What is Shabby Chic?

shabby-chic-dresserShabby chic furniture can all too easily be pigeon-holed as something rather worn and shabby looking. Some people may see it as nothing more than the sort of battered old pieces that would fit better in a jumble sale rather than someone’s home. It’s true, of course, that this is a furniture style that features a characteristic look: gracefully aged and well loved. “Lived in,” you might say. On top of that, though, it’s an attractive and gently calming feature of interior decor, and one that can bring a really welcoming feel to a house. Not everyone will find that shabby chic furniture suits them, but in this case what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.

If what attracts you in home decor is the no-frills, no-fuss look of contemporary style, clean lines and all, then you’re probably not going to be all that comfortable with the essence of shabby chic. On the other hand, if you like a bit of kitsch, or enjoy a country cottage feel to your rooms, then that’s a different story. In this case, you could probably use this type of furniture anywhere in your house to give you results you’d be thrilled with.

Here’s a great tip: keep your eyes peeled for shabby chic furniture in the French style. This is such a popular style that you can find it both in new reproduction pieces – carefully distressed by hand after being painted – and in truly second-hand models characterised by natural wear and distressing. Items to look out for here include chairs, tables, armoires and of course French beds. These combine the fundamentals of shabby chic with the elegance and poise that’s a classic hallmark of French furniture. White is a popular shade, but it’s also worth seeking out pastel colours like eggshell blue, mint green or even mauve. This can help give your furniture a feminine touch and perhaps also make it appear less on the clinical side.

On top of all that, shabby chic can bring you great benefits if you ever decide to re-style your home. All you need to do in that case is to take the painted, distressed finish off your chairs, tables, French beds and armoires. Once that’s been stripped away, you can get on with restoring your furniture to its original, natural state with a clean wooden finish. It only takes the application of a bit of varnish to turn that previously shabby-looking furniture into something along much more classical lines. You’ll find yourself with French-style pieces that can go perfectly with whatever you choose for your rooms’ new overall look.

After a while, you’ll have discovered the shabby chic furniture that you really like. Once that’s done, you can embellish the theme with some matching finishing touches. It’s a good idea to go for the country cottage feel with your soft furnishings. Then add cottons and linens that have a “slightly used” appearance, or maybe some floral-print cushions. These look absolutely stunning on a French bed in the shabby chic style. Some eye-catching chandeliers and cute flower arrangements complete the set, letting you give your house a homely, lived-in feel that’s sure to be appreciated by everyone from casual visitors to family members.