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Bohemian Rhapsody

Join us as we explore the origins of the French Bohemians and define Bohemian style...

The word "Bohemian” comes from the French term "bohémiens,” which means "nomads" or “outsiders." In the early 1800s, the French citizenry used this term to describe the Romanian gypsy population who lived in Paris.

The bohemian lifestyle emerged from a belief in carefree, diverse, romantic, and non-traditional attitudes. This unconventional way of life was romanticized and embraced in Paris.

The Montmartre neighborhood of Paris became a gathering place for artists, writers, musicians, intellectuals, and actors who lived the bohemian style. Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec lived in Montmartre and found it a source of great inspiration. Ernest Hemingway captured the lives of writers and bohemians in Paris in his book "A Movable Feast." At the same time, Puccini found inspiration for his opera "La Boheme.” The movement swept through Europe and then to America via immigration.

Layered and mismatched fabrics and tableware characteristic of the Bohemian Style

The Bohemian Style and design are wide-ranging and characterized by their free-spirited, unconventional, and eclectic nature. While each has its unique features, they share some essential elements. Earthy colors and saturated jewel tones colors dominate the palette. The furniture is often casual. Fabrics and tableware are layered and deliberately mismatched. Vintage and diverse accessories, including macrame art and travel souvenirs, are also commonly used. Houseplants are a staple in this style. Ambient lighting is a must, usually achieved through candles, lanterns, and pendant lights.

Some examples.....

Our first tablescape starts by draping a square tablecloth in rich colors over a round table. Rattan chargers add subtle texture, and bold melamine plates from a local box store introduce pattern and color. We add votive candles sourced from a box of holiday ornaments. Mismatched napkins add more color, and our favorite fishbone cactus is an unexpected centerpiece

In a second example we have selected a classic blue and white tablecloth and added rattan chargers. We have chosen everyday white stoneware plates and added a rococo-style melamine plate. Mismatched, vintage tea cups from the china closet complete the look. Coordinating napkins add more texture and pattern. A repurposed creamer holds freshly-picked flowers from the garden. A good start but a more conservative approach. Want to take this to the next level?

Try any of the following:

  • Add used pillar candles of different heights and colors

  • Replace the coordinating napkins with a contrasting and colorful pattern

  • Use a straw basket or old tea tin full of vibrant flowers

We all have a bit of bohemian in us! Whether you take small steps or dive headfirst, discover your bohemian spirit!

Brenda and Tina

“If you obey all the rules, you will miss the fun.”

Katherine Hepburn

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