Cheap Bohemian Decorating Ideas

Sally Painter
bohemian curtain style

A bohemian décor can be achieved without having to spend a lot of money. The very nature of this eclectic style can take advantage of re-purposing and reclaiming items to use in your design for very little cost. Other furnishings can be purchased and used for a fraction of the cost it might take for a conventional home décor. Play up the free-spirited form of this design by turning your creativity and imagination loose.

Guidelines for Bohemian Decorating

Rachel's Adelaide bohemian home

The artistic flair of a bohemian home is unconventional and takes many of its style ideas from various regions and cultures. Some of these include India, Morocco, Asia and other Eastern influences. Bohemian decors have an old world ambiance that's layered and rich in colors and patterns.The most prominent features of Bohemian design are bold vibrant colors and a mix of patterns followed by textures. You can go wtih any level of intensity with this design. Cheap decorating items means you can also have more bang for your buck.

Colors and Patterns

Color is the key to a great bohemian décor scheme. Don't be timid about splashing color throughout your rooms. You also want to mix these colors. There's no caution against clashing colors since many of the fabrics used in this style combine such colors as pink and orange. Most of the patterns are traditional ethnic found in many textiles:

Applique embroidered with beads and embroidery
  • Stencils: Add pattern and colors to walls, fabrics and even stair treads with a Moroccan stencil. Decorate furniture with an inlay or African Kuba design for tables, cabinets, dressers and chairs.
  • Tablecloths: A bohemian sunflower or blue pastoral tablecloth is a great way to add color to a dining area.
  • Pillows: Go with cheap pillows or save even more by sewing new covers for existing pillows.

Cheap Window Treatments

Avoid fancy curtains and tailored shades and instead try hanging simple cloth panels. You can even use tablecloths, strings of beads, and sheets; they can all be purchased for very little money. Remember to incorporate color and pattern as windows tend to be a strong focal point.

Beaded curtain

Embellishments and Trimmings Add Depth

The bohemian design engages the senses. Use fabrics that have a tactile appeal, such as silk, velvet, and brocade. Embellishments and trimmings on fabrics and accessories will add a heightened sense of design while giving greater depth to your design. These include:

bohemian style lamp shade
  • Beads and crystals: Purchase strings of beads or string your own strands to hang like garlands over windows, dangle from lampshades, or use as pulls for overhead ceiling fans.
  • Lampshades: Use existing lampshades and hot glue beaded trim along bottom. Drape a colorful fabric, like a sheer scarf over the shade.
  • Apothecary jars: Fill apothecary jars with colored faux jewels or glass accent gems.
  • Costume jewelry and fabrics: Use costume jewelry as a décor accessory. Hang a bunch of necklaces, scarves, and saris on a decorative ladder leaned against the wall. Display bracelets in a bowl on the coffee table or dresser.
  • Tassels: Hang colorful tassels on doorknobs and cabinet hardware.

Creative Furniture Solutions

Vintage furniture and thrift store finds are the bohemian decorator's best friends. Try to find worn pieces that show a little wear and tear. Ornate woodwork is a plus. These items can then be painted with bold colors and patterns, or even left "as is" for an authentic bohemian look. Shop local flea markets, garage/attic sales and auction sites like eBay for the best deals on used and vintage furniture.

Distressed painted cabinet
  • Revive furniture: Revive an old chest of drawers, nightstand or cabinet by painting and distressing. You may also glue strips of various wallpaper patterns onto drawer fronts then apply a sealant for a clever bohemian look.
  • Canopy beds: Add to the mystique with gauzy fabrics streaming from tall posts or draped over the bed canopy.
  • Tall poster beds: Bunch gauzy or silk fabrics along the length of tall posts and tie with long ribbon streamers to the top of the posts.

More Cheap Decorating Ideas

When creating your own art creations, using objects, furniture and fabrics, you can use stencils, decoupage, and even glue faux jewels onto pieces.

