shabby chic interior design

Main Concepts of Shabby Chic Interior Design

The shabby chic style has been popular for several decades and continues to generate buzz in the world of interior design, but what exactly is shabby chic?

Whether we’re talking about French Provencal, cottage, or coastal shabby chic, the main concepts of this trend remain the same, and they’re not too shabby, if you ask us (pun intended).

1.Neutral Background

Shabby chic is known for soft, muted colors, so a neutral background in white, beige, or grey is a must for nailing this trend.

You can add pops of color through decor and even small accent pieces, but the walls and larger furniture should be neutral shades.

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2. Distressed and Vintage Furniture

Distressed furniture is a hallmark of shabby chic, and you can achieve this look by distressing furniture you already have with chalk paint.

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Shabby chic also utilizes a lot of vintage furniture, which you can find in antique shops, thrift stores, and flea markets; you can also pull out a family heirloom!

If you’re not quite crafty, that’s OK because you can find distressed and vintage-inspired furniture in a number of stores now.

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3. Whites and Pastels

Whites and pastels give shabby chic its light, bright, and airy look, so don’t hesitate to white-wash a whole room or play with pink.

Popular pastels are pale pinks and baby blues, but you can also play with other colors like a spritely green or cheery yellow.

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4. Mixing and Matching

Shabby chic was mixing furniture pieces well before mainstream interior design caught on in the late 2010’s.

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Mixing furniture, especially wood tones, can be challenging, but a way to make it easier is having a bridge piece that connects the lighter and darker shades in a room.

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5. Wicker and Wooden Accents

Wicker and wooden accents add a much-needed rustic element to shabby chic because this demure look is best balanced with rougher textures.

There are a number of wooden accents, but an easy way to bring wicker into a space is either with a basket or piece of outdoor furniture.

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6. Feminine Florals and Lace

The shabby chic look is further softened by florals and lace, especially in pinks and whites, but other colors can be used, too.

Conversely, if you’re trying to create a shabby chic space that’s more masculine, nix the flowers and lace accents.

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7. Natural Elements

In addition to flowers, shabby chic incorporates other natural elements such as plants; an easy way to bring in the outdoors is with planters.

Another, more creative way you do this is by creating your own pressed plant wall art with local plants or flora from your own backyard.

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8. Worn Elegance

Shabby chic isn’t entirely shabby; ideally, worn accents are balanced with elegant pieces that are in perfect (or near perfect) shape.

The picture below demonstrates this balance well with a vintage sign, metal planter, and stone lamp with an upholstered bed and non-distressed nightstand.

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9. Eclectic and Vintage Decor

Knick knacks are essential to the shabby chic look, especially if accents are vintage (or vintage-inspired) and grouped eclectically.

The best places to find eclectic, vintage decor are flea markets, thrift stores, and antique stores because of the variety and deals they offer.

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10. Wrought Iron Accents

Whether or not you’re drawing inspiration from the garden, wrought iron accents add a necessary level of character and necessary grounding to any shabby chic look.

There are a number of ways you can work in wrought iron accents- through furniture or decor, painted or unpainted, rusted or no patina.

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11. Careless Clutter

Not only is shabby chic decor “perfectly imperfect,” it’s also placed carelessly- almost haphazardly- about a surface or space.

So don’t drive yourself stir-crazy trying to perfectly arrange your shabby chic decor- just set it down, and let that be it!

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12. Layering

Layering isn’t just for winter outfits! And shabby chic style particularly enjoys this concept because everything can be layered: rugs, pillows, throw blankets, wall art, textures, and more!

If you’re not sure of how to layer things, combine two or three of the same object (like rugs) based on a common feature, such as color.

Courtesy of The Cottage Journal

13. Chandeliers

Chandeliers definitely put the chic in shabby chic with their sophisticated silhouettes and shining diamonds and pearls.

If you feel that room could use more oomph, hang up a chandelier! If bling isn’t your thing, though, you can use a less ornate, more modern light fixture.

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14. Sheer Draperies

Some aspects of shabby chic may feel heavy like bulky furniture or use of lots of layers, but shabby chic draperies should be sheer and soft.

There are a multitude of choices including plain, lace, ruffled, see-through, and more opaque, so experiment with looks and find what feels right for your shabby chic space.

Courtesy of Shabby Chic Linen Co.

15. White Linens

Clean, white linens are another hallmark of the shabby chic style and can be found in just about any room of the house from the foyer to the bedroom.

If you’re concerned about your white linen sofa or bedding getting soiled, opt for linen decor like linen throw pillows and blankets, wall hangings, and table runners.

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How do you feel about shabby chic? Is it overrated or are you elated that this trend is still going strong?

Let us know in the comments below, and show off your shabby chic style on our Facebook and Pinterest pages!

21 thoughts on “Main Concepts of Shabby Chic Interior Design”

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