Bohemian living room ideas – 19 inspiring ways to embrace a modern boho look
Bohemian living room ideas and tips to help you recreate the aesthetic of the seventies and get the modern boho look
Bohemian living room ideas are about unleashing your creativity and taking a carefree approach to decorating.
There are no rules when it comes to bohemian decor, anything goes, so feel free to mix prints, colors and textures to your heart’s content and fill your home with what you love.
To help ignite your imagination we’ve rounded up an array of stylish ways to embrace the bohemian aesthetic – from the minimal, pared-back boho look for small spaces, to all-out boho living room ideas for the decor adventurous.
Bohemian living room ideas
While there’s no rule book for bohemian living room ideas, there are some recurring themes. Popular during the seventies – when woven furniture, warm color schemes and indoor planting reigned supreme – boho decorating trends are everywhere at the moment, so it is easy to recreate the look.
Central to the look is the idea of bringing the beauty of nature indoors, so the use of natural materials abounds across furniture and accessories. With the rattan and cane furniture of the 1970s now coming back into fashion, there’s plenty of retro boho designs to choose from.
Bohemian decor also celebrates art, craft, color and pattern, so if you have a penchant bold hues and flamboyant prints then don’t hold back. Ultimately the look is about filling your home with what you love, so channel your free-spirit and try not to overthink it.
‘The best bit of advice I’d give is to go for it, as long as you love it, that's all that matters,’ says Chloe Jonason of Chloe Jonason Interiors. I like to go by Billy Baldwin’s motto, ‘be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style.’
1. Pick a bold color scheme
If you love bright or daring colors, then bohemian living room ideas are the way to experiment with them.
Natural living room color schemes do tend to suit boho styles best – but to stop the scheme tipping into a country feel, you might want to use punchier shades, such as this jewel green and spicy cinnamon, and abstract patterns over botanicals.
2. Go for a pared back look in a small space
Bohemian living rooms are famously busy – but if you are looking for small living room decorating ideas, keeping the room clutter-free will allow the space to breathe – and be showcased. Invest in a few signature, hero pieces and add a stylish spin with creative cushions and foxy prints in mixed repeats.
We love the diversity between the oversized leaf motif on the rug and the smaller-scale sofa upholstery. The color block walls and armchair keep things uncomplicated and statement.
3. Dare to go bold in boho living room ideas
Classic florals are the main players in most bohemian living room ideas, but you can throw in ditsy prints, stripes, geometrics and folksy designs, too.
In this space, shades of rose bloom in the flamboyant scheme, with touches of burnt orange to give a nod to the tropical heat.
4. Unleash your wild side with a jungle palette
Create a bohemian vibe in your living room by mixing leaf motifs, natural textures and bold color for a look that is totally tropical.
Best in high-traffic areas, sisal works well edged with vivid color, while the screen here echos the trellis designs we often see in gardens.
5. Decorate with textural materials
Texture in interior design is vital, and no more so than in bohemian living room ideas. It is, quite literally, woven into the fabric of a designer's vocabulary and practice.
Creating texture is not simply just about how decor and soft furnishings feel, but it's also about 'visual texture' – using different materials to add interest and breathe life into a room.
Here, woven elements combine with wood, metal and brickwork to provide a visual feast for the eye – a common theme in boho decorating schemes.
6. Combine boho style with mid-century modern design
With their classic looks and pared-back style, mid-century living room ideas are enduringly popular.
As well as being driven by advances in technology, mid-century design was also inspired by the natural world, with wood widely used for furniture.
This is where bohemian style merges beautifully with this look for a casual, laid-back take on mid-century modern. Indulge your space in a plethora of houseplants and a trio of colors for a truly unique boho room that won't date in a hurry, if at all.
When you are mixing styles, consider more restrained living room paint ideas – for example, in this gray living room idea above, the pale gray doesn't fight for attention, but offers a calm backdrop.
7. Take a gutsy approach to decorating
Sometimes when designing a living room, you just need to stop worrying about what goes with what and go with the flow, follow your instincts and choose patterns, colors and furniture that make you happy – and that is exactly what we have here.
