Bohemian Style ~ Part 2

More Bohemian style!  Here’s an intro from yesterday’s post to catch you up:

The bohemian aesthetic conjures up a romantic notion of a free-spirited yet somewhat impoverished life dedicated to art and wanderlust. So let’s look at some pretty pictures to see the building blocks of our modern concept of bohemian style.

I’ve come up with 6 main elements that seem to come up again and again whenever I spot something that appears decidedly bohemian in style:  Bright Colors, Patterns, Aged or Antique details, Global pieces, Nomadic influences, and an overall Eclectic design.  Naturally lots of these go hand in hand or overlap, but the more I looked at photos I realized that they all come in to play… keep an eye out for how many of these elements you can identify in any given photo.  If you want to see more of anything or the original source, click the photo.


Mixing your continents gets you feeling bohemian pretty quickly.  If you walk into World Market you’ll see heavy influences in textile patterns from India, collections of various Buddhas from across Asia, and a splash of Central Asian suzani in the throw pillows.  Its easy to get pretty extreme since there are so many beautiful things to choose from, but I like to balance out design objects from different continents so that my home doesn’t end up looking like a hibachi restaurant due to all the Japanese items (for example).

This fabulous bedroom can be found in Morocco.  It is definitely high drama with classical Moroccan design elements in the hanging lanterns and elaborately detailed patterns on the ceiling, the textiles, and carved wood in the doorway arches.

If you don’t live in a Moroccan palace, you can still incorporate bed canopies and floor cushions.  This is my favorite nursery tour to date.  The floor cushions in beautiful prints, the cute stuffed camel, and even the subtle arches in the crib all quietly point to the Middle East without feeling like you walked into a bazaar.

If you think this wall hanging looks familiar, its because identical fabric was in one of the photos from Bohemian Style ~ Part 1 in the form of a headboard.  These Mexican coverlets are called tenangos, you can find more here at in more beautiful colors.  The room maintains a clean, modern aesthetic in the furniture.

A little bit of India in jewel tones and patterns.  The elaborately painted side table is a creative way to bring in a pattern without relying on fabric.


The romantic idea of gypsies (again, not referring to any actual people group) involves a lot moving around and living in non-permanent structures.  Draped fabric can come in the form of a bed canopy, a wall hanging, or a cozy nook in a mini indoor tent.

Hanging fabric can create walls in a large open space like a loft or an outdoor patio.

Piles of luscious pillows are also prevalent in bohemian design, making any surface seem cozy and inviting.  Pillows make for easy to carry lightweight furniture, and are easily stackable in a corner when not in use.  This looks like a pile of large floor cushions, but its actually a sofa by designer Roche Bobois.

Moroccan poufs have been used in very glam settings lately.

Looks so comfy and plush…


If you like it, use it.  That means any found object can have a place in your home, and feel free to mix styles from the across the world and different centuries.

Birdcages in the bathtub?  Why not?

The sofa and walls are fairly contemporary, but the layered rugs and weathered industrial table make the room interesting.

This loft is a blank canvas full of beautiful things.  I love this oversize quilt that can be used as a room divider.  Check out the modern art with the black tufted sofa, the granny lamp, and those Moroccan style poufs again.  Oh and a cow hide rug, because, why not?

In conclusion – there’s a lot of gorgeous stuff out there. Go find what you love and bring it home, let things evolve naturally over time. There’s a ton of ways to do bohemian, but throw in some of these elements and you’ll be on the way.


Bohemian Style ~ Part 1

A while ago, this article on Apartment Therapy addressed some elements in Bohemian style in the form of furniture. I’ve been thinking about what really makes something “bohemian”, as far as we understand that word today.   That means that this post is not in reference to the current day Czech Republic, which is where you would actually go if you wanted to find the original Kingdom of Bohemia.

According to Urban Dictionary, the term “bohemians” , or artists/poets of 19th century France, were simply called such because the French incorrectly assumed that gypsy people (the correct term for gypsy would be “Romani”) came from the Kingdom of Bohemia. Romani people actually have a very long history going all the way back to India if you care to read more about it.

