Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Bringing Boho Style Into Your Home

published Sep 9, 2022
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Credit: Roehner + Ryan

About a decade ago, I was all about farmhouse style: the paint-chipped furniture, the white color palette, and reclaimed objects. Then, over the years, I started to modernize the look by mixing in midcentury touches and black details. But it was when I added in boho accents like pampas grass, vintage studio pottery, and warm hues like rust and sage that it really all came together.

Whether you want to go all-out boho or mix it into your current design, there are lots of ways to embrace this style that defined the 1970s. I spoke to three designers who share what boho style is, and how to incorporate it into your home.

Credit: Roehner + Ryan

Boho Style By Definition 

“Boho, short for bohemian style, is rooted in capturing an artist’s way of life,” says Mackenzie Collier, founder and owner of Mackenzie Collier Interiors. “It’s free-spirited and eclectic and should look like it’s been gathered over time.” 

With decor that looks as if it’s traveled from faraway places and vintage eras, interior designer Emily Henderson says that boho style is full of “patterned global textiles, layering, and saturated colors.” Interior designer Ann Ueno adds that elements of nature are a must when approaching this style, whether it’s through rattan, cane, or plants.

Credit: Roehner + Ryan

Boho Vs. Organic Modern

While boho style and organic modern visuals both share similarities, through things like rattan, macrame, wood, and plants, the designers all said that boho style displays more colors and pattern mixing.

“I would say that organic modern is more minimalist and less colorful,” Henderson reflects. “It can still have those patterned textiles and vintage accents, but it’s far less layered and more refined.”

Collier believes that boho design is “more artistically inspired” than organic modern design, saying, “With boho style, you can gather vintage items and antiques and curate a style that makes a statement about your personality and your interests. Organic modern style tends to be a little more quiet and less expressive.” 

Credit: Agnes Art and Photo

How to Get the Boho Look

If you’d like your interiors to look like it emerged from a laid-back trip in a VW bus, here’s how to capture the boho vibe:

  • Bring in those natural elements. Ueno says that rattan and cane are great ones to start with, and Collier recommends going vintage to do so. “Boho style looks best when it’s authentic, so skip new items that have been faux finished to look older and go with items that actually have some age on them,” Collier says.
  • Pay attention to treasures you can bring home. “As you travel throughout life, try to gather items that would work well in your space. These keepsake items make for great memories to look back on. I would recommend that you opt for artisan and handmade pieces,” Collier says.
  • Don’t shy away from bright colors and patterns. “Be it throw pillows, art, or accent pieces, to get true boho style, color and pattern must be incorporated with intention,” Ueno says.
  • Be aware of the cultural context. Henderson says that it’s important to address the long history of cultural appropriation that can be involved in this style, too. She says, “We need to do our due diligence when it comes to who we are purchasing these pieces from as well as understanding their cultural meaning. The best way to do this is by purchasing directly from the people whose culture the piece you want is from. When you are traveling, this is a great opportunity to learn and support different communities. But if you can’t take a trip, there are so many great websites, including Etsy, where you can do the same thing. We need to be better and more aware of what we are buying and where the money is going.” 
  • Curate, curate, curate. It’s one of Collier’s top tips, as she says, “Make sure that every surface is about 2/3 empty so that the items you are displaying can shine. If you have items that are smaller than a grapefruit, think of a clever way to group them together and display them so they don’t read as clutter.” 
  • Have fun with a boho aesthetic. “Boho style is inherently playful, relaxed, and eccentric, so it’s hard to go wrong with this style,” Ueno says.