What is shabby chic décor? In a nutshell, it is anything that looks or feels old that is being recycled, reused or renewed as part of your décor. Some people refer to shabby chic as being vintage – – period furniture, old fabrics (especially florals), chandeliers, slipcovered sofas and antique lamps. These items can be found at flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores and even your finer retail establishments are great places to shop for your shabby chic decorating items. However, be careful not to go “too shabby” or you will end up with something that is more “dumpster” defunct (which is not attractive at all) rather than shabby chic.
Shabby chic décor is not as easy as throwing together some scratched up wood furniture, vintage lamps and a slipcovered couch. It does take planning and a careful eye to piece together the perfect combination of vintage pieces to arrive at a shabby chic abode. The first decision you must make before purchasing one item is what color scheme you want throughout your home (or the room you are redecorating). Shabby does not mean mismatched or uncoordinated; therefore, throwing color schemes together that are not compatible will not give you the effect that you desire. White or cream is the base color for most shabby chic with soft pale colors of blue, green, yellow and pink as accent colors. Once you have chosen your color scheme, it is time to begin choosing your furniture and accessories to turn your home into a shabby chic heaven.
Furniture is usually the one item that breaks your budget when decorating. However, with shabby chic you are reusing and recycling old furniture making this decorating style very affordable for your home. Think of old, wooden pieces of furniture with peeling or chipped paint (be careful of this if you have small children in your home) that you can refinish. Shop yard sales and thrift stores for furniture that is considered outdated or antique looking. Often you can purchase these items for practically nothing and use slipcovers, reupholster with a vintage fabric or paint/varnish to create a wonderful shabby chic item for your home.
When choosing your fabrics, think in color schemes of pale pinks, roses, blues, greens and yellows. Floral patterns and stripes are popular and may be mixed together in complimentary patterns. Fabrics look as if they have been used over a long period to create that worn, vintage appearance. Try draping pretty linens over a plain, wooden chair in a corner in your bedroom or kitchen as an accent piece. On the other hand, you may want to leave the bottom drawer of an old dresser open to showcase vintage linens and an old black and white picture in a Victorian frame.
Bedspreads made of white chenille with intricate patterns are the perfect shabby chic item to have in your bedroom. Use pillows with mint green, pink and yellow dainty flowers to accent the white bedspread. Try draping a vintage piece of old lace or place lace doilies on the top of an old dresser and use old perfume bottles as decoration. Vintage and antique looking lamps are a wonderful accent to a small bedside table.
Quilts are another versatile shabby chic décor item that can be used in many areas of your home. Drape quilts over chairs in your living room or bedroom or hang small quilts on the wall for accent items. If you purchase old wooden chairs for your dining room table, consider painting them a cream or white shade and using an old quilt to cover the seats of the chairs.
One of my favorite shabby chic ideas is for the bathroom – – transform an old dresser into a sink and vanity. Paint it white and add ceramic drawer pulls with a French rose on them. Look for a basin that is slightly chipped that has a “lived” with appeal.
I found when I first attempted shabby chic décor that I was overwhelmed and had no clue what to do. I found that looking at websites that offered brand new shabby chic décor and furniture helped me get a feel for the design technique. This also helped me begin to look for items at thrift stores and other places that were inexpensive but had the same appeal as the new items. Try Not To Shabby or Cottage Chic Store to get ideas.