7 Ways to Embrace Shabby Chic

Shabby chic is the perfect interior design to make a statement on a limited budget. But striking a balance between elegance and Bohemian requires some preparation to understand what looks great and what looks just plain old shabby.

By Steve Lowe

09-08-2019
Shabby chic is the perfect interior design to make a statement on a limited budget. But striking a balance between elegance and Bohemian requires some preparation to understand what looks great and what looks just plain old shabby.

Shabby chic should provide a vibe of care-free relaxation without feeling fussy or contrived. Also known as vintage or country chic, it remains one of the most popular and best value styles for a home. The nature of the furnishings – recycled and second-hand – make it a relatively low-cost, makeover.

You must commit to the approach throughout your home. Nothing jars more than seeing a living area make a statement that is undermined by vanilla-furnished bedrooms.

Here are some tips for the shabby chic look:

1.Make your canvas neutral
The aim of shabby chic is to elevate the features of your furnishings, so don’t overpower the design approach with strong paint colours, feature walls or loud carpet designs. These must play a secondary role or your room will be an assault on the eyeballs.

2.Pick a bouquet of pastels
Colours are gentle on the eye with an emphasis on feminine pastels, especially pinks and whites that are complemented by bright prints, usually of fruits or flowers in distressed frames. These give the walls a wonderful accent of art.

3.Accessories are key
Natural fibres and authentic cultural patterns are back in fashion for rugs, wall hangings and throw cushions – but they’ve never gone away for shabby chic. They deliver a Bohemian atmosphere that creates cosy, timeless spaces. Mix antique furniture, florals and lace liberally to complement the furniture and fittings.

4.Maximise the natural light
Dress the windows in sheer, bright white net curtains and pull them back where possible to let in more light. Judicial use of indoor plants creates a further bridge between your home and the outdoors.

5.Add timeless timbers
Your furniture should use classical wooden carpentry and design, especially in the kitchen and dining areas. Arguably, the surfaces – benchtops, kitchen and dining tables – make the most memorable statements so keep these natural or whitewashed timber.

6.Make your furniture fabulous
Woven wicker, or conservatory furniture, can provide the classic shabby chic image. It should be painted white or in a pastel – bluey-grey can be a favourite – with the paintwork appearing distressed. Resist painting in strong colours as your accessories will provide the necessary accent of colour, pattern and style.

7.De-stress using distressing techniques
You can give tired furniture a second life by using the distress technique – removing paint with a heat gun and sandpaper to return it close to its original state. It can be fun to do and will make your furniture truly unique.

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| Shabby Chic | Design | Lifestyle