The good news about shabby chic decorating style is that it is perfect for the economically straitened times we are living in. The beauty of shabby chic is there is no scrimping on style but plenty of scrimping on budget! Of course, shabby chic can be a very expensive taken to extremes, but the beauty of the style is it gets the creative juices flowing and allows us to rummage in cupboards, in antique shops, second hand sales and auctions to find perfect pieces to go with the look we are creating. This becomes an exciting mission as the project takes shape over time.
What is the shabby chic decorating style?
It is a style of decorating that has been around for many years but the name was coined in the late 1980’s. This style of decorating uses vintage accessories, soft colours, and comfortable, oversized furniture. It is reminiscent of how you imagine the perfect grandmother’s house to be, with the smell of apple and cinnamon and a mix of utilitarian furnishings, old and worn items and beautiful, elegant objects.
White painted furniture and accessories have long been associated with shabby chic decorating. The term “distressed” refers to aged looking furniture where the paint is worn, slight patination is present and the corners and legs are authentically puppy-chewed and cat-scratched. It takes a lot of years to achieve this particular state of grace! The good news is, paint effects and judicious aging techniques can give you the effect without waiting half a century or more. Take one dingy, dull, dark side table some paint or varnish stripper, wire wool and strip back to bare wood. Use white or pale paints to bring the piece back to shabby chic life, apply a little distressing to the finish and there you have the perfect shabby chic accessory.
Upholstered furniture in shabby chic style is oversized squishy and comfortable with a wrinkled but neat look. Slipcovers are often used which are perfect to disguise an old ugly piece of furniture. Plenty of texture is used as colours are often white on white or cream on cream. Throws, lacey arm covers, crocheted or knitted lap rugs may be piled up on a sofa for a tactile haven to snuggle into. Delicate muted coloured printed fabric cushion covers break up the look slightly.
Shabby chic colour schemes are always muted and soft. Green, blue, pink, grey plus white and cream gives a palette to make a space light and airy.
Finding accessories for your shabby chic look is as simple as raiding your cupboards and wardrobes to uncover treasures that have not been seen for while. Check outbuildings and garages for any stored furniture that could be transformed and ask around friends and relatives who may have things they no longer need that could be used. Set off beautiful heirlooms and old treasures and keepsakes to catch the eye and put mismatched china teacups and saucers on a table or dresser. Browse charity shops and second hand shops for pieces to suit your room. New items in the shabby chic style can look well, but it is more fun to find your own bargains.
This style of decorating is not just about throwing together an eclectic mix of items in pale colours. You still need to use good judgement and know how to pull a look together. Why not try one of our interior design courses and learn some of the skills that will allow your rooms to showcase your creativity and set off your rooms to their best advantage,