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The Defining a Style Series: What Is Haute Bohemian Design? (It’s Boho Chic’s Classier Cousin)

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It seems like everyone has the urge to travel these days. Whether your passport is chock-full of stamps or you simply have a bucket list of future destinations, we have excellent news for you. Now there’s a way for you to incorporate your personal travel philosophy into your interiors. It’s all thanks to this year’s new trend: haute bohemian design.If you want to hear more about what this style of design has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. This segment of the Defining a Style series is dedicated to exploring what haute bohemian design is, as well looking at how you can recreate it at home. Keep reading to get the full scoop.


What is haute bohemian design?

This aesthetic is relatively new. First appearing in the last year’s book Haute Bohemians by interior photographer Miguel Flores-Vianna, the term refers to a modern take on what it means to be “bohemian.” In an article in Spaces, he described it as such:

“[M]odern Bohemia is still flourishing, albeit in grander settings than one might expect.No longer starving hedonists, these so-called haute bohemians are fine artists, collectors, editors, antiques dealers, garden designers and couturiers. They reside in textbook bohemian settings – Paris, Ibiza, Tangier – as well as less predictable locales including Montauk, Berlin, Antwerp and San Rafael in Argentina.Eschewing garrets, they’ve opted for medieval castles, Cotswold mansions, clifftop villas and high-ceilinged European apartments.”

What does that mean for those of us who may not have the means to call a medieval castle home? Haute bohemian is all about a new take on boho chic. It’s still about channeling your inner world-traveling free spirit, but this time with an upgrade to first class.

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Create a simple base

If you look carefully at haute bohemian designs, you’ll see an interesting dichotomy at play. The surfaces of these designs are full of vibrancy, with more than enough loud patterns and colors to go around. However, things are a bit quieter underneath. Every design starts with a subdued, neutral base that allows the more exciting design elements to shine.The question then becomes how to determine which design elements stay neutral and which can be more playful. We’ve come up with an easy-to-remember rule to help you sort it out. In haute bohemian designs, the functional parts of your design should remain neutral. The decorative elements should bring a sense of style.Take the picture above, for example. All of the furniture — including the bed and side tables — is fairly subdued. However, the throw pillows, blankets and accessories are where the design gets interesting.

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Add plenty of patterns

Once the base of your design is in place, it’s time to get to the fun part — giving your design personality. The use of patterns is one place where haute bohemian spaces count on a huge infusion of visual interest, as well as a connection to their roots.In true bohemian style, feel free to mix and match multiple styles. Since this style is globally inspired, consider sourcing patterns native to different locals. However, if you decide to go that route, don’t forget about the importance of including a few unifying threads. Consider sticking to a similar color palette in order to make sure your design stays cohesive.

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Curate artistic accessories

This is where haute bohemian design and a more traditional take on boho chic take different paths. Where boho chic spaces relish in the freedom that comes with creating an atmosphere of “anything goes,” haute bohemian looks have more structure. Here, your accessories should be carefully curated to create a purposeful and polished design.The type of accessories you choose is important, as well. These spaces are all about bringing in art in various formats — painting, sculpture, ceramics, etc. However, beyond that, there’s an emphasis on bringing in pieces with a story behind them, with a personality of their own. Focus on sourcing work that’s unique and speaks to your personality.When aiming for a curated space, the ability to edit your design is key. Once you believe you have all of your accessories in place, take a step back and get a sense of the space as a whole. Determine if everything feels as though it’s in the right place. If not, don’t be afraid to make tweaks until you’re satisfied with the final product.

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What do you think of haute bohemian design? Will you be trying out the look in your own interiors? Let us know in the comments.

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