How To Do Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic decor is a term that describes furnishings that have an aged look with clear signs of being well-worn and used. With new items they are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. The look created is different to genuine period decor in that it’s warmer, softer and more sumptuous. Cottage-style meets grandeur. The style has its origins in the UK and the term Shabby Chic was originally coined, believe it or not, back in the 1980’s not a decade that we usually associate with ‘chic’! Let’s take a quick look back at furnishing and homewares style over the last 30 years or so.

The 80’s time period…

During the period of the 80’s, furniture was mostly grey or black with glass and chrome, with white walls and peach or pink walls, think of the show Miami Vice, and you will know what I am talking about. It was the decade of extravagance and our homes were a place to show this off. VCRs and cassette players were the new technology and everyone liked to display their new toys.

The 90’s time period…

Shabby Chic decor is a term that describes furnishings that have an aged look with clear signs of being well-worn and used. With new items they are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. The look created is different to genuine period decor in that it’s warmer, softer and more sumptuous. Cottage-style meets grandeur. The style has its origins in the UK and the term Shabby Chic was originally coined, believe it or not, back in the 1980’s not a decade that we usually associate with ‘chic’! Let’s take a quick look back at furnishing and homewares style over the last 30 years or so.

The 00’s…

The noughties brought the advent, in home interiors, of the neutral palette (and brown leather sofa’s!). The beginning of this decade had homes filled with huge widescreen televisions that took up the entire room, but as time progressed, TVs become slim and sleek, and our decor became more sleek and modern to match. The look was quite cold, granite worktops, wooden floors with sleek and stylish accessories to match. I believe it was from this cold look of the noughties that our refound love affair with shabby chic began.

The shabby chic decor of today, can be very simple or very luxurious. From aged wooden letters spelling out ‘love’ or ‘home’ to oversized wonderfully ornate mirrors. Small jewelry boxes, and candle holders and hanging feminine wall art helps to finish off the overall look. Furniture can be sourced in this style or created yourself, but how to do that is for another article! Shabby chic mixes old antique cottage styles and mixes it with more modern decor to create a unique warm and cozy and stylish design.

Shabby Chic was possibly the most common interior design for most French country houses by default–the French rarely throw out anything functional just because it’s ‘old’–but over the last few decades, the style has spread throughout the world, becoming a favourite with those who prefer their chic to be more casual than carefully constructed.

Though the French may do this naturally, the term ‘shabby chic’ originated started in Great Britain and evokes the type of decoration found in large country houses where there are worn and faded old chintz sofas and curtains, old paintwork and unassuming ‘good’ taste. The goal is to achieve an elegant overall effect, as opposed to cutesy Pseudo-Victorian.

Upgrading old furniture pieces and fabric is essential to creating this look. The overall beauty of the shabby chic look is made by using several different elements:

1. The use of vintage furniture and accessories, preferably not in pristine condition.

2. Revealing brick walls, original flooring and beams.

3. Use paint that has pale or neutral colors-keeping your decor looking clean.

4. Using objects in unusual ways. Some ideas are, using a teacup as a planter, making a blanket out of old sweaters, using a large spool as a table. This design creates an intimate, comfortable and homely feeling, and can easily be applied to any room in the house.

5. Mix it up! Nothing needs to match perfectly. Different colored dining room chairs, or different styles of dishes mixed together with differing colors of cabinet knobs will all look great if your main color theme is neutral.

6. To get the look, seek inspiration in Pinterest, country decor magazines and online sites, such as Shabby Chic.

7. Decorate with flowers. Add a few blossoms to tea cups, creamers, Mason jars, or old vases for a feminine touch.

More and more focus is on taking care of the environment and people are less likely to decorate their homes in all new furniture. Shabby Chic is solid proof that featuring pre-loved furnishings and homeware in your home decoration scheme is far from shabby; it’s simply 100% chic.