All convoluted misnomers and ethnographic history aside, the aesthetic does conjure up a romantic notion of a free-spirited yet somewhat impoverished life dedicated to art and wanderlust. So let’s look at some pretty pictures to see the building blocks of our modern concept of bohemian style.  I’ve come up with 6 main elements that seem to come up again and again whenever I spot something that appears decidedly bohemian in style:  Bright Colors, Patterns, Aged or Antique details, Global pieces, Nomadic influences, and an overall Eclectic design.  Naturally lots of these go hand in hand or overlap, but the more I looked at photos I realized that they all come in to play… keep an eye out for how many of these elements you can identify in any given photo.  If you want to see more of anything or the original source, click the photo.


Rich, bright, even jewel-tone colors to be exact. This could mean a focus on one bright color, like this fabulous hot pink India-inspired sunroom:

Or this amazing bright teal bathroom:

Or lots of bright colors squeezed into one space. This living room is dominated by blue and green, but some orange, yellow, and pink come in through the pillows and art.


Boho means finding old things. Starving artists have to scavenge and re-use other people’s castaways. Older, worn furniture has a sense of history, and the patina of tarnished metal, chippy paint, or a threadbare rug adds depth and interest. Distressed paint finishes are very popular these days, as you might have noticed. Paula Mills found this antique fireplace mantel at a thrift store. Check out her entire house tour on Design Sponge, its all very bohemian.

This room also meets the boho qualifications with the old trunk, the oriental rug, the collection of colorful patterned quilts stacked in the old crate and basket, and the old mismatched mirrors on the wall. I’m assuming she doesn’t use the fireplace because it is full of books.

If you’ve ever seen an Anthropologie catalogue, you’ve seen some majorly distressed walls.  Click on the photo to see a small Apartment Therapy roundup of distressed walls and readers’ entertainingly strong opinions about this look.

Its not just about being distressed or chippy.  Antique furniture usually has a lot of intriguing curves and old world appeal.

This room has a subtly distressed wall and an antique sofa in two fun fabrics.


Oh what a world of patterns we live in.  Geometric kilims, swirly suzanis, groovy ikats, fancy damasks, country florals, and an entire world of folk embroidery… human beings like some patterns.  Textiles are an art all their own.  As long as the colors get along, you can actually get away with mixing a lot of patterns all at once.  A true bohemian needs at least one patterned textile in every room of the tent, if not a dozen.

This lush little patio gets a break from all the green with a pink oriental rug and comfy pillows on the chair.

A little collection of quilts from Paula’s house that we saw earlier.

Mexican tapestry covers this headboard.  From this shot, it looks to be a pretty plain Jane bedroom until the fabulous headboard steals the show.

Skewed kilim rugs layered with the Moroccan-style poufs balance out the white walls, bed cover, and curtains.

Floral, floral, and wait… more floral.  I think the navy walls keep it modern (plus the headphones and camera smartly added to the wall) and pulls it away from going down granny chic lane.

Had your boho fill?  Good, me neither.  I’ll be back with more bohemian goodness later this week.

Cheerful Bedrooms

I realized I’ve been pinning a lot of fun bedrooms lately so I thought I’d give you a round-up!  I noticed they all have a few elements in common too…

Being a YHL groupie (if you are reading this, odds are you’re one too) I’m starting off with this bold little gem of a guest bedroom, dominated by a deep peacock teal that stays sunny with lemon yellow, lime green, and some fun patterns.

This outlandishly purple headboard is perfect for a little girl’s room – or anyone who is fabulous, really.  The retro poster makes me think Eloise could live here, and the groovy ceramic mushr0om adds a little old-school fairytale fun.  The tiny flowered prints in the linens make it clear this is a girl’s domain.  Check out more by Jenny Komenda at little green notebook or click the photo above.

Unfortunately this one was a Pinterest find with no linkage… but how crazy is it that all those different multi-colored patterns are all smooshed into one small space… and it totally works.

This one is the simplest in my collection today, but that big bold floral print takes center stage and holds it own.  I do also love the chippy aqua metal bedframe and other pale seafoam in the accessories.

If you are noticing that all of these rely heavily on florals, you might be right.  The abstract pillows keep it from getting too, too floral.

