How to Decorate in Modern Bohemian Style

Saffron Marigold - Updated: August 18, 2023

Modern bohemian style (a.k.a. modern boho, urban boho, or boho modern) is the combination of modern interior design’s clean, neutral aesthetic with the playful, colorful essence of bohemian interior design. The result is an inviting, often colorful, and carefree space that is still very much functional. In modern bohemian spaces, the free-spirited approach to pattern, texture, and color is balanced by modern elements such as simple lines in the furniture, open floor plans, and modern materials.

Join us to discover how to style a modern boho living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and outdoor space.

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The key elements of modern bohemian style

Embrace modern boho style by carefully curating your colors, textures, and prints.

Color palette and texture choices

Earthy, nature tones are synonymous with boho style, while neutrals are linked to modern style. To create the perfect modern boho color palette, start with a neutral base of whites, creams, or light grays for large surfaces like furniture and walls. These will set the tone for a contemporary space, even if your accents are inspired by distinctly boho influences.

An earthy modern boho color palette is infused with nature inspiration. Warm browns, soft terracotta, muted greens/grays, and sandy beiges add a boho touch to your modern neutral base.

For a Mid-Century Modern flair, go for pops of vibrant and jewel-toned hues that electrify your space. Rich blues, burnt oranges, and warm golds add a bohemian flair to your neutral base.

Modern boho style also welcomes pastel colors and soft tones. Consider adding shades like sage green, dusty mauve, and soft moss brown to your pastel-inspired boho palette.

In the realm of modern boho farmhouse and farmhouse chic styles, white and sandy tans take over furniture and walls. Select pastels like cornflower yellow and light blue, muted greens, and pops of citrus or gold are fantastic choices for decor and accents.

Natural, eco-conscious materials and sustainable design

Modern design is oriented towards the future, and that means using modern and eco-friendly materials such as reclaimed wood, recycled steel, and sustainable textiles.

Sustainable furniture materials: Bamboo, reclaimed wood, rattan, rammed earth, recycled steel, hemp
Sustainable textiles: Hemp, organic cotton, recycled wool, upcycled materials, linen
Sustainable decor materials: Cork, vintage decor, upcycled materials, recycled plastic and polyester, jute, bamboo

Eclectic patterns and prints

Remember that boho modern is all about embracing the best of both styles, which means introducing color and pattern, but in smaller doses. There are a few ways to do this.

Mixing patterns with the same motif

Here, we see a starburst motif repeated in both prints. The neutral print, Royal Mansour- Quartz, helps balance out the vibrant blues of Mosaique Bleue – Sky. Each print features intricate, Moroccan-inspired motifs.

Modern boho pattern using Moroccan starburst motif and an earthy palette
Modern boho pattern featuring an intricate trellis print inspired by Moroccan latticework

Mixing patterns with solids

This bohemian trefoil print, Casablanca Bules, can be mixed with a solid (ish) color textile like this turquoise bedspread. Blue undercurrents also connect the two, establishing a theme. We can picture a cool, soothing blue bedroom decked out in these patterns.

Mixing similar patterns in different scales

You might also combine similar patterns in varying scales. Here, floral and botanical motifs are repeated but the different size and arrangement keep your mix interesting. It also helps that both carry warm tones—gold and cream—for a more cohesive look.

Modern bohemian style pattern featuring botanical motifs using gold and cream

Mixing different patterns in the same color scheme

Another way to tone down prints in boho style is by choosing patterns grounded in one color or color theme. In this case, red and cream connect the two different boho prints here.

Embracing maximalism, but paring it back

Boho style is essentially a branch of maximalism, where you are encouraged to freely combine textures, patterns, and colors. However, modern boho design asks you to take a step back and be just bit more strategic with your accents.

Take this bedroom below, for example. Every major surface in this room is utilized, from the wall behind the bed to the space above the wardrobe, yet it doesn’t feel like the standard bohemian room filled with heaps and heaps of decor. Instead, the focus is on a handful of key elements such as the quilted throw on the foot of the bed, the extraordinary wall art, and the curated shelf above the wardrobe.

Modern boho style bedroom using a quilt sari throw and unique wall art

Modern boho in real homes

Let’s take a look at ways to achieve an updated bohemian style throughout the home.

Modern bohemian style in the bedroom

Balance out the modern with the boho by opting for streamlined silhouettes in your furniture. Platform beds dressed in bohemian bedspreads and pillowcases brings the best of both worlds to your boho bedroom. Incorporate plants, lots of neutral colors, and boho textures throughout such as wicker, rattan, and macrame.

