What is Boho Chic Décor and why should embrace it this summer?
I was not around when the 1960s and 1970s were all the rage. Personally, I found myself on the mystical planet Earth only some two decades later, at the end of the 1990s. What I did, however, find, growing up, was this cultural obsession with macrame and psychedelic prints that refused to leave, nevermind the fact that the hippie era had been relinquished back when the Vietnam War came to a close. It should also be noted that the return, or shall we shall beginning?, of all things bohemian and hippie, entered into mainstream Indian culture only with the advent of globalization. No, I’m not talking about the phase that came with the liberalization of the economy. I’m talking about the whole “one world” concept that became a reality when the masses gained access to the WWW.
Back in uni in Pune, I saw my generation falling into an unfathomable love affair with all things psychedelic, trance, relaxed, and anti-establishment. Then again, I did go to a rather left-oriented school and majored in Political Science.
From seeing the boho style enter dorm rooms then to seeing hippie luxe becoming mainstream now amongst the wealthier classes, it did naturally make me wonder: what’s the appeal? What makes boho boho? What are its defining elements? And what’s the philosophy that underlies it all?
MEET BOHO: EMBRACE THE ECLECTIC
The bohemian life is all about embracing the unusual and the vibrant. The idea is to decorate your home with what brings joy to you rather than devouring multiple design books to figure out what would be considered sexy by some designer who has their nose up in the air (don’t worry, we’re not all that bad!).
being unusual. Somebody usually involved in the arts.
It, then, is no wonder that bohemians find themselves attracted to a broad range of sources to take inspiration from. It is funny - when I think of boho, the first thing that comes to mind, well, to my mind, is a hippie. Somebody like Frankie from the show “Grace and Frankie” - a somewhat compassionate individual who likes to draw and paint. Perhaps a vegan sitting in their studio devouring a cup of coconut yoghurt and listing to Bob Marley, the smell of marijuana in the room - subtle but present.
THE CHARM OF BOHO
The charm of boho lies in its ability to not give a flying F. You’ve got to do what brings you joy and say “screw it” to the rest. If that means placing a planter next to your TV and having the big green leaves dominate half the screen, then we say do it. If it means positioning yellow and orange cushions along with macrame on that hammock you bought last summer from Bali, we say, go for it!
THE GUIDING PRINCIPLE OF BOHO
All right, I’ll confess that neither is boho as a design philosophy, nor bohemians as a people, that cooky. Most of the time the way boho is defined in décor is not as eccentric but as refreshing. Boho is about doing right by you. Bringing in colour. Not being afraid to mix and match materials. And having fun with it.
THE COLOUR SCHEME
The boho décor colour scheme - not that there are any rules or anything - consists largely of neutral and earthy tones such as cream, beige, grey, warm white, etc. which acts as the backdrop for layering decor pieces in deep jewel tones, maroons and cherries, a rich luscious camel-toned upholstery.
That’s not all - feel free to use your bright pinks, purples, teals, oranges and corally sunset hues all you like. One thing you may want to steer clear of, however, are cool tones such as powder blues, blue-toned purples and greens. Of course, if you want that cool blue accent, go right ahead because like we said - no rules.
By now you can tell that a Boho house is a free-spirited, rooted, and carefree one. Think of it like Phoebe from FRIENDS. In this case, it only makes sense to include any and every artefact, piece of furniture, textile, pattern and texture from the world. Essentially, that’s what constitutes the soul of a Boho home - an eclectic mix of colours, textures, arts, patterns and designs - chicken soup to your soul, if you will.
Delving further ahead, you can absolutely go global or local. Think Rattan and Wicker baskets from Bali, Ikat from Cambodia, Benarasi or Block prints from India, Kilim from the land of the Middle East, the azures of Morocco or the ridiculously rich tribal finds from your vacations.
Now, if you’re thinking about the wood, we suggest sticking to mid-tones of wood - neither too deep nor too light. If you wish to go a little overboard, Victorian styles like tufted back couches are a good idea too. Overall, the comfort and the uniqueness of furniture in terms of its origin, heritage and history rules the roost.
Now let’s talk about textures - you have a wide array of options to choose from - metal, distressed wood, tassels, jute, faux leather- really, anything that catches your fancy. But remember to incorporate all the elements in layers - double rugs, tapestries on the wall, velvet on linen for cushion covers. At the end of the day, everything has a place in a Boho home. You just have to create harmony between different elements.
OTHER DECOR ELEMENTS
How can we not discuss other crucial elements that make up your Boho nest? Let’s talk about all things furniture, upholstery and lighting.
Ideally, boho furniture has a distressed feel to it - your furniture should look well worn and well-loved. Mismatched furniture is also quite the rage in Boho homes. The idea is to have fun and let the stories behind pieces such as that antique bar cabinet or the single-log dining table take centre stage, rather than their form, size or colour.
Lighting up a Boho house is all about making it warm, cosy, inviting and ambient. Throw in lanterns, rattan and natural fibre shades, a slew of string lights, chandeliers with stained glass, and don’t forget to accentuate your space with candles.
No brownie points for guessing that plants are a big part of Boho Chic Decor - so go on and add succulents, money plants, fiddle figs and whatever your heart desires. The greener, the better.
Interestingly, family heirlooms like carpets, handmade items, and anything else that, as Marie Kondo would like to say, sparks joy or adds character to the place is more than welcome in a Bohemian abode!
If you’re wondering what in the bejesus “Hippie Luxe” even means, don’t worry. We were confused too!
Is it even a thing? Well, very much so. It is a cross between Bohemian, opulent, and modern decor, replete with elements from all. The key to understanding hippie luxe is to understand that more is not more.
For example, if you have an heirloom vintage chair that you want to incorporate in your living space, then go right ahead but let the chair be an anchor for the whole space. Keep the other elements understated and minimal. We do this to let the chair pop. One common thread that defines Hippie Luxe is - less clutter. Letting a few elements be the keystone while adhering to a clean and uncluttered approach for the rest of them. Think engraved sandstone for an accent wall.
To Sum It Up
Boho is an emotion, it’s a feeling of embracing yourself, your roots, your journey and your aspirations through your home, which acts as an extension of yourself. Let your heart take the reins as you do up your place. Make it fun, casual, cosy and romantic or all of this at once. You do you.
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