The Last Word in Decor: Shabby Chic

Shabby chic has become the latest fashion in decor. It's also very easy to create. Would you like to know how to achieve it in your home and why it's such a winner? Keep reading!
The Last Word in Decor: Shabby Chic

Last update: 04 October, 2018

The shabby chic style is one of the latest trends in the world of interior design.

With the boom of everything vintage, shabby chic has come into the limelight. It’s fitting to highlight that, although many insist that shabby chic is a branch of vintage, there are clear differences between both styles.

Although having said that they are two different styles, they do have elements in common.

As we’ll see further on, shabby chic has come out on top due to the ease with which you can achieve it. It doesn’t require a huge investment to create decor with this interior design style.

In this article we’ll talk thoroughly about the shabby chic style, and especially the elements that you shouldn’t leave out if you would like to have this style of interior design in your home.

Where did shabby chic come from?

The term shabby chic emerged in the 80’s thanks to a British designer who used the term to define a new decorative style that used paints and effects based on a distressed look.

As an interior design style, shabby chic was born in the countryside of Great Britain where in large country houses you could find faded old sofas and curtains, and old paintwork.

The concept of shabby chic is based on the idea that some aspects of the decor such as furniture or furnishings should show signs of wear and tear. These items should be matched together with other more modern furnishings.

Shabby chic mixes old and new furnishings

The shabby chic style has expanded not only over the whole of Europe but also even to the United States. It’s become very popular in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Also, thanks to the style’s boom, antiques have made a comeback and have become more valuable. Items such as antique lace, furniture that shows wear and tear with the passing of time, or floral decorations have increased in value.

On the other hand, colors that didn’t used to be as common have become popular in interior design, such as pastel colors.

What is it?

This decor style is very easy to understand, since its very name shows what it means, ‘worn and chic’.

The concept is to mix items that are antique, or that appear to be, with other modern items.

Having reached this point, it would be good to distinguish between vintage and shabby chic.

The principal difference that exists between these two styles is that vintage covers a greater number of colors and shapes. Shabby chic on the other hand favors pastel colors and round shapes.

Due to the different interpretation that both styles give to worn or older furnishings, you might find that the vintage style isn’t as romantic and feminine as shabby chic can be.

Shabby chic furniture in pink

Common colors

Colors that are emphasized in the shabby chic style are pastel colors. Also, white is the principal color.

You can also add other colors. Above all, colors that give a classic or elegant feel, for example gold can suit the decor.

Before you see it in situ, it might seem that gold won’t go well with pastel colors. However, if you know how to combine it, it can be incorporated really well.

For example, you could use a mirror with a gilded Victorian frame. In the one piece, you have an old item, since it uses a Victorian style frame, but also the chic side with the gold color.

You can also find pastel colors to combine with the other furnishings. Look for printed fabrics with flowers, in wallpaper or in real flowers you could place around the house.

Teapots and teacups in pastel colors can add to a shabby chic style

Items that you shouldn’t leave out

Some of the items that you should include in a shabby chic style house are:

  • Wrought iron furniture, for example a bed or a dresser with iron detail would look great.
  • Wooden furniture, and if it’s rustic wood so much the better. Take into account that it should look antique. For this, you could use different restoration techniques so the piece looks like it has wear and tear. You could try achieving a distressed finish.
  • Dinner set. A dinner set is also important in this style. A retro dinner set would be perfect to complete the look. Principally it should be characterized by round plates with irregular edges.
  • Old candelabras. This is another key element to enhance shabby chic decor. Also, it is good to use mirrors with worn frames.
Shabby chic furniture can have a distressed finish


The shabby chic style is a style that’s currently trending because it offers the ease of mixing antique furnishings with other more modern or newer furnishings. This could be the key to your success.

Besides the ease of achieving this style, it doesn’t require you to spend huge amounts of money. You could even restore some pieces of furniture yourself and try aging some items to create this style.


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