Bohemian interior design stems from Bohemeniamism: the unconventional lifestyle founded in 19th-century Paris, France. If you identified as a bohemian, you were a free spirit and creativity was your currency. You probably travelled wherever the wind would take you—perhaps literally—and you likely bonded with like-minded individuals over artistic, musical, literary, or spiritual pastimes.
OurAbstract Serenity Linen Cushionfeatures a stylised image of a bohemian lady.
Bohemians were big-time nonconformists who rebelled against the rules. For this reason, it’s difficult to pinpoint the principles of bohemian interior design. There exist no definitive instructions for this style, but distinctive characteristics have evolved throughout the years. Much like a bohemian themself, you can pick the bohemian interior design style out in a crowd.
WHAT IS BOHEMIAN INTERIOR DESIGN?
If you want to dress up a living room boho-style, heed rule 1: there are no rules. This style is nonconformity manifested. Once you’ve grasped this concept, you’ll need to move on to the paradox that is bohemian interior design style guidelines. What makes them bohemian? The fact that they’re guidelines rather than rules. Master this mindset and you’re well on your way to mastering this aesthetic.
Without further ado, here are some ways you can personalise your space—boho-style!
MAKE ECLECTIC CHOICES FROM THE HEART
Straight off the bat: if you’re looking to style your living room like a pristine museum, this style isn’t for you. Rather than dressing to impress, bohemian interior design is like a museum of the heart, filled with eclectic pieces that symbolise a personal sentiment. For example, you would choose furniture for its comfort and visual interest rather than for ostentatious reasons. If the knick-knacks are not personal trinkets or memory-rousing souvenirs, then they’re items that reflect your values or pay homage to your favourite artist. Think handmade items such as paintings, sculptures, and pottery; or rugs, quilts, and macramé.
Oh-so-boho styling tip: if you have a decorative rug, why waste it on your floor? Display it on your wall as an artwork in its own right!
CHOOSE COMFORTABLE FURNITURE (AND ADD OPTIONAL STYLING ACCENTS)
Bohemian interior design is a whimsical nod to artists and adventurers, so be prepared to plonk yourself on rattan or handwoven furniture with a raw, handmade quality. You’ll need to soften such suitably rustic furniture with plush pillows or cushions to boot. Whilst we pad many such items in the 1825 Interiors catalogue with neutral-toned plush seating, this firmer furniture presents a fantastic styling opportunity. You could pair your chair with a cushion in Moroccan patterns—a styling accent quite common in bohemian interior design—and sling a matching rug over your chair for a snuggly final touch.
For more plush furniture, neutral tones tend to be the way to go—again, flashy appearances or colours are not the driving force. If you’re feeling stuck, reframe the hunt from the perspective of texture. How would a classic leather couch look against your living room’s aesthetic? Perhaps you could try an upholstered couch in a camel colour, or even tickle your living room white with a cream-coloured faux fur chair. The bohemian interior design style is among the more outdoorsy aesthetics, so earthy colours and textures from nature could fit quite well. With this aesthetic, the sky—no, not the ceiling, but the sky—is the limit!
Our Vermont Chair in beige, when matched with our Bay Rattan Side Table and a palm tree print cushion, gives a mellow bohemian vibe. Relaxed rattan meets bursting botanicals in this rustic, nature-inspired living room. Image: 1825 Interiors
DON’T NEGLECT THE BRIGHTER COLOURS
Although we’ve emphasised a neutral palette with occasional earthy textures and tones, the bolder colours still play an important role in bohemian interior design. If metallic golds and jewel tones—such as emerald, royal blue, pink, or red—do not play a major role in your colour theming, at least sprinkle them into the textiles and accent pieces.
In the bohemian interior design style, you’ll often see piles of textiles in the form of cushions and pillows and throws (oh, my!). Should you wish to weave these colourful highlights into this loose tapestry of living room comfort, ‘throw’ them between neutral tones and perhaps tasselled, woollen textures. This is a great way to show off your showiest cushions without isolating your best and brightest to one corner of your living room. Exhibit A:
If you want to go bold whilst still keeping it boho, then the brighter colour palette will be your friend. Choose a single bright colour for your wall—it could be clementine, amethyst, azure, or avocado green—and choose décor that errs towards the rainbow rather than straight neutrality. As flashy as these colours may sound, they do not undermine bohemianism because they remain reminiscent of nature. Delve deep enough and you’ll unearth amethyst or azurite—and clementines and avocados are the literal fruits of Mother Nature.
Oftentimes, a bohemian living room is bright Moroccan patterns manifesting in a three-dimensional form. Aside from an actual rainbow, these patterns are the best example of vibrant colours that also hark back to the outdoors. A wooden door, for example, will always carry a raw, rustic quality, even when it’s painted in the ‘Barbie-est’ pink imaginable. If your heart seeks jewel colours, then this alternate take on the bohemian interior design style is for you.
SOME FINAL DÉCOR TIPS
Now that you have a feel for the bohemian interior design style—or, rather, all the things it could be—we’ll finish with some final décor recommendations. For starters, if there ever were an aesthetic to use poufs or beanbags, this would be the one. So whether you want to ground yourself on the floor or literally put your feet up, pull out those bundles of bean-filled comfort.
Our Maison Sage Green Bamboo Ceramic Lamp, combined with this houseplant and whimsical, floral cushion, come together to form an evergreen tribute to Mother Nature. You can’t get much more ‘boho’ than that.
Secondly, in terms of lighting, you’ll want to incorporate lamps, pendants, sconces, and even candles a-plenty to create a well-lit, homey vibe. And finally, this is an outdoorsy, nature-inspired style, so don’t forget to add some houseplants. Even a single succulent (which is, for the record, super low-maintenance) or fern can add a revitalising pop of colour into the mix.
BOHO TO GO-GO?
At the end of the day, bohemianism is what you want it to be. It is artsy, it is whimsical, it is nature-inspired, and it is from the heart. Some common trends of this design include Moroccan patterns and handwoven items, but it’s ultimately an expression of what’s in your soul. Try some of our suggestions and see what speaks to you.