How to decorate in Bohemian style

Bohemian decor is bright, artistic and full of colour, pattern and texture. If sleek, contemporary, minimalist interiors leave you cold, then Bohemian style is definitely more ‘maximalist’.

We all know someone with the ability to throw clashing colours and styles together and create an enviable result, and that’s what Bohemian style is all about. The great thing about this decor is that there aren’t any design ‘rules’ – the best way to throw it together it to take pieces that you love, preferably that tell stories of different experiences or places you’ve been on your travels.

How to find and develop your own Bohemian style

To find your own Bohemian style, first think about the things you love.

Are you a beachcomber? Do you love long autumn walks? What about travelling – what are you favourite places to go? What experiences did you have there? Gather together things that mean something to you, and incorporate them into the decor.

For example, a favourite dress or pair of jeans that’s linked with something important in your life can be reinvented as patches in a quilt, a cushion cover or even part of a pair of curtains. This style is all about unexpected juxtapositions, so don’t be afraid to go a little off piste. Remember, if you love everything you’ve chosen then that’s the only criteria for including it – be brave!

Mixing styles up like this creates a carefree, relaxed attitude, and a decor that’s full of talking points and culture. Colour schemes aren’t chosen but evolve – lots of rich, earthy tones like orange and brown mixed with jewel tones like purple and blue will create a warm, den-like atmosphere.

To save it all looking too busy, keep carpets and floors a plain colour (plain waxed or painted floorboards work well), and pile them with coloured rugs. In a similar way, paint walls a plain colour to act as a showcase for your collections of art. Choose a warm tone like soft grey, and steer away from plain white which it too stark. Use soft furnishings like throws and rugs not only in the conventional ways, but also hung from the walls, draped over lamps and as table cloths.

How to choose Boho fabrics and furniture

When choosing fabrics, look at texture as well as colour and pattern. Very textured fabrics like hessian and chenille will mix well with satin, silk and velvet.

Furniture, vintage is key. Each piece should tell a story – whether it’s the wardrobe your grandparents bought when they got married, or the table you found at an auction rooms and brought home tied to the roof of your car.

Search vintage fairs, junk shops, small ads and online auction sites for pieces with a bit of history, and then sand, wax, repair, paint and refurbishment them until they become yours.

Accessorise with Boho finds

Look for accessories with a Moroccan or Indian feel, and don’t stick to one colour or type of material – mix wood with leather, cotton with wool and stone with textiles. It all sounds a bit chaotic, but the finished result is unconventional but cosy and welcoming.

When it comes to accessories, more is definitely more. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites:

Paradurah printed duvet cover, La Redoute

This lively duvet cover is oozing with boho style. It costs from £29 at La Redoute.

Kantha quilt made from vintage sari, Decorator’s Notebook

Kantha quilt made from vintage saris, £175

Each one of these quilts, £175, is hand stitched from vintage saris, so each one is different. For a selection, visit Decorator’s Notebook.

Set of four large Bohemian bowls, Berry Red

Set of four Bohemian bowls, £48

In mix and match assorted patterns, these bowls are ideal for everything from pasta to cereal.  £48 for four from Berry Red.

Aurora round velvet chair, MiaFleur

Aurora round velvet chair, £525

This chair has a sturdy frame wrapped in raffia with angular iron legs with a brass finish and a soft, cotton velvet buttoned cushion. £525, available from MiaFleur.

Set of four ombre boho Mason jars, Etsy

Add instant boho charm to a room with these handpainted accessories

For instant boho charm, this set of four ombre handpainted Mason jars are the perfect accessories to add to a room. They’re £40 at Etsy.

Ivonette table lamp, The Chandelier and Mirror Company

Ivonette table lamp, £79

A traditional table lamp with a classic tapered shade upholstered with a rich regal burgundy fabric and fringing. £79 from The Chandelier and Mirror Company.

Magellan mirror, PIB Home

Magellan mirror £35

This small round mirror has a slightly distressed frame for a vintage feel. £35 from PIB Home.

By Sara Walker

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