Love the shabby chic look? Possibly one of the most popular trends ever, shabby chic is still going strong almost 20 years after the term was first coined. An eclectic style that mixes antique furniture with pastel colours, lace and feminine florals, shabby chic is often also referred to as country chic or vintage chic.
If you love this soft and dreamy style, you're in luck, because shabby chic design and vintage home decor is easy and inexpensive to achieve. At its most basic, shabby chic is upcycled or antiqued furniture, meaning you can either find old pieces cheaply, or buy modern furniture at a lower cost and give it a shabby chic makeover yourself.
Read on to see beautiful shabby chic rooms and learn all the tips and tricks for creating the perfect shabby chic home from our experts.
1. Mix minimal colour with maximum detail
Mono gets and elegant update with soothing neutrals, pretty fabrics and ornate accessories. For a sophisticated take on shabby chic, stick to a palette of off-white and cream, adding white-washed and distressed wood for interest. To avoid the look becoming too flat, layer accessories with plenty of details and texture, including crochet, linen and lace fabrics. Don’t forget to introduce grey. A grey laminate flooring won’t break up the space and the grain provides a subtle contrast.
2. Embrace craftsmanship with artisan picks
For a living space full of character, combine distressed wood with plush upholstery. A wallpaper with a subtle brushstroke design in soft blue/grey sets the tone for this dynamic look. Be inspired by Bloomsbury prints in chalky hues on cushions and lampshades. For a traditional collector’s look, gather mismatched vases and jugs with a handcrafted feel. On the floor, an antique-effect laminate complements reclaimed wooden furniture.
Looking for more shabby chic ideas? READ: Beautiful shabby chic bedrooms to unwind in
3. Create a farmhouse feel using country creams
Subtle stripes, neutral shades and Shaker-style furnishings make for a relaxed, rural look. Complement a classic country palette of cream and beige with upholstery and cushions in a ticking stripe linen in muted red. Simple checks will also work well. Embrace the rustic appeal of this scheme by incorporating natural materials like oak, cotton and linen. if you don’t happen to have perfect floorboards, you can cheat the look with a realistic aged-effect laminate flooring.
4. Choose classic rose prints to recreate this lovely look
Pretty pinks, white wood and nostalgic accessories create a romantic scheme. with blowsy bouquet prints, there’s no denying the feminine nature of this look. Use pattern liberally and think about a feature wall. Go for classic Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley. If you’re after a bedroom that’s a cosy retreat, layer plenty of comfy pillows along with crocheted or knitted blankets. Tongue-and-groove panelling is a simple way to add interest to walls. Paint in a rich cream shade and the rest of the wall in white. A white four-poster bed and vintage bedside table will create ambience.
5. Evoke a farmhouse feel with soft curves and chalky hues
Recreate the charm of rural France using muted textile prints and rustic wood finishes. Paint walls in a delicate duck egg shade, then add furnishings in rich cream and distressed painted wood. Look for pre-loved items in vintage shops on eBay. Enhance the French feel by layering cushions in subtle stripes and elegant toile prints, and finish with a cotton throw. For en earthy finish, opt for chunky sisal carpets. Soften with a textured rug in neutral shades.
6. Allow your mini-me to fall in love with shabby chic
Ballerina motifs, painted furniture and sugary shades make for a girly girl’s room. Max our on pretty prints. Pick an illustrated wallpaper for the walls, plus bedding and upholstery featuring darling hearts and flowers. Paint bare floorboards white – or get the same look with vinyl or laminate. Upcycle preloved bedroom furniture in ice cream shades of chalk paint. Add detail to the drawers with panels of pretty wallpaper.
7. Work in vintage accessories and feminine accents
The bright open space of a conservatory lends itself well to the shabby chic look. Choose classic woven conservatory furniture and create an elegant feel by painting an adjacent wall in a fresh blue-grey shade. For soft furnishings, mix and match striped and floral fabrics with plains for seat covers and cushions. Hang vintage bevelled mirror and finish with plenty of fresh flowers and potted plants.
8. Play pick and mix with mismatched accessories
Shabby chic aficionados are a creative bunch as this is a look that thrives on vintage finds. This bathroom is the perfect example of how to try shabby chic decorating ideas on a minimal budget – a salvaged cupboard, antique mirror and a vintage console table used a vanity unit tick all the style boxes.
Want more shabby chic decorating ideas? READ: Shabby chic kitchen ideas that are packed with character
From the best place to pick up vintage finds, to simple decorating tips to achieve the look on a budget, we have everything you need to achieve shabby chic style in your own home...
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Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.
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