Shabby chic home decor became wildly popular during the 80s, and over 40 years later it remains a much-loved household theme for homeowners, decorators and design enthusiasts. This is because it is both timeless and comforting.
If you want your home to feel warm and welcoming, while being tasteful and smart, then shabby chic is the style for you. A much-loved blend of modernity and tradition, it is a cost-effective, accessible style with no set rules or requirements: you can find the perfect furniture in charity shops, vintage stores, marketplaces or even through upcycling.
What is Shabby Chic?
Shabby chic began as an alternative to the polished glamour of 1980s design and architecture. The very best of shabby chic decor looks antique and vintage, as if it’s appearance is incidental- when in fact, that’s quite the opposite.
Furniture is deliberately made to look old, worn and comfy, with distressed edges, soft hues and an abundance of accessories. Perhaps the most important thing, and certainly the most fun, is that the style is whatever you make of it. Almost anything can fit the category, especially if you’re willing to experiment.
How To: A Shabby Chic Living Room
The style is codified by a soft, warm colour palette. Colours typically considered shabby chic include pale greys, pinks and greens. A good example of these colours is femininity redefined, a Pantone palette that draws on playfulness and femininity. This is very similar to a minimalistic colour palette, which means that it is incredibly easy to transition styles, if and when you would like a change.
Once you have mastered your colour scheme, it is time to consider the kind of furniture you would like in your home. Shabby chic furniture is comfortable and cosy, often appearing vintage. A great way to achieve this is by layering throws and rugs. Using magnolia faux wood blinds could really suit the colour scheme and add warmth and texture. Interesting vases, picture frames and figurines also make great additions, as they draw the eye.
How To: A Shabby Chic Bedroom
This is your opportunity to create a stylish, personal space, and really experiment with different feature pieces. A large fabric or repurposed headboard can be a great centrepiece, while velvets and florals can look (and feel) fantastic. For example, mustard bird print curtains are effortlessly complementary, especially when paired with similar tones and textures.
Part of the fun of shabby chic furniture is that there are no rules, and so you have the freedom to mix and match, and pair unconventional shades and patterns. Through the power of interior design, it all ties together.
How To: A Shabby Chic Kitchen
Rusticity and femininity unite to create a picturesque kitchen. White painted cabinets and drawers, especially when done yourself, are a simple way to embrace the style. Overstuffed upholstery, faux rusted metal, flowers and candles are all details that would make an excellent addition to a shabby chic kitchen.
You can transform your kitchen into a haven reminiscent of a French cafe or an English country cottage. It could be interesting to experiment with shutters, as a set of cream shutters can transport your room, and instantly give it a sophisticated yet welcoming feel.
How Can I Make My House Shabby Chic?
It is a style well-suited to any room in the house, even more so when you add your own personal touches. Redecorating your home can be intimidating, and it can be difficult to know what kind of theme best suits the shape and lighting, and lifestyle of other inhabitants.
Luckily, there are a few ways that you can begin to experiment with shabby chic furniture, without spending too much money or trying too much too soon. If you want to know how to make your house shabby chic, you should try your hand at repurposing and upcycling.
Take ordinary household items and put them in a completely different context. Experimenting with things you already own means that not only are you saving money, because you’re not spending, but you’re also being more environmentally friendly, as you’re not throwing away and replacing items that are still fit for purpose.
Some great examples of repurposed furniture include using glass bottles as vases, chair backs as photo frames and ladders as bookshelves. There is so much room for creativity, the possibilities are truly endless!
While this is similar to repurposing furniture, it requires a little bit more effort. You can upcycle old furniture, and give it a new lease on life, by investing a little bit of time, money and attention into it. Some simple yet effective upcycling techniques include applying a fresh coat of paint or reupholstering.
The great thing about upcycling is that you can use the furniture you already have, or buy new items cheaply from a charity store. Both are much better than buying something brand new, as it already has a sense of history and character, which is essential to attain the ultimate shabby chic look.