Style Check! – What’s in a Name? Pt 2: Boho, Country Style and Traditional interiors

This month we continue with part two in our Style Check! Series in which we look at 3 popular interior décor styles and discuss what elements help define them. Last month we discussed Scandi, Japandi and Bauhaus; this month we’ll be looking at Boho, Country Style and Traditional interiors.

There are numerous specialist blogs, videos and publications that take an in-depth look at every aspect of each of these styles; this isn’t one of them! Ours is a brief look at the often-mentioned interior styles and is more of an outline than a discussion.

Rich colours with neutral undertones epitomises the Boho mood perfectly. Photo: Pooky Lighting (


The name Boho (or Bohemian) style conjures different things to different people. Although originally a derogatory term for the wandering Roma gypsies, the name has been adopted by ‘unconventional’ societal groups like the famous (and rebellious) Bloomsbury group of the early 1900s, the hippies of the 60s, and in some respects, today’s New Ager. The Boho name has been happily hijacked and adapted to suit!

How “Bohemian” transformed into a style is uncertain but it probably has roots in the idea of finding different items along life’s journey and utilising them in everyday life. The life of the Romany gypsy, (the original occupants of Bohemia who were chased off their lands by the Romans in the 4th century), is far removed from the idyllic picture of the cosy Gypsy caravan or an intellectual enclave!

This beautifully crafted room perfectly encapsulates the essence of Boho Design. Photo Credit: from Boho Oasis

When looking at creating a Boho scheme, eclectic is the keyword. A mix of styles, from much loved hand-me-downs to flea market and junk shop finds, can be happily combined with the brand new. It is more about creating a mood rather than a particular look. Natural materials like wood, rattan, woven grass and sisal are the preferred tone and base to work from. Although naturally colourful by nature, successful Boho style is underpinned by its use of natural tones. These perfectly offset Boho’s richly hued upholstery fabrics, throws, and accessories in textured wools, cottons, linens, and mohair. Kelims and oriental rugs are always a popular choice for floor coverings.

No Boho interior would be complete without nature making an appearance. Grouping plants in macrame holders from beams, or in the window always adds charm and is the epitome of the style. Remember to choose your plants according to the available light. Hardy succulents are always a great low maintenance choice when you are unsure, or a known plant killer!

A fabulous array of accessories, perfect for the Boho room. Photo credit: Bark & Chase

Interesting feature lamp fittings work well in the Boho setting. Look at pendants in metallics or glass, or even a chandelier if space allows. Again, space dependant, a vintage standing lamp or some interesting table lamps can add the perfect touch. Remember that lighting also needs to be practical sometimes, so dimmers or a strong reading lamp are advisable.


With a design inspired by sacred geometry, the Dodecahedron is the perfect side table for the Boho room. Photo: Leonardo Design

Country House:

My first conscious exposure to ‘Country style’ was in the 70s when Biggie Best dominated the market. It was a world filled with frills and ruffles, cute ducks, checks, florals and stripes, all in a limited range of colours. Biggie Best is still going strong and has changed its offerings with the times, and happily Country style has lost a lot of its ‘tweeness’. Country is also a far cry from the lace curtains, dark furnishings and traditional fabrics that one often associates with quaint turn of the century cottages.

In truth, the concept of a Country House interior is purely dependant on where you live! American and British Country house styles have similarities, but are quite different, as is European and African Country décor. One thing is certain, the recent popularity of the Country interior can be seen as a step away from the greys and monochromes that have dominated interiors for some time. Although ‘contemporary country’ still plays with neutrals, they are of a warmer palette and form a perfect base note to work from.

Relaxed elegance is perfectly expressed in this contemporary Country room. Warm neutrals are complimented with the pops of colour and the clever use of a fresh green tiled walkway that delineates the seating area. Photo credit: Home Bunch Interior Design Ideas

Whichever area of the globe you are looking to represent with your Country decor, the easiest way of capturing its essence is by utilising the same colour palette that was originally favoured in the past.

Rich barn reds, rusts, forest greens, warm greys and blues are typical of early Americana. Creamy magnolia walls compliment the botanical greens, cornflower blues, dusty rose and mauves of the English country garden. Creams, soft greys, pale blues and buttery yellows are indicative of the French style, while terracotta, rich reds, shades of olive and deeper yellows lend a Tuscan flavour. Do some research into your chosen country’s early style history to help determine your accent palette.

