Bobby Breaks It Down: What is Boho?

If you think Boho means a bright ethnic blanket and macrame wall hanging, well, you’d be right. But those elements are just the tip of the proverbial boho-iceberg. Boho is much more than just bright colors, mixed styles, and macrame, and this week on the site we are breaking it all down and showing you how to get the look in your own home. 

As part of our ongoing series breaking down all Interior Design Styles, today we’re sharing our insight on Boho style and its roots. (Trust us, they go deeper than what you are seeing all over your instagram feed and in stores).

Boho (short for Bohemian) design as we know it today is all about mixing together elements from lots of different styles, locations and cultures. From tropical to exotic to desert, it’s about creating a layered and eclectic space that doesn’t play by any design rules. It’s the most unconventional and freeform design style, and therefore boho spaces are as diverse as the elements that inspire them.

 

 

We’ll start by giving you the low down on the history of the “Boho Style” (don’t worry it’s brief!) and the visual elements that define it. It’s going to be a big design filled week for us here on the site, so be sure to check back every day this week for more info and our picks for Boho furniture, lighting, accessories and textiles.

Design: Dabito

A BRIEF BOHO HISTORY

Boho began not as a style at all, but as a way to describe people. “Bohemian” was originally a term given to Roma gypsies from central Europe. The name took on a new connotation in 19th Century France, where Bohemians were a class of artists and writers who lead free, unconventional lives and dressed in loose-fitting and threadbare clothing. Creativity and beauty were the most important ideals for Bohemians. Sounds like quite the lifestyle choice, right?

The design style as we know it today really developed in the 1960s and 70s, when interior designers started embracing laid back and worldly elements, incorporating natural materials, fiber art, bright colors and tapestries in their designs. And just like that, Boho design took off everywhere from Los Angeles to London, Marrakech to Paris.

 

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Boho is all about a confluence of lots of different styles. From Moroccan and Middle Eastern elements, like brass lanterns, ceramics and low slung furniture to tribal and ethnic textiles and pillows in a multitude of prints and patterns. Nature also plays a major part, with woven baskets, carved wood furniture and lighting made from natural fibers. Colors can range from earthy tones like beige, rust and brown to jewel tones and bright, saturated reds, greens and yellows. It’s really all about a collected mix with LOTS of layers and items coming together to form a relaxed, bright, and inviting design style. It’s playful, it’s vibrant and it’s always fun.

 

 

Design: Dabito

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

Well, this week we are breaking down every single aspect of Boho. So come back tomorrow for an introduction to boho furniture and our favorite pieces to get the look in your own home. And in the meantime, here are a few of our favorite books that are filled with Boho inspiration.

Let us know if you have any questions and we will see you back here tomorrow to dive into furniture.

  1. Hey there Bobby,

    I know this post is not related directly (though very interesting since I have a terrasse to design and I was thinking going in the boho direction with it ) BUT I just wanted to drop a word of admiration. I am a big fan of the Queer Eye series and I honestly love how you guys don’t focus on just one aspect of the participant’s life but the full package.
    I honestly think your eye for detail and ESPECIALLY the skill to work with the smallest of space (thinking of the japan homes you transformed into amazing little places ) is incredible.
    I think deep down I wish I could do the same for people as a profession. Coming from graphic design I sometimes miss working with materials and textures. Anyways… you’re doing a fantastic job and you are an inspiration. I haven’t seen a space designed by you that I didn’t love. Can’t wait to see more :)!
    Best greetings and lots of love,
    Tina

  2. Hey there! I was wondering your take of more unconventional seating ideas, my husband and I don’t use couched but we use floor pillows and I’ve never really been able to get a good article on this style and interior design ideas except when they write about how different it is. What is your take on it? We take a lot of inspiration from your work but seeing as it’s just me and my husband we don’t see it as realistic to purchase a couch or anything, we have stools, chairs, lounge chairs and Ottawa I’d that all have storage and multi uses on them but we’re planing on going smaller in living and would love your input on any tips❤️

  3. I’d love to know more about how to hang or group eclectic wall art and still have it look stylish and purposeful (as opposed to messy and chaotic). I love bohemian style but struggle to find the balance between relaxed and eclectic yet still stylish and considered.

    1. We’ll keep that in mind for a future post! Thanks for reading.