I decided to talk about the ever more popular style of decorating today, shabby chic, because it is so appropriate for the economic times we are dealing with. Without a doubt, this is the most economic form of decorating you can choose, since the main rule is “if it is old, worn, and used, its perfect!”
Worn (not torn), faded, vintage upholstery, curtains, tablecloths, bed linens, and rugs are what you are looking for. Wooden furniture should be distressed (like most of us, these days), banged up, with worn corners, or, if painted, should be peeling and chipping.
Don’t get me wrong, here, Folks! I’m not talking about cheap crappy furniture that fell apart. I am referring to high quality pieces, and once beautiful fabrics, picture frames, and chandeliers, that were lovingly used, and have faded and worn out over time. Cottons and linens should be either white, or pastels that have faded and bleached out over the years.
Painted furniture is also white or pastel, with many layers of paint, worn through in spots to show previous colors. Don’t mistake this style for a rustic look. While rustic may also be shabby, it is usually furniture of a simpler, more primitive design. Shabby chic can be very grand, elegant, and even formal. Think of it in the same light as a vintage wine!
Yellowed lace, fabric that is heavily patterned with roses, chenille bedspreads, lots of candles, old photographs and tintypes in filigreed silver frames are what you should be scouting around for. Hand painted (and chipped) ceramic vases filled with roses can sit proudly in every room. Iron beds, candelabras sitting on doilies, rusty outdoor furniture will complete your look.
Don’t overcrowd your rooms with “stuff.” Keep it light and airy, with white or very light walls. Keep your color in your accessories. And don’t be afraid to use slipcovers on pieces that are just a bit too shabby. The resulting look should be comfortable, romantic, and nostalgic.
The best part of all is shopping for your treasures! At a time when budgeting is an absolute necessity, and recycling is urgently needed to save our environment, what could be more fun than hitting the garage sales, flea markets, consignment shops and thrift stores BECAUSE YOU WANT TO?
A word of caution…make sure that what you buy is sturdy, tables and chairs are level, and lamps are properly wired and working. Have fun shopping!