The 5 Essential Elements of “Boho Chic”

Boho-chic lounge room. Silk cushions on sofa, antique suitcase as coffee table, large plant and coloured rug.
Photo found on Pinterest from Amara.com

The Boho Chic or Boho Coastal style encompasses the relaxed, hippie vibe we see in fashion and homewares stores in Byron, in Australia’s northern NSW.

And while there’s nothing particularly avant garde about the emergence of the style in other areas – especially in coastal enclaves, where our beach culture lends itself to a more natural, laid-back vibe – its spread to urban areas has been a surprising development.

Even more interesting has been its adoption by property stylists over the more formal Hamptons look, usually favoured for high-end coastal properties.

But look more closely and it’s easy to see why. Because as we wrestle with the uncertainty of COVID and seemingly endless lockdowns, the softer edges, natural materials, proliferation of greenery, and confetti of colour offered by this style of decorating offer a wonderful balance between the vibrancy in our lives we are sorely missing, and comfort.

As long as COVID threatens our shores, we will yearn for styles that offer comfort and soul

Thanks to the restrictions imposed by the virus, we are spending more time at home, and Boho Chic creates a less formal vibe (to other more formulaic coastal styles) with its liberal use of colour, pattern, and texture. Furthermore, the addition of vintage and recycled furniture and decorator pieces take us back to the past, to happier times.

There are few rules with this bohemian style

Because there are few rules with this bohemian style, the look is easy and relatively inexpensive to achieve. What’s more, it offers you the perfect excuse for a trip to your local flea market or antique store – but if you need more inspiration, check out Milray Park’s Pinterest page and LA-based designer, Justine Blakeney’s Jungalow website.

Boho-chic living area with plants, colourful rug, cane furniture and timber floors.
Photo found on Pinterest from briocheandbear.com

But every style has certain essential elements that make it work. And so, to help you along your way, below are my top five:

1. Antique Rugs: Persian, Moroccan, Turkish, and even Scandinavian rugs work well. Multi-coloured rugs anchor your space and provide depth, texture, and an added layer of warmth. Here’s a guide to the Different Types of Oriental Rugs. Find them at auctions, antique shops, or even Ikea.

2. Macrame: This knotting technique is ideal for plant hangers and wall hangings, and adds another layer of texture to your space. If you’re crafty, make your own.

3. Bamboo, rattan and Cane: Where once this environmentally-friendly material was reserved for outdoors (undercover), it is now a popular choice for indoor furniture and decorator items. Reasonably-priced, hard-wearing, and sustainable, the true pleasure from this material derives from our association with holidays and a relaxed, resort style of living.

4. Pattern: This is one of Justine’s recommendations, because for a truly bohemian feel, you must be comfortable with pattern and colour. In her view, the braver you are the better the result. As a side note, personally, I wouldn’t hang a moody, patterned wallpaper on the walls of a property you are trying to sell, but a feature wall in any other circumstance adds interest and depth. For inspiration, head over to the beautiful range of boho wallpapers at Graham & Brown.

5. Plants: Pot plants have become an important component of interior design since the re-emergence of the Scandinavian style a few years back, and with our desire to adopt a more sustainable way of living, it looks like they’re here to stay. Here’s what Justine said about them in her interview with Hunker magazine:

“I think of plants in the home as sort of similar to the way that people think about pets — they’re part of the family and they’re part of what makes the home alive and warm.”

For the past few decades, coastal homes have relied on the natural beauty of their landscape for inspiration. Sadly, too often that results in neutral, bland homes that don’t reflect the true personality of the owner. But times are changing, and while your home doesn’t have to resemble a Marrakesh bazaar to achieve this look, it will provide an extra layer of warmth that feels safe right now.

Do you have a favourite boho chic piece?

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