Defining “bohemian” (boho) as an interior style is really attempting to label something that can’t be labeled, so dependent is it on the individual. It has elements of Shabby Chic and eclecticism, mixed with an artistic and theatrical flamboyance that has nothing to do with trends. Boho is witty, whimsical and highly reflective of the mind and lifestyle of the person who embraces it. In its way it is an antistyle, but at its heart is a love of art, color, contrasts, creativity, travel, adventure, the past and, above all, freedom from convention. The bedroom is our most personal space — it’s where we let our hair down and our imagination loose.
So if the real bohemian you is just dying to flaunt itself, the bedroom is a great place to start. Before you start, clear your mind of what’s in vogue. Bohos are not restricted by other people’s opinions. There are no trends in boho decor — forget midcentury modern, French provincial and all the design labels. Bohos are pickers and choosers who follow their own tastes. Boho is a state of mind rather than a look — have you got the boho in you? If so, here are 10 steps to bring it out in your bedroom.
1. Learn about the lifestyles of famous bohemians. Immerse yourself in the bohemian mind-set by reading about the history of bohemianism and the creative people who have lived a bohemian life. Decide if you have their sense of adventure. Hang portraits of your most admired and inspiring bohemians in your bedroom. 5 famous bohemians to admire: Artist Frida Kahlo Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood Poet Leonard Cohen Dancer Isadora Duncan Artist Margaret Olley
2. Enrich your bedroom with art. A blank wall is anathema to a boho — walls are simply there to hold art. Many of us tend to put our best artworks in the public parts of our homes. Also give them a spot in your bedroom, where you can appreciate them in a personal and reflective space. Bohemianism has always been associated with artists, musicians, writers and designers, and if you are reading this ideabook, you probably have artistic leanings. Why not start work on a bedroom mural or collage that tells the story of your life as it unfolds?
3. Take risks with color. There’s no such thing as the wrong color. Forget paint color forecasts — the world of color is where bohos free their minds. Interior analysts may be perfectly correct in concluding that certain bedroom hues are more sleep-inducing than others.
4. Be adventurous with textures and patterns. There’s a knack to putting many patterns together so they interact rather than distract.
5. Make your bedroom a personal creative space. Set aside a small spot for writing, sketching, designing or doing the special artistic activity that floats your boho boat. Put your own creations — your art, your craftwork, a poem, a painted chair, a piece of embroidery or fabric — in view to keep your creative juices flowing.
6. Compose a beautiful bed for sleeping and lounging. Think of your bed as an artwork in itself. Put some thought into what would make you want to spend time on or in it. True bohos have never thought inside the square, so they are unlikely to have a padded buttoned headboard that matches their sheets. The backdrop to this exotic bed is a colorful suzani rug that lights up the room. Other ideas are a bamboo screen, a beaded curtain, a silk kimono, an heirloom quilt, a fringed shawl or a length of vintage lace. Draping rather than making hospital corners is the boho way.
7. Light up your boho bedroom — softly. Boho lighting is indirect, warm, flickering, filtered. Achieve this effect with filigree lanterns that hang to the floor, candles, colored globes and antique and vintage lampshades that diffuse light.
9. Choose furniture that tells a story. Intriguing hand-painted antique furniture adds a layer of unique character to this bedroom and brings its history with it.
The bohemian philosophy, perfectly expressed: “Life is beautiful. I accept everyone as they are. I am free.” In the same way that there will never be another you, one thing is for sure: You will never see another bedroom quite like yours.