Posted by the trend stalker on 14th July 2011

Live like a movie star … albeit an antique one

Here’s a confession for you: I’m a fan of Merchant Ivory movies. You know, the lush period dramas in which the heroines wear tiaras and kid boots with cute little mother of pearl buttons, and waft around fanning themselves all day (probably because their corsets are too tight).

I can’t remember the plot of a single film, but what I really enjoy are the over-the-top sets. Those rich, textured fabrics and rugs. The Oriental-inspired wall coverings in tea-green and duck-egg blue. The crystal chandeliers and beaded, fringed lamps. The silk cushions and velvet throws. The ornately carved, dark wood furniture. The silver tea sets and cut-glass sherry decanters …

sitting room

Recently, paging through an overseas decor mag while waiting for my stylist to work her highlight magic, I saw that the look is back. Re-invented and re-worked but still reminiscent of the era. I’m not talking dark and depressing Victorian, I’m talking light and bright Bohemian – an artsy and eclectic mix-and-preferably-don’t match style that’ll have minimalists quaking in their boots.


To access your inner Bohemian, start with the walls. Hunt down an opulent wallpaper with an Indian or Oriental theme or paint the room in a rich shade and stencil a repetitive motif in gold or silver over it. This is one time you can ignore the “rules” and do all four walls rather than just focusing on one – the only rule for this look is more, more, more!

dining room

For the floor, scour second-hand stores for a large, well-worn Oriental rug and use it as a base for still more mats. As Michelle Langley points out, rugs are sensual to walk on barefoot – and boho-style demands bare feet occasionally. (Unless you manage to track down some authentic button-up kid boots – in which case, keep ’em on!)

Don’t worry about finding matching furniture. Look for deep, inviting sofas and traditional wingback chairs – and don’t worry about reupholstering them, just cover them with a textured throw or tapestry and add some pretty, embellished cushions. This is one time you can indulge a passion for animal print without worrying about it looking kitsch.

leopard print

And then accessorise, accessorise, accessorise! Brighten up the dark colours with lots of scarf-draped, bead-fringed lamps, and add candles. Show off your old sepia-toned family photos. Look for vintage doo-dat boxes, mirrors, perfume bottles and paintings. Things that look like they are from around the world, like animal statues, figurines and maps, are boho by nature. Add potted orchids and bowls of fresh roses or carnations.


According to a great site I found, Room Decorating Ideas, Bohemian style is all about creating warmth and interest. It is a busy, cluttered style with lots going on. It’s eccentric, eclectic and creative. It’s Boho chic. I like it!


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