How can I make my house look shabby chic without sacrificing the charm and coziness that come with a traditional French look? It’s not as hard as you may think. There is nothing intrinsically tricky or hard about shabby chic home decorating. The trick is to understand where the various design choices come from and to make the most of them. Here are some pointers.
A classic shabby chic room will be filled with textures like wood, stone and iron that give it an inviting air. In shabby chic colors, your choices range from pastel and pale pastels to warm, earthy tones. Many people even use blues, greens and purples for their shabby chic spaces because these colors tend to be more airy and breezy than more toned-down colors, such as a dark forest green.
Choose rugs and upholstery in shabby chic colors. The fabrics used in shabby chic furniture are usually heavier than those used in more classic French country homes, and some pieces include elaborate carvings and painted floral accents. You can get away with using heavier fabrics if you have a small space or are trying to conserve space. As a matter of fact, many designers use heavier materials in small houses because it makes the spaces appear less cramped. A shabby chic area rug can add a lot of texture to a shabby chic home, especially if the rug is in the same color as the wall.
Choose furnishings with an understated but large impact. As with any other type of interior design, shabby chic allows you to go for big, bold statement pieces. These may include large, textured mirrors, enormous paintings or dramatic chandeliers. Look for pieces that will either complement or contrast with your decor. Bigger pieces will also help make a shabby chic room seem more spacious.
Use fabric in shabby chic colors and patterns. You might want to choose a light cotton fabric for a baby’s bedroom, or use a rich velvet or shabby chic chenille for a master’s bedroom. In addition, shabby chic homes often use pale cottons on bedding and pillows, even on window coverings. In this case, use the same fabric on solid floor coverings, such as wood flooring.
Don’t overcrowd the rooms with too much furniture. Too many pieces of shabby chic furniture, rugs and fabrics can make a room feel very clinical. Instead, choose a few large, sturdy pieces that can be used to establish the mood you’re going for. This can be complimented by using soft furnishings, such as velvet or shabby chic couch cushions.
Be sure to highlight the architectural details. As mentioned, shabby chic is about class and texture instead of absolute clean lines. To achieve a similar look in an upscale urban environment, look for high quality accessories with a worn look to them. Look for pieces with interesting fabric textures, a worn appearance and perhaps a few missing buttons or zippers. Accessorizing like this can really pull your space together.
Be careful not to use too much lace or ribbon. If you need to be able to see through the fabric or have small children in the house, use a sheer curtain or sheer valance to hide the open space. This way, the shabby chic piece can still draw attention to its own beauty, in spite of what’s hidden. Finally, remember that the final look you want to achieve will depend largely on your personal preference so choose something you think looks great rather than blindly following a set of instructions.
When it comes to actual shabby chic furniture, you can’t just any piece. You need to find a genuine antique or period piece. The style should still look good today, even if there are visible signs of wear. Look for a shabby chic piece that has been well treated. A good example is one that has been repainted with fabric dye to create a rich color scheme. Treat all your furniture with the same respect as you would modern pieces.
When it comes to fabric, shabby chic lends itself to heavy curtains with deep, rich colors, especially when they are woven with striped patterns. Choose heavy drapes that will drape all the way around your window. This will help to frame the view outside, creating a stunning effect. You might also consider lining your curtains with a light floral or geometrical print to offset the shabby chic look. Consider a runner, too, to finish off the effect.
In the kitchen, you can make a real fashion statement by using shabby chic accessories and artwork. Look for aged kitchen handles and door handles that have been painted to show off their weathered patina. You might also choose an old cook book to fill up a shelf or table. You could hang up vintage condiment bottles to add to your shabby chic decor. In the bathroom, you might use a stencil or sponge to create a stenciled cabinet or display, then line it up with vintage soap in the bathroom so that it matches.