In this bohemian living room, simple silhouettes are met with offbeat touches, and punctuated with patterns and accessories that lend a generous nod to the seventies – one of the eras rising in living room trends for the year ahead.
8. Bring in bohemian style furniture – and pattern
Furniture and fabric are an important part of bohemian living room ideas, because these schemes are often pattern-filled.
In choosing designs, it's best to look for options with curves, uneven lines or botanicals in them – anything too formal or graphic will steer the scheme away from the boho look.
Ramp up the boho feel with shapely, playful accessories in bright, contrasting tones.
9. Go for a nod to seventies style
Bring true seventies style into the modern era with a simple take on bohemian decorating.
Firstly, keep the space calm. You know how it works: color and pattern need calming with lots of off-white or beige. Introduce made-you-look details that will make the scheme personal.
This bespoke U-shaped sectional fits the space perfectly, while the patterned rug in complementary tones creates a bohemian living room that still feels sophisticated, contemporary and entirely liveable.
10. Focus on the small details
Not all boho schemes need to be obvious. Sometimes it is the little details that make all the difference.
In this subtle bohemian living room, carefully chosen flea-market finds and vintage-inspired pieces look chic, not cheap, while the ubiquitous gray color scheme adds an element of moody modernity to a cozy living room.
11. Introduce a flamboyant flair to your living room
In strong boho living room ideas, it’s important to have a clear, unfussy canvas to build on.
Stick to white walls and flooring – the room will immediately look modern, and anything you add, from paint effects to standout furniture and planting displays, will be the stars of the show.
Again, you can see in this space that mid-century modern style has had a strong influence on the overall design.
12. Clash color and pattern
Often seen on the catwalk, pattern and color clashing has now made its way into the modern home.
Be bold by mixing abstract designs, bright colors, stripes and boho florals for an inspired scheme straight from the pages of a fashion magazine, like in the eclectic living room picture above.
13. Create an elegant bohemian living room
Say 'bohemian living room' and you might envisage a space that's so laid-back it slips into being a little untidy or unplanned. However, you can create a streamlined space that's smart and elegant while still embracing boho style.
How? The trick is in the bold choice of colors – particularly combinations that you might not normally pair up – artwork (think: abstract), and accessories (think: eclectic).
But, as you can see from the space above, the look can be conjured up in a way that feels sophisticated, too.
14. Take a maximalist approach
Bohemian decor is about throwing caution to the wind, so, if you love ornate prints, feel free to layer them to your hearts content to create a maximalist look as the designers at the home brand Mind the Gap have done in this space by layering up wallpapers and fabrics inspired by Transylvanian heritage.
'This approach to interiors is very much about creating a space that you love, which is truly unique, full of personality and character. There are no set rules,’ says Stefan Ormenisan, MD and founder of Mind the Gap.
‘Traditional homes in Transylvania were jubilantly dressed with layers of embroidered textiles, each created by hand. Rich in detail these patterns were used to add joyful color as well as to soften the often hard edges of the wooden furniture and the overall interior. Today we are proud to reference our ancestors with this same approach of celebrating color and pattern, and revel in creating interiors that tell a story.'
When looking to embrace a maximalist bohemian living room the wallpaper is an excellent place to start, says Stefan Ormenisan. 'Not only does it create the frame of the room, it will also deliver the most impact, and, by beginning with your favorite wallpaper, you can then select from the hues within the design to layer in additional color and pattern more easily.'
15. Layer vintage fabrics from across the globe
Cushions made from vintage textiles from around the world are a fabulous way to introduce color, pattern and texture to a bohemian living room, as well as to celebrate the exquisite craftsmanship of different cultures. From embroidered suzanis to Indian kantha designs, there's a huge array available at Chloe Jonason Interiors.
‘I love to mix fabrics, patterns and textures in my interiors fearlessly. I collect items from my travels that remind me of the adventures I've had, resulting in timeless interiors. For me, mix and match is much more interesting, particularly old with new and pieces I've inherited that have meaning,' says Chloe Jonason who creates beautifully handcrafted homewares alongside providing a bespoke curtain, blinds, upholstery and design service.
