What is Boho Style? 6 Things All DIY Designers Should Know

Here’s everything you need to know about this perennially popular aesthetic. 

By Savannah Sher | Published Jun 7, 2022 10:43 AM

what is boho style

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What is boho style exactly? Also called “bohemian” or “boho chic,” the boho aesthetic is a laid-back, relaxed and individualistic way of decorating your home. While this look began long ago, it has evolved over the years and can be interpreted in a number of different ways based on your style and taste.

Read on to find out all there is to know about boho chic decor and get inspired with boho style ideas for your home.

What does boho mean?

Boho style is a way of decorating that reflects the carefree, artistic spirit of its namesake 19th-century Parisian bohemians. Bohemianism was associated with a wandering lifestyle, and the design style was heavily influenced by the places these easygoing travelers visited. Eventually, this style became popular among artists, who incorporated bohemian decor into their studios.

Bohemian style was further popularized in the 1960s and 1970s when free-spirited Americans traveled across Europe, bringing back an eclectic mix of cultural influences with them. In short, boho style mixes and matches items from different cultures and time periods.

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1. Modern boho style is still eclectic and free-spirited.

Boho style remains a free-spirited, eclectic style all about celebrating your individuality. It’s not about following trends, but rather creating a curated aesthetic that’s entirely unique. Boho interior design focuses on expressing creativity through artful combinations of patterns, colors, and textures. In fact, mixing patterns is a hallmark of bohemian decor. This style benefits from an abundance of textiles and carefully mismatched pieces. Luckily, there aren’t any strict rules to follow. The goal is to create a look that’s visually interesting, so feel free to try color and pattern combinations that seem unconventional—they just might work!

what is boho style

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2. Boho design is all about being casual and comfortable.

The goal of boho-style decor is to create spaces that feel welcoming while still being stylish. It exudes a distinct lack of formality, allowing home decorators to have fun while choosing pieces. It’s a laid-back look that invites guests to make themselves at home. A modern boho living room, for example, features plenty of comfortable seating, including floor cushions like this one available at Etsy and cozy armchairs like this option available at Wayfair. A warm and approachable ambiance is set with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, rather than settling for basic whites and neutrals.

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3. Natural materials are favored in boho style. 

Bohemian home decor is often inspired by nature. The bohemian home is one that celebrates the outdoors and embraces the beauty of imperfection. Natural materials like wood, stone, textiles, leather, or burlap will likely be found throughout the space. In modern takes on boho home decor, woven materials like jute, wicker, and rattan are also very popular. While furnishings made from these materials can be found at many home decor stores, they’re also prevalent at vintage shops and thrift stores. Boho interiors feature plenty of plants, too, so be sure to incorporate natural greenery.

what is boho style

Photo: istockphoto.com

4. Unique vintage finds fit right in. 

One way to bring out your inner bohemian is to collect vintage pieces from flea markets and thrift stores, or online at sites like eBay and Etsy. Buying used items not only makes boho decor more affordable than many other popular styles, but also better for the environment—which is in keeping with the spirit of the aesthetic. Furthermore, secondhand shopping ensures that the pieces in your home are entirely unique.

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5. Neutral colors pair well with pops of color and plenty of houseplants. 

Traditionally, boho style has been exemplified by a riot of color, but modern boho interior design actually embraces neutrals. If you want to try out the boho style without making a major commitment, it’s easy to do through textiles and accessories without painting walls or replacing major furniture pieces. For example, a modern boho couch such as this one available at Etsy can be a neutral color while colorful throw pillows such as these act as vibrant accents. Even if bright colors aren’t your thing, adding natural textures and lots of houseplants to any space is still very boho.

what is boho style

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6. Curated artwork and handmade wares from around the world complete the boho aesthetic.

An element that truly completes a boho-style home is a curated finishing touch. Wall art and accessories add a final layer of visual interest and allow you to surround yourself with unique items that you love. Find artwork that fits with your style and interests online, or look for secondhand options in thrift stores and antique shops. Opt for handmade accessories such as this macrame wall hanging available at Etsy in unusual colors, textures, and shapes to act as conversation pieces in any space. Look into local shops in your area selling ethically sourced, handmade wares from around the world to achieve the boho style’s global look.