Global Bohemian Chic– What it is and How to Nail it
I am often asked, "What exactly is global bohemian chic?" If you’re reading this chances are, you’re wondering the same thing. In this first of a 2-part blog series, we’ll define what global bohemian chic is. Then together we’ll learn how to curate the look at home.
Romantic eclectic elegance with kisses of edginess is the simplest way to describe global boho chic. This design style is sophisticated and bold. It is a modern, updated version of bohemian decor sprinkled with cultural touches. It is artistic and free-spirited, fresh and welcoming, soulful and unpretentious. But by no means is it limited to just a decorating style.
Global bohemian chic is also a lifestyle – a mindset that permeates everything from exploration in travel to well-prepared food dishes; from boho chic fashion to resourcefulness and sustainability in interior design. If you are naturally attracted to whimsical eclectic interiors, chances are you didn't even need an explanation.
Modern-day images of bohemian-inspired spaces often portray them with an explosion of maximalism and heavy-handed layering. Indeed much of the romance originally associated with bohemian seems to have been stripped away. It might surprise you to know however that this popular decor style had more modest origins.
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The Origin of Bohemianism- A Split History
Bohemia is a historical country located in the Czech Republic. It has a long and tumultuous history of medieval European dynasties clamoring for power. Deep ethnic tensions in the region gave birth to the term "Bohemian", a derogatory name given to nomadic (gypsy) war refugees of Bohemia.
By the late 19th century (Romantic Era), however, the meaning of the term had completely changed. Yes, bohémien still meant gypsy. But bohemianism also came to be associated with an eccentric group of people in France who opposed the materialistic values of the bourgeois middle class. These "new" bohemians lived passionately artistic, but often poor lifestyles as artists, poets, writers, actors or musicians. Many priceless works of art produced during this era are on display in museums around the world.
Over time, bohemianism has expanded even more to include the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s as well as more wealthy but still wildly artistic groups of people (haute bohémian). In between all of this, the real Bohemians (from the Czech Republic) were immigrating to the United States, in an effort to escape political persecution. The most populous groups settled right here in Chicago, followed by St. Louis, New York, Milwaukee and Texas.
Now that you have some history, let’s see how we can graft it into the current concept of bohemian.
While there are always exceptions, people who adopt this mode of life often settle in smaller dwellings. Why? The answer to that is simple. They'd rather spend their time (and money) exploring the world or creating something wonderful with their hands. They often mix and match seemingly contradictory furniture styles to create whimsical, romantic and seductive spaces. Nearly every object of their home serves as a snapshot of a special moment in their lives, and have been collected over time.
These soulful and richly eclectic spaces are not exactly "manufactured" though. They evolve over time. So if this is a decorating style you love, take your time when developing it. And if you're perplexed about how to pull the look together at home, below are a few guidelines (not rules) to help.
Simple Guidelines for Curating the Global Bohemian Chic Look at Home
1. Start With a Neutral Foundation
Start with neutral colors for large ticket items like sofas and chairs, and build from there. If you don't have a color scheme in mind, or if you like to change your home decor colors often, a neutral base will allow you the greatest flexibility. More vibrant colors and textures can then be introduced in area rugs, throw pillows and floor cushions. If the largest pieces in your space are well made, they will stand the test of time as well as your changing tastes.
2. Be Creative
You've probably figured out that spending big bucks on a room makeover doesn't guarantee that it will be swoonworthy - or even memorable for that matter. Great style is more about how creatively you put things together, and less about how much money you've spent achieving the look.
Add a cool DIY tribal necklace to your coffee table. Embellish your lampshades, or switch them out for black ones for a more glamorous look. When it comes to style, nothing - not even money - trumps creativity. THIS is the bohemian mindset.
3. Display Remnants from Your Travels
- Search out local artisans or places that sell reclaimed building materials.
- Visit local flea markets
- Do this even when visiting neighboring states or provinces
4. Go for Vintage
So much emphasis these days is placed on having a soulful home. I wholeheartedly agree with the concept. But vintage doesn't have to mean expensive. In fact, if you dig into your own history for vintage finds before opting to buy someone else's you'll be amazed by what you discover. And you know what else? You won't find a deeper or more meaningful "soul" than that.
Why not display some old black and white photos of people you actually know?
Can you prominently display an old family heirloom?
If none of these are options for you, keep an eye out for vintage mirrors, hats, and furniture that speak to your style.
In part 2 of our discussion we will discuss other ways you can get the global bohemian chic look at home. We’ll also look at how you can use your home to create a breathtaking “experience” for yourself and others who drop in for a visit.
But first tell me,
What do you think about the concept of Global Bohemian Chic?