How to shabby chic furniture

How to shabby chic furniture

If you’ve become disenchanted by the appearance of your home, you may be consider different styles that could breathe new life into it. A mix between vintage, traditional components and rustic, harsh textures, shabby chic is a style that has been popular for several decades and continues to be contemporary through the mix of old and new.

However, as it’s such a particular look, you may be concerned about implementing this style in your home incorrectly. In this blog, we explain how you can shabby chic a piece of furniture yourself before looking at a few examples of common pieces of furniture this look could work for.

How do you shabby chic a piece of furniture?

While shabby chic furniture is easily recognisable, unique and visually striking, the process of giving items of furniture this look is actually relatively simple. In fact, all you need to shabby chic a piece of furniture is newspaper to protect your flooring, different types of sandpaper, masking tape, paintbrushes, suitable shabby chic paint and items of furniture that will suit the style and complement the rest of the room.

In an effort to offer effective guidance for applying a shabby chic look in your home, we’ve focused on a handful of different common items of furniture:

A lady using shabby chic paint to change the look of a mirror and bookcase.

How to shabby chic a fireplace

Although difficult in the sense that you can’t move it to a more suitable area, a shabby chic fireplace can accentuate the look of any home. It’s also a simpler process than many items of furniture as it doesn’t have any extra areas that need to be removed and painted separately.

Before you start, place newspaper on the floor around the fireplace and apply masking tape to any areas that you don’t want to paint. A contrast between areas could be an effective way of making your shabby chic fireplace stand out, or you may want to consider painting these areas a different colour after the paint has dried.

Use soft sandpaper to remove the outer coating of the wood. Fireplaces are often built from strong, thick wood, so this could take a while. However, ensuring that this is done correctly will allow for the shabby chic paint to coat the wood correctly. Once the wood is ready, you should apply a layer of shabby chic paint. You should then consider applying another layer if the paint hasn’t completely coated the wood.

After the paint has dried and you’re happy with the appearance of the fireplace, use coarse sandpaper to add more texture to the wood. As fireplaces are often the centrepiece of a room, you should decorate with ornaments such as plants and candles, and consider pairing the fireplace with other shabby chic items such as hanging a shabby chic mirror above it.

How to shabby chic a desk

Desks are often large and may need to be taken to a separate area while you alter its appearance. You should place newspaper below the desk, allowing an extra foot around it to ensure that any excess paint doesn’t come into contact with your floor. At this point, you should also apply masking tape to any areas that you don’t want to paint and remove any draws from the desk.

When the area is ready, begin by using a light sandpaper to remove the varnish or wax on the surface of the desk and make sure that any excess wood is removed by patting the desk down with damp paper towels and drying by hand. You should then begin to apply a shabby chic paint to the wood. It may need two layers, but as shabby chic paint can work in a number of ways, this decision should be made based on the style you’re hoping for. As a final stage, you can consider changing the colour of the desk by adding a pastel paint or using coarse sandpaper to give it a distressed look. After you’ve done the same to the drawers, you can allow them to dry before reinserting them into the desk.

How to shabby chic drawers

Possibly the most complicated and time consuming item of furniture for implementing a shabby chic look, it’s likely that you will need more time to apply this style to a chest of drawers. This is because you’ll need to remove every draw and apply the shabby chic paint separately. However, it’s worthwhile if it means altering the piece of furniture to suit the rest of your room.

To give a set of drawers a shabby chic appearance, you will need to check that you have enough space to paint the frame and each draw. To do this, lay out newspaper for each section and go across them one by one until they’re all sanded, cleared of any excess wood shavings and painted. Not only will this make the process quicker and easier, but it will also ensure that all pieces are consistent and match.

If you want to contrast between colours, you may choose to paint some areas a different colour or fit different handles of contrasting colours to the drawers. However, regardless of how you choose to approach this process, you should remove all handles from the drawers before painting. You can then either use different handles, reattach the same handles or paint the original handles separately before reattaching.

How to shabby chic a dining table

A dining table is an item of furniture that can add a feeling of elegance and class to your home, and if you’re looking to introduce a shabby chic style, transforming this element can really help you make a statement.

Applying a shabby chic look to a dining table is often done in one of two ways: painting the dining table entirely in shabby chic paint or displaying contrast between the surface of the table and the legs. With either of these approaches, you will need to sand the entirety of the table and use damp paper towels to remove any excess wood.

You can then either paint the whole table in shabby chic paint and decide whether to apply a pastel paint or paint the top and leave the table legs. To achieve the latter,, lightly attach masking tape around the top of the legs to prevent any overspill of the shabby chic paint. Then, when the paint is dry and no more coats are needed, remove the masking tape and either leave the legs as they are or use a different type of paint to make them contrast with the surface of the table.