Feeling inspired by those colourful bohemian interiors across the internet but just not sure you can pull it off? You should try starting with the contemporary paired back approach of a beach boho interior style. No dolphin paraphernalia permitted. None. At all.
Boho and beach are both relaxed which is why they work so well together. The look you’ll pull off with this style is very chilled and serene. The end result will often have a feminine, romantic, sometimes glam or chic feel to it.
Traditionally the bohemian style is vibrant, inspired by an eclectic mismatch of colour and pattern, from places such as Morocco or Mexico. Often featuring well-worn treasured furniture and decor this style rarely pays much attention to the rules. At the opposite end of the scale is coastal or beach which has washed, muted tones mixed in with natural elements.
The more modern version of boho has resulted in muting some of these influences or combining them with other more subdued styles like Scandi, coastal or beachy.
Beginning with white provides a coastal feel and will allow you to get courageous with some mismatched styling, colour and pattern combinations. I should point out that in traditional bohemian interior design white would typically be avoided. But we’re going for a more contemporary chilled beach vibe here people – so don’t be afraid. Of white. Yes it can actually be scary to some (myself included!).
Typically you’ll find a combination of both heavy and light fabrics. Both of these styles love a brightly lit space. To add to the summery feel, light sheers can be used in the curtains. To ramp up your exotic bohemian feel use ethnic wovens, patterned tapestries and rugs. A variety of fabrics through the room will help to add texture.
Personally, I find thick woven textiles absolutely essential to this style. Be it a rug, wall hanging, chunky knit pom-pom throw, macrame hanging planter or anything else you can think of.
Canopy beds are also pretty popular for this style, they provide a lovely tropical feel and help to add to the romance of beachy boho.
The beachy element subdues the typical colours of the boho interior. There aren’t any hard and fast rules with colour but typically you’ll find the beach vibe will introduce calming blues and greens. Pinks and reds are popular for a more obvious feminine feel. Of course, of the many styles out there, your boho paradise can definitely pull off feminine in blues or even blacks. See what I mean by no rules? It all comes down to what look you want to achieve.
Colours and patterns can be bold and exotic, often miss-matched, especially in an unexpected manner. As mentioned above, it’s best to start with a white backdrop then you can use rugs, throws, cushions and wall art to bring in some colour. Remember we’re keeping the place serene so some beachy bohos prefer to only place small amounts of colour and one or two patterns in their room. The beauty of boho is that she’s a free spirit who does what she wants!
A tip for your breezy boho kitchen and bathrooms is to place bold pattern to splashbacks and tiles. Top with some greenery and it’ll look amazing.
Traditional boho style loves a mismatch! To coordinate with the subdued breezy look you’ll need to dial it down a notch. This is where the beachy and often Scandinavian design can come into play – light timbers, whites and neutrals.
You’ll notice that one person’s beachy boho will have a lot less mismatch or colour over another. I feel this comes down to personal preference as to how much bohemian you actually want from this style. I find that this is just what happens in a room naturally over time whenever my style tends to evolve.
Texture can easily be incorporated through items such as fabrics and nature objects – a faux fur rug draped over an armchair. Shells, feathers and raw timbers are also very popular. Let’s keep the shells to a minimum though shall we?
Layer with 2 – 3 rugs for additional texture and dimension. You could use sisal, faux fur, cotton etc. Just be mindful of patterns or if in doubt go neutral and bring in colour and pattern in other ways.
Inject some bohemian personality with unique eclectic curios and decor. This is a great opportunity to add surprise pieces. Along with plants, crystals, feminine touches and anything that adds a little romance will help with the boho vibe.
Second-hand stores are a great place to find furniture and items to suit – even just one mid-century furniture piece goes well. Cane or wicker furniture are popular additions and help to bring a casual feel. You can use furniture to create the lighter, nature-inspired aspect of this style.
Milo + Mitzy via Amber Interiors
Now, this is an important one… plants. The more greenery the better. You can hang plants, place them on shelves or the floor. If you have enough they look great clustered together. Mix the types of plants, creating different textures, colours and shapes. As we’re going for a beach vibe, including some tropical species will add to the style.
I’m not a green thumb myself but I’m getting better, I’ve started with a few indoor plants, most of which have actually survived! If you don’t think you can handle that (or your kids and/or pets can’t) then I suggest faking it until you make it. It’s not what the professionals recommend but that’s how I started. And there are some really nice fake-looking plants available. Just remember that this is ideally a starting point – there’s something about the thought of faux plants en masse that just makes me shudder! Currently, I tend to mix a few faux with real plants.
Timbers can help to bring some balance into the room, as with the white backdrop suggested further above. Consider a raw finish, whitewash or lighter blonde timbers and avoid too much that is overly dark and heavy. Timber can be used in just about any aspect from floors to furniture to a decorative bowl.
You can also use natural fibre rugs such as jute and cotton or wicker and seagrass baskets. Decorative driftwood elements like hooks, brackets and wall displays are another way to bring nature in. Just don’t overdo it too much on the driftwood or you could end up with a bit of a cliché beach house. And then we may as well just add the dolphins in too (inserts winking emoji).
In summing up I would have to say my favourite essential elements of this style would have to be plants, loads of texture (especially chunky or woven textiles) and mixing patterns. The beach boho interior is a great way to introduce some life into Scandi or Coastal design. Tapping into your inner bohemian can seem a little daunting too so this is a great place to start.
This style can be interpreted so differently, why not tell me what casual boho living is to you?