Modern Bohemian home decor has a look that is more hip and less hippie. While the 21st century's "Boho-chic" movement ascribes to a more-is-more philosophy by layering color, textures and textiles, it also borrows clean lines from the minimalistic movement, says Tamarra Younis, founder of Union of Art, a design firm with offices in New York City and Los Angeles.
"Today's Bohemian design in the home looks different than it did in the 1970s," Younis says. "There's very much of a midcentury modern influence, with a glamorous worldly mix of items from well-traveled individuals."
The term "Bohemian" was popularized in the 19th century and used to describe the nontraditional lifestyles of artists, writers and musicians in European cities. The Bohemian lifestyle, as it relates to decor, is about creating a layered, flowing energy in a home that is colorful and highly personal, Younis says.
"The Boho-chic design aesthetic also describes my own personal sense of style," she says. "With an English mother and Moroccan father, Boho-chic comes naturally to me and, at its core, is a marriage of styles, much like my parents' union."
While there can be a fine line between being cluttered and creating a classic Bohemian design, the key is to make sure the space is relaxing and inviting. "The Bohemian look is on the opposite end of the spectrum from a monochromatic, minimalistic design," Younis says. "Clear away nonessential items and choose something you can't live without in the space. Often, that will be the focal point, and design can easily flow from there."
Meaningful artwork, an heirloom piece of furniture or a colorful rug can serve as a Boho-chic base that anchors a room and serves as its design foundation. The basis of Boho-chic design is to invest in pieces -- chairs, lamps and pillows -- that can look at home anywhere within the house.
The Boho-chic concept is about being open -- not only in terms of the physical space -- but also in terms of how the space is used.
"The energy just flows more freely in a home without walls," Younis says. "In a Bohemian home, it's not about defining a living room, a dining room, a family room. These communal rooms are meant to be open to use in whatever way best suits the need at the moment."
Colorful pillows aren't just made for sofas, they might also double as comfortable cushions on the floor. Chairs should easily move in order to create inviting and intimate spaces for conversation or collaboration.
Color and light
In a departure from the harvest gold and avocado green popularized in the 1970s Bohemian incarnation, the chic 21st-century version is not only simple, it's more sophisticated.
"Walls should be painted white, cream or gray," Younis says. "Neutral walls don't compete with the interesting layers of color and texture in a space."
A bright tip that illuminates a Boho-chic style home is to invest in task lighting. Younis says colorful lamps or hanging light fixtures will shed light on good design. Gold-colored accents are not only warm, but are also priceless in terms of creating a rich design palette.
Furnishings and artwork
The Boho-chic layering effect is built from the ground up through the use of graphically dynamic or richly textured rugs. "A rug can set the stage for what's happening in a space and can unify a color theme," Younis says. "A rug also provides comfort underfoot, which is essential in a Bohemian home."
While walls are painted in neutral tones, Younis invests in pillows and linens that have atomic oranges, cool blues and verdant greens. "There is a relaxed elegance and refinement in the details, such as trim fringing, tassels and macrame," Younis says. "These finishes connote both refinement and accessibility."
Back to Nature
The Bohemian looks to nature for design inspiration. The modern Boho-chic style incorporates natural elements layering wood, metal and stone. Bright and airy interiors invite natural light into a space through windows, skylights and doors.
Creating an environment that encourages outdoor living while also bringing the outside to the inside of a home is the epitome of the Bohemian way of life. Rooms literally come alive with green plants in macrame hangers or little succulent gardens in planters.
Because this style is highly personal, there is no absolute Bohemian blueprint for design. A family heirloom, a worn Turkish rug and a one-of-a-kind, original artwork can live together in a Boho-chic home, and each piece has a story to tell, Younis says.
"A Boho-chic home embraces the unexpected and, at its core, is a reflection of those who may lead an unconventional life," she says. "Using intention and surrounding yourself with items you love -- whether it be from your travels, your family or a secondhand shop -- is the Bohemian way of transforming a house into a home."
For design inspiration, visit Union-of-Art.net.