Shabby Chic Furniture is in Trend – How to Get it Right

Without question, Shabby Chic furniture is in trend: Vintage is back with a vengeance! The most recognisable feature of Shabby Chic design is the way the wear of the furniture or object is emphasised, not disguised. Every piece is individual and usually hand crafted, usually balancing the vintage look with modern design concepts. Some furniture is not vintage and has been deliberately distressed and weathered. Either way, because it so individualistic, for those who like something different and unique, Shabby Chic is it.

Let’s Start with a Little History

In reality the phrase shabby chic is a figure of speech. Shabby refers to the worn-out aspect of the furniture and of course chic, means fashionable and stylish. The style and so phrase began evolving in the UK during the eighties. The idea was founded upon the reproduction of the type of old chintz sofas, antique kitchen cupboards and faded linens found in old upper-crust houses dotted throughout Britain’s countryside. The overall effect is aimed at being elegant, somewhat cute and sentimental, as well as vintage. Originally favoured by artisans and bohemians alike, shabby chic interiors were virtually regarded as works of art.  

Then and Now

Original shabby chic was somewhat grandiose compared to now. This is because over the last few decades other styles have been introduced. Some of the most notable influences being from the simplicity of Shakers furniture, old French Chateau styles and 18th century painting techniques. Since the eighties the awareness and acceptance of this particular style has evolved worldwide.  

Main Characteristics

Without doubt, Shabby Chic furniture is clearly unconventional and that’s one of the main characteristics of this style. What makes it so unconventional is the way elements are brought together in an untypical, almost conflicting way. To sum it up, we are talking ‘clashing but charming’. Flowers and Art Nouveau style motifs and patterns are common elements within this style.

Colour and Textures

Soft washed colours (reflecting the old) with notes of brighter, flashes of colour is typical (reflecting the new). Lots of white, along with earthy tones as well as faded pastel blue and pink tints are typical. Patterns and textures are a very important aspect of Shabby Chic furniture. What is always true is that the use of colour and textures will bring in modern elements that clearly differentiate the old style with the new style. Heavy and repeated layers of paint is common.

Getting it Together

A genuine vintage piece of furniture always ‘carries off’ the look in the ultimate (genuine) shabby chic way. Common themes feature cottage style motifs, flowers and cherubs, which is why this style has a relaxed and often romantic feel to it. Shabby chic furniture includes accessories such as curtains and cushions, which are usually soft natural cotton and linen, as well as luxurious silks and satins. Lighting and fixtures generally ebb toward the Rococo style. Altogether, this miss-match of elegant styles and vintage ambience is what it takes to get the Shabby Chic style just right – And it can be a lot of fun getting it together!