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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Bohemian Style: The Way We Were


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I've been hearing the words "bohemian style" a lot lately. Seems it's become trendy. So what is it? 


Here's what it says in the dictionary...


 a native or inhabitant of Bohemia.
(usually lowercasea person, as an artist or writer, who lives and acts free of  regard for conventional rules and practices.
the Czech language, especially as spoken in Bohemia.
a Gypsy.

When I look at the elements of bohemian decorating, I see much of what we did back in the seventies and eighties. Lots of house plants. Jewel tones. A sort of hippie meets gypsy style. 

Some of you probably don't remember hippies. They were avant garde. Sometimes they formed communes. Everyone's hair was long and bell bottom jeans were all the rage. 

Many doorways had strands of beads instead of doors. Rooms were a bit disheveled by today's standards. Lots of layering and billowing fabrics.

Welcome to bohemian decorating.

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A real work of art is this beaded spider web. It perfectly reflects that era.



Styles were mixed. Different cultures were explored and represented. There were lots of prints mixed together.

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Macrame was in. I never quite liked it somehow. The pots didn't hang too straight. And I hate when things aren't straight. I read that this year, macrame is back in fashion.



You saw lots of these. Pier 1 was the hottest place to shop. There were pillows on the floor. And mattresses. And shelves put together with stacked concrete blocks. 

The word kitschy comes to mind. 

Justina Blakeney is a blogger who embraces the bohemian lifestyle. She even has a new book.



So what do you think of the bohemian, or boho, style of decorating? Could you embrace this lifestyle?

Cozy Little House
46 Comments
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46 comments:

  1. I used to! I loved bell bottom jeans, long hair parted in the middle, saying peace, luv, and I loved macrame! I had pots of plants hanging all over the place, pillows on the floor, cement block book shelves - I embraced the hippy era - then I grew up had children and became responsible and dull LOL -- not really - I still wish bell bottoms came back in style I loved them, I still love beads but no longer have macrame pot holders but macrame necklaces are still almost the only jewelry I still have and love even at age 62.

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    1. Everyone seemed to have house plants in those days. Now, not so much. And they purify the air you breathe!

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  2. I can go for all those plants- large, smal, hanging , sitting , whatever.. the rest of that stuff looks a bit messy to me and would drive me bonkers lol-- or in my case- , more bonkers:-)

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  3. Oh no! My mother will be wanting to dig out her macramé plant hanger again! I just finally convinced her maybe five years ago that it was hopelessly out of style! Ha! I did a lot of the bohemian decorating in college out of necessity--no money! Not sure if I want to revisit those days...

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  4. The cover of the book is gorgeous. I embrace it with just a tad here and there but not to much, because I enjoy a sense of calm at home. xoxo

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    1. It definitely appeals to a certain type of person.

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  5. Really enjoyed this post, Brenda. I'm in the process (planned for 5 years!) of Bohemianizing our guest room. I'll follow your links. Thank you.
    Gail

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  6. My son's fiancee loves Boho Chic- totally different from my daughter's ultra preppy (and very expensive) look. The venue that has been selected for the wedding is in Los Angeles, brand new and very Boho. Everyone was pushing for a gorgeous hotel in Santa Barbara, where they live, and close to all of us. But, it was much more traditional and Aylin really loves the Boho.

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    1. I guess Boho is a newish word. Of course back in the day I didn't realize we were bohemians either!

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  7. I love it Brenda..the color..those gorgeous Moroccan lamps and fabric patterns..I made a lot of macrame back then and sold a bunch of it..it feels very relaxed to me and I don't do fancy..

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    1. Well, you can sure bring it back, cause it's trendy again!

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  8. Our San Francisco home looked like this in the mid-70's and to some degree still does today.
    It's an aesthetic that just really suits the way we live and our older home - something I try to share on my blog.

    A house guest once was overwhelmed by the number of houseplants we had (my husband and I are both passionate gardeners) and decided to walk around with pad and pencil and take a count.
    He stopped at 800....(full disclaimer - we have a couple of sun porches).

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    1. My goodness! I've never heard of anyone having that many!

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  9. i love every single one of those images and that style ... my officeartroomsanitarium is very much along these lines ... i was born in 1962 ... when my girls/daughters and niece were in their preteen/early teen stages, they once asked me, "Mom/auntie Mom, do you think you're a hippy. we think you might be a hippy." i think that, at first thought that was a derogatory or mean term ... but then i told them i was really sad because being born in 1962 i was far too young to really get my hippy on, but i do remember at age five, our school bus stopped at the high school for some reason, and i had to get off my bus and onto another bus. the first day i had to do this, i remember looking up at all the tall (well, everyone was tall at that point), long-haired girls (though not many jean-clad because schools had dress codes back then) but still there was an aura about the young people, and i wanted to be one among them ... my grandmother tells another story, which my mom also retells, because i came home from kindergarten that first day and apparently when they asked me about my first day and the bus ride, etc. i said, "i got to the second bus part and i didn't know what the hell to do?" and they both peed their pants trying not to laugh! but this style, this eclectic nature springing forth in rooms, "rooms of one's own" etc. is so healing, so delightful ... so glad you showcased it ... there's a hippy in all of us.

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    1. I am five years older than you are. I came in on the fringes.

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  10. This really takes me back. Some of those rooms could have been mine form the 70s. I think this is all reflective of the getting back to all things simple and natural wave that is going on today. I love it. xo Laura

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    1. It's got a certain charm, I think. With all the colors and layers.

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  11. I love the look ~ in small doses! A whole house? Nope. And I like mine with gypsy jewel tones ~ no avocado or orange colors for me!!!
    One thing on my bucket list is to own an old-fashioned gypsy wagon ~ I would definitely dress that in Boho!!

