Everywhere I turn these days, I hear out and out raving about industrial boho decor and how it’s so now … and so rad. And everywhere I look, in my own home I see examples of how I’ve unconsciously incorporated industrial boho decor into each space.
But what actually is it?
It’s a modern mash up of industrial style furniture and bohemian decorations.
It’s more is more is more …
It’s all about:
Cultural and global decor elements
Designing your home to reflect your love for life, culture, and interesting items for all the world to see. This aesthetic flies in the face of modern sensibilities and embraces creative, carefree, and unconventional decor. Bohemian-style rooms tend to have certain similarities in that they are always eclectic and share similar features though no two rooms are ever completely alike.
Boho is inspired by the unconventional life lived by globetrotters, artists and writers. It mirrors either one’s culture or background – in my case African – by combining objects, colors, and patterns from tribes and people from one’s culture or from all over the world. If you are looking for a style that you can truly make your own, Bohemian design might be for you.
A rich tapestry of colors
While there are no rules when it comes to industrial boho decor decorating, warm earthy colors are common, as are metallics and jewel tones. Think deep browns, greens, and grays for base colors, and then accessorize with saturated purple, fiery orange, and electric blue. Combining and layering colors is what makes this style unique.
Feel free to mix patterns and textures, and don’t be afraid to use styles that would not necessarily go together in a conventional way. Use dyed textiles and patterns from around the world—like African Textiles including Ankara – Kente – Kitenge or Ikat from Cambodia or Suzani from Central Asia—to give the space a sense of fun and exoticism.
Layer throws on top of furniture and try hanging tapestries and area rugs on the walls alongside your photos and art. If this all seems a bit much, keep in mind that while saturated color is key to the industrial boho decor style, white can have a place as a backdrop for richer tones. Use white to strategically bring a little visual space into the equation.
Like I mentioned, industrial boho decor embraces a “more is more” philosophy. The key to using decorative materials in a boho-designed room is to mix and match. Natural, basic materials like burlap and sisal can be combined with silk and chenille.
The materials should have a slightly worn look—not damaged, but not shiny and new either. Velvets, fringe, crochet, and macramé abound—pillows, curtains, and throw-rugs combine to make a cozy, globally-inspired hangout. Canopies over beds and living areas are signature industrial boho decor design embellishments.
Retro, vintage or repurposed furniture
This design aesthetic calls for furniture not usually is not found in a store. These rooms tend to be filled with furniture collected over time, so second-hand and vintage items are right at home here. Each piece of furniture should be special and tell a story.
Have fun exploring your local vintage shops and choose each piece individually. If you love it, it will fit right in. Even better, if you live in Australia like I do, scour weekly council pick-up piles for unseen and unloved treasures. I found a set of two stunning side tables which I upcycled with a few coast of white paint – and now everyone compliments them.
The industrial boho feel is also found in plush chairs and couches in saturated colors. Throw rugs or overstuffed floor pillows will create a welcoming floor-seating atmosphere. And since a industrial boho decor room should have a “sit and stay awhile” feel, streamlined or straight-backed furniture will not fit in here. Choose comfortable, relaxed pieces like chaise longues, daybeds, or butterfly chairs.
Muted lighting and accessories
Ambient, understated lighting will unify your industrial boho decor design room and complete the calm and welcoming feel. Rather than overhead fixtures, decorate with multiple lanterns, candles, and floor and table lamps. Today’s global design markets make it easy to find a variety of shapes and styles—perfect for the mix-and-match look.
A nod to biophilic design
Biophilic design is a movement that seeks to bring harmony and healing to the spaces we inhabit using plants, light, air and natural materials. Elements of biophilic design are also celebrated in industrial boho decor where rooms are brought to life with natural materials, light and plants to add vibrancy to a room and improve air quality.
I have a lush peace lily in my living room – and it’s a great hardy plant that doesn’t need full light to thrive. You can even use succulents—widely available in a range of colors and textures—which are great for people with a less-than-green thumb. These eye-catching plants need little more than a sunny spot and occasional watering.
Bring your A+ game with Personality+
Add your flavour to your industrial boho decor room with family heirlooms, handmade items, and objects from your travels, tribes and backgrounds. Accessories should be personal, so feature what you love: masks, baskets, tapestries, vintage bottles, maps, or mismatched china—you name it.
Keep in mind that while industrial boho decor tends to be eclectic, it can still be chic and glamorous, so do not be afraid to try out an ornate chandelier or a chunky gold-framed mirror. The only rule is that every item in the room should share something about you.
Highlight with metal, copper and brass
The ‘industrial’ in industrial boho decor comes to life in furniture, side tables, mirrors and even lighting that are often wood accented with metal framing. I personally have brought the boho look to my home by adding copper lights in the dining area, and gold pendants in the living spaces.
I use gilded mirrors – including one giant one in the master bedroom. Scattered all around are Kenyan home decor accessories including woven pillows in a basket weave.
African masks adorn my walls and African gourds are strong accent pieces. many years ago, I stumbled on a large portrait of an African woman in vivid splashes of red, gold and orange paint during my travels. It now sits proudly on my wall and I love the way the black and silvers of my furniture contrast with orange. I also love plants and they dot and frame each room liberally bringing a sense of freshness and sometimes even healing to the space.
So back to my initial question – “When did industrial boho decor become so now?”
I think it’s “now” because it has always been. It’s lived inside of us, and now that being true to yourself is being celebrated as a global norm, it’s the best way to express our personality, heritage, traditions and culture.
How do you express your tradition and culture in your home? Tell us in the comments below.
To get more inspo for your home, please visit our Interiors + Design page.
Visit the home of the ultimate industrial boho look – the Boho Club in Marbella, Spain.
Create your own industrial boho look with the products below: