February 27, 2024

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Bohemian Interior Design: Understanding the Key Elements

4 min read

I love a little boho style. Even when I lived in a midcentury modern house, I’d find ways to layer in the lived-in, eclectic feel of bright color, wild prints and soft edges. A little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll, a little bit world traveler.

Bohemian interior design just feels like a comfortable — but never lazy — mix. It naturally feels unique to your space, because it reflects the world you live in.

The term Bohemian refers to people originating from Bohemia, the largest region of the Czech Republic. It contains lots of historic outposts and the densest concentration of people in the nation. Bohemian style is known for its free-flowing, artistic, eclectic look and feel.

“When I think of Bohemian style, I think of the queen of Bohemian vibes: Stevie Nicks [of Fleetwood Mac],” says Lindsay Boudreaux, proprietor, creative director and interior designer at Shotgun Double Interior Design.

To capture the feel, Boudreaux says to think of soft colors, plants, handmade items like macramé hangings and lamps covered in silk scarves. “There’s a breezy, loose, comfortable nature to how a room is composed, and nothing is too precious,” she says.

On a mass-market scale, one retail environment that exudes the bohemian vibe is Anthropologie’s home department. For something more cheap-chic, look no further than Justina Blakeney’s Jungalow collab at Target stores.

About The Experts

Lindsay Boudreaux is the proprietor and creative director at Shotgun Double Interior Design. She’s also an interior designer.

Ariana Lovato is the owner and principal designer at Honeycomb Home Design.

Artem Kropovinsky is the founder of Arsight, a New York City-based interior design studio. Arsight’s projects have been featured in the New York Times and other national publications.

What Is Bohemian Design?

“Bohemian, or boho, style in interior design is known for its eclectic and free-spirited aesthetic,” says Ariana Lovato, owner and principal designer at Honeycomb Home Design. “It draws inspiration from various cultures and eras, creating a laid-back and unconventional atmosphere.” (Worth noting: Blakeney is her favorite boho designer.)

Bohemian design rose to American prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, springing from the counterculture and hippie movements. That’s why it often features bold color, global motifs, flowing lines and feels so ’70s casual.

It’s characterized by soft edges, bold color palettes, mixing and matching patterns and textures, and natural-world and global influences. Nothing is off limits for inspiration.

What Are the Key Elements of Bohemian Design?

The great thing about the everything-goes aesthetic is that, well, a lot of things go. But to really nail the look, which should be more casual refinement than total flea market, check out these designer tips:


“Bohemian interiors often feature a rich and vibrant color palette,” Lovato says. “Earthy tones, jewel tones and warm hues are commonly used. The color scheme is diverse and may include deep reds, oranges, purples, greens, and blues.”

Patterns and textures

“Mixing patterns is a hallmark of bohemian design,” Lovato says. “Floral, geometric and ethnic patterns are often combined harmoniously. Textures are crucial for adding depth and interest.”


Bohemian furniture tends to be a mix of styles, often including vintage and handcrafted pieces, Lovato says. Furniture with distressed or reclaimed finishes are a yes.


“Boho spaces are adorned with an abundance of art, including paintings, tapestries and wall hangings,” Lovato says. Sticking to one style won’t get you the look you crave, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Art can also take the form of handmade Moroccan lanterns or macramé plant hangers.


Soft and ambient lighting is key to creating a cozy atmosphere, another hallmark of boho design, Lovato says. “Consider using string lights, lanterns and unique fixtures with warm-toned bulbs,” she says. It’s OK to get quirky; floor lamps and table lamps with unconventional designs work.

Cultural influences

Bohemian style often incorporates elements from various cultures, like Persian rugs, Moroccan lanterns or Asian-inspired decor. Handcrafted and artisanal items, including ceramics and textiles, add authenticity to the space.

Open and eclectic spaces

Bohemian interiors are often characterized by open, inviting spaces. Cluttered yet systematic arrangements contribute to the lived-in and collected-over-time feel, Lovato says.

Bohemian Interior Design for Your Home

Mining your collections may yield a lot of useful decor items for this look, so it’s a great time to reuse and recycle. But if you’re looking to pick up a few new pieces to enliven your space, consider these designer details:

Tap into texture

Think Moroccan rugs, Turkish kilims and textured throws, says Artem Kropovinsky, founder and interior designer at Arsight. “These add depth and warmth to any space,” he says.

Call in color

“Color has a fundamental role to play in bohemian interiors,” Kropovinsky says. Think of ones that might not be on the traditional radar, from deep purple to fiery orange.

Go global

If you’re a world traveler, here’s your chance to show off. Kropovinsky says to display pieces from travels, like a handwoven basket from Africa or a South American tapestry.

Play with pattern

Consider patterns in moderation. Start with table runners, lampshades and small rugs, Kropovinsky says.

Be natural

“Indoor plants are a staple in bohemian design,” Lovato says. “They not only bring nature indoors but also add a refreshing and lively element to the space.”

Not a green thumb? Bring in natural jewel tones to bring outdoors in.

Kick back

Boho is the design of the papasan chair, the conversation pit and even a slouchy beanbag chair, so pull up a chair and have a kiki. “Low-level seating, floor cushions and oversized sofas are common,” Lovato says. Keep your eyes peeled for slouchy silhouettes when you shop.


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