'Vintage textiles have a certain faded elegance which makes them easy to mix and match as the muted colors all work really well together. I love to layer color and pattern in interiors over time. A home for me is a collection of all my most favourite things gathered in one place.'
16. Mix and match colorful prints with antiques
Taking a playful approach to decorating by mixing fabrics, wallpapers and rugs in vibrant, contrasting prints and adding in quirky antiques is a brilliant way to channel the bohemian look, as proven in this beautiful living room by Kit Kemp.
‘My designs always play with a collage of color, pattern and texture – it is a style best described as carefree and colorful,’ reveals the interior designer in her book Design Secrets. Furniture covered in Kit’s bold Ikat Weave in Lime for Christopher Farr Cloth takes centre stage, while an antique, folksy painted floral bouquet brings the fireplace to life during the winter months.
17. Decorate with folk art
When decorating with art you needn't be limited to hanging traditional oil paintings. From colorful Indian Palampore quilts to African batik panels, handcrafted textiles from different cultures across the world are a fabulous wall decor idea for bohemian living rooms. This joyful Otomi embroidery, from Montes & Clark, was hand-embroidered by a woman’s cooperative in Mexico.
18. Choose a folksy wallpaper
Ornate living room wallpapers based on folky designs are a brilliant way to capture the bohemian spirit.
‘Opt for Suzani or embroidery inspired designs in rich warm tones that bring the essence of traditional Central Asian textiles onto your walls,' says Kate French, creative director at Dado Atelier.
'The Kazbek wallpaper with it’s embroidery-style florals, built by gently layering graduating tones, creates lengthening vertical columns which give the impression of height as well as adding a contemporary twist to this bohemian design. Style with soft linens, natural wood finishes and layers of embroidered textiles for a modern boho feel.’
19. Embrace rattan furniture
If you're looking to inject a little 1970s boho into your interiors you can't go wrong with decorating with vintage woven furniture made from wicker and rattan.
'The wonderful thing about rattan is it’s essentially a neutral, so if your taste is far more modern or minimalist, it works in that kind of environment too. You can’t go wrong,' says Louise Roe, founder of Sharland England that specialises in wicker furniture.
'Personally I love to style my rattan furniture next to warm colors and prints – our living room is a dark terracotta, for example. I love to layer all sorts of items on and around it, from vintage plates and houseplants to beautiful coffee table books.'
How can I make my living room bohemian?
‘The modern bohemian living room is a place where creativity, individuality, and a wild mix of color and pattern meet in a contemporary environment,’ says Emily Henson, author of Bohemian Modern.
This trend gives the traditional boho look a contemporary overhaul, with a peppier color palette, lighter woods and practical, functional pieces designed for modern living.
‘Whitewashed walls, paint effects, bare floorboards and polished concrete are brought to life by vibrant rugs and wall hangings, a woven chair or two, and a veritable jungle of house plants – clustered in pots, hanging from the ceiling or even growing on living walls.’
How do you style a bohemian living room?
A bohemian living room is successfully styled with tons of texture – such as wicker, seagrass and wool – layered one over the other, along with low level seating, and low-slung coffee tables.
Characterized by lots of pattern, fun, bright colors, and plenty of vintage finds – from furniture from different eras to quirky accessories – bohemian living room ideas often feature a ton of house plants, too.
Is bohemian out of style?
Key to the bohemian aesthetic is to decorate with the things that bring you joy – if you take this approach the look then it will not go out of style. Bohemian decor is less centered on trends and more about taking a carefree approach to decorating that allows art, collectibles, pattern and color to all freely mingle together, resulting in inspiring spaces full of personality and stories to tell.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
How to paint cabinets without sanding – 6 simple steps from professionals
Professional painters explain how to paint cabinets without sanding for a quick home refresh in half the time
By Chiana Dickson • Published
What to do with grass clippings after mowing – garden experts have this vital advice
Save water, money and improve your garden's health and good looks by using grass clippings cleverly after you have mowed the lawn
By Beth Murton • Published