Shabby chic is a decorating style which offers lots of warmth and nostalgia with a contemporary slant. The design look uses vintage and antique furniture and accessories which have slight wear, giving the home a ‘lived in’ yet stylish appearance. Many designers also use new furniture and accessories, distressing them to mimic the patina of age. Read on for design ideas and tips to achieve a shabby chic style in your home.
Buy vintage and antique furniture and accessories.
A few key pieces of furniture or accessories can be the basis for a shabby chic look. Search for items which have great design and which look comfortably worn.
Some great places to find bargains on vintage and antique items include: yard and garage sales, thrift and charity shops, online auctions, estate auctions and antique shops.
Make repairs or adjustments to bargain home furnishings.
Often you can find a piece of furniture or an accessory which needs some work at a bargain price. A little TLC can make it perfect for your shabby chic look. For instance, I have often found old frames at garage sales which contain cheap old prints. I bought them and replaced the prints with mirrors or vintage black and white photographs.
Refinish new or old furniture or accessories with a shabby chic look.
Some interior designers are masters at creating a shabby chic look without spending much money. For instance, new wooden furniture and accessories can be painted in an off-white color to give them a slightly aged look. After the paint is dry, you can sand the surface to make the item look distressed. A cheap new wooden dresser, mirror frame or chair can be transformed into a shabby chic centerpiece by using this method.
A word of advice – don’t repaint nice antique furniture. Repainting can damage some antique and vintage items and destroy the value. Rather, a professional restoration protects the value of period furniture. Repainting furniture yourself is best saved for items which cannot be otherwise repaired or which are not of high value.
Accentuate with Simple Colors and Accessories.
The shabby chic style is simple and rustic, so don’t overpower with bold colors and patterns. Rather, simple, soft colors and fabrics blend beautifully with a shabby chic style. For soft furnishings, look for patterns that have a period or vintage feel. The aim of shabby chic style is to create a simple lived-in feel; continue with the feeling of comfort and calm by using light, soothing shades.