Updated: Feb 24, 2022
As the image below depicts, "boho" style has become a muted and modernized version of true eclectic Bohemian decor. It is a new trend. It has adapted, and some people are crazy for it. Is it correct? Not exactly. Does it blend textures and styles successfully? Yes, that's what good design is. Buuuuut, purchasing manufactured wicker pieces and polyester patterned rugs is not very Bohemian.
"Boho" is everywhere right now.
This modern day styling referred to as Boho, is a muted and often manufactured kitschy and trendy decor style. What I do love, is that so many natural elements are combined and worked into Boho decor!
Must haves for trending Boho decor?
cotton and wool
some black accents if you're feeling sassy
As our lives are ever evolving, so are trends in music, fashion, and decor. And just as life evolves, and trends settle in, we begin to see large corporations dictating what is a "must have" for the new trend. Boho styling sees a lot of shopping for vintage looking area rugs, newly manufactured wicker egg chairs, and faux plants. What Boho is leaving behind, are all the stories that vintage and collected (I mean, I'd even call them curated) pieces have to tell us.
Here's the thing. True Bohemian decor didn't ever follow trends. It didn't subscribe to specific "must haves". It was always okay to mix patterns, old concert posters, Persian rugs and brass candelabras. It was borne out of necessity, and an ability to mash things together into a beautiful artistic aesthetic that seemed to know no rules.
Below is my dining room. The table and sideboard belonged to my inlaws in the 70's and are teak, plain, and functional. The chairs at each end of the table were purchased for $5.00 each at a local thrift store. The school map was a stunning piece I found for $40.00 and HAD to put on the wall in a prominent place in my home. The area rug under the table? A thrifted wool mattress topper that had never been used. Everything on the sideboard, the planters, and the table runner were all gifts, or thrifted items. Not carefully curated, they flow nicely together to create a true Bohemian styled space.
Do I have new items featured in there? Yes I do, but, I did not purchase them to match each other or to convey a specific look.
I just sourced things that made me happy to look at, and happy in my space.
In fact, since this picture was taken, I have sold the side chair set, and replaced them with a set of antique chairs that I bartered for.
Bohemia is a region from the Czech Republic. Gypsies/Romany were referred to as the Bohemians in French languages.
"This word 'boheme' is self-explanatory. Bohemia possesses nothing, yet contrives to exist on that nothing. Its religion is hope; its code, faith in itself; its income, in so far that it appears to have one, charity." ~Honore de Balzac. This really speaks volumes about the use of the term Bohemian in decor and styling terms.
Perhaps I cringe just a little bit when I see someone that has found an item in someone's garbage (which is a straight up Bohemian endeavor!!) and then they post a picture of it and ask "what can I do to make this look more boho?" It sets my teeth on edge, because I feel that the term Boho has been misused. Answers soon trickle in "oh white wash it" or " paint it white".
That's not how you make something Boho. You know how you do? Find something that speaks to your soul. IF you want to subscribe to a true Bohemian decor style, if you want to fly that flag proudly, you aren't asking anyone for their opinion. Love it? USE IT.
Must haves for Bohemian decor?
find a beautiful studded vintage green leather chair at a thrift shop
cut the legs off of a kitchen table and use it as a coffee table
bring home an old concert poster from a telephone pole from your trip to New York
those ropes and rusted metal pulleys that you found by that abandoned barn can hang plants
repurpose items like ruby glassware into candle holders
that antique typewriter that doesn't work anymore would look great in your office
find gorgeous Indian sarees at a thrift store and turn them into curtains
If you don't want to follow the trends, follow your heart.
Bohemian decor doesn't care what other people think. It isn't found at Target. It's worn and tells a story. It's meaningful and has been passed down through the generations. I am not here to tell you not to buy from big box, and I am not here to shame anyone or to say that anyone is doing anything wrong! Adorn your walls with your favorite art, and buy the pieces of Rae Dunn kitchenware that make you happy. But if you're even remotely unsure as to what you want out of true Boho decor, ask your heart, don't ask anyone else!