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    1. I think of bohemian style as primarily gypsy jewel tones. But then there was a phase, in what, the early nineties, when we decorated in burgundies and dark greens.

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  12. Not for me - I'm a country girl at heart and while I've started mixing in more modern fabrics to my decor, country I shall always be.

    Mary

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    1. I think it's a little bit of a mix of everything. Just lots of it!

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  13. Brenda, I have always thought of Bohemians as ultra "cheap"...like my neighbor who used to put a Walmart bag over his lawnmower..I called it his bohemian shed. Blessings to you for a happy Christmas. xoxo,Susie

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    1. I think that's really the point. Young people typically don't have a lot of money, so we used concrete blocks and boards to make book shelves and such.

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  14. I think it is easy to slip from bohemian into tacky. lol My girlfriend and roommate used to have some boho in our place----lots of pillows for seating and beaded hallways to the bedrooms....lol We had macrame and about a jillion houseplants but somehow we missed the drugs and free-love of that generation. It was fun but what I see today on most blogs is not really boho---although it might promote itself as such. I think 2 or 3 bloggers do the "real thing: and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon and does a "take off" on it. As for me- while I loved it then-I don't want to go back and relive it. lol

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    1. It can be looked upon as tacky. But then again, I think in certain scenarios, it could be considered shabby chic.

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  15. I don't think Boho ever goes out of style. Toned down a bit, maybe. But oh didn'T we have fun? Tube tops and jeans and bikinis and long hair and the best music ever!

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    1. You're right about that music! I remember tube tops! We made them and wore them and it was the height of risque!

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  16. can I actually say it?...been there, done that. I attributed it more to "poor college kids getting married" than a real style. some designers and bloggers are doing it well, but being older, I have no desire to go back.

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    1. Well,I guess every "era" is pinpointed as a style eventually.

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  17. I just had to laugh. Will this take over Bloglands crush on everything to do with FRENCH decor? ::)

    Strobe lights, love beads hanging from the doorway....me envying a close friend's purple suede poncho with fringe in 7th grade....when I was in 6th-8th grade we were all wannabe hippies...the real hippies were at Woodstock and such. When WE hit high school I think some of that stuff was all still in...and a 'date' was cruising with some friends in a big long car passing a doobie around. Back then pot just lasted a long time and made you giggly...I think it's much stronger now. The last time I tried it, 20 or so years ago, I felt paranoid as heck, and needed a couple beers to get normal, lol!

    I remember macrame plant holders for decor in my early twenties but by then us young marrieds were starting to try to have normal furniture and such....most everything was hand me downs or we'd paint furniture ( see, that craze isn't new to me ) or we'd do things with spools to make tables and so on.

    This was fun...I'll have to read the other comments then go check out that link.

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    1. I never much liked pot. Never made me goofy and giggly liked most. Maybe just more scatter-brained than usual. Remember marijuana brownies! Oh, what fun!

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  18. This sure brought back some memories! I had the concrete block shelves, and cheap tapestry print bedspreads thrown over everything. I also had tables made from those big electrical spools...at least I think that's what they were. I'm with you on the macrame plant hangers...the plants were never straight! Not to mention it was a pain in the butt to get them out (and back in) for watering.
    Nice trip down memory lane!

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    1. We made do. And that was repurposing. Bloggers today did not invent that.

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  19. I like it in small doses-color is good and so is mixing things up for me, but....... I was born in 1969 in SF so I remember many of the things you mentioned.

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    1. It was a nice trip down memory lane. We didn't call it bohemian. We just called it life.

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  20. It's not for me but I can appreciate it. It's fun and colorful and relaxed. I think a younger person might like it.

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  21. I always liked true bohemian style. I think the 60s early 70s was a kind of cheesy want to be bohemian phase. To me it started way before that. Back in the days with Virginia Wolfe. Actually very wealthy people that went the opposite of the very strict Victorian lifestyle. Women cut their hair and smoked cigars. That was who they were. Hippes for the most part were as they used to say plastic hippies. They claimed to be anti establishment but became the most materialistic group there ever was....hence McMansions.

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  22. My roommate and best friend in college was (still is) bohemian. It's not my style, but I have to admit a visit to her place always relaxes me. Bohemian style has that 'put your feet up' kind of vibe that I like and is very livable.

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  23. I have the concrete block and board bookshelves.....painted white.

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  24. As a baby of the sixties, I grew up with hippies, flower children, and boho style. I never liked macrame either and reading your blog, now I know why! lol. No tie dye. No printed leather foot rests. No incense or punched metal. I am type A and like (must have) order. No. BoHo style is not for me. Charming fresh red & white cottage garden is my style.

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  25. This is very much the way our oldest daughter (our hippy) decorates her house. It's not for me, but I like it in their home.

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  26. I was 10 years old in 1961 so a little of it was going on around me but I was safely entrenched in a solid loving, two parent republican home with brass candle sticks and curtains that tied back at the window. Antiques and pretty paintings, knitting projects, readings, and the reading of the bible on a regular basis The loving kind, not the judgmental kind.. A full time working mother, as well. But, there were three older siblings who I watched and listened to their music. If they were into Rhoda, you can bet that I was Mary Tyler Moore. My mother would tell a very different story of that time. Unfair wages, political corruption, Vietnam. I was kept out of it as any ten year old should be.

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  27. When others,were going hippy , I got married. I did get a pair of bellbottoms with a peace sign on them. Loved the music. No pot for me. I like the furniture they call boho. Loved the beads . Never had the pillow on the floor. Loved my macrame owl and wish I still had it. So I kinda just missed it. I wasn't ready to give up my wool shorts and matching sweaters....villager I believe. I wore these kinda hiking boots and loved them. I think I had my own style.
    Fun thinking back in time.
    Hugs

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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