Decorating Guides

15 Bohemian Design Essentials for a Free Spirit

Defy convention and set your spirit free with bohemian decor. This eclectic style is made for anyone with innate creativity and a sense of adventure.

Bohemian interior design, often called boho decor, was born in the early 19th-century out of the non-conformist spirit of creative communities in major European cities. Artists, writers, and musicians pushed the confines of societal norms and expectations in the hunt for an alternative lifestyle, free of regard for conventional rules, practices, and materialist values and in favor of the freedom of self-expression. These values continue to characterize the style today, with its eclectic nature and casual, free-spirited appeal. Bohemian decor is the epitome of creative expression. The style combines influences from different countries and periods, mixing and matching colors, patterns, and textures to create a comfortable space full of life, culture, and a rich narrative.

Formal Living Room Ideas
We Are In Our Element

Individuality and creativity are central to this style, so there are very few guidelines to follow when creating your bohemian paradise. That said, we've plucked out some common threads spotted across a range of boho interiors. So, here are 15 bohemian design essentials to get you inspired!

1. Earthy Color Palette

Boho Bedroom
Parlour & Palm

Build a warm, earthy, nature-inspired color palette, with rich greens and browns, as a base. Accessorize with vibrant tones, like rusty orange or saturated pinks, purples, reds, and blues. For a more paired-back look, opt for a white or a pale neutral backdrop instead.

2. Rattan Features

Beach House
Nick George | Photographer

Rattan furniture adds an exotic flourish to any space. Naturally grown in Australia, Asia, and Africa, the material instantly transmits the relaxed spirit of the tropics. Introduce rattan accent pieces, like an exuberant peacock chair, rattan lampshade, or a cane bench. These rattan mirrors make a fun piece of boho wall decor.

3. Natural Materials

Stylish and design home interior

Boho decor celebrates the natural world, so look for furniture made of natural wood and combine it with layers of natural textiles like wool, sisal, linen, and cotton. Raw materials contribute a grounding influence and add to the relaxed and casual feel of the space.

4. Patterned Scatter Cushions

Games Room
Rikki Snyder

Create a cozy boho sanctuary with a plethora of scatter cushions. Not only do cushions offer increased comfort and soften the feel of a room, but they're also an excellent tool for adding color, pattern, and texture to a scheme and pulling it all together. Use them to introduce worldly influences to your space, with dyed textiles and prints, like ikat from Cambodia or hand-embroidered suzani fabrics from central Asia.

5. Hanging Chairs

Bright room with hammock

Create a relaxing boho hangout for lounging and reading with a hanging chair. Great for both big and small spaces, these chairs hang from the ceiling, providing extra seating without taking up valuable floor space or making a small room feel overcrowded. Cozy them up with cushions, throws, or a furry seat cover.

6. Fringed Hammock

Bohemian apartment with hammock

Take your downtime to new heights with a fringed hammock. Hung inside or out, you can't escape the beachy, remote-island vibes that a hammock creates. Strung across a living room, it makes the perfect place to take an afternoon nap or dream up your next adventure.

7. Layered Rugs

Charming guest room
Beachy Boheme Interiors

Layering rugs is a simple yet effective way to add depth and interest to a space and create a cozy, inviting, and restful look. Create balance by varying the rug sizes and getting creative with different textures, patterns, and colors; Moroccan Beni Ourain and Boucherouite rugs or Persian rugs are popular styles. Low-pile rugs are best for layering, so look for flatweaves and hand-knot style rugs.

8. Floor Cushions

Bohemian living room with beige walls
Philip Raymond Photography

No boho decor is complete without floor cushions. Low-level seating promotes casual lounging and the laidback bohemian lifestyle you're seeking. Moroccan leather poufs are another great option for flexible, informal seating in a lounge area, as are ottomans. Together with the layered rugs, they'll help boost warmth and comfort levels.

9. Vintage Furniture

Bohemian master bedroom
Christine M Dayton Architect

Bohemian furniture should have character and tell a story. In an ideal world, furniture would be collected over time and sourced from a range of places. However, if you're kitting out a new pad, avoid buying shiny new pieces and instead turn to the thrift stores for second-hand finds and vintage gems imbued with narrative.

10. Personal Accessories

Bohemian Home
Ellie Lillstrom Photography

Accessorize your home with items accumulated throughout your life or collected on your travels. These details make the space unique, expressing your individuality and personality and providing snapshots into your life and adventures. Plus, these personal items will be a daily reminder of happy times, inciting positive emotions that benefit your overall well-being.

11. Macramé Wall Hangings

Macrame hangings
Urbanology Designs

Macramé is a textile created using knotting techniques that have proven popular in bohemian-style interiors. While macramé is used to make anything from hanging chairs to plant hangers, it is primarily designed as beautiful wall decor. Macramé wall hangings make a striking accent piece and focal point, especially when hung above a bed or sofa.

12. House Plants

Decorative houseplants

Connecting with the natural world is integral to the bohemian lifestyle, and what better way to do so than with an abundance of house plants? Not only do they bring a room to life, but they also improve air quality, reduce stress and anxiety, increase productivity, and boost your mood. Peace lilies, philodendrons, spider plants, ferns, and succulents are good options for anyone with a black thumb!

13. Boho Curtains

Boho Curtains
studiovert environmental + interior design

Dress your windows with loose floor-length boho curtains in a natural fiber for a relaxed vibe. Eyelet, tab, or tie headings add to the casual look. Make the most of window treatments to add another soft layer of pattern, color, or texture to the scheme. Tassel fringe trimming is a fun detail that has a distinct boho flair.

14. Wood Beaded Chandelier

Wood Beaded Chandelier
Loloi Rugs

A wood-beaded chandelier makes an attractive lighting showpiece that looks just as good during the day as when switched on at night. This style offers a far more lowkey alternative to its crystal counterpart, making it perfectly suited to a laidback boho interior. If you're feeling creative, you could even try making one yourself!

15. Woven Basket Wall Decor

Woven Basket Wall Decor
Vasileff Studio

Woven basket wall decor is something we've seen time and time again in boho interiors, and they never seem to tire! They make great focal points, especially when hung against a contrasting colorful backdrop. Artfully arrange a selection of baskets of various sizes and patterns above a bedhead, sofa, or dining table for an instant boho makeover.

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