Shabby Chic

Decorating in Shabby Chic? Here’s how to make it work

An interior design style with few rules and plenty of imagination. Bring shabby chic into your home with just a few key pieces.
Decorating in Shabby Chic? Here’s how to make it work

A shabby chic home is one of character, where vintage decor meets fresh florals and pastel colours meets weathered wooden furnishing. And most iconic of all, where glistening white slipcovers meet chintz. Originating in the countryside of England, inevitably shabby chic has evolved over the 40 years, it’s become a style that can easily be merged with others and can add finesse inside most homes. Now, while there’s plenty to love about the interior style, it’s known to be one that’s difficult to get right. That is, to find the perfect balance between rustic and glam without feeling over-cluttered or, granted, slightly confused.

How to make shabby chic interiors work

All of that said, a collection of subtle pieces inspired by shabby chic can elevate a room with the best of the whimsical aesthetics the style has to offer. How? Well, as it’s an interior design style with few rules and guidelines, we’ve brought together the key features of shabby chic that can be worked into styles including cottage, modern, and Scandinavian interiors and means you won’t have to go all out.

A colour palette with soft pastel hues

As with all interiors, the colour palette sets the tone for a home and offer a strong foundation to build on as you start to find pieces to add to a room. Shabby chic is synonymous with pastel colours, and they’re an integral part of making the interior style look the part. However, as with everything, it’s possible to have too much of a nice thing so rather than go all out on pastels, we suggest choosing neutral paints to contrast with pastel shades of soft furnishings.

this is a living room with shabby chic and old english elements by sims hilditch

Alternatively, you may be looking for patterned wallpaper for a feature wall. In that case, scouting out beautiful floral wallpaper is the perfect option for shabby chic interiors. When choosing your patterns, it’s important to keep in mind the scale of the design and the surroundings the wallpaper will be applied in, to make sure it neither overwhelms nor go against the rest of the interiors. Our guide on mixing patterned wallpaper goes into more detail on key considerations when working with shabby chic interiors. What’s left to do? Accompany the airy design with an accompanied neutral paint, and you have yourself a dream room.

Adding freshness with florals

Talking of florals, we’re the first to jump at the opportunity to add freshness into a room with patterns or prints. If not with wallpaper or art, then a stunning bouquet of flowers can work wonders in bringing colour and vibrancy in a way that’s sustainable and can change with the seasons as you please.

this is a townhouse designed by sims hildith with shabby chic elements

These subtle features can make a huge difference, especially if you’re not wanting to commit yourself entirely to shabby chic interiors. An easy mistake would be to have floral patterned walls, soft furnishings such as cushions and curtains, and flowers together all in one room. However, to keep the balance we mentioned earlier, we always suggest for the pieces to work in harmony with each other, rather than to be the same as each other.

Escaping to the countryside of Provence

When compared with other interior styles, one of the main differences in shabby chic interiors is the weathered and rustic ambience of the furnishings. The type you’d expect to find in an old manor house in the countryside of Provence. Not only do the timeworn pieces look unbelievably charming, but how you can go about achieving the look is generally down to you.

this is an example of provence style furniture by kate marker interiors

Whether you decide to go DIY, take a trip to an antique store, or snap up pieces that have been specifically designed to cater to your shabby chic vision, the options are wide and varied. If you’re looking to find a collection of statement pieces with a weathered aesthetic, it’s always worth trying to straddle between style and practicality when making investments in larger peices of furniture. Luckily, it’s much easier today to find those durable pieces that will stand the test of time, and look stunning while doing so.

Photo credits: 1. Jacquelyn Clark 2-3. Sims Hilditch 4. Kate Marker

Related Features