At first glance, the term “shabby chic” seems like a juxtaposition of sorts.
After all, the word “shabby” is typically associated with old and tattered objects; things which most people would hardly classify as “chic”.
So what is this whole shabby chic trend about, exactly?
We’ll spare you the long explanation and give you the tl;dr version: shabby chic is a dreamy and comfortable style, that celebrates what is old and unique. Old furniture is preferred over new ones, or new furniture deliberately distressed to appear aged.
Curious to find out more? Here are 9 shabby chic decor ideas to make your residence extra elegant:
1. Go Soft, But Don’t Forget The Loud
Pastel/light shades such as blush and dusty pink are totally in this year. These colors make up most of the shabby chic palette: think pretty shades like soft white, muted green, pastel grey and many more.
Although soft colors are preferred, both soft and loud colors have a place in the shabby chic aesthetic.
Pastels, greys and neutrals add a subtle vintage appeal, and promote a tranquil atmosphere. Bold colors like nautical red, on the other hand, are usually used in smaller amounts, and bring much-needed excitement and energy.
Go with creamy white for your walls, or add a multi-colored pastel carpet and pair it with furniture in shades of teal and turquoise.
The key idea is consistency: as opposed to using multiple colors, we find it works better when you stick to a few tones, and repeat them throughout a room.
2. Paint Wooden Furniture White
No decor, we reckon, quite says “shabby chic” as white wooden furniture.
Thankfully, wooden furniture can be obtained fairly easily: get yours from a flea market, a garage sale, or even your local thrift store.
- Spray the furniture with white paint
- Sand the corners of the furniture
- Give the furniture a distressed look with steel wool and sandpaper
- Apply a stain (optional)
- Finish off with a coat of polyurethane
3. Choose Frills And Ruffles
Ooh la la. Contrary to popular belief, frills and ruffles aren’t always frumpy and boring: in fact, they are major game-changers in the interior design industry.
Frills and ruffles give a softer touch to rougher pieces of furniture, balancing the “shabby” aspect out nicely.
Although frills are mostly used in shabby chic bedding, frilly lamp shades and even a door hanger with frills will enhance the look of your room too.
Or how about some ruffled curtains for une touche romantique à votre décor (a romantic touch to your decor)?
4. Learn From The French
The shabby chic concept is similar to what French culture embodies: it is all about simplicity and elegance, albeit with a whimsical twist. This is evident from the types of furniture used, too.
No shabby chic look is complete without a chandelier: the French variant of it, that is. Add a crystal chandelier (or two) to instantly elevate your space.
5. Get Creative By Doing It Yourself
I can hear all the cheers and groans now. Relax and let me explain.
DIY shabby chic solutions range from simple to ones which are more complicated.
For those who aren’t keen on getting down and dirty (which is often inevitable in the process of DIY-ing), there’s an easier way out: simply repurpose existing furniture, cutlery, or accessories.
A sofa, for example, can be used to hold a vase of flowers; unused teacups can be used as pots for plants.
Or – how about this – put an old picnic bench to good use, by using it as a coffee table. All these sound doable, right?
For the more adventurous, we reckon you’ll relish the challenge of making your own furniture/accessories, such as this Jewelry and Earring organizer. You won’t find anything quite like this in the marketplace /wriggles eyebrows.
6. Have Fun With Patterns, Colors And Materials
Variety is the spice of life, they say. Ain’t nothing like some patterns and textures in shabby chic design, we say.
To create a warm and homely ambiance, combine patterns like checks, floral fabrics and stripes.
A patchwork quilt, a velvet chair and blue trim… when used together, these elements fuse to form a beautiful masterpiece.
When layered, textures and patterns provide rich contrast for that perfect #shabbychic style.
7. Up Your Game With Florals And Candles
Decor doesn’t always have to appeal to the sense of sight – it can appeal to the sense of smell, too.
Scented candles are perfect proof of that: while aesthetically pleasing, their appearance is secondary to the fragrance they emit.
Similarly, flowers are always nice to have around. In line with the shabby chic style, have some flowers in a glass jar or an exquisite vase, or leave bunches of fresh flowers scattered around.
Floral prints count as flowers, too: when used on soft throw pillows, they add some much-needed texture.
8. Dress Furniture In Slipcovers
Y’know those ancient, long-forgotten furniture you have stashed away in your basement/attic/etc?
Well, by adding slipcovers of your choice, they’ll make the perfect additions to your shabby chic home.
Buy a throw at a store, make your own slipcover, or even get one that is custom made – the cost is lower than buying a piece of new furniture!
When buying slipcovers, choose those which are white or bearing soft faded prints. As the slipcovers need to be washed periodically, ensure that you choose those made up of fabric that is easy to care for.
Maybe even use different slipcovers for different seasons: for instance, warm stripes for winter, and cool white for summer.
9. Stain It With Tea
Fun fact of the day: did you know that tea can be used on fabric, to produce a vintage-looking effect? Well, apparently it can. With just a little tea, a piece of fabric can be made to look old and worn and soft… even if it’s actually new.
As tea-staining is largely an irreversible process, we recommend that you test things out on a small piece of fabric first. By adding tea, pure white fabric can transform into a shade of soft creamy white – perfect for the shabby chic aesthetic.
From shabby chic bedding to candles, there you have it – 9 shabby chic decor ideas for an extra elegant home.
As an interior design style, shabby chic can only be vaguely defined; it is up to the individual to decide how he/she wants to interpret it (which is the fun bit).
The appeal of shabby chic, overall, lies in its timeless, rather understated elegance.
Check back for more articles on the shabby chic design!