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Shabby Chic Style

Shabby Chic is a style that evokes a comfortable, lived-in feeling, and is characterized by slightly worn, overstuffed chairs and sofas, slipcovers, painted furniture, vintage accessories, old trunks remade into coffee tables, faded quilts, baskets holding magazines, worn lace hung as a curtain, and whimsical accents. The term was first coined by British designer Rachel Ashwell during the 1980s, whose company offers washable slipcovered furniture, bedding, fabrics, design books, and most recently a cable television series. Shabby Chic rooms are perfect places to display a mix of flea market finds, family hand me downs, and other second hand treasures, all redone and displayed to suit your style and preference. Simply put, Shabby Chic is a style that blends new and old in an inviting, personal way. The color themes are always light pastels, with much use of white.

First, as with any decorating style, Shabby Chic requires balance. Place something elegant and chic next to something aged with time, smooth along with textured, dull or worn painted surfaces underneath antique/vintage accessories.

Next, Shabby Chic rooms are well known for the use of slipcovered furniture. The beauty of slipcovers is that they hide wear and tear, mismatched colors and outdated fabrics or patterns. Many Shabby Chic rooms use white slipcovers, but any dulled and muted solid color or pattern can work. In addition, no ironing board is required when decorating in the Shabby Chic style, as wrinkled fabrics only add to the charm. Upholstery should not appear pressed, but rather worn. Additionally, the size of furniture is important in a Shabby Chic room. Comfortable, rumpled, slipcovered, and rounded, chairs in the Shabby Chic style are generally overstuffed, or large enough to seat two people. Such pieces are welcoming and fit right at home, and a staple of the Shabby Chic room.

For accent pieces on the wall or atop tables, use concrete column bases, iron corner brackets, old mantles, and more. These architectural pieces add style and whimsy to your Shabby Chic room!

Finally, keep your Shabby Chic room light by painting your walls and furniture white. Using simple paint techniques, paint old wooden furniture white, with a chipped or crackled finish. Or simply use a white garage sale find that already appears worn!

Below are some of our favorite Shabby Chic ideas. Get inspired, and click on the following thumbnails to view our favorite Shabby Chic rooms.