About Shabby Chic Decor

Written by julie boehlke
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About Shabby Chic Decor

Shabby chic decor is a type of decorating that uses vintage items and flea market finds to create a warm, crisp look. White and light pastel colours are the base for most shabby chic designs. Overstuffed antique chairs, couches and pillows covered in floral and striped fabrics are essential elements. Incorporating distressed or imperfect furniture and decorative items separates this look from others.


Many different styles of furniture fit in with shabby chic decor. One way to create shabby chic decor is with an old vintage door. Old doors are often thrown out and replaced with more modern styles, but salvaged doors---especially the ones with original hardware and inlaid designs---can be transformed into new pieces. A full size door can be made into several things, from a large corner shelf (just add decorative crown moulding), to a corner shelf to hold bathroom toiletries. Add four table leg to create a unique writing desk. Old doors can also be used as headboards, creating a vintage backdrop for any shabby chic bed. Give old wood chairs a makeover by reupholstering the seat with a toile or floral fabric. Mix and match the chairs around a distressed table for a quintessential shabby chic look.


The colours used in shabby chic are an important element in capturing the look. Natural woods and dark bold colours are discouraged. Instead, keep things neutral and accentuate light pastels. If you're combining a dark coloured fabric with a shabby chic piece, always add contrast by accenting with pastels. Pastel pinks and light greens are often used on picture frames and small decorative accents. Walls and large furniture items such as tables and couches are best in white or off-white. Pastel accents complete the look.


The beauty of shabby chic style is taking items that are worn out, thrown out or trashed and breathing new life and creativity into each item. Keep a few tools on hand for these special projects. Always keep a tape measure handy to ensure a proper fit. Have a light grade sandpaper on hand for touching up furniture pieces and starting new projects. One swipe of sandpaper can play up an old piece of furniture. Have a flat head screwdriver to remove or attach miscellaneous furniture accents such as drawer pulls and mouldings.

Where to Find Shabby Chic Items

There are several places to find furniture, fabric and decor for the shabby chic home or office. Online retail stores that sell new or replicated shabby chic items include A Bit of Paris and Shabby Rose Cottage. These stores offer authentic antique finds as well as new items made to look old. One of the best ways to acquire shabby chic items is to search through salvage yards, flea markets, garage sales and estate auctions. Checking kerbside for distressed furniture being thrown out is a surprisingly popular place to find good shabby chic decor.

Shabby Chic Accessories

Aside from the large pieces of furniture, small decorative accents really set the tone for shabby chic decor. Chandeliers painted off- white or pastel, then highlighted with crystal, can accent a dining area. Painted tin picture frames showcasing black and white family photos or Paris prints bring life to a wall. Toile inspired footstools and fabrics add a splash of contrast to couch pillows or the foot of a chair. Fresh roses in tall glass vases can spruce up side tables. Mismatched china with floral designs can hold teacups or candles for a warm and inviting look.

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