29 June 2015

Sense of Wander


Drawing inspiration from the Silk Route, Sam Wylie-Harris heads in search of colourful travel-inspired collectibles and patterns

Revisiting the Seventies has conjured a fresh approach to the bohemian chic trend. But it’s not just time travel that’s inspired the latest collections; actual travel is at the heart of the look too, with designers venturing back to favourite far-flung haunts through exotic themes.

As a result, it’s never been easier to create a ‘well-travelled’ feel at home. All you need to compliment these vibrant prints and textiles are some key accessories, and a little imagination.

Not to be confused with shabby chic – which is more chintzy and distressed than glam, globe-trotting gypsy – boho chic is all about texture, colour and pieces with a ‘sense of story’.

The detail is in how you blend gorgeous jewel tones with terracotta hues, to create an eclectic space that can be as subtle or daring as you like.

“Patterns have played their part in many trends of late and this summer’s infatuation with boho chic shows how confident we’ve got at bringing these bold and beautiful designs into our home,” says Ian Dykes, founder and director of Voyage Decoration. “What’s great about this stylish take on a bohemian look, is its inherent lack of rules; anything goes.”

Indeed, Moroccan styles can be combined with Mexican brights and Indian fabrics with English country garden florals – the more creative clashes the better. Soft furnishings, such as cushions and throws, are perfect for building up a boho vibe and will add a concentrated burst of colour.

“Use them to adorn sofas, window seats and chairs, to create a visually interesting and tactile display,” advises Dykes. “Once you’ve created this foundation, add another layer, using small decorative accessories and treasures from your travels.”

Along with folk art, glassware and fun statement pieces, feel free to mix the look up with woven baskets or something tribal. And don’t forget plants are a great way to bring an air of carefree cool to your scheme, and can be dotted around a room to great effect.

“I love the idea of travelling the world, finding hidden gems on great escapes and bringing back unique, one-off pieces to add charm and character to my home,” says Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker & Stonehouse. “Many furniture designers are finding inspiration in far-flung places and incorporating ethnic fabrics, reclaimed woods from afar and bold prints into their collections.

“You can completely redesign a room, or simply add a hint of exoticism from overseas by using the right accessories,” adds Hornby. “Start with an eye-catching piece and build your accessories and colour scheme around it.”

There’s plenty of room in this scheme for your own personal finds, too, so if you’re jetting off this summer, don’t forget to leave some extra room in your suitcase for those rare finds; treasures and brocades from the souk market, carved decos or even a beaded kaftan if you’re feeling free-spirited.

And if you’re not jetting off overseas any time soon, simply explore the shops at home instead.

View this and more articles on the Belfast Telegraph.

Caption: Fabrics on cushions, furniture and footstools, from a selection at Voyage Decoration. Key prints include Mazurka Reza Raspberry fabric, £44.50 per metre; Mazurka Oberek fabric, £44.50 per metre (

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