I’m thrilled by the response to this post about London stylist Liza Giles and cannot believe the amount of emails flooding in about this style overall. Many have challenged me to define this look into a name but that’s not really my thing as I’m sure it’s already been categorized by designers… But for fun, I did do some research and now I know what I’d like to call this style when I write about it in the future: Boho Modern.
Let’s see… We have mid century modern, Hollywood regency, modern, minimalist, retro, but what do we call this one? Not vintage modern, that makes me think of Thomas O’Brien and I don’t think his look fits this one since he’s more traditional, clean cut and uses lots of beige and blue. Certainly my friend with her Crack House Chic comment was off base, that raised a few eyebrows and made most of us laugh and cringe simultaneously, and CHC is not even close to what this style should be termed. All things considered, let’s give this look the term Boho Modern. As in Bohemian. How does this sound? It’s a little old with new, less rules with more play.
I did a little research to see if Boho Modern really works. Wikipedia describes Bohemian, “In modern usage, the term bohemian no longer refers to the Roma but can describe any person who lives an unconventional artistic life, where self-expression is their highest value; art (acting, poetry, writing, singing, dancing, painting, etc.) is a serious, if not central, part of their life.” Okay good. That sounds about right.
I researched fashion, too. Boho Chic already describes a style of fashion (think Anthropologie, Noa Noa, Odd Molly), and some stylists call it Modern Boho as well. So you can go with Boho Chic or Boho Modern, too. In the land of interiors, I’ve noticed this style referred to as Flea Market Style, Global Decor, Shabby, and Ethnic Chic, Midwest Modern, Modern Euro Country, and though they fit to a degree, I think Boho Modern works best. Flea Market Style is a close runner up, but because it’s more about self expression and less about where items are sourced – lots of us don’t have access to good fleas, so we shop on eBay or second hand stores – or we pick up new things at Ikea and paint them to give them a little age appeal, I don’t know if Flea Market Style is what I would call this. But I get the point because the rooms end up looking a little bit like everything was found at a flea.
When it comes to Flea Market Style, that can come mean something different for everyone as it’s all about where you live. In my part of the country, most markets do not carry any of these gorgeous things. If you pulled together a room using things from MY local flea market here in New Hampshire, you’d have a room filled with discarded dollar store ceramics, shot guns, pocket knives, beat up action figures, and dirty movies. If you shopped a flea in San Francisco or London, you may have a different ‘vision’ when you think of Flea Market Style.
Suggested reading: New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide is a lovely book embracing this very style, I suggest picking it up, it’s brilliant. I reviewed it here in case you’re interested. Creating Vintage Style and Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers is another that I . (Has anyone ever visited Caravan, her London shop?).
Boho Modern is: Mixing old with new. Building your space over time. Taking formerly functional items and transforming them into either purely aesthetic pieces – a collection of vintage keyholes or door knobs mounted to a single wall, or using functional items in fun new ways – a vintage umbrella stand becomes a place to store rolls of wrapping paper or vintage sheets transformed into a duvet, for instance.
Boho Modern feminine with an edge. It’s deeply personal. Mixing periods and ethnic styles is highly encouraged (i.e. Indian prints mixed with Aboriginal). Color can be subdued, rich, bold, or barely there. It can be neat with few objects or items arranged in collections, or a bit disheveled. Traditional design “rules” are thrown out the window, replaced by a casual beauty that comes from the heart. It’s all about textures and details. It’s about living a more creative life and decorating from the heart. Eclectic living.
Looking for some inspiration from “real” homes? Visit these homes from a few decor8 readers living the Boho Modern life: AB Chao, Jasna Janekovic in Germany, Victoria in San Francisco, Yvonne in the Netherlands, and my friend YIPPIEYEAH in Hannover.
(images from caravan, living etc, and odd molly.)