I enjoy the minimalist aesthetic that has been hyped by style magazines and interior designers for the last few years. The combination of clean white walls, streamlined furniture, and strict editing of stuff in favour of uncluttered spaces seems to promise a calm and organized life, which is not exactly how I would describe my own existence.
My only problem with this type of décor, especially at this time of year, is that it can seem rather cold. For me, the idea of “cozy” is wrapped up in jewel tones, luxurious textiles, and plush furnishings. In the design world, this makes me a Bohemian.
The style was first adopted by Pre-Raphaelite artists in the mid-19th century and eventually spread into the mainstream. The term “Bohemian” was borrowed from the moniker for European gypsies, who were known for their eclectic tastes in both clothing and caravan decoration.
The basis of the Bohemian style is a riot of colour and pattern (something that is also making a comeback in fashion). It borrows heavily from the Middle East, which is probably another reason why I love it; the dozens of rugs and tchotchkes that I brought back from my work in Tunisia blend beautifully in with the Bohemian sensibility.
But for most people, the Bohemian style is just a little too much and, if not done right, one’s space can end up looking like something from an episode of Hoarders.
Thankfully, it is possible to add Bohemian touches to your otherwise modern home. Roche Bobois in Paris has partnered to design the Mah Jong modular sofa which evokes the low cushioned seating of the East in a range of eye-catching prints.
If being that close to the ground is a little too extreme, their Rythme option still lets you mix and match in a slightly more traditional furniture form.
For smaller spaces, try one patterned piece of furniture like a chair or a sofa. If you change your mind later you can always have it reupholstered, so pick one that has a great shape and is really comfortable.
If you are a commitment-phobe or money is tight, pick up a bunch of throw pillows to scatter around. A grouping like this works best if you pick either a colour-scheme or one type of pattern (like the mix of florals above).
Or add some vibrantly coloured area rugs, embroidered tablecloths, or silk wall hangings. You can layer several on top of each other for an effect similar to that created by the throw pillows.
Go bold! Pick a deep, bold wall colour like aubergine, crimson, or Pantone’s pick for 2012: Tangerine Tango. You can do the whole room or just an accent wall.
Perhaps the easiest way to get this look is to add a few accessories. Hanging lamps, some exotic prints on the walls, or a small grouping of artifacts will give your space a Bohemian boost.
If you are ready to go a little new Bohemian, pick one or two of these ideas to warm up your home without getting too overwhelmed by this over-the-top style.