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’! Here is a quick peek at home design styles over the past 20 or 30 years.

The 1980’s…

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 a time period of affluence and we liked to show if off in our homes. Flashy Hi-Fi’s and video players were the ornaments of the day.

The 1990’s…

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’! Here is a quick peek at home design styles over the past 20 or 30 years.

The 2000’s time period…

The 2000’s, also known as the noughties, brought the neutral color pallette to home decor with lots of brown leather sofas! 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 think that this is the time period that produced shabby chic, to make things feel more warm and welcoming again.

Today, shabby chic can be subtle or decadently extravagant. From aged wooden letters spelling out ‘love’ or ‘home’ to oversized wonderfully ornate mirrors. Trinket boxes, hanging hearts, picture frames, lanterns and t-light holders are just a few of the homeware accessories that help achieve the 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.

The majority of French homes in the country were designed in the shabby chic decor by accident, because the French do not throw things away, which has created a style that has spread around the world and has now become known as shabby chic.

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 main objective is to create an overall feminine and modern feel, not a strict and fussy Victorian style.

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. Exposing original floorboards, beams and brick walls.

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! Mismatched furniture looks great. A few odd pieces of china, different carved knobs on a drawer, mixed cushion styles…anything goes so long as the colour scheme is neutral.

6. Look for ideas on Pinterest and shabby chic websites and on Pinterest.

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

With more attention being paid to the environment, people are becoming reluctant to kit out their homes with all-new furnishings. 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.