Is This Design Style the New Boho?

What happens when the free-spirit trend grows up.
Primary color pillows in all-white living room

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Thanks to ’90s-era McMansions filled with dark, ornate kitchens that had brown cabinets and even browner granite countertops, Mediterranean decor has gotten a bad rap. But take a trip to the South of France, the Greek isles, or the Moroccan coast, and you’ll quickly realize that what we sometimes define as Mediterranean is an entirely American fabrication.

A new book is looking to change that misperception: The New Mediterranean gives a modernist take with a collection of warm, minimalist coastal interiors from around the world. In many ways, it feels almost like the new iteration of the now ubiquitous boho look—more pared back and less trend driven. Bonus: Following the coffee-table book’s style missives will give your home instant vacation vibes. To try it for yourself, replace these common bohemian favorites with some fresh ideas. 

Instead of Macramé, Try Tapestries

Colorful wall tapestry in white dining room
Photography by Nicole Franzen, The New Mediterranean, gestalten 2019

Robert McKinley’s vacation rental in Montauk, New York, may be miles away from the Aegean Sea, but its influences aren’t any less Mediterranean. The all-white space is simply furnished with natural light wood pieces, sink skirts, and a collection of Aelfie tapestries, a chic new take on knotted wall hangings.

Instead of Daybeds, Try Built-in Sectionals

White and tan hotel interior with terrazzo floors
Photography by José Hevia, The New Mediterranean, gestalten 2019

French tufted mattresses have been a staple of boho style for years, but more modern coastal spaces, like Hôtel Les Roches Rouges in Saint-Raphaël, France, showcase a ’70s-inspired alternative: low-slung built-in sofas with simple seat cushions and pillows that extend to create side tables and storage pieces. Trust us, we’ll be seeing many more of these in the coming months.

Instead of Beaded Lights, Try Noguchi Lanterns

Blue pillows and Noguchi lantern in living room
Photography by Aaron Bengochea, The New Mediterranean, gestalten 2019

Chandeliers made from seashells, beads, and tied rope may be quintessentially bohemian, but Mediterranean modernists prefer a more minimal approach. Spaces like the Brooklyn apartment of designer Jonny Ribeiro incorporate oversize Noguchi lanterns and small terracotta lamps as opposed to more ornate options.

Instead of Beni Ourains, Try Graphic Moroccan Rugs

Colorful rugs and tapestry in Moroccan interior
Courtesy of Lrnce, The New Mediterranean, Gestalten 2019

For a few years, black-and-white zigzag Beni Ourain rugs (real and fake) graced the floors of homes around the world. But for Laurence Leenaert, founder of Lrnce, the boho go-to needed a dose of pattern and color. In her Marrakech studio, she creates abstract handmade pieces in shades of indigo, rust, and ochre that double as art for your floors.

Instead of Ceramic Tile, Try Terracotta Tile

Dining room with terra cotta floors
Photography by Herve Goluza, The New Mediterranean, Gestalten 2019

Morrocan patterned tile came into the spotlight a few years ago, but there’s another (more timeless) tile that’s found throughout the Mediterranean: antique terracotta. Available in various shapes and finishes ranging from matte to glossy, they give homes a lived-in, authentic feel.

Instead of Colorful Textiles, Try All-White Linens

All white room with plants
Photography by Mariko Reed, The New Mediterranean, gestalten 2019

Bohemian spaces are often filled with color and pattern from all over the world: ikat textiles, Otomi embroideries, kilim rugs, etc. But there is value in sticking to one simple fabric—off-white linen, as seen in Serena Mitnik-Miller’s Los Angeles home, will never go out of style.

Read more on The New Mediterranean:

Discover more trends we’re loving: Is This the Next Shiplap? What Comes After Subway Tile? We Asked 5 Designers What Comes After Terrazzo? We Asked 3 Interior Designers

Gabrielle Savoie


Gabrielle is most often found digging through 1stdibs in search of Tobia Scarpa sofas, hunting down the newest cool hotels, or singing the praises of Art Nouveau. She spends an inordinate amount of time looking at real estate floor plans and listening to podcasts. In her free time, you’ll likely find her bouncing on a trampoline at Fithouse, snacking on a crudo at the latest cocktail bar, antiquing for French silverware, or dogsitting for anyone who will ask—yes, even you.