Make sure to keep a quilt throw at the foot of your bed for that quintessential boho bedscape and a traditional rug that complements your bedding. Your overall goal is create a warm, inviting, and open-feeling space. Maximize sunlight with sheer curtain panels.

Modern bohemian style bedroom using Moroccan inspired bedding and a traditional rug
Royal Mansour ~ White Pillow Sham Royal Mansour ~ White Pillow Sham
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Boho decor for the bedroom

With a warm, grounding energy, Mosaique Bleue – Earth instantly transforms the bedroom into an inviting space. Choose natural materials for your lighting and storage.

Modern bohemian style plant basket made of recycled plastic and local grasses
Saffron Marigold

Mini Woven Plant Baskets for Succulents

Made with recycled plastic and natural grass, this hand-woven basket is great for holding miscellanous items or a mini succulent.

Modern bohemian style lamp using natural lampshade and a modern color palette
Thai Home Shop

Small Bamboo Lamp Boho Style Wicker

This natural lamp adds an organic freshness to your boho room, while the white wires evoke a clean, modern aesthetic.

Modern boho living room, natural and modern chic

A modern bohemian living room is open, bright, and warm. While there should be a variety of decor that attracts the eyes, everything should be connected by a theme or a color palette.

Many boho style living spaces follow a color scheme that features whites, browns, and greens, but feel free to put your own spin on this design style. Jewel tones and rich shades look gorgeous in this style, too!

Photograph of a modern bohemian style living space using warm colors and an open plan layout
Photo: Rugs Direct

This living room takes inspiration from Mid-Century Modern design with its low furniture, open layout, and focus on geometric patterns. Still, it takes liberties with bohemian influences—the rattan chair, fringed rug, wood frame starburst mirror, and playful color scheme. Proof that modern doesn’t automatically mean a neutral palette.

Photograph of a modern bohemian style living room using mid-century modern furniture and traditional patterns
Photo: Anita Yokota

Warm tones bring a grounding energy to your boho living room, while blues and whites create a casual coastal vibe. Organic touches like a handwoven rug and a large potted plant also make your living space more personable.

Boho modern decor for the living room

Mix and match patterns through your choice of pillow cushion covers, quilt throws, rugs, and curtains. Make sure to feature a wide range of natural and contemporary materials such as rattan, concrete, wood, etc.

Modern boho style throw quilt for a colorful, authentic home
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Vintage Kantha Quilt Sari Throw

Bold and bright, this soft quilt throw is hand-quilted by artisans from upcycled vintage saris—a unique, soulful piece that embodies bohemian style. Choose a colorful throw such as this one to reflect your fearless style.

Modern bohemian style coffee table that mixes natural and modern materials

Peacock Sidetable Rattan Glass Top

The combination of glass and rattan in a contemporary shape makes this table a quintessential modern boho furniture piece.

Modern bohemian style in the dining area

The dining room is a place where you can experiment with colors and patterns to your heart’s content. Focus on mixing textiles with your choice of dinner napkins, table runner/tablecloth, curtains, rug, placemats, and/or cushions.

Many people opt for a bare table when it comes to modern boho tablescapes, but we feel that a table runner or tablecloth adds a warm, personal touch to the dining room. Don’t you agree?

Modern bohemian style dining room using wooden furniture and nature-inspired decor
Photo: Apartment Therapy

Modern boho dining sets primarily feature wooden elements, but contemporary materials like metal, glass, or faux leather have their place, too. Non-fussy chairs with wide, often low, and open backs and streamlined legs look best in this design style. You might amp up the boho aesthetic with patterned cushions, a patterned rug, and a statement pendant light.

Example of a modern bohemian style dining room setup
Photo: Black and Blooms

Or, you might take it to the floor a la Moroccan dining custom. The mix of patterned cushions in this dining set is especially fun!

Boho modern dining room decor

Add bohemian-inspired tableware and decor such as patterned dinner napkins, woven napkin rings, and Scandi/Japandi cups to complement your boho table linens.

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White Filigree ~ Hand Painted Taper Candles

These embossed candles feature a lacy, boho filigree, but the white-on-white palette takes it to a modern place.

Jute napkin rings for a bohemian modern style tablescape
Neutral Decoration

Set of 4 Jute Napkin Rings with Knot

This jute napkin ring shaped into a knot is truly bohemian. Pair with a solid color dinner napkin or a boho pattern for contrast.

