Thanks to stores like Anthropologie, Bohemian style has become officially entered the commercial mainstream. Dreamy, swirling patterns, natural materials, and exuberant bursts of color are the building blocks of Bohemian style. There’s a loose, easy feel to rooms that embrace this look, and there’s no right or wrong way to approach incorporating some of these elements into your home (whether it’s half a dorm room or your first house).
For neat freaks, though, Bohemian style presents some challenges. As much as I love the idea of snuggling into the wild mix of patterns heaped on my bed each night, in reality I would go crazy trying to make an unruly room look tidy. Over the years, I’ve found ways to balance my minimalist impulses with my love for collecting bold pieces.
DO YOU REALLY NEED THAT TAPESTRY?
If you’ve flipped through an Urban Outfitters catalogue recently, you probably think every person in their twenties has a tapestry hanging somewhere in their apartment. As beautiful as they are, tapestries have a lot of shortcomings. They collect dust, they sag, and as much as we hate to admit it, they’re fire hazards.
But when I think about what I really love about tapestries, I realize that it’s the color and larger than life size that makes them so eye catching. To get a similar look without bringing a flammable dust magnet into your home, go for an eclectic gallery wall of (framed) colorful prints on your wall, or choose a bold shower curtain that can bring some functional Bohemian style into your bathroom. (Society 6)
ORGANIZE YOUR INDOOR GARDEN
If you’re trying to coax a little plant to life in your tiny apartment, you’re not alone. Who doesn’t love a house plant? Plants help keep the air clean and fresh and provide a little spark of life to any living space. However: Those little terra cotta pots leak dirt and water everywhere and they will destroy your windowsills (which can be a real drag to fix if you’re a renter). Keep everything neat and clean in a cool planter that you can take with you when you go! (Etsy)
PICK PATTERNS YOU LOVE
Bohemian style can often be accurately described as a pattern explosion. Many of the rooms turned up by Googling take power-clashing to a new level.
For those who dig a messy, cozy nest, this represents the height of perfection–but for those of us who crave order it can feel like too much. Instead of mixing patterns, I chose to mix textures. Wood, twine, silk, pottery, glass, cork–when you bring enough elements together, you’ll find that the effect is just as visually interesting even if the colors are toned down. If you do choose to mix patterns, the key is to stick with a similar color palette and choose warm, low contrast neutrals. If one pattern is big and bold (think of a bright, multicolored paisley duvet), the other should be subtle and small (for example, an accent pillow or sheets with a thin stripe in a light accent color). (Anthropologie, Target, Etsy)
CURATE YOUR COLLECTIBLES
I love treating my bedroom as a museum of things I love, but a few years ago, the situation got out of hand and it seemed that every surface was cluttered with items. After figuring out which items to part with, I chose a few of my favorites to keep on display and boxed the rest up. When I’m tired of my current arrangement, I’ll swap them out.
My game-changing tip for organizing your collectibles: Purchase a glass container or jar from your local craft store and use it as a house for peculiar little items. I bought a fishbowl at a yard sale once for around 50 cents and keep it on one of my bookcases, where it keeps my collection of colorful wooden beads, tiny starfish, Beck buttons, shells, and magnets safe and visible. The fishbowl allows me to keep them on display but ensures that it’s still easy to dust my bookshelf once a week. (Etsy)
CHOOSE INTERESTING STORAGE
If you’re trying to adult in the post-grad world, it’s definitely time to retire those rolling plastic storage crates (or at least tuck them away to add vertical storage to your closet). Instead, pick out some cool baskets or use a can of spray paint on some old furniture for a weekend project. Be creative and don’t be afraid to pick a surprising color for your bedside table or paint the inside of your bookshelf a different color than the top and sides. Just because pieces of furniture are necessary and functional doesn’t mean that they can’t add a burst of individuality to your space. (Etsy, Pinterest)