‘Shabby Chic’ is a style where the furniture and furnishings are chosen for their aged appearance. Despite the gently ‘distressed’ state of the furniture, the overall effect is often one of quiet opulence, with a relaxed feeling- almost like you’re in a holiday house.
What to Buy
If you’re keen to have a Shabby Chic appearance in your home, you’re looking at furniture that has a distressed appearance- either due to age or due to be specially treated by the manufacturer. The furniture may look antique, but it’s unlikely to be. In fact, serious collectors of antiques may be horrified at the idea that pieces are allowed to remain in a state of gentle disrepair!
Up-cycling & Recycling
The recycling of older pieces of furniture and vintage fabrics is an important hallmark of the Shabby Chic style. It became popular in Britain in the 1980's, championed by the Bohemian set as a response to stuffy, formal interiors.
If you’re not shopping for antiques, look at reproduction pieces. If they are not suitably distressed, you can achieve the effect yourself by sanding down the top coats to show the base coat in areas. Consider buying your wooden pieces- table, dining table and chairs- together and then giving them this treatment. Replacing any ‘modern’ style handles on drawers, bedside tables or cabinets- buying antique ceramic or brass handles- is an excellent way to ‘age’ a reproduction piece.
Even if you’re buying reproduction furniture, the Shabby Chic house will often boast an unusual piece of salvaged furniture. An old chest or trunk re-purposed as a storage unit is perfect. This piece could be an old lamp, a grandfather clock, or a framed full length mirror- and no truly Shabby Chic bedroom could be complete without an armoire!
Fabrics and Soft Furnishings
Fabrics and soft furnishings should look to cottons and linens- especially vintage French linens. Ecrus and worn pastels are perfect, and clean whites can be dyed with tea to mimic the look of older fabric. Floral patterns work well, especially if they are faded or muted. Couches and sofas should be comfortable, overstuffed and adorned with as many cushions as possible. Cotton throws are an excellent way to achieve the desired, relaxed effect and no sofa, couch or bed should be without one. Planning a Shabby Chic furniture re-decoration for your home? Take the guesswork out of buying and check out our Furniture Buying Guides. At House of Home we've got the best tips on buying Shabby Chic furniture for your home.