What is shabby chic?

When it comes to changing the look of your home, there is an almost limitless selection of different styles to choose from. Although there is likely to be a multitude of options, shabby chic is a term that is often mentioned in relation to interior design. If you’re interested in altering the visual appearance of your home to present a style that is striking and tasteful yet capable of remaining enticing into future years, it could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Introducing a shabby chic style into your home is a relatively new phenomenon when it comes to interior design, but its robust nature and lasting appeal has meant it has instantly become popular among people of
all ages. However, as shabby chic is a delicate balance between new and old, it’s important that you understand exactly what it is before looking to try it for yourself.

In this blog, we explain the meaning behind the term shabby chic, explain what it looks like and answer questions around how popular and relevant it is among modern interior decorating.

What does shabby chic mean?

Shabby chic is the name of an interior design style that incorporates a lived-in look alongside worn, rustic and authentic furniture, walls and flooring. The term originally comes from the 1980s when author Rachel Ashwell coined and later trademarked the term as a way of quickly and simply explaining a design that mixes relaxed, casual styles with a sophisticated, elegant and contemporary visual appearance.

A home sitting room with a shabby chic design.

What does shabby chic look like?

Although sometimes hard to define, when a room is decorated in a certain way, it’s easy to identify whether or not it has a shabby chic design. However, if you’re hoping to bring a shabby chic look into your home by introducing specific items of furniture, altering existing furniture or adding finishing touches that change the feel of the room you’re decorating, you may want a few tips.

A common method of utilising a shabby chic look is by bringing in traditionally stylish, old fashioned items of furniture and altering them to reflect a shabby chic style. For example, you could use a vintage wardrobe, bedside table, chest of drawers, coffee table or chairs and modify their appearance yourself to leave them with a shabby chic aesthetic. You can do this in a number of ways, but the easiest method is by painting your furniture in shabby chic paint that’s designed for giving your furniture a worn yet elegant look.

If, alternatively, you don’t want to edit the look of your furniture, you can approach shabby chic in another way. For instance, this look is often created using pastel colours, lighter shades and a handful of furnishings with floral patterns. If you include a few items of furniture that follow this colour scheme, you could bring a hint of shabby chic into your home.

Is shabby chic still popular?

For anyone considering introducing a shabby chic look into their home, it can be concerning that it’s nothing more than a temporary fad and that decorating their home in this style will need an update in the near future once it passes.

In fact, not only is the shabby chic look current, but it’s timeless and has been an appetising inspiration for interior design for several years. It also helps that it isn’t defined by a specific time period and works for the homes of people of all ages, whether that’s a teenager that wants to celebrate their new-found independent style, an adult that wants their home to look elegant yet full of character or an older person that wants their home to show a classy design in a subtle way.

Overall, it would be fair to say that shabby chic is a design style that has truly stood the test of time, and it’s just as popular now as it was when the term was first created in the 1980s. With this in mind, it’s a style that you could consider implementing in your home as it’s highly unlikely to fall out of favour any time soon.

Fern x

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