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Decorating for a Shabby Chic Look

Scour Flea Markets, Garage Sales, and Your Attic for Shabby Chic® Decor

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Decorating for a Shabby Chic Look

Soft delicate pink and green are perfect for this style.

Shabby Chic® is a comfortable, casual decorating style with a look that uses vintage accessories, pastels, and comfortable furniture. While people have been living with old lace tablecloths, dreamy soft floral fabrics, light painted furniture furniture, wrought iron curtain rods with filmy sheer curtains, and colorful fresh flowers for a long time, Rachel Ashwell identified this style of decorating and named it Shabby Chic®.

Think of visiting with your grandmother, snuggled in comfortable soft furniture. Fresh flowers look beautiful and the soft scent of candles fills the room. A home decorated in the Shabby Chic® style can provide the same sensation for your own home.

Shabby Chic® is no particular style, but rather balances elegant things with old and worn, shiny silver accessories with painted wooden tables, soft throw rugs with rough old lace.

To read how the founder of Shabby Chic® describes this unique style, you migh read our interview with Rachel Ashwell. Then visit the About's links on Cottage style. Visit a store near you that carries Shabby Chic® branded furniture, fabrics, and home accessories.

Read about some of the ways you can use a Shabby Chic® decorating style in your home:

  • Soft Delicate Colors

    If you love bold primary colors, Shabby Chic® is not for you. Soft white, muted grey, pale pink, and faded green all have a place in a Shabby Chic® interior.

  • Tea Stained Fabrics

    Collect fabrics from around the house or buy vintage-looking fabrics even if they're new. To give the illusion of age, fabric can be made to look old, worn, faded, and soft by staining them with a brew of tea. Be sure to test a piece of fabric first to get just the right shade. You can change something that's stark white to a soft creamy white-- just right for the look.

  • Combine Patterns and Colors

    Combine stripes, checks, and floral fabrics to achieve a warm and inviting look. Gather yardage or fabrics from yard sales and flea markets. You don't have to follow traditional rules of combining prints, but for easiest mixing keep the background color the same (white or ivory, etc.). Then choose one color to repeat in almost every fabric, such as a soft green or pale pink.

  • White Painted Furniture

    Almost any piece of wooden furniture will fit into a Shabby Chic® interior if it's painted white. Collect pieces from flea markets, garage sales, and the attic. Spray with white paint, sand off the corners and rough it up a little, and voila!-- you have Shabby Chic® furniture. You'd be surprised how a coat of paint transforms a dark dingy chair or table.

  • Think Outside the Box

    Not every chair has to be sat on. How about using a sturdy, painted straight chair as a table at the side of a bed or sofa or in a corner to hold a vase of flowers? An old picnic bench or trunk can serve as a coffee table. Stack wooden boxes at the side of a chair for books and flowers. Be creative and use what you have.

More About Shabby Chic® and Cottage Style

Back to All Style Guides

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