WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK
Gone are the days when Bohemian decor meant a few wildly coloured, embroidered cushions from India and an old hand-dyed candlewick bedspread covering the tired couch. Today, it encompasses different looks, while also feeding into other contemporary movements such as handcraft and more. According to Olivia Post, owner of Wild Minds, the current trend is very much inspired by Moroccan and Balinese culture – dusty Saharan and fresh coastal tones.
For Olivia, Bohemian is a whimsical, wild and dreamy state of mind. It captures a sense of freedom and artistic expression through all aspects of life. It’s a philosophy that’s always existed in some way, shape or form wherever creativity and free-thinking have been the predominant driving force.
She acknowledges its revival today in a slightly more commercialised way. Trend-focussed fans are flocking to adopt this new style in a contemporary way. I don’t believe this detracts from the true, original essence of Bohemia, but rather, it’s encouraging people to be more creative and open-minded when designing their living space.
Colours and textures
There’s no particular colour palette or texture that encompasses the spirit of Bohemian style, believes Olivia. It manifests itself in so many different ways, constantly evolving to complement current trends. Take the eclectic, vibrant colours and patterns of India and South America with their heavily embellished fabrics, jewel tones, spiritual symbols (dreamcatchers in particular!) and bold prints – all of which have been widely coveted over the years to achieve the Bohemian look at home. The clashing prints and woven crochet and macramé textures of the ’70s have also made their mark on modern Bohemian culture.
The current feel is strongly for a neutral, pared down palette. Nude tones and natural fabrics (linens, cottons, bamboo, rattan and raw wood) against white or blush backdrops. It’s a much softer take on the Bohemian trend, accented here and there with a splash of rust or mustard for warmth. An injection of nature with the introduction of green plant life (delicious monsters, succulents and ferns have enjoyed huge popularity recently) to your space can really elevate the Bohemian mood.
White on white
The white-on-white theme is also having a moment for a fresher, more minimalistic take on this trend. Here, texture becomes the key element to add depth and interest to your space.
Distressed wood, fringed or tufted throws and scatter cushions, draped chiffons and heavier woven fabrics all combine to create a beautifully Bohemian feeling. Plant life moves toward dried pampas grasses and palms to complement the colour palette. This is also a much more maintainable way of keeping plants in the home.
Sticking to a tonal colour palette and concentrating on texture is an ideal first step to achieving a more effortless Bohemian interior. Add a piece of statement cane furniture – be it a Peacock or Malawi chair, a rattan coffee table or even a decorative item such as a sunburst mirror, to elevate your space. Juxtapose this with a softer texture such as a shaggy Berber rug or fringed, woven wall hanging, and you will be well on your way to achieving your Bohemian oasis.
Plant life and wall art or wall decor can really influence the mood of a space, so look for a combination of natural fabrics, tonal colours and soft textures to instantly update your home in a Bohemian way.
There’s been a real move towards handcrafted decor. This isn’t exclusive to the Bohemian trend, but rather a response to the world becoming more environmentally aware and supportive of small, local business. However, the artistic nature of handcrafted pieces lends itself beautifully to the Bohemian philosophy in terms of creative expression and individuality. One-of-a-kind finds are a great way to put your own personal stamp on the Bohemian trend, ensuring you can retain a unique approach to your home decor.
The last word
Bohemian can encompass anything from a minimalistic coastal home filled with natural fabrics, muted tones and raw materials (which is currently the trend), to a more luxe, grand approach to your living space, combining rich velvets, heavily embroidered and embellished fabrics, vibrant colours and ornate, decorative accents, says Olivia. The latter may seem more like a mish-mash ‘hippy’ approach, especially as it’s inspired by the beautiful chaos of India which became so popular with the hippy-set in the ’60s and ’70s, but keeping everything true to those details is what ties everything together.