Ideas for decorating the kitchen in shabby chic

Written by erin maurer
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Ideas for decorating the kitchen in shabby chic
White pottery and soft pastel flowers are ideal in a shabby chic kitchen. (Chic Table image by crzy77 from

Shabby chic design is all about vintage and found items, romantic fabrics and soft colours. The kitchen is an ideal place to bring the shabby chic look into your home. A kitchen with a light, bright and airy feel seems big and inviting. And with its shelves and countertops, a shabby chic kitchen has ample room to display found items, vintage fabrics and distressed painting techniques.

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Colour Palette

Shabby chic decor typically marries off-white and cream colours with pastels and primary colours such as blue, red and yellow, according to the Chippy Charm website. Use these colours throughout the room to create a functional shabby chic look. Choose two or three colours, including a neutral cream. Layer different shades of these colours throughout the space. Choose a pastel for the walls, cream for the cabinet finish and a deeper hue for the linens. Shabby chic also favours designs and patterns. Consider using a floral wallpaper as a dining nook accent.

Cabinets and Storage

Shabby chic design is known for its distressed finishes. Cabinets are an ideal space for incorporating a distressed finish. Consider distressing the cabinets that you have. Or search architectural salvage, thrift and vintage stores for cabinets salvaged from other spaces, suggests "Southern Living" magazine. Look for vintage baker's racks or glass-front cabinets. Also look for painted iron pieces or distressed copper complete with green patina. Replace your door and drawer pulls with wrought-iron or copper pulls.


A shabby chic kitchen is also an ideal place to incorporate a vintage or vintage-inspired sink. Farmhouse sinks with vintage silver handles and faucets fit well in a shabby chic kitchen. They can be found in many home-improvement centres. Surround the sink with a simple glass tile backsplash. Choose a colour that's a shade or two darker than the wall colour. Classic white subway tile is another excellent idea for a sink surround and kitchen backsplash.


Fabrics allow you to bring additional colours, patterns and textures into your shabby chic kitchen. Damask and floral patterns are often used in shabby chic design. Add curtains, tablecloths, towels and napkins that reflect the kitchen's colour scheme. Choose a patterned fabric for at least one area of the kitchen. Patterns may be layered throughout the space, as long as they do not compete with one another.


Dishes are yet another way to add colour and pattern to the kitchen, especially when they're displayed in glass-front cabinets. Blue and white painted pottery, vintage pots and pans, patterned dishes and glass dishes all work well in the space. Choose items that reflect the colours, patterns and textures used elsewhere throughout the space. Shop for these items in thrift stores. Mix and match patterns, and don't let a chip or two keep you from buying a piece. Those flaws just add charm to the look you want in your kitchen.

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