Boho decorating has been around since, well, pretty much all of recorded history. It has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the past couple of decades, as a reaction to sleeker, more streamlined design styles, and while it sometimes gets a bum rap among enthusiasts of minimalist décor—who often consider bohemian decorating too cluttered or too much of a hodgepodge—there are ways to create a boho space that still feels upscale and sophisticated. Here’s how:
1. Let inherently boho elements shine. Stone and stucco walls, Old World patterned tile floors, and reclaimed wood beams and pillars are stunning on their own, sans embellishment. No need to zhush these up with rugs, tapestries, or artwork.
2. Choose a handful of larger, eye-catching boho décor pieces, and keep the rest of the design modern and streamlined. You can’t go wrong with a large tribal-pattern, Turkish, Indian, or flokati rug. Add in a laser-cut metal drum accent table, a rattan ottoman, or armchair upholstered in a boho fabric to echo the theme. Then balance these out with a modern sofa, a sleek glass-topped coffee, or a midcentury console or dresser.
3. Keep it clean. This goes double if you like lots of decorative objects. Choose a single bookcase or mantle to display most of your art and objects, then allow the rest of the room to remain airy and uncluttered.
4. Mix, don’t match . . . judiciously. Matchy-matchy is out, but repeating elements here and there can help unify a room and keep it from looking like a dorm at an art college. Think: a pair of matching side chairs or table lamps, a grouping of art prints in the same style of frame, or live plants in stone or terra-cotta planters.
5. Try an unexpected hue, and carry it throughout the room. In particular, a two-tone color palette—like this indigo and white room—gives a bold, graphic, sleek effect, even when surrounded by boho elements like the patterned bedding, the faux animal head, and the macramé wall hanging. This approach works especially well when textiles are kept to a minimum.
6. Edit your accents. Just because you have a huge collection of Senegalese baskets doesn’t mean they should all live in the same corner together. Rotate your favorites in different seasons, or group similar items into smaller vignettes and spread them out in the room. Decorative pillows are easy to find in dozens of boho styles, but you’ll want to pair them with solids or a classic pattern like a narrow stripe to tone down the eclecticism.