?I’ve always loved the sense of adventure a home with bohemian-style decor invokes. It makes me want to cancel all my plans and travel the world. Preferably while wearing a flowing paisley dress.
Embracing creativity, using strong patterns and eye-catching textiles, is the aim of the boho game. If you’re also a fan of the bright whites and chilled vibe of coastal style, bringing the two looks together can be perfect, as the spaces here show.
Bowerhouse, original photo on Houzz
Monique Sartor of Sartorial Interiors defines this look as “a very relaxed, gypsy-meets-driftwood look with lots of natural materials and pastel colors that look sun-kissed or even deliberately slightly bleached.” Ultimately, a boho beach home should feel like “a casual retreat which offers complete serenity and relaxation,” Devon Henriques of Lewisham Interiors says. “It can be purposely styled with half-made beds, adding an abundance of cushions and draping layers of chunky knit and pompom throws to help create the ultimate space of comfort.”
Why it works: Free spirits of the world, rejoice. Boho and beach are both laid-back styles, so combining them doubles the relaxing feeling they promote. Surrounding yourself with the cool whites of beach style provides the perfect backdrop for bold boho colors, and the options for print combinations are endless.
Henriques says boho beach style is “a form of gypsy-inspired living where culture and history are a strong focus in its design.” She also says it’s about enhancing character and lifestyle. “You can do this by taking reference from the vibrant colors of the Middle East, as well as adding a sense of the pared-back, understated elegance of Scandinavian and coastal living.”
Heidi Caillier Design, original photo on Houzz
You’ll love it if… You’re a Stevie Nicks fan, spend hours in the ocean, see your home as a peaceful retreat and don’t like to subscribe too closely to one specific style. Give these ideas a go to create the boho beach look.
Start with white. White walls and floors allow any boho pieces you collect to really stand out. Layer items such as plants, colorful pillows and woven rugs as you would brushstrokes of paint on a canvas, which in this case is the white walls and floor. It’s about choosing pieces that really speak to you and then showing them off, but it’s also about the combination of items rather than the individual pieces. “The addition of eclectic pieces and a variety of exotic fabrics, textures and patterns in complementary and contrasting colors helps contribute to its distinctive appearance,” Henriques says.
Tip: The backdrop doesn’t have to be pristine white; slightly worn white can add character. Imperfections only add to this look.
Alexandra Crafton, original photo on Houzz
Level up. Add interest to the room by hanging plants or art at different levels. This draws the eye up, down and across the room and allows for visual interest without clutter. It helps create the “informal, asymmetrical, come-stay-awhile kind of look” that boho beach-style is trying to achieve, Sartor says.
Muted pink and purple tones in an all-white room work well, as they’re gentle and add a sense of calm.
Tile it. Don’t shy away from using bold patterns in the bathroom, as seen with these geometric tiles. They’re a nod back to the ’70s, the heyday of boho.
Tip: Hanging plants create that lovely by-the-beach feel in a bathroom. Potted plants can also do the same and are best arranged on open shelving. Choose plants that like lots of moisture, and also that like shade if your bath doesn’t get much natural light.
Add plants galore. The more plant species you can introduce into a room, the better. Combine bold statement plants with smaller, subtler ones.
Tip: Go for low-maintenance varieties like succulents and fiddle-leaf figs to make your life easier. The thinking behind the boho beach look is that the less maintenance there is, the better.
Bowerhouse, original photo on Houzz
Recycle it. Secondhand and recycled pieces fit the bohemian decorative concept and lifestyle. Maybe you found something special at a market or bought it off a friend, but whatever your source, embrace a special piece for its uniqueness and display it proudly.
Drape a canopy bed. The sheer canopy draped over this bed makes me imagine lying on an exotic beach; the flower garland on the frame is a nod to nature.
Tip: Mixing patterned bed linens and pillows is an easy way to change up the look of a bedroom.
Balance with neutrals. Neutral colors like beige and the mellow tones of wood pieces act as grounding forces for more eclectic boho elements. Lighter-toned woods such as pine, rather than heavy, dark types such as mahogany, will help to keep the look fresh.
Bring it back to earth. The earthy feel of this room comes from the woven rug and textured art print. A sea grass basket is an excellent way to display an indoor plant. Sartor suggests trying whites, pastels and denim in artworks and textiles.
Tip: Sheer curtains let the sunlight stream in through the windows, adding to the lightness of a room.
Bowerbird Interiors, original photo on Houzz
Encourage indoor-outdoor flow. Bring the look from inside to out with a colorful outdoor rug and ottoman to tap into the Moroccan influence. A key element of the boho beach look is “bringing the outside in with the use of timbers, greenery, raw finishes and natural fibers,” Henriques says — and the reverse applies as well. Don’t shy away from vivid color combinations here; the brighter the better.
Create an outdoor oasis. Bring this style outside by surrounding white furniture with lush greenery and adding touches of lace and hanging lights for ambience. This will help create the look of a more idyllic lifestyle. “Think long meals on a veranda with friends, warmth, a love of life and balancing exploration of the world with the no-place-like-home feel,” Sartor says. “It’s about creating a setting for lazy afternoons punctuated by kids laughing, with dancing light reflected off water and glass.”
Tip: Drape knitted blankets over the couch for extra comfort.
Helga Suardana, original photo on Houzz
String up a hammock. A hammock encourages relaxation. The fur seen here creates a nice contrast with the bright, beachy cushions.
Store some books close by for when you want some time out. Stacking them on top of one another on the floor can look pretty cool. One of my fave adventure memoirs is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. What’s yours?
Your turn: What’s your decorating style? And what are you reading at home? Tell us what decor (and books) make you happiest at home.