More teal and even more floral prints?!  This one is a bit more boho with what I dare call granny-chic throw pillows and white coverlet, where you can see even more floral patterns if you look closely.  I found this via but couldn’t track it down to it’s original post on apartment therapy.

This is another Jenny Komenda design for Joanna’s bedroom.  You can read all about the makeover on either/both of their blogs.  Its got a lot of fun stuff going on for a small room, and plenty of DIY projects.  Of course I really love that floral print pillow.

With all these fun bright patterns, at least one quilt should be here, right?  Cassandra Ellis makes these fabulous quilts.  You can see more on her website or check out her house tour on Design*Sponge by clicking the photo above.

To end our photos on a slightly more subdued note, this black and blue ikat print headboard is just great paired with more delicate blue and red floral prints in the linens.

So, in conclusion, why do all of these work?  Balance – crazy patterns will be balanced out with calm white walls.  Or in the case of a bright wall, the bed cover will be a plain white so that the eye, and you, have a place to rest.  (Get it, because its a bed?).  Even a lot of multi-colored patterns can be happy together,  if their color families seem to jive, which is admittedly more subjective and detailed than we can see here.  It just goes to show that taking a risk with some color and patterns can have some very fun results.  And florals seem to make me happy.

White + Bright

Sometimes I can’t figure out what my ideal style is, but these places are what get me most giddy. I have a pattern of pinning (and pining for) a bright white space with small hits of colors shining happily.  I refuse to say “pop of color”.  Woops, there it is.  Well I will try my best not to let it happen again.

First we’ll visit Yvestown, the home of Yvonne in Belgium.

Yes, it is super adorable.  Can you believe a boy lives here with all the pink?  He doesn’t even mind.

Yvonne has an amazing eye for styling – its one of those places where it is hard to believe real people live here, but they do.  I love the baby pinks and blue, seafoam green, and guest starring reds.  Yvonne went white all the way with the painted floorboards.  I don’t think I could do that in real life, I would constantly be plagued by muddy dogprints.  But I can admire and envy.  Check out her blog (linked above) for even more sweet pastel goodness.

We’ll stay in Europe for this  “tin chapel” in Faversham, Kent (jolly old England).  It was lovingly converted into a modern home by artist Nick Kenny.

Yes, I spy a white slip-covered sofa and chippy white mix-matched chairs.  The gothic windows win for best actress in a lead.  Nick smartly highlighted the architectural elements by painting them a soft blue-gray.

The excerpt from Sonnet 18 by one William Shakespeare is quite perfect.  Moving on…

We’ll head back to California, USA for a (re) visit to my favorite AT house tour ever, Alisha’s Bright White Guest Cottage.

Best support actors:  colorful dishes, textiles, art.

This one hits me just right by getting a little more bohemian with the printed textiles and embroidered bedcoverings while still staying dominated by white.

So maybe I could call my ideal style “white w/splashes of happy colors in the form of eclectic boho textiles & vintage cottage housewares”.  That is way too many words.  But all of those words belong.  I’ll figure it out one day when my dream of my own AT tour comes true.

Kilim. the oldest next big thing.

I’ve been noticing these guys popping up in house tours.  What is kilim anyway?

I found a whole website dedicated to the art and history of kilim weaving, which has the predictable name of  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition, kilim is “A pileless handwoven reversible rug or covering made in Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, and western Turkestan“.  The tradition goes back forever, as best they can tell, or about 1,000 B.C. if you feel the need to put a number on it.  Check out for all that you ever wanted to know and more about this weaving style.

The geometric shapes work well with the clean lines of contemporary furniture, but the tribal patterns and rougher texture add a contrasting rustic quality.  Like anything that’s been around for a few thousand years, its a pretty good bet that these will always be in style, so they’re a smart long term investment.  The kilim designs also pull their weight in the color and pattern department, as all good accessories should.

So where can you find some this Central Asian design goodness for yourself?  Morgan at the brick house recommends eBay, as that’s where she found her sumptuous pile in the first photo.  Sure enough, there’s plenty of gorgeousness to be had there, though the prices are suspiciously low.  Etsy has a healthy amount of vintage kilim rugs and etc, at higher but likely more ethical prices.  I was eyeballing prices the other day and found this gem:

It was gone by the time I went back to look for it.  I like the blue in it, as most are dominated by reds and neutrals.

