Global Inspiration: Style Guide for the Urban Gypsy

For those artsy souls who love to live amongst vivid colors, playful patterns, loads of texture, and curated collections from their dreamt of or actual travels, the bohemian décor will delight.

Having evolved from a cacophony of contrasting elements favored years ago, today’s globally-inspired bohemian style leans more towards sophisticated curation and nuanced eclecticism.

To this point, it’s true the style has become a bit more honed over time, but it is still free-spirited, artistic, and expressive. Think faraway places with centuries-old cultural history all steeped in rich color, textures, and layered pattern with furniture and decor from all over the world.

Modern Foundation

While colorful and shapely accent pieces will bring the bohemian style to life, the core furniture pieces, walls and windows are best in modern style with simple silhouettes, uncomplicated forms and neutral or soft colors. This provides a neutral canvas from which one can experiment with bright colors, wonderful textures and playful patterns.

In the living room this might mean a clean-lined tuxedo style sofa in supple white leather; mid-century style armchair with polished gold or natural wood frame and soft grey velvet upholstery; and rounded or squared edges on simple natural wood or matte metal occasional tables. The dining room furniture might include mid-century style side chairs such as the Tulip or Wishbone paired with a simple pedestal or four-legged base table in white lacquer or rich natural wood.

Color Infusion

With your foundation pieces in neutrals or soft colors, you can play with color to your heart’s content on accent pieces, table lamps, pillows, throws, rugs and artwork. Pops of colors in strategic places will make for an exciting, vibrant vibe that will compliment your lifestyle. Think richly-dyed rugs woven into wonderous Arabesque patterns, textured jewel-tone pillows tossed onto the sofa or bed, vivid-hued ceramic table lamps and colored-glass candle holders. The possibilities for color are endless.

Touch of Texture

You can never have too many tactile elements in your home. Textures of every kind offer layers of interest visually and sensually. Use silky handwoven rugs underfoot, soft chemise throws on seating and bed, Sherpa shags on floor or chairs, or velvet on sofas, chairs or walls. Nubby woven pillows and runners provide another layer of sensation as do hand-woven tapestries on walls.

Pattern Play

While the previous bohemian style used a plethora of pattern everywhere, this more refined aesthetic calls for a more reserved approach by choosing two to three patterns in any given space. We love the use of global design elements and pattern introduced in the form of rugs, pillows, art, and other decorative elements.

Wonderful historically-significant patterns and motifs provide a travel-inspired look include Arabesque, Ikat, Suzani, Paisley, Tartan, Damask or a bevy of other beautiful designs from every corner of the world. If you love it, you can freely make it a part of your décor with this eclectic style.

Remember, patterns do not have to be limited to textiles or art only. You can use lamps, accent stools and tables, screens, and tabletop décor rendered in shapely motifs or geometric designs.

Natural Materials

Mother Nature is the queen of bohemia instilling a sense of free-spiritedness and wanderlust. Fill your spaces with domestic and exotic plants and herbs in colorful motif-laden pots and wooden planters in every corner, on shelves and tabletops.

Joanna Dorman is a freelance writer at She has over 16 years of experience in creating interior design, furnishings, home decor, and art content. Additionally, she has 15 years of field experience in the interior decorating industry and trained in interior design at the Art Institute of Houston.

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