Shabby Chic- A Do It Yourself Guide

Do you like DIY projects? If you do, then you will probably want to try changing old furniture into the decor known as shabby chic. All it takes is a pinch of artistic desire, a dash of creative talent and a willingness to get your hands dirty, and you can be on your way to a new look for your decor, while having loads of fun along the way!

First, you will need to locate that special piece to work with. May I suggest that you start with a small, uncomplicated piece of furniture? An end table, pair of nightstands, or a coffee table would work just great! You certainly do not want to start out with large or intricately detailed pieces, if you are new to the world of do-it -yourself. Success with a small, simple piece will give you the confidence needed to move on to something a bit more complicated down the road.

You might be wondering where you will find your first piece of furniture to transform. Well, chances are you would never be found crawling around in a dumpster, but that just happens to be one of my favorite places to look for diamonds in the rough. Just think of how much better off our planet would be if we would quit loading up the landfills with all that great, reusable stuff and transform it instead! But, that is a discussion for another day. If dumpster diving seems a bit extreme to you, just consider the gems waiting to be discovered all around you on trash day. It is amazing how many wonderful things that are disposed of on trash day. I suppose that is what the famous saying means, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

If neither of the above two sources for pieces appeals to you, there are still many options for finding reasonably priced items to transform to a shabby chic style. Garage sales, also called tag sales or yard sales, depending on where you are located are great places to find diamonds in the rough. If you look in your daily newspaper or craigslist ads, you will find many places to find your new treasure, and auctions as well. Auctions are something you definitely don’t want to miss out on! It is very easy to become addicted to going to auctions because of all the cheap and amazing finds that are there waiting for you to discover. And of course, there is the local thrift store, another tremendous resource for goodies. Before you know it, you will be a regular anywhere bargains abound!

You have now found that perfect piece! Now what? You need to know a little bit about the essence of shabby chic decor. I’ll make it simple. Shabby chic furniture is an old piece that has been repainted in a distressed, pale color. If you like to browse decorating blogs, or look at decorating magazines, you have probably seen some shabby chic decor. Even eBay abounds with great shabby chic items. A search there using any combination of the terms “shabby chic, antique, or vintage” will provide a veritable feast of ideas. Once you know the look you’re trying to achieve, you are ready to begin the transformation process.

Cleaning it is essential. Paint will not work on top of a dirty piece of furniture. Who wants a dirty piece of furniture anyway? Next, you need to repair anything that needs to be fixed on your piece of furniture, so that you will be able to use it. The next step will be to paint your piece with your color of choice. My personal preference is to use spray paint, but painting by hand works just as well. Let your item dry for two to three days before distressing it. A little bit of sanding in strategic areas will give your piece that well-worn look that shabby chic is known for.

After you have finished re-doing several pieces of furniture, I am sure that you will see that it is so much fun that you will be hooked on DIY decor for life! Not too long from now, you will also be transforming coal into diamonds. Well, I’ve got to go. I hear the dumpster calling!