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Bohemian decor is the most free-form of all interior decor styles. It has no rules, no conformity to fads or trends. The aesthetic appeals to people with eclectic tastes and artistic, free-thinking spirits. There are truly no rules! As we'll see, the same free-spirited attitude applies to bohemian tapestries.
Bohemian style is a decorative art that is random and unstructured rather than tidy and tailored. It can be seen as the opposite of minimalism, instead showcasing a cluttered collection of beloved objects.
It has a flair for mixing ethnic and cultural art forms – such as Indian mandalas, African iconography, and Native American weaving patterns – into an international and spiritual outlook.
It marries elements of other design styles – such as American West meets Morocco, or Japan meets mid-century modern. It incorporates natural materials, such as houseplants, rattan, and wicker. Bohemian design combines earthy hues and bright, jewel-tone colors to create a visual cacophony. It mixes patterns and textures with abandon. It integrates handmade crafts, such as macrame, bohemian wall hangings, and needle art.
Bohemian style is for people who love objects with a history. Think of Greenwich Village beatniks who prefer shabby vintage furnishings mass produced, newer items Shabby or not, the furniture should be comfy and inviting. Boho chic finds beauty in castoffs that can be repurposed. And the style uses pieces in unusual ways: a Persian rug draped over a sofa, a bohemian wall cloth spread on the floor, a Navajo blanket hung on a wall.
The bohemian style traces its origin to early 19th century Paris, when poor artists, musicians, and writers were moving into low-rent areas inhabited by the Romani people. The Romani are a nomadic ethnic group that originated on Indian subcontinent before migrating westward starting in the early 500s CE. Many of these itinerant people made their way to France from the Kingdom of Bohemia, what is now the Czech Republic. The French referred to these people as “les bohémiens.”
The Parisian freethinkers admired and adopted the Romanis’ colorful culture and rejection of rigid mainstream social norms. They elevated the pursuit of artistic ideals over wealth and materialism. The romanticization of the Romani culture influenced the Romantic and Aesthetic movements of the 19th century. Bohemian motifs found their way into the writings of Victor Hugo, Impressionist paintings by Pierre August Renoir, and the opera “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini.
This ideology moved westward into Britain and the North American continent, where it was adopted by journalists, writers, and other artistic types. The bohemian lifestyle was adopted and reinterpreted by the 1940s jazz hepcats, 1950s Beat generation, and the 1960 and 1970s hippy counter-culture movement. It is still found in today’s subcultures, interior decorating motifs, and even festivals such as Burning Man.
Bohemian decorating can be one of the most budget-friendly styles. Furnishings and decorations for a boho college dorm room or an apartment can be sourced from second-hand stores or from family members’ attics.
You also can find decorations for free. Objects lying along a trail during a woodland hike or a beach stroll can be used. Display rocks, a fallen bird’s nest, shells, or driftwood on a tabletop. Or press and dry leaves and flowers in books, then display them in photo frames from thrift stores.
Other items you can find in markets and second-hand stores for decorating on the cheap:
Ready to see a few designs? Take a look at our selection of wall hangings—who knows, maybe you'll find inspiration.
Mandalas are the quintessential imagery for bohemian decorating. In Sanskrit, the mandala represents a spiritual journey. This Gold Bohemian Mandala Tapestry offers a meditative quality to your space for your spiritual enlightenment.
Even woodland creatures and forest fairies love a bohemian home – what better than a treehouse? This Treehouse by Egal Wall Hanging evokes the cozy, hidden world of the night forest and its unseen inhabitants.
The power and majesty of the elephant are brought to life with the Vibrant Elephant Tapestry. It features a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns to add a bright focal point.
The northern lights are nature’s observable magic. This Aurora Borealis Tapestry brings the far northern night sky into your home. Star gaze and relax amid a boreal forest no matter where you live.
Sit down and meditate with the Meditation Wall Hanging. The figure contemplates life and the centering of oneself in the vastness and complexity of the universe.
As a symbol of purity and rebirth, the lotus flower rises above its difficult growing environment to bloom and flourish in exotic beauty. The Black Lotus Tapestry can remind you to rise above the difficulties of life so you can bloom and flourish, too.
Before hanging your bohemian tapestry, first consider placement. Make sure you’ve selected a wall that is proportional to the size of the tapestry. A large mandala tapestry on a large wall will look right; a small wall hanging on a large wall will look out of place. Also consider the placement of furniture. A tapestry centered over a couch or bed can be a striking focal point; one set off to the side of furniture can feel awkward and unbalanced.
Don’t hang your tapestry in direct sunlight, which can fade the fabric over time. And avoid hanging a tapestry in an area with strong odors, such as the kitchen or musty basement. Fabric can absorb odors, which are nearly impossible to remove later.
Don’t hang a tapestry flush with the wall, as mold can grow behind the fabric in damp environments. To avoid this, make sure the tapestry is hanging at least a 1/2 inch from the wall.
When hanging a large tapestry, you can use a dowel rod and nails or a decorative curtain rod and brackets. You may need to install wall anchors for the brackets to help support the weight. Check the type of screws you are using. The material your wall is made out of will determine whether to use wood screws, drywall screws, or masonry screws. To hang, push the rod through the eye sockets of the tapestry. Next, attach the brackets and wall anchors to the wall. Secure the rod to the brackets, then attach the finials.
For smaller tapestries or for dorm rooms and rented apartments, use Velcro, Command Strips, or push pins to attach your wall hanging. If using pins, evenly space them to achieve a pleasing drape. Pin holes can be filled in later with spackle.
Think about how you want your home to reflect your personality. Have fun building your collection of boho tapestry, vintage furniture, and eclectic decorations. It’s not a one-size-fits-all lifestyle. Wall coverings from Decor Junnky are an excellent, low-cost way to bring home that bohemian vibe you’re looking for.