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Eden Design, February 5 2021

Boho Style Done Right

 This unconventional, eclectic, energetic, personal and relaxed look seems to be everywhere. Spaces with Boho style often showcase vintage, up-cycled and inexpensive furnishings and the look seems to encourage creativity, free-thinking and contemplation. It’s no wonder this look has such mass appeal.

When it comes to embracing trends, though, it’s advisable not to go full throttle. All too often, hot trends reach a saturation point and then popularity starts to plummet very quickly. Before you know it, the trend is topping the “Out” list.

DON’T – The “starving artist” look

The other reason to temper this style is to avoid the “starving artist” or “college dorm” look. Boho style is about personal, uncontrived décor. Its about mixing without concern for whether things are co-ordinated. It’s ad hoc decorating that evolves over time without a master plan. The result is certainly layered, individual and intimate but it can also run the risk of looking chaotic, haphazard and tawdry.

Here are some hallmarks of the look and ways to bring the elements together to create a Boho vibe that is polished, cohesive and enduring.

Colour & Pattern

Colour and pattern provide the energy that is characteristic of a Boho space. Just, don’t go crazy or the effect is dizzying. The jewel tones associated with Boho have made a strong comeback, so pick one or two large pieces of furniture to showcase one or two bold colours. A maximum of three or four different patterns in the space add complexity and interest. Moderation with colour and pattern is key to preventing sensory overload.

DON’T -- Too much colour and pattern is overwhelming

DO -- Bold colour on a large furniture piece and a limited number of patterns


Texture adds interest, comfort and coziness to Boho spaces. Rugs, pillows and throws often have a pronounced tactile quality and natural materials like wooden beads, cotton, raffia, sawgrass, linen, velvet, silk, leather, suede and fur provide the earthiness associated with this relaxed style.

DO -- use lots of different natural materials to create textural interest

Vintage and Collections

An appreciation of things from the past is characteristic of Boho style. Up-cycled and vintage pieces reflect the personality and individuality of the occupant. Careful not to overdo it, though, or you run the risk of looking like a vintage shop. Group collections to give them impact and limit the number of collections in one space. If you have a love of collecting, consider rotating your collectibles.

DON’T -- Too many items on display diminishes the impact of each
DO -- A collection of vintage art creates a strong statement wall

Modern Mix

Balance ornate, elaborate elements with clean, modern ones. The overall look should be eclectic in style but balanced. A curated look is the end goal but take care to ensure that the resulting lines and proportions are pleasing when viewed as a whole.

DON’T -- Stick to just vintage pieces

DO -- Mix in modern elements for a fresher, hipper vibe


Nature in the way of living plants brings calming energy. Showcase large plants like palms and fiddleleaf fig in corners, and smaller plants like ferns and succulents on plant stands, window sills and even on wall paper. A word of caution: don’t take it to the point where it starts felling like Little Shop of Horrors. I’d also leave the macramé plant hangers in the 70’s where they belong.

DO -- Living plants are key to this look. Use both large-scale ones and small ones in pots made from earthy materials like terracotta, raffia, willow, unglazed ceramic.
DON’T – Plant overload

Exotic Touches

The Boho home feels like it belongs to a well-traveled occupant. That doesn’t mean that it’s filled with cheap souvenirs, but rather that it’s injected with pieces that have exotic inspiration. Middle eastern, east Indian, African and Asian influences are typical of the Boho aesthetic but they should be used sparingly so the space doesn’t feel too “theme-y”.

DON’T – Carry exotic influences too far
DO – Bring in elements with exotic inspiration to create a well-traveled room

Comfort and Relaxation

The Boho look is casual, relaxed and loose without pretense. It eschews stiffness, symmetry and propriety so it’s no wonder these spaces are filled with plush seating, a plethora of throws and pillows in cozy fabrics, ottoman seating and mood lighting. Comfort is king in the Boho room.

DO -- Pillows, throws and ottomans reign supreme; create ambiance with pierced lanterns and candlelight

By definition, Boho has no rules, but these guidelines can help ensure you don’t fall into some common decorating pitfalls. With a little care, you can have the comfortable, personal, energizing and relaxing space you envision and will love it for years to come.  

Written by

Eden Design


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