Mastering shabby chic style in your home
Looking for a soft, cosy makeover for your home on a budget?
Look no further than shabby chic, a much-loved style that gives a homey vibe to any room.
The best part?
Shabby chic thrives off antique accessories and upcycled furniture, so you can style your home without breaking the bank.
Here are some of our top shabby chic decor ideas for mastering the look in your home.
What is shabby chic?
Shabby chic is one of the most enduring home interior trends, embracing imperfection with upcycled or antique furniture, pastel colours and weathered textures.
It can also be referred to as farmhouse or country chic, due to its slightly rural, lived-in feel, and is often compared to French country for its rustic style.
The shabby chic trend first emerged in Britain in the 1980s, at a time when decadent design was taking centre stage.
Recycled vintage furniture and fabrics gained popularity as a contrast to the expensive, opulent decor that was dominating the mainstream.
The term was officially coined by The World of Interiors magazine and took off in the USA soon after.
Where to use shabby chic
Shabby chic is a very distinct style and is, therefore, best suited to certain types of home.
If used as the dominating trend it’s best suited to farmhouses, country homes and rural cottages, where features like roof beams and wood floors naturally pair well with the shabby chic look.
If your home is more modern, you should think more carefully about how you add touches of shabby chic style to your decor without creating too much of a clash.
Shabby chic furniture
Furniture is a key element of the shabby chic look; traditionally this look uses restored antique pieces that retain signs of ageing like peeled paint or distressed surfaces, but are still functional.
You can find these in charity or vintage stores, or seek out the style in department stores or from designers.
Different textures can also be used effectively - think wicker furniture and distressed wood tables. Alternatively, you can accessorise your chairs and sofas with textured throws to create layers of interest in your space.
Read more: How to use texture around the home
Shabby chic living room ideas
With so many opportunities for introducing textured fabrics and cosy accessories, your living room is an ideal place to embrace the shabby chic trend.
Start by choosing a light colour palette accented with pastels; think light blues and pinks, mint greens or floral lilac shades. This will give you the perfect base for layering your textures.
Next, turn your attention to furniture. Even if you’re not in the market for a new three-piece suite, you can add a little shabby chic charm to your sofa with pastel cushions or a textured throw - look for something with fringing or a crochet pattern.
For other furniture units, it’s all about distressed wood - look for coffee tables, bookcases and storage cabinets with a worn look, or upcycle your own with multiple paint shades and a bit of sanding.
Finish off the look with accessories like lamps, picture frames and rugs. Again, look for textured fabrics in pastel shades and distressed, aged materials. Keep it feminine with vases of flowers or potted plants.
Shabby chic kitchen ideas
Shabby chic kitchens combine rustic charm with an edge of French Country elegance. While there can be a temptation in shabby chic to overcrowd your space with ornaments and accessories, your focus should be on a few feature pieces that bring an eclectic feel while keeping your kitchen practical.
Your floors and worktops will play a leading role in styling your kitchen look. Brick or wood-effect tiles are perfect for giving your kitchen a rustic farmhouse feel, and you can use them on walls or floors.
Remember to stick to white or cream colour schemes with touches of feminine pastels.
If you have wooden cabinets or a table in your kitchen, consider painting them a white, cream or beige shade and sanding them to create a distressed effect.
Consider how you can incorporate accessories that are both stylish and functional; for example, antique scales, a china tea set or mason jars for storage. Add texture with lace doilies and floral tea towels.
Shabby chic bedroom ideas
With a cosy feel at its heart, shabby chic is the perfect vibe for your bedroom.
By making the most of pale colour tones and soft furnishings, you can style a relaxing haven for your sleep.
If you’re redecorating from scratch, opt for florals or a dainty pattern for your walls in pastel shades to keep it feminine.
You can always build on a neutral theme with a few pops of bright colour, like a vibrant pink or green.
For the ultimate in shabby chic romantic style, a four poster bed in distressed wood is a go-to feature furniture piece.
But if you’re on a budget, there are some simple shabby chic bedroom touches you can make to your room.
Add other distressed wood furniture pieces like a bedside table or chest of drawers - check out your local charity shops or vintage stores for units with bits of ornate carving.
Paint them in neutral cream shades or, if the room is in need of a statement piece, you can transform a wardrobe or set of drawers into a feature with a lick of bold paint.
Introduce extra pattern and texture to the room by layering fabrics on your bed and any chairs in the rooms; utilise throws, blankets and cushions in different materials and patterns to create a kitsch and chic effect.
Bedrooms are the ideal space for incorporating extra ornaments and accessories.
Put up a few small shelves or hunt down antique glass-front wooden cabinets, and use them to display pretty lamps, vases of flowers or vintage trinkets like glass perfume bottles and jewellery stands.
Shabby chic bathroom ideas
To achieve the shabby chic style in your bathroom, you’re best starting with free-standing features rather than a fitted bathroom.
A roll top bathtub with claw feet is a showstopping statement piece for a shabby chic bathroom, ideally paired with traditional fixtures.
When it comes to your tiles, you have a few routes to choose from. If you want to keep it simple and let statement pieces do the talking, a white metro tile will provide an effective backdrop, but there are so many other ways you can utilise your walls and floors.
A wood-effect tile helps you achieve rustic charm in a hard-wearing material, while a bold graphic pattern in a pastel shade will give your shabby chic a contemporary twist - try our Samantha or Ted Baker Stepped Up designs.
You could also consider a vintage patterned tile to bring a patchwork element to your bathroom.
Finish your elegant bathroom look with delicate ornaments and decorations like vintage mirrors, chandelier lighting and glass storage jars.
Read more: Small bathroom ideas on a budget
Bath mats, towels and voile curtains in various textures and patterns will help to maintain the homey, thrown-together feel.
You should now have enough shabby chic ideas to bring a new look to any room in your house!
Start with a pastel colour scheme and a few statement furniture pieces in distressed wood, and don’t be afraid to experiment with antique accessories and layers of texture to add character and charm.