How to Get the Shabby Chic Style
Imagine a perfect summer afternoon at Grandma’s place. The scent of fresh flowers is filling the air, and you are snuggled on the most comfortable slipcovered sofa there is. While you are resting your elbow on a bunch of whimsical floral cushions and eating biscuits, a warm breeze blows through the window and gently touches the delicate lace curtains.
Welcome to the Shabby Chic fairytale!
While the poetic description above might not fit everyone’s childhood memories, no one can deny its charm. Shabby Chic is what dreams are made of, and that’s precisely why so many people feel so fondly for its aesthetics. But regardless of its worn look, the Shabby Chic interior design can be very modern and homely in both luxurious and frugal settings.
Let’s discover how to pull off a Shabby Chic living space on any budget.
History of Shabby Chic
Rachel Ashwell’s Prairie
Image source: Sotheby’s International Realty
Back in the 80s while bold colours and creative design were going mainstream, an alternative look began to emerge. A complete opposite of modernism, this new style was reworking the classic vintage furniture and singing the praises of pre-loved pieces with all their imperfections.
While England may be the cradle of the Shabby Chic style, it was Rachel Ashwell and her Californian concept store that brought it into the public eye. Rachel’s signature slipcovers and handpicked flea market furniture soon became THE thing, and Shabby Chic started gaining momentum. Everyone went mad over this elegant second-hand look. Even celebrities began introducing it into their mansions.
Every passing decade brought some exciting updates to the Shabby Chic design style, but what truly matters always remains – cosiness, comfort, feminine touch and vintage and antique furnishings.
How to Spot the Style
Image source: Shabby Chic
Look for Antique and Upcycled Furniture
Shabby Chic furniture is a creative mix of old and new, with rustic ambience as the essential part of the equation. The weathered look of restored and upcycled pieces (preferably with slipcovers on top) is a trademark of the style. In the Shabby Chic living room, you’ll find the most charming relicts of the past that are rough around the edges, with their paint peeling off from all the wear and tear they’ve seen.
However, if it is made of wood, almost any piece of furniture can easily be updated to fit into the build. Just put a fresh coat of white paint on it and do some distressing to make it seem aged, and voila! You have yourself a unique DIY Shabby Chic furniture piece.
Image source: Style Me Pretty
Less Colour, More Details
The Shabby Chic style is not so much about colour; it’s about texture and cute accessories. In achieving the romantic ambience, soft hues reign supreme, with white, off-white and sugary pastels being top choices. Despite the focus on neutrals, don’t be surprised if you discover accents of rich shades such as turquoise or yellow. As long as it is not visually crowding and adds to the relaxed atmosphere, it can find its place in a Shabby Chic living space.
Image source: Lobster and Swan
Touchy-feely Textiles and Pretty Prints
Creating a soft and dreamy style such as Shabby Chic calls for plenty of comfy fabrics to be used for upholstery, pillows, table skirts, curtains, throw rugs and blankets. Everything is airy and wrapped into linen, lace and crochet.
A homey effect is further nurtured with whimsical floral prints, polka dots, plaids and stripes in pale pink, powder blue, lavender, mint green and beige.
Just look at this Shabby Chic bedroom and tell us if you wouldn’t sleep like a lamb under these floral sheets!
Image source: Shabby Chic
Pastel Floral Oil Painting £98.00
Texture and Accessories Provide Interest
With the neutral backdrop and mild colours, the room needs plenty of eye-catching details and layers of texture. Otherwise, it will come off as flat.
Let the nostalgic accessories take centre stage and enjoy their bewitching interplay with a soothing background. Antique chandeliers, elegant mirrors, ornate frames, mismatched china, worn-looking armoires and whitewashed dressers all bring bling to the room, but Shabby Chic requires a balance of ordinary and extravagant. Going too far would ruin the mood and make the room seem too forced.
Rachel Ashwell’s home
Image source: Romantic Homes
Turquoise Round Jali Mirror £495.00
Shop the Style
An eclectic sister of Rustic interior style, Shabby Chic thrives on vintage finds. And what better place to shop for vintage furniture than Vinterior.
Farmhouse Pine Shelf Unit, Rustic Shelving, Storage, Country Cottage £195.00
Keep your eye on flamboyant listings, antiques, wooden furniture, oversized Shabby Chic sofas (you can later add slipcovers), lace lampshades and worn out everything.
But also on the low budget pieces that could become amazing candidates for DIY projects.
Original Moroccan Berber Carpet £850.00
Macrame Hanging Hammock Chair Swing £85.00
Collect Shabby Chic furniture piece by piece. Mix-and-match and have fun as the style is so unconventional and thrifted you can always find a suitable replacement for anything in the room.
Title image: styleathome.com