Ten inspiring ways to make your home unique


Dassie frames available at Fenwick Newcastle

The essence of a bohemian home, says Emily Henson, author of Bohemian Modern and the blog Life Unstyled, is contrast and individuality. There are elements of the 70s, with its fluffy rugs and rattan chairs, as well as macramé and reclaimed furniture. Here Alice Olins discovers her top tips for bringing a sense of adventure to your home.

1. On a budget

The cheapest and most basic way to get the modern bohemian look is to start with plain colour. Try painting an accent wall in a bright shade; say a neon yellow or pink. This pop of colour will instantly add a new feel to the room and stop things looking too hippie.

2. Reclaimed furniture

The easiest piece of furniture to up-cycle is a chair. Just unscrew the seat, change the seat fabric, by stretching something new over the top and staple in place. Then paint the legs in a bright colour and you’re done! You could always try mixing up different coloured distressed metal chairs around the kitchen table, or wallpapering behind shelves is another easy option for a quick update.

(Metal chair, from a selection, Coach House, available at Fenwick Newcastle).

3. The kitchen

Focus on your splash back; consider bright colours, or, what looks really good is a mix of patterned tiles, to give that Moorish feel. Then think about unexpected pieces of furniture, such as a tiny sofa at the end your dining table instead of one classic seat.

4. Collections

A collection of found items is a strong modern bohemian concept. It is an enjoyable project to build a collection and makes a meaningful impact too. Group the item, say vases or little trinkets together, don’t just scatter them around your home. The key is to make them look like an art installation. You can do the same with pictures on a feature wall; mix in family photographs with hooks and prints for a united, dynamic look.

(Picture frames, from a selection, Dassie, available at Fenwick Newcastle)

5. Houseplants

Living plants within the home is a strong Modern Bohemian component. It doesn’t have to be difficult; start with succulents, as they are easy to look after. Don’t pick anything too spiky though; go for soft trailing varieties or a big, graphic Cheese Plant. For containers, use African baskets or whitewashed terracotta or concrete pots.

6. Art

If you can’t afford one big piece, try making your own or source something surprising for your walls. A rug can look fantastic as a wall hanging, a statement mirror or how about a found object, like a feathered Juju headdress from Cameroon. Or stretch a piece of Dutch wax fabric from West Africa over a large canvas; this will capture the spirit of the trend and doesn’t cost too much either.

(Reclaimed mirror, from a selection, Dassie, available at Fenwick Newcastle)

7. The bathroom

Morroccan bathrooms, inspired by traditional hammams, with their tadelakt lime plaster look quietly exotic. This plaster is extremely practical, which you want in a bathroom. But don’t forget about contrasts, which is the essence of modern bohemian interiors. This traditional finish looks fantastic as a backdrop for a contemporary bath or mix flat-weave cloth towels in with your usual squishy ones.

8. Contrasts

If you have some old chintzy floral sofas then don’t despair, even granny prints can make a great starting point. In Denmark, I photographed a home that had two old-fashioned sofas at the heart of its living space. Also in the mix was an industrial, marble top table with painted yellow legs and a big, futuristic black lamp. The mix was magical.

(Chest of drawers, from a selection, Coach House, available at Fenwick Newcastle)

9. Holiday finds

This sounds cheesy, but even a lovely collection of beach rocks displayed artfully in the right kind of cabinet or shelf, can add some soul to your interiors. Otherwise, look for local crafts, vases and rug, which bring home that spirit of adventure.

10. And the ultimate rug

In my opinion, one of the most crucial elements in this interiors look is a good, graphic rug. The Kilim rug, so adored in Turkey, has that natural finish and graphic design, which ticks all of the MB boxes. If you don’t like too much colour, stick to a simple monochrome design.

Coach House and Dassie are available at Fenwick Newcastle

By Alice Olins