Include a few selected period-styled pieces in your furniture mix to bring a feel of authenticity, but avoid looking like an antique shop! Choose pieces that tell a story, or have ‘the right look’ (you’ll know it when you see it!). This might be Shaker style furniture for an American theme, Chippendale or Edwardian for an English feel, or a Yellowwood riempie bench and jonkmanskas in a South African room. Additional painted and natural wood furnishings, such as cabinets or coffee tables, are on trend and lend a strong contemporary Country feel.

This Fluted Oak Coffee Table from the Leonardo – Tables by Design collection has a contemporary feel that will fit perfectly in the Country room.

Comfortably upholstered soft furnishings are perfect, and fabrics like tweed and strong cotton weaves bring texture and interest. Nostalgic additions like an embroidered pillow or quilted throw can help cement the theme. Displaying precious keepsakes, heirloom ornaments and artworks will bring your personal story to a room, but be careful to avoid clutter.

A fresh botanical print in apple green from Linwood Fabric’s Arcadia Loseley range is the perfect choice for this comfortable armchair. Photo credit: Linwood Fabrics

Research is truly the key behind creating any successful scheme. Whether you are paying homage to a particular country, or creating a generic Country feel for a relaxed, but elegantly casual lifestyle, using the above guidelines will help achieve your goal. However, we strongly advise consulting a professional decorator to help you create the perfect Country space specific to your needs.


Traditional interior design is exactly what it says – a homage to tradition. The style became particularly popular in the years following WWII, and in a small way, emulated the interior décor traditions of 18th – 19th century Europe and England. Affordable reproduction furniture was a recent novelty, brought about thanks to modern manufacturing processes and production methods, and the style saw its way into millions of post-war homes as a touchstone to the past after the bleakness of the war years. The aim of the Traditional style is to create a reassuring, elegant and understandable backdrop, more than a statement than any wow factor.  The aim of this design style is comfort and familiarity, so pay attention to the flow of the room when choosing and positioning furniture.

The perfect balance of colour, texture and furnishings in this Traditional inspired room from McGrath II’s Cobblestone Hill Project – Photo Credit: McGrath II

The Traditional colour scheme builds from a base of whites, creams and sand colours, the ideal backdrop for the periods dark, often ornate furnishings. Solid wood and veneers of oak, cherry and walnut predominated key furniture pieces like dressers and sideboards of the time, while more modern, but classically designed pieces, formed the secondary furnishings such as occasional tables and smaller cabinets. These were traditionally dressed with vases of fresh blooms, glass ornaments, cherished keepsakes and special ornaments.

Walls are dressed with nicely framed groups of paintings, feature mirrors and hangings. Favoured fabrics for soft furnishings and window treatments include staples like brocades, velvets, heavy silks, chenille, linens and heavy cottons. Checks, stripes, tartans, botanicals and florals are all popular designs and can be used together.

The bold patterns and harmonious colours of the matching upholstery and curtain fabric from Terry's Fabrics work perfectly in the contemporary Traditional room.  Photo credit: Terrys Fabrics

Interiors needn’t be boring, and with the inclusion of some well-chosen contemporary furniture pieces, prints and the clever use of colour, traditional style comes alive and still holds its own in today’s design world. Avoid the pairing trap! Different, but complimentary table lamps or candelabras have far more impact than a matching pair. Add a modern twist to the traditional wall sconce, pendants or small chandeliers to add some of today’s design language.

This stunning arrangement from Réne Dekker Interior Design exemplifies how personal keepsakes and heirloom pieces can enhance the Traditional look. Photo Credit: Réne Dekker (UK)

Traditional floor coverings are exactly that, traditional. Oriental and vintage carpets and rugs are naturally popular and add warmth with jewel like colours predominating. Using runners to connect various areas of a room is a clever way of bringing cohesion and visual interest to the space.

Of all the interior design styles that we are covering in this 3-part series, Traditional is one of the easiest to personalise as it uses all the elements that make YOU feel comfortable. As long as you keep to the general interior design principles of the theme, your space is bound to be a success.

The Cleveland oval coffee table will add grace and charm to any traditional interior. Available on special order from Leonardo – Tables by Design.

We do hope that you have enjoyed this month’s look into some more interior styles. As mentioned, this isn’t intended as a definitive guide – there are lots of those on the net and in bookshops, but rather an outline of what the style entails. Next month we’ll talk about Mediterranean, Mid-Century and Industrial/Minimalism design styles. 

Leonardo Design have a wide range available for order on their website and also specialise in creating custom and bespoke pieces and ranges for the home and corporate brief. Speak with our team to discuss how we can bring our three decades of experience to your table.

Until next month

Yours in Style – Frank




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