right. However, they work great with a lot of interior styles and a Bohemian home is no exception. Natural fibers like rattan–natively grown in specific regions in Africa, Asia and Australia–can add depth to your space while also adding yet another texture. Woven pieces are inviting, earthy and above all, evoke a sort of tropical allure.
Feeling adventurous? Try a hanging rattan chair (or just about anything from the California-based brand Serena & Lily).
If I sound like an Urban fanboy, it’s because this woven stool is the perfect place to burn sage (just don’t burn down your house).
3. Plants, Lots of Plants
You’d be hardpressed to spot a Bohemian pad that doesn’t have a copious amount of plants. Braving the potentially closed shops in 2020 sounds like an impossible feat but like anything else today, you can get plants shipped right to your house. No clue what you’re doing? No problem. The Sill is a great place for beginners. If you’re looking for something specific, this Etsy page is a good place to start. Hell, even Amazon is selling them. Make sure to read up on styling and care tips from pros like Hilton Carter, or from The Digest’s Best Houseplants for Beginners.
Or this spy angle inside artist Jan Skacelik’s home with diverse plant life (@restyleart).
Don’t forget to pair your plants with planters that fit your home’s vibe like a rattan plant stand.
4. Add Patterns
Natural elements should take precedent, but there are always opportunities to add color and pattern to your design. The best way to do this is with statement rugs (and bonus points if you’re cool enough to layer them atop a jute rug).
Vintage Moroccan rugs like this cherry red from Revival Rugs can bring an entire room together with an influx of bright colors.
I mean seriously, look how well this patterned runner fits inside @restyleart‘s place.
Area rugs aren’t the only way to add patterns to your design. Throws can not only add patterns but some great texture as well. You’ll find better quality with indie pillow shops like Pillows by Kae (@kaekooshop).
5. Avoid Dark Colors
Use black sparingly. Don’t choose a black dresser or media unit. When you pick a color palette, keep it matte and light. This allows accents like vintage or natural wood shelves to pop. And save your color for area rugs and knick-knacks.
6. Mood Lighting (You Know, For the #vibez)
This is the time to forget about all those energy-efficient florescent beams and opt for something more pleasing. With lighting, you can take all those Boho elements (fringe, weave, etc.) and apply them here. Don’t forget to have fun with it. Personally, I like copper string lights. They set a relaxed, dim-lit mood and pair perfectly with Bohemian maximalism. They’re also just $12 and 66 feet long.
If you’re looking for something shorter and easier to hang photographs from, these mod clip string lights from Urban are a good bet too.
In any Bohemian home, light sources vary. Aside from string lights, scented candles are an absolute must. There are so many outlets on Etsy, such as the above from Moon and Mana (@moonandmana) which ship in just a couple days. If you prefer a bigger selection, you can count on World Market candles for overabundance.
7. Vintage Finishes
Hemp and rattan accessories are great and all, but what’s Boho without some vintage? It doesn’t always have to be an expensive, one-of-a-kind Persian area rug, either. It can be something as simple as a metallic planter or an old brass serving tray. If you opt for the above advice on candles, why not pick up some vintage candle holders? It’s those little details that will ultimately complete your Bohemian home.
If you want to cheat a bit on the whole vintage thing, you can always order spun-metal planters from West Elm.
About the Author/s
Michael is the Editor-in-Chief of New Jersey Digest, COO of X Factor Media, and an avid writer. Growing up in Bergen County, he discovered his passion for words while in Friday detention. Michael loves kayaking, a fat glass of Nebbiolo, and over-editing.