Shabby Chic Design Style: A-to-Z Tips and Inspirations


Although currently no longer the craze, shabby chic style did not disappear altogether and has once again become a favourite theme in décor scene. Here are some key features of the vintage-inspired look that you can apply to your home.

What is Shabby Chic?

In a world where modernism is the top priority, a little touch of rust could balance it all out and make everything looks and feels better. Take a bow to designer Rachel Ashwell who, in 1989, invented and trademarked a unique style where comfort and elegance meet antiquity. Termed the shabby chic style, it was immensely popular in the 1990s.

Generally, shabby chic is defined as dream-like vibe and serenity. It features vintage furnishing and decoration, focusing on comfort and nostalgic feeling. While the world had already been familiar with old lace tablecloths, delicate sheer drapery, light coloured furniture and fresh flowers, Ashwell identified this decorating style and made a perfect name for it.

Shabby Chic Style in Decoration

Shabby chic styled room would feel like your grandmother’s place: a place where you could always feel the homey vibe right when you step into it. Soft, comfortable furniture pieces are indispensable. You could see fresh flowers in some places, giving a pleasant sight to the eyes and relaxing scent to the smell. Sometimes you could also find candles on the corner, on shelves, filling the room with a subtle calming scent.


It is prerequisite to understand that much like the Cottage style, shabby chic is not a singular style but rather a harmonious ensemble of old and new: dazzling silver accessories balanced with rustic wooden tables and drab old laces. Everything is arranged together to create harmony and balance.

The Colour Theme

Shabby chic is all about being delicate, so if you prefer bold primary colours, this is certainly not for you. Start with a simple white as the primary shade. Next, consider adding touches of bright hues like soft white, pale pink, muted grey and faded green. Everything pastel fits well with the look. For flooring, two types that are commonly used are natural flooring and white-washed floorboards. Some basic accessories like wooden benches and wicker chairs are often times added to complete the style.


Note that even though light shades play a significant role, shabby chic isn’t unfamiliar with heavier layers. Not in big staples like the table or sofa, but preferably smaller ones. Think gold accents on classic wooden dressers, shaggy throws on wood chairs, and soft lace over heavy curtains. It is imperative to emphasise that the style is mostly about the clean canvas. Avoid a frequent presence of heavier colours that can make for a crowded, busy looking palette.

The Texture

Applying only a neutral palette without any pattern is like getting the shabby without the chic. It is understandable to yearn for some pops of bright accent whenever possible. Mind you, always remember the golden rule of shabby chic: less is more. Liven up your space without turning away from the style by putting throw pillows or hanging wall art with bold patterns in light backgrounds. Stripes, checks, and floral fabrics are perfect to create a warm and captivating look. Quick tip: mix them with a white or ivory base to get the right look.

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Furniture and Accessories

Furniture and accessories are the two things that we can always be creative at. The key is to balance it out between old, drab things with elements that are more elegant in nature. Silver accessories on wooden tables, throw floral rugs with aged and rough lace, and rusted gold knobs on timber doors are some excellent examples on how to bring the style to space. Don’t forget to always add flowers and candles! Scatter around fresh flowers that you just bought, then complete the mood with scented candles.


From Farmhouse-Inspired to Sweet and Feminine

There are at least three different ways that you can choose to achieve shabby chic style interior. Each one is among the most popular variants of the style. The first one is the farmhouse-inspired cottage chic, where farm animal wall art, milk jug décor, and industrial hardware are the essential decorative elements.


Next is the classic French country that features vintage French details, neutral colours, and worn out/distressed textures. Anything rusted, dingy and rumpled but neat is the craze for the style. It exudes well-used and well-loved impression that people secretly long for.

The last yet special one is the sweet and feminine beach cottage chic. Bring the look into your corner by adding pink florals and flouncy drapes completed with a quaint Victorian armoire. Voila! You got the most adored shabby chic style!

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