15 Ways to Get a Relaxed Modern Boho Style in Your Home
Mid-century modern has been a huge trend in recent years, but we’ve recently seen an even more relaxed, easy-going, modern style grow in popularity: modern bohemian. It marries a light, mid-century look with the relaxed natural look of bohemian style. If you love coming home to relax in a space that feels cosy-yet spacious, modern boho is one you should absolutely try.
Modern boho is a flexible style, but that can make it difficult to emulate. To help you get that signature, approachable style, here are 15 tips to put into action:
1. Start with a clean, muted base
It’s important to start with a light, airy colour on the walls. You can achieve a boho look with deeper hues, such as rust or mustard yellow, but you may find it difficult to have that light, airy look that likely attracted you to the style in the first place. If you do, make sure you keep the colour on just one or two feature walls, unless you want to emphasise the cosy nature of the room.
2. Mix textures
The signature of boho style is that eclectic mix of textures and patterns while keeping things soft and natural. Some of the textures you may want to include are:
- Bamboo, cane, and baskets
- Faux fur rugs
- Natural fibres for cushions and throws
- Leather or a neutral coloured fabric for seating
- Stick to mid-to-light wood tones – blacks and dark brown may look too heavy
- Worn Persian/Turkish-style rugs
- Plants (artificial works!)
- Tarnished metals
- Books and artwork
3. Don’t be afraid to layer
Modern boho style should look like you head to flea markets regularly (even if you don’t!). While you don’t want the room to look cluttered or overcrowded, most modern boho styles lean in that direction. The best thing to do is to keep adding pieces you love until you start to feel like it’s too much, and then pare it back.
4. Keep seating low
One common thing you’ll find in modern boho style is that beds and seating (beside dining tables or bar stools) are kept low to the ground, giving that flop-down-and-relax vibe. Consider having additional poufs, floor cushions, and bean bag chairs for additional seating around your coffee table or in the corner of hallways where there’s typically dead space.
5. The more plants, the better
Type “Modern boho style” into Pinterest and you’ll see hundreds of photos that all feature plants. Essentially, you can’t do boho without them—and a lot of them, ideally—but that’s not necessarily good news if you don’t have a green thumb or are out at work most of the day. While most of us would love to live a bohemian lifestyle lounging around most of the day, tending to plants, it’s just not feasible.
Don’t be afraid to use artificial plants or mix the two – if your home isn’t already full of live plants, suddenly learning how to manage dozens is a recipe for a lot of dead plants. To add a bohemian vibe, try standing your artificial plants in baskets, warm or neutral plant pots, or hang them in macramé hangers.
For a bohemian look, you can mix just about any style of plant you like the look of, from tropical to cacti to lilies and ferns.
Silk plants nowadays look so real you have to touch them to figure out if they are or they aren’t, but the base can sometimes give them away. To give an all-natural look, use artificial moss at the base of the plant.
6. Use plants and accessories in your bathroom
Forget minimalist bathrooms, the best boho bathrooms are decorated. If large enough, add art, use baskets for organisation, hanging artificial plants in the window and pots on the windowsill, and an artificial moss panel will add that touch of nature it needs.
7. Mix your light sources
Forget matching pairs of table lamps – boho is all about picking something you love regardless of whether it truly matches the rest of your décor. Remember, boho is all about keeping the textures and colours in harmony, but within that you can really play with things. That means consider choosing a woven lampshade for your overhead light, a metal floor lamp, candles, and fairy lights. The more you mix it up, the more options you have.
8. Aged and distressed looks work
Again, modern boho works well with flea market finds and bargains you find second-hand, so don’t be afraid of something that’s a little worn in places. The only caveat to this is to make sure you love a piece for its imperfections, or you’ll find yourself being irritated by it and unable to relax.
Trinkets, rugs, and furniture that look like you inherited them or have a personal story with are winners. You want someone to walk into your room and feel relaxed but intrigued by the things they see on display.
9. Layer Patterned Rugs
Layer Persian rugs on wooden floors in the bedroom, living room, or dining room to give a room instant bohemian vibes. However, this look isn’t for the faint of heart – take a look at some examples on Pinterest and go for it if you love the look, but if you feel like it looks like someone is trying to cover up a bad floor, then you can’t go wrong with one large Persian or one with a faux fur rug.
10. Try a Tapestry
If you normally stick with artwork or photos, consider switching things up with a tapestry. They’re relaxed and relatively inexpensive, especially compared to art prints. You can’t really go wrong with what you choose for your tapestry, just keep the colours on theme. If you want to choose a pattern, a few patterns to choose from are Kilim, Ikat, Moroccan, Persian, Turkish, Mexican, and Indian.
11. Emphasise Travel
A lot of modern boho interiors emphasise travel by mixing patterns and objects that are from (or look like they’re from) various places all around the world. For example, in one room you may have:
- Artificial cacti on side tables
- Aztec or Native American-style patterned floor cushions
- Moroccan leather poufs
- Bronze buddha statue
- An artificial palm plant
- Ming-style vases
You’ll likely find that there are a lot more elements that look like they’re from Northwest Africa, Africa, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and areas of Oceania.
12. Use mirrors & metallics for accents
Use mirrors to reflect light around the room, but use them as accents. For example, use a small gold-rimmed mirror above a dresser beside some art with an artificial plant, a large mirror in an entryway, or over a fireplace. More than 3 mirrors in one room is probably too much.
13. Don’t be afraid of a heavier drape
Heavier, antique curtains and drapes work well, especially in rich reds and orange colours. If you can source antique drapes, even better, as a faded texture can really take the bohemian theme to the next level. Rather than using tie-backs, which can look a little antiquated, try knotting the drapes at the bottom to keep them from blocking the light from the window.
14. Use plant stands
Plant stands fit in well with the bohemian style and help elevate your plants so they aren’t all at floor level or on shelving and side tables. Again, mix up the size and texture of your plant stands and the artificial plants you use in them – and because they’re artificial, you’re not restricted by how much light a nook or cranny gets.
15. Continue the theme into your kitchen
Kitchens can be difficult to style, especially if you haven’t yet got a kitchen you adore or are unsure how to blend the style of your kitchen into your modern boho living spaces. Fortunately, a lot of the same rules that apply to your living room and bathroom can easily apply to your kitchen. Use plants where possible (that dark space above the kitchen cabinets is a great spot for artificial plants), use an artificial moss panel, artwork in a similar style to those in the living room, use woven trays to tidy clutter, and use tea towels in the patterns and colours that we talked about earlier. The main difference in the kitchen is you want to avoid over-cluttering worktops, as that can quickly eat into your preparation space and give you more things to clean, so be strategic about what you use and where.
A modern bohemian style gives your home a relaxed feel that is totally unique to you – you don’t have to make your home look like all the others on Pinterest because you can mix and match styles, textures, and colours. Remember that modern boho is built on a foundation of being surrounded by your favourite things, so make sure you have a few on-trend pieces and accent them with the things you love.