Bohemian design has a piecemeal quality—as if every accent, object, and furniture find was picked up along a storied journey through time. Yet the beauty of it is that everything has its rightful place in a well-worn tapestry. Crafty and colorful, worldly, and eclectic, the carefree look is also homey.
Born with a free-spirited vibe, bohemian design came into being in early 20th-century Europe—specifically England, Austria, and France—as part of a movement of nomadic artists who balked at convention and embraced a creative lifestyle that disrupted tradition. The aesthetic “was a reaction to the more formal living arrangements that had taken place prior,” says Alexander Doherty of Alexander Doherty Design based in New York and Paris.
Clare Louise Frost, co-owner of Tamam, a line of textiles and décor in Manhattan, describes it as “a design version of an urban, peripatetic, artistic, and intellectual lifestyle, which favored art and creative work above a life directed by making money and purchasing status comforts. It’s a design scheme that favors the labor of love and the collected piece over the templates of the more traditional,” Frost says.