This one is from orientina on Etsy, straight from Istanbul.

This is from KilimCom on Etsy… you’ll see that the prices for the rugs are high, so if I jump on this I’ll be sticking with the throw pillows where my wallet is a little more at ease.

Anybody else feeling like going a little tribal with some throw pillows?  Or are you ready to invest in a long-term commitment rug?

House Tours

Some of my most Favorite Things to look at on the blogosphere are House Tours.  That’s why I love Apartment Therapy so so much.  Design Sponge does them every Monday too.  I like real homes better than staged, professionally styled fake rooms that are only put together for a magazine spread (though those have plenty of eye candy too).

For example, here’s a photo from Ikea’s blog Livet Hemma.

Super gorgeous, right?  If I went and bought all the same furnishings and rugs and put them in my house, would it be the same?  Absolutely not.  Because I don’t live in a European flat that dates back to 1802 with herringbone wood floors, soaring ceilings, and intricate molding on the ceiling and walls.  The closest thing I could get to this in Atlanta would be some restored antebellum mansion that Sherman somehow missed on his pyro tour of the South.  All that being said, the furniture is plain Jane and the room is fabulous with or without it.  So the only real inspiration I can take is that I could do gray walls with white slip-covered furniture and painted wood.  Those are all staple to most interior design eye candy these days anyway.  Sorry, end rant about Ikea’s brilliant and seductive marketing.

The real houses are, well, real.  People really live there, so things have to be functional.  Normally they are done on a budget, and include items collected and tweaked over time.

Here’s a glimpse of what I could call my favorite house tour to date:

Aren’t the textiles fabulous?  I would copy/paste this entire house into my own house if I could.  But alas, I can’t , because this couple built this cottage from the ground up with their own two hands over 5 years.  She probably got this bedding from Anthropologie on sale years ago, so not much hope of finding that either (or I could start getting busy on my own embroidery projects, ha).  What I should do is hold it up in front of me to keep my eye on the prize.  I’ll have to do my own thrift store-ing, diy-ing, and hopefully one day some renovations.  And that, my friends, is called authenticity.

All this to say, I’ve decided that I should do a home tour page here.  I’ve taken lots of pictures of my own house over the last few days.  Unfortunately the computer does not want me to upload these photos, hence the delay in my posts.  I’ll keep working on it and hopefully the computer demons will be banished.

For the meantime, I’ve finally added some Link Love over on the right ——>  (ha, I’ve no way to know if this arrow will point anywhere near my links).  These are some of my standby, daily reads.  Others are more diminutive blogs of friends and people kinda like me.  So if you are hankering for more eye candy or your new favorite blog, as I sometimes am, maybe you’ll find something new on this list.

The Walls Have Eyes

Have you noticed this trend in decorating?

Apparently its cool now to find old portraits, often badly painted ones, at thrift stores and use them as cheap art.  The idea is that its eclectic, quirky, and intriguing.

Personally, I can appreciate it from here, but there is no way I would ever do it in my house.

You know why?  They would all be looking at me.  All the time.  And that really freaks me out.

For example, when I was little I had this painting on my wall.

I know there is nothing inherently creepy about this painting by Fragonard.  But I could have sworn that at night, she would look over at me.  Don’t even get me started on buddhas.  Why are their eyes always closed?!  I expect them to open their eyes and look at me at any moment.  When its just a disembodied head, that creates another level of creepy too.

That could bring me to a whole discussion on mannequin and doll heads in home decor, but I’m out of time.  Hey, if you love it, why not take it home?

So while I can appreciate it in hipster home tours, I am just not cool or brave enough to buy cheap portraits (even classical, well-painted ones like “The Reader”) and hang them in my home.  And no, I won’t be doing any buddhas either, as I believe they would bring me more anxiety than zen.

There are some interesting discussions about these trends here:  Buddhism as Decoration and Strangers’ Portraits in the Home

photos courtesy of apartment therapy, sf girl by bay, and emily henderson