Bohemian style lamps
  • Lamps and lighting: Paint old lamps for a fun look. Mix and match lamp styles and materials. Moroccan lanterns would also be a great option if you can find them at flea markets or thrift shops.
  • Paint frames: Repurpose old frames with vibrant spray paint colors. Decorate plain frames with resin motifs, then paint.
  • DIY art work: Paint your own canvas, frame pieces of fabric or wallpaper or find inexpensive art through websites like Etsy and eBay.
  • Add metallic objects: Include a metal lamp or bowl for a shiny reflective surface. Paint a side table with a metallic color.
  • Throw rugs: Use several throw rugs in colorful patterns for an authentic bohemian look. Braided rugs are a great inexpensive option.
  • DIY floorcloth: Skip the rugs and instead transform a cheap tablecloth into a floorcloth for hardwood, tile, or concrete floors. Blogger Laura Hayestone at Design Share provides instructions for this cheap and easy way to create one.
  • Bench: Re-purpose an old headboard into the back of a bench, paint and decorate or decoupage if desired.
  • Quilt, bedspread, or throw tablecloth: Repurpose an old quilt, lightweight bedspread or ethnic throw for a tablecloth. Use more than one for a layered effect.
  • Candlesticks: Paint candlesticks of varying heights and then glue faux jewels and dangling beads to them for a fun look.
  • Small chest: Paint, stencil, and decorate a small wooden chest for a jewelry, spice cabinet, or other stash box.
  • Colored glass: Infuse color into your décor with three, five, or seven colored vases of different shapes in a grouping. Add silk flowers (optional).

How to Combine Ideas Into a Cohesive Look

Select a few of the above ideas to begin decorating your home in a bohemian design. As with any interior design project you want to create a color scheme, a theme, and a plan for how much of each you incorporate into your design.

Select Your Colors

Start with three main colors. You'll be adding lots of other colors, but these three will carry your design theme throughout your home from one room to the next to keep your design cohesive instead of a jumble of colors and items. Select one that will be used a little more than the other two colors, such as on fabrics or additional objects, to provide dominant color.

Find a Theme

While bohemian is a mixture of all things, you still want to have a theme. This can be an emphasis on a metal or motif. For example, you may select silver to be a theme and choose silver colored objects to place throughout your home. You may decide that your motif will be birds and go with bird lamps, a few birds patterned fabrics, bird ceramic figurines, and a few other bird objects.

The key to a theme, be it a material or motif, is to keep it in balance by using it in odd numbers. Don't go overboard with hundreds of bird objects or all accessories silver in color and material.

Start With Floors and Walls

You need to decide just how much pattern and color you want to use. Will the walls and floors be mere backdrops for the items you use in your design or will they become focal points in your design? In other words, will the walls be a solid color, wallpapered, or stenciled? What about the floors? Are they hardwood, carpeted or tiled? If hardwood, will you use a distressed effect, paint the floors or add a stencil border?

Decide on Furniture Pieces and Treatments

Once you've decided on the treatment for the floors and walls, you want to focus on the main pieces of furniture. If you're painting, stenciling, and embellishing existing furniture, be sure to include your three main colors as well as adding other colors.

Window Treatment

Your choice for window treatment will be dictated by some of the textures, patterns and colors you've used in your wall, floor, and furniture choices. Don't be afraid to go with a patterned curtain since bohemian goes against much of the design grain about mixing patterns and colors. If you don't feel confident in going with another pattern, opt for several solid-colored sheers to keep the color palette alive.

Layer Your Design for Depth and Interest

You're now ready to start layering your room framework with various eclectic art, objects, paintings, and other accessories. Think of everything all ready in your room as canvases that need shadows of darker and lighter colors to add depth and dimension. Remember, this is bohemian style, so you can never have too much depth or too many objects.

Timeless Bohemian Style

If you focus on colors, patterns, and textures by layering these as often as you can, your bohemian style will be something you can enjoy for decades. Swap out accessories, but leave your walls, floors, and treatments, to keep changes inexpensive.

Cheap Bohemian Decorating Ideas