Hi, I'm Shirley

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Shabby Chic:  Has Enough Been Said On IT?

Shabby Chic: Has Enough Been Said On IT?

Here's my resounding NO.  It's a classic style that I certainly hope will never go out of style.  Shabby chic decor invites us to relax, don't worry, honor the past but live in the moment.  Moreover, with a little creativity, imagination and scavenging, it can be very inexpensive to achieve that lovely shabby chic style.  

The standard description for what is shabby chic, I quote below.  Not to worry if some of the elements don't quite suite your taste.  Feel free to break the rules a bit to reflect "your" personal preferences.  The style has been around for only a few decades.  In her article, What is "Shabby Chic" And How You Can Get The Look,  Kate Unsworth nicely summarizes how this style began:

Shabby chic emerged as a popular style trend in the 1980s, when British bohemians and artists began to upcycle old furniture into works of art, added charm with fabrics, and repurposed treasures for display. They were, in effect, making use of both their creativity and their limited funds to develop a look all their own. The trend soon spread to the US and beyond, and it is now seen as a timeless style aligned with our growing focus on eco-sustainability in building and design. Shabby chic embraces old, worn and nostalgic pieces – a perfect fit for the current trend of recycling, upcycling and repurposing. The style is also comfortable, relaxed, warm and charming, and adaptable to most homes.
— Kate Unsworth, Houzz Contributor

Elements of Shabby Chic:

  • Furniture is old and worn.  Often heavily painted or has been distressed or glazed to appear old.  Faux finishes are sometimes applied to tables, chairs and other pieces.  Creative eyes repurpose a variety of nontraditional items such as old trucks used as coffee tables and short ladders as side tables. 
  • Fabrics are natural fibers such as linens and cottons, with linen being the most popular.  Solid colors are popular, as well as patterned fabrics such as floral and tick strips.
  • Colors are predominantly white in "pure whites, as well as ecrus and worn or bleached." (Wikipedia)  Other colors include soft pastels from "duck-egg blue to watery greens, pale pinks, lemon yellow and cool grey."  (Kate Unsworth)    
  • Variants on shabby chic include cottage chic, beach cottage chic, French country and Gustavian (Swedish).

What could be more fun and inspiring than looking at beautiful rooms in shabby chic?  So let's get to it.  Note while some rooms reflect designs in single family homes, all can be adopted for apartment living. 

 Houzz for   Dreamy Whites    

Houzz for Dreamy Whites  

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Where To Find Furniture And Fabrics For Shabby Chic

  • Antique stores
  • Consignment shops
  • Flee Markets
  • Someone's attic (family members such as grandma's attic or someone else's grandma, farms, etc.)
  • For the not so squeamish, trash dumpsters
  • Garage sales
  • Goodwill and Salvation Army stores

Fabrics are also found in the places above.  Additionally, fabric stores are great places to shop for shabby chic style textile. 

Shabby chic is often characterized as being faminine mostly because of the pastel colors and many of the decorating elements.  However, this really doesn't have to be.  Stronger colors can be used.  Here is an image from a previous guest room I had created with dark cocoa brown walls.  The sofa is old but had redesigned with redesigned down-filled seat cushions and back pillows, then finished with a slipcover.  

 annsliee previous shabby chic cocoa room (unfinished)

annsliee previous shabby chic cocoa room (unfinished)

So what do you think about shabby chic?  A design for you or just a design to like from afar?  
Would love to hear from you!  So please share.


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