Boho Brings Stunning Texture & Flair to Outdoor Rooms

By: Maureen Gilmer

From: Garden Chic, January/February, 2013

Boho Brings Stunning Texture & Flair to Outdoor Rooms

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR SALES Bohoís blending of materials and colors is resulting in a great new way to inspire your garden center customers to try something new, indoors and out.

Bohemian is the new hippie, just as hippie was once the new beatnik. Todayís version of this incredibly cyclical trend began with a fashion craze rooted in Anthropologie stores that quickly swarmed into both interior and exterior design. Affectionately known as boho, the same look and feel of the flower power generation is resurrected with a decidedly international flare. Driven by the steady supply of ethnic imports and a preoccupation with Eastern European gypsy style, this blending of materials and colors is resulting in a great new way to inspire your garden center customers to try something new, indoors and out.

The great part about boho is that the merchandise isnít overly expensive. The artistic roots of the bohemian lifestyle throughout the ages emphasize that this was not a wealthy group but a highly impressionable and influential one.

There is greater emphasis on carpet dwelling with pillows than furniture. Walls are hung with tapestries rather than mass produced art. The influence of the Middle East and Asia is palpable, primarily due to their tactile and colorful ethnic contributions.

Boho exists hand in hand with recycled and ďgreenĒ products, and is used to give the often monochromatic palette of this all too simple trend some real personality.

This style is all about the outdoor room. In fact, one of the most common elements we see at Pinterest and other style chronicles is the creation of tent-like enclosures. Drapes of cloth in vivid colors used to create more intimate, rustic spaces is highly popular both indoors and out.

In all likelihood, the vast majority of your customers will only dabble in boho, adding pieces of the style to evoke the feeling rather than dwelling entirely within it.

Textiles Contribute Ambiance
The beauty of boho-inspired textiles is their affordability. From cloth napkins to pillow shams, curtains and drapes, the ability to offer a wide range of price points is key to capturing the boho clientele. Textiles used in furniture and seating areas always include pillows, and lots of them. They come in every size, and are often heavily embroidered and always intensely colorful. Tassels are also a large factor, as is satin fringe and other embellishments that lend a luxurious look to a less-than-elegant space.

When promoted as key to outdoor summer comfort, you open the door to bringing boho into the garden for afternoons on the lawn, under trees, with incense and pomegranates and wine beneath wind-blown gossamer coverings.

In the 1960s, large cotton Indian weavings printed in bright graphic patterns were as valued as bedspreads as they were yardage for making room dividers, curtains and privacy screens. Today, similar projects are all over the DIY world. When you stock a good range of sizes, patterns and colors, with batik and mud cloth, there is no limit to how they can be used by your customers. In communities where there are few outlets for ethnic prints, you may become a word-of-mouth resource for these coveted fabrics.

For your upscale clientele, consider stocking silk saris from India. The colors, patterns and detailed embroidery are irresistible. Because a sari is such an extensive length of fabric, itís perfect for window drapes to cover ugly old curtain rods, furniture and headboards. The possibilities are endless if you include Southeast Asian ethnic weavings and the carved wood hanging brackets that, in and of themselves, are works of art.

The fashion trend of boho womenís clothing features soft, flowing gauzy fabrics with trims of silks and satins. While you may not stock sized apparel, shawls, scarves and a dozen other fabric accessories are quick and easy sales, particularly during the holidays.

Donít underestimate anything beaded, from picture frames to little lamps and even glistening wind chimes. The sparkle of crystals and the appeal of the semiprecious stone bead ropes from China are powerful lures. Inexpensive turquoise and silver jewelry from Tibet, North Africa or imports with an affordable Native American flare also belong here draped and displayed gaudily throughout your showroom.

More Special Touches
Many interior schemes emphasize the ability to recline on the floor with pillows and in lounges. Sprawling pieces, such as vintage iron childís daybeds, can easily be transformed into couches with lavish textiles. Small tea tables from Morocco or China that can be nestled into lounging spaces are particularly appealing when creatively colored with ethnic paint, mosaic and inlay. Blend them with overstuffed hassocks and ottomans perfect for moving outdoors during the summer for impromptu gatherings.

Many boho fans are renters, so all of this style should be easy to take down and move to new digs. For a garden center, the ability to appeal to renters opens up a whole new door to sales. These customers love the look of Oriental carpets, but not the price - so, why not offer them woven plastic outdoor carpets with the same exotic patterns? These brightly colored coverings hide ugly concrete or asphalt, or provide a beautiful space on the lawn thatís affordable and usable all summer long. Those with double colors are particularly suitable.

Hanging Moroccan light fixtures, and their cheaper knockoffs, can be seen in nearly every published example of this style. Those with colored glass, dangling beads and other embellishments are desirable. Those that accommodate big candles that last longer than votives or tea lights should be featured along with any pre-wired for electric bulbs.

With boho style, itís details that matter. Theyíre the million little pieces that sell quickly and leave customers satisfied that they can take a bit of this romantic style home with them.

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