Boho modern kitchen ideas

The kitchen is a lively space in the home, and bohemian energy comes naturally to this room. Mosaic backsplash tiles, open shelving, colorful cabinets, and playful light fixtures are a few ways to incorporate boho modern influence into your kitchen.

Modern bohemian style dining room using a white palette with earthy accents like brown, blue, and olive
Photo: Digs Digs

A light, bright palette is a popular choice, as well as saturated, earthy palettes like this desert-inspired kitchen below. The gorgeous mosaic backsplash installed against a reddish ochre plays beautifully with the mint refrigerator and utility cart.

Example of a modern bohemian style kitchen using mosaic tiles and burnt orange
Photo: Digs Digs

Finally, the tribal rug and the star-shaped pendant light reference the star motif in the mosaic tiles—what a wonderful symphony of color and pattern!

Boho modern kitchen decor

One sub-category of modern boho is modern boho farmhouse. If you enjoy both styles, you’ll notice an overlap in decor choices such as floral linens, woven baskets, and charming kitchen curtains.

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Eco-Friendly African Woven Baskets – Set of 3

Whether you store tangerines or condiments on these hand-woven baskets, the palette of this trio screams boho modern.

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Morning Dew ~ French Country Provence Dinner Napkins

A pale yellow ground and delicate flourishes make these dinner napkins a suitable choice for modern boho farmhouse kitchens.

Creating a bohemian modern style bathroom

The bathroom may be a smaller space in the home, but you can have lots of fun with decorating it in a modern boho style. From eclectic eccentric to vintage-inspired, boho style offers lots of options in the bathroom. To ‘refine’ boho style with a modern twist, introduce modern elements such as metallic fixtures, marble countertops, modern lighting, abstract art, and greenery.

Photo: Mocha Girl Place

Here are two completely different bathrooms that embrace unique elements of both modern and bohemian style. This green-dominant bathroom may have more traditional pieces such as the rectangle mirror and linoleum flooring, but there are boho touches peppered throughout: the woven wall hanging on the door, the natural bowl on top of the mirror, and the geometric rug.

Photograph of a colorful modern bohemian style bathroom with pastel colors
Photo: Sazerac Stitches

This whimsical boho modern bathroom takes modern influence in the form of abstract art, the round mirror, the statement light fixture, and the unconventional color scheme. The woven basket, bold art print, and bird figurines tie this playful bathroom together.

Boho modern bathroom decor ideas

Invigorate your modern bohemian bathroom with a fabric shower curtain featuring a vibrant block print. Coordinate or mix and match with your curtains or valances (but remember our rules on pattern mixing!). Keep toiletries and miscellaneous items in woven baskets and bowls to keep in line with the boho aesthetic.

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Casablanca Blues – Blue ~ Moroccan Quatrefoil Shower Curtain

This Moroccan-inspired blue shower curtain will become the focal point of a modern boho bathroom.

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Mini Woven Plant Baskets for Succulents

Store toothbrushes, face lotions, and other small toiletries in this delightful, light blue basket.

Modern bohemian style in the outdoor area

Outdoor spaces are the perfect place to apply modern boho design, especially when you reflect natural themes to your decor. Ambient lighting, cozy seating, and greenery are essential to a modern boho patio or outdoor space.

Photograph of a modern bohemian style outdoor living space
Photo: @everyday_eve_ via Instagram

Most outdoor boho spaces will mirror the surrounding natural environments, which is why browns, creams, and other earthy tones prevail. Mini coffee tables and plenty of lounging options are crucial for a boho patio.

Photo: Jessica Alexander

Modern boho decor elements for outdoors

Create a sense of ease with a plethora of textured cushions, patterned pillows, and colorful quilt throws. Arrange your favorite candles or lanterns to hone in on the warm boho vibes.

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Vintage Kantha Quilt Sari Throw

Keep a couple of quilt throws around your seating area to elicit relaxation and calmness. All the more cozy with an all-cotton blanket like this one.

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Royal Elephant – Hand-Carved Wooden Tea Light Candle Holder

At night, light up a few tea lights or lanterns to set a cozy and contemplative mood in your boho outdoor area.

Origins and evolution of bohemian style

What is exactly is ‘bohemian’ style? The Bohemian subculture originated in Europe and made its way to America in as early as the 1860s, experienced a revival during the 1960s hippie movement, and has arguably stayed in the mainstream spotlight since.

