Add some shabby chic style to your homeJen Wiss-Carline
Shabby chic decor first appeared in the eighties and since then, this eclectic interior trend has grown in popularity. The shabby chic look is about worn or rustic furniture and accessories that have an aged appearance but contribute to an overall grand, charming feel.
Some people make the mistake of thinking shabby chic is all about shabby, worn out things – forgetting the ‘chic’! Shabby chic furniture can be worn, but can also be grand and elaborate, like this beautiful painted wooden wardrobe in soft duck egg (above left) which has an unmistakably French feel to it. You’ll see that the paint is slightly distressed where the wardrobe has suffered wear over the years. Rustic furniture also works well like the complementing dressing table in the above picture.
Above: This rustic style crate filled with pretty coloured glass bottles, gingham ribbon and lavender makes the perfect shabby chic display.
Upcycling your old unloved furniture shabby chic style is very easy thanks to Annie Sloan’s gorgeous range of chalk paints. This easy to use paint goes onto almost all furniture without the need for a primer, giving it a perfect soft velvety finish. Lightly distress the edges of the furniture with sandpaper where natural wear and tear would occur, to give it the worn appearance that you’re looking for. Adding new handles and decoupaging door or drawer fronts with pretty Parisian style paper (right) will also help lift the look of an old unwanted unit and give it the ‘chic’ finish that is synonymous with this style.
If you’d rather buy new furniture, white or ivory painted wood pieces are the perfect choice for a shabby chic themed room.
The chandelier in the elegant bedroom above perfectly encapsulates what shabby chic style is all about. It has a vintage look with a mix of clear crystal and turquoise glass droplets with a delicate, feminine feel. When it comes to choosing a chandelier, anything goes – from simple, authentic brass with candle bulbs to large eccentric pieces with hundreds of glass droplets. Chandeliers aren’t a good choice for the bathroom, so if you love the look, consider a ceiling candelabra instead.
Above: Chandeliers add instant chic to any room. The white painted furniture and grand mirror are also typical of shabby chic themes. White painted floorboards give this room an elegant yet rustic charm.
The shabby chic look frequently features collections of items that relate but don’t match – like the collection of pots on top of the dresser (above), the mirror, brush and flowers on the dressing table (top left), or the mix of pots and containers on the distressed wooden kitchen shelves (top right). Bring together vintage glassware, old perfume bottles, vases, old tins, handmade containers and other sweet, ‘authentic’ touches that will work together to create a slightly disorganised, mismatched collection that has its own unique charm.
A soft glow
Pretty bird cages and lanterns finished in distressed white paint are a very popular shabby chic decorative touch. Add a string of battery operated fairy lights and they’ll give a warm glow to any corner of your room. The bonus of using battery operated lights is that you won’t need to worry about placing them close to an electric point – they’ll work anywhere you want to put them.
Elaborate mirrors are easy way to bring shabby chic style to the home – but don’t limit them to the lounge or bedroom. This gorgeous detailed mirror (right) adds a stunning focal point to an otherwise neutral bathroom, drawing the eye and giving the room a grand, vintage feel.
An excess of fabric is another way to give a grand look to a room. This might be around the windows, where longer-than-needed voile curtains can be swept up by pretty hooks or crystal tie backs. In the bedroom, a good number of cushions that feature lace and embellishments can be mixed in with faded French linen, complemented with throws and blankets for a look that is lavish but still cosy.
In the living area, throws, cushions and thick pile rugs all give a warm, luxurious appearance that is inviting. To create an overall effect that is shabby chic, they should complement one another, but not match.
Look for genuine old vintage pieces that ooze vintage charm like this beautiful old leather couch (below) – but before you buy, look carefully for signs of woodworm as this can quickly spread to your other items of furniture.
Above: This charming old vintage couch and lamp stand add a touch of grandeur to a simple room with painted brick walls.