Shabby Chic Decor – How to Achieve The Look

An important trait of the Shabby Chic decor is the ability to incorporate new uses for old items and to restore old furniture and decor. Shabby Chic is popular today because it encompasses high class style on a budget. This means getting a hold of old, used items and bringing them back to life with a little love and care. Furniture, antiques, porcelain, glassware, and dishware are all fair game as long as they are old and vintage.

Shabby Chic decor does not encompass only one style.

The Shabby Chic decor is a fusion of different styles of sorts. It has its basis in old English countryside and cottage style, but it is also heavily influenced by elements of French chateau, American shaker and Mediterranean design styles. Different styles can coexist as long as the main theme is adhered to, i.e. predominantly light in colors and looking to achieve a natural, lived-in look.

Use mostly whites and other light colors.

The predominant color for the Shabby Chic style is white. Many pieces of furniture can be restored by cleaning them up and giving them a fresh coat of white. Followed by some light sanding, you can give them an aged, faded look that is part of the Shabby Chic trademark. Exposed wood and other layers of paint give your furniture pieces personality.

Upholstery and other fabrics are an important element of Shabby Chic.

Furniture that is upholstered should analyzed and revised if necessary. You don’t want dark colors or loud patterns. Your upholstery should be light in color, such as cream, white or a light pastel-based color and adorned with quiet patterns should as airy floral patterns, strips, polka dots or even solids. This also goes for other fabrics such as your bedding and slipcovers which are great for covering your sofas.

Antiques and Old Items

Look to get free or underpriced antiques from friends, family members and antique malls. antiques are an important element of the Shabby Chic decor, as long as you don’t pay an arm and a leg for them. Ask your parents or grandmother if you can rummage through their old stuff to see if there are any antiques. If not, check your local garage sales and flea markets to look for under-priced items. One characteristic of Shabby Chic is to mix old with new, so antiques would fit perfectly well next to any modern decorations in the room.If you are on a limited budget and are enthralled with infusing new elements into the old style country way of decorating, then the Shabby Chic style is perfect for you. You’ll be able to use time tested design accepted styles with your own creativity and imagination to create your own unique style that works for your style, as long as you don’t pay an arm and a leg for them. Ask your parents or grandmother if you can rummage through their old stuff to see if there are any antiques. If not, check your local garage sales and flea markets to look for under-priced items. One characteristic of Shabby Chic is to mix old with new, so antiques would fit perfectly well next to any modern decorations in the room

Shabby Chic Cabbages and Roses

Once Shabby Chic was all about ‘cabbages & roses’, feminine frills and lace. A mix of country cottage and stately home. It was where real antique pieces of quality that were partly broken or were too worn sat side by side with pieces of junk china and hand painted furniture. The look was I suppose based on decaying gentry, with pieces that had once graced big houses sitting in a cottage setting. The whole feel was a jumble of trash and treasure, with edges softened by floral fabrics and muted colours. Lots of white, ivory and cream with a bit, or sometimes a lot, of pink. A very English look with hints of treasure that has seen better days. This look is still quite popular, particularly in the US and, strangely enough, Japan. Less so perhaps in the UK.

New England Shabby Chic or Beach Shabby Chic

This look is all about scrubbed floors and painted furniture in a muted pallet of whites,creams, greens and blues. Fabrics are still used quite heavily but with a nautical twist. Lots of stripes, ticking, and linens. It uses more hand made painted furniture with straight lines and few details. Accents and ornaments are usually naive with hand painted elements. Drift wood and pebbles add interest. This is an easier look for a family to live with in many ways. I love this look and it is easier to do well than some of the other Shabby Chic styles.This style gives an airy feel to rooms and depends on lots of natural light. It can look a bit cold, especially in a North facing room. Come winter you might need to cosy it up a bit by swapping out some of the greens and blues for richer dark reds and even oranges. This can be done by changing fabrics and accents rather than major pieces.

Retro or Vintage Shabby Chic

This is very ‘now’, a young look that works well mixed with more modern settings. In some ways it harks back to the ‘cabbages and roses’ style because it mixes quality pieces from the grandparents’ time with more up to date pieces. Currently this look is typified by the use of original classic late 60s and 70s pieces, like G-plan or Heals and the 70′s colour pallet of greens and browns with orange accents. Furniture is usually left plain wood finish not painted.

There’s another strand to this look which harks back further to the 1950s. This is typified by the use of Cath Kidstone’s fabrics and 1940s/50s utility style furniture painted white or cream in a shabby chic finish. Rather like ‘cabbages and roses’ but with few frills and flounces this look is fairly easy to achieve and ideally suited to small spaces. It is definitely ‘family friendly’ and easy to live with.

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