Tracing the historical roots of Bohemian culture

Now associated with hippie culture, a carefree lifestyle, and an innate connection to the natural world, the roots of Bohemian culture can be traced back to 19th century France. It refers to people who were living unconventional, ‘free’ lifestyles such as writers, musicians, artists, and actors throughout Europe.

Bohemia, on the other hand, was a region in what is now the Czech Republic, and bohémiens were, in fact, Romani people whom the French thought immigrated from Bohemia. A large group of Romani people lived a mobile, transient life, and so the term bohemian became associated with a lifestyle of going against cultural norms, so to speak.

That’s why modern boho still possess the essence of bohemian style. It combines two unlikely design approaches, creating a new aesthetic that celebrates differing styles.

Saffron Marigold, Mosaique Bleue – Sky ~ Boho Duvet Cover

Influence of artistic and nomadic lifestyles on boho style

Contemporary boho style originated from Parisian interiors where creativity and the spirit of freedom were championed above all else. Unorthodox ways of living, decorating, and being characterizes boho style.

Bohemian design is the culmination of imagination, self-expression, and wanderlust. It’s taking pieces that reflect where you are or where you wish to go; incorporating cultural treasures that reflect your global style; curating decor that embrace the explorer within you.

Combined with modern design, bohemian modern style is an innovative way of mixing tradition with contemporary design aesthetics.

How Bohemian style has adapted and evolved over time

Boho style has evolved over time into different sub-categories: modern boho, boho farmhouse, coastal boho, boho Victorian, boho maximalism, and more. Our takeaway is that you can turn pretty much any design style into your own special brand of boho.

Top bohemian modern style design trends

Design trends are cyclical, and there are several that have caught our eye. For starters, we’ve noted that modern boho bathroom trends include authentic mosaic tiles, greenery, towel ladders, and woven baskets for storage. Other boho design trends can be incorporated into any room.

Creative wall decor for modern bohemian style

On modern boho walls, you won’t find just macrame hangings or ethnic tapestries. You’ll discover abstract art, large mirrors, one-of-a-kind quilts, and other extraordinary decor such as the mini stained glass window panel in this Saffron Marigold home.

Example of modern bohemian style decor, a mosaic tile hanging on a window
Photo: Saffron Marigold customer, Roberta of Hopewell, NJ

Oversized boho wall art

On a similar note, oversized wall art such as painted mirrors, custom prints, and traditional woven tapestries help personalize your modern boho room.

Elegant, modern bohemian style bedroom using white block print bedding and abstract wall art
Photo: Saffron Marigold customer, Mary of Hauppauge, NY

Rich color schemes for a modern bohemian style home

These curtains evoke the shimmering quality of orange garnets, glimmering in the afternoon sun. Paired with white bedding and boho art, this bedroom is a modern boho dream.

Modern bohemian style bedroom using jewel tone curtains and pillows and boho wall art
Photo: Saffron Marigold customer, Caryn of Lyme, CT

On the other hand, jewel-toned accents like an amethyst doorway curtain and orange curtains give this boho room a rustic vibe. However, the exquisite floor chairs and statement light give it a modern touch.

Photo: Saffron Marigold customer, Joshua of Jacksonville, OR

Mixing the contemporary with the bohemian free spirit

Reminiscent of Japandi style, this living room demonstrates that boho style can be tailored to your individual tastes. Instead of colorful, traditional prints, the Moroccan-inspired white-on-white prints on these curtains play beautifully with the natural plant stands and soft tones in the room.

Modern bohemian style living room with Moroccan white curtains and natural furniture
Photo: Saffron Marigold customer, Laurie of Lawrence, KS

Coastal boho style

Decor made of grass or cotton, chunky throws, denim blues, and leather accents are key elements of coastal boho style. Additionally, rustic and wooden architectural elements bring a palatable warmth to your coastal boho space.

Modern bohemian style bedroom with a touch of coastal style using block print bedding and wooden furniture
Photo: Saffron Marigold customer, Caroline of Annapolis, MD

Celebrating creative freedom with modern bohemian style

The enduring appeal of bohemian style rests in its celebration of individuality and self-expression. This sense of freedom and nonconformity manifests in an eclectic, diverse collection of patterns, colors, prints, and objects of deep personal significance.

Additionally, modern boho style has a connection to nature, sustainability, and artisanal craftsmanship—values that resonate with those who are looking for a more eco-conscious, environmentally-friendly approach to interior design. We hope this guide to modern boho style has convinced you of its timeless allure and boundless potential for expressing your style and appreciation of global cultures.

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