Getting where you want to go won’t require an expensive plane ticket or decor overhaul. And this is one trip you can take without leaving your boho home and boarding the dogs, cats and kids.
I should know. Most of my travel (internationally anyway) has been vicarious, through the vehicle of my gypsy imagination and healthy doses of books, movies and music. I think it’s that yearning to see more that pulls me toward a boho global aesthetic in my own home. I’m always fiddling with textiles–pillows, curtains, bedding–and picking up little trinkets made by someone in a faraway land to rearrange on trays, shelves and walls.
1. Textiles pitch the perfect Persian tent
Colorful, ornate rugs are a hallmark of Middle Eastern décor, as are hand-printed or hand-dyed cotton fabrics. Layer and pile on such rugs, quilts and pillows with abandon, and your room takes on the collected appearance that marks it as global chic. You may have existing quilts and coverlets you can work into the mix or cut up to make pillow covers.
The two walls of full-length sheers in this bedroom add to the lush harem I imagined when an elementary school teacher read our class excerpts from The One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and encouraged us to lay our heads down, close our eyes, and let our minds drift far away. Sheer panels are thankfully less expensive than regular draperies, so it might be worth anteing up the money for these in this lush shade of purple.
The crown-shaped chandelier mimics the braziers desert dwellers light to keep warm at night. Capture the look by finding a light fixture that mimics the shape and uses candelabra bulbs.
2. Make way for the Moroccan market
This room looks like the perfect place to watch Casablanca, followed by The Man Who Knew Too Much (set in Marrakech). That would leave only Tangiers on my Moroccan itinerary.
Pillows and curtains in eye-popping pattern and textures, a Moroccan leather ottoman, and tables touched with exotic curves and colors say Moorish style and intrigue in an otherwise traditional room. The underlying palette of neutrals—woven blinds, café au lait walls, stone fireplace, and beige area rug are what propel the color pops to new heights.
My favorite parts? The primitive horse statue and the rug, which reminds me of a fawn’s spots.
3. If Bali Hai calls you, by all means GO!
You may already sleep in a bedroom of muted neutrals, like this one, which makes it easy to change out pillows and get a completely different look. This bedroom ups its ante with the ikat (ē-kat) pillows in chartreuse and purple on the bed, as well as by the window, and in the basket at the foot of the bed. Ikat is a method of dying thread before weaving, instead of the other way around, and produces a blurry edge to the pattern as the weaver tries to line up the colors.
Imagine waking up to this pop of color every morning and dreaming of South Pacific at night.
4. Schedule a Scandanavian whistlestop
Clean lines and pale neutrals say signature Scandanavian style. Brighten the whites and grays with pops of happy, complementary colors, and the winters won’t seem quite so long or so cold, I bet.
Scandinavian style is so straightforward that it can slip into almost any decorating scheme with ease, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo slip into this cozy little nook for a kaffe. I love the fun geometrics of the throw pillows and that cute little tripod table. IKEA, here I come!
5. Sail warmer seas and seek out treasure
I don’t see any sign that says, “Johnny Depp slept here while filming Pirates of the Caribbean,” but it’s possible. The dark wood of the bed and bench pull from British Colonial style, while the breezy Caribbean window treatments, grass rug and embroidered pillow say island paradise.
I love the sewn-in stripe and fringe on the tableskirt and curtains, as well as how it mimics the ceiling color. I can almost see endles azure seas just outside the window. Tonight the waves will be sure to lull me to dreamland.
6. Go south of the border, down Mexico way
A Guatemalan cloth bag like those used to ship coffee and grain to market is framed as artwork and adds historical backbone to this modern-leaning room. I love the kelly green sideboard and how the black of the lamps is repeated in the pillows. Every room needs a little black, don’t you think? The artwork has a little too, as well as the green from the sideboard, the yellow from the runner, and the orange from the mums.
Home at last!
This may be the end of our journey for today, but your globe-trot with your own home is just beginning. I hope it’s clear from this post that you can repurpose and edit existing furnishings to speak in other tongues.