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Boho vs. Gypsy and Boho-Chic Styles

Show your unique style by bringing a boho chic vibe into your home. It's truly one style where free expression is not just suggested – it’s required!

What Does Boho Mean?

Let's take a peek into history to discover the origin of the term boho. Boho is derived from the French word bohémien, and it was coined in the late 19th century to describe the Gypsies, or more correctly, Romani, who were thought to have come to Europe from Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
The Romani were wanderers who lived on the margins of society, excluded from the mainstream. In the early 1800s in Paris, their culture was romanticized because they lived outside conventional society, and the word bohemian came to mean any student, artist, writer or intellectual who adopted a nonconformist lifestyle with few worldly possessions.

What Is Boho Today?

boho living rooms


Today, the term bohemian describes someone with an unconventional, often dismissive, view of social structures and traditions. Modern boho encompasses trends from the beatnik and hippie eras when the cultural aesthetic was similar to the bohemians, and it still represents a counterculture spirit.

What Is Boho Style?

Based on the free-spirited, footloose lifestyle of gypsies, bohemians and hippies, boho style disengages itself from mainstream fashion and might best be described as "a look of contrived dishevelment." Boho fashion is romantic and flowy and often includes vintage items and elements from many cultures. Colors are rich and vibrant, and patterns are mixed with abandon. Garments are frequently long and loose, and outfits are layered. No boho outfit is complete without accessories such as necklaces, bracelets and dangly earrings.

Boho chic is a more curated boho look. Pieces may be more closely fitted, more coordinated and use more neutral colors than boho, but the style is still very self-expressive.

Boho Home Decor

boho rugs

To bring boho chic into your home, look to the mainstays of the style. It's carefree, worldly, eclectic, and blends the old and the new for a one-of-a-kind, life-well-lived look that expresses your unique personality.

Choose rich, saturated colors

For a warm color scheme, try saffron, ruby, bright pink, magenta and golden yellow. Cool boho colors include amethyst, turquoise and jade. You don't have to choose between warm and cool; combine them so your space exudes exuberance and energy. Stick with more neutral tones for large pieces and upholstered furniture for longevity.

bohemian bedroom

Mix patterns and textures

To reflect the well-traveled vibe of boho, choose patterns from other parts of the world. Africa, Asia and South America all produce distinctive, culturally influenced aesthetics. Think mosaics, geometrics, tribal prints and paisleys. Select a mix of textures — smooth, plush, soft, coarse — to add another layer of sumptuousness.

Blend the old and the new

Boho home decor is casual. Feel free to mix your vintage finds with new items, and experiment across a range of decor styles. Authenticity is important, so look for natural materials like wood, leather and sisal.

Display Your Treasures

When you travel, pick up local textiles and other handcrafted treasures. When you get home, give these pieces a place of prominence in your room, perhaps as a curated collection on a wood table or wall. You can achieve the same look by shopping at stores that specialize in imported goods.

Look for Soft Forms and Rounded Edges

soft forms
One of the keys to boho home decor is comfort, so look for soft, upholstered furniture and add lots of cushions and ottomans. This is one style where it's okay to fill your room to the brim. Furniture and accessories with soft curves blend well with rich colors and multiple patterns.

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