Shabby Chic Paint Effects

Updated February 21, 2017

According to, "One definition of shabby chic is 'second-hand stylishness.' " Shabby chic style is a comfortable, lived-in look achieved through the use of furniture selected for its age and obvious wear, or new items that have been distressed to make them appear older and worn. It's easy to achieve a shabby chic appearance with strategic paint effects.

Crackle Glazing

Crackle glazing is a cheap and simple way to achieve an almost immediate shabby chic effect and is particularly suitable for those who don't have a lot of painting experience or a lot of money. All you need are two different colours of water-based paint and a can of crackle glaze. Paint your piece of furniture, such as a table or desk, in the first colour of paint. Allow it to dry. Apply the crackle glaze. Watch as it gently crackles the first coat of paint. The more crackle glaze you use, the bigger your cracks will be. Allow it to dry. Apply your second paint colour to the furniture. It, too, will begin to crack. Allow it to dry and your furniture will look like it was left outside in the sun for years.

Textured Paint

Giving the walls of your room a two-toned textured look is a basic way to achieve a very artsy, somewhat French, shabby chic effect in your room. Purchase a special paint roller that comes with two rollers attached to each other. Buy two separate paint trays and two different shades of the same colour paint. For example, you could use yellow and gold or pink and fuchsia or lilac and lavender. The greater the contrast between the two shades, the greater the wall's textured effect will be when finished. If desired, you can even apply floral stencils to the trim or moulding to give it a feminine accent.

Rough It Up

If you are on a tight budget, you can just distress the furniture you already have to give it a weathered, old look. Using some sandpaper and a paint scraper, begin to scuff up and crack the edges, borders and surfaces of a piece of furniture. Alternatively, since white it so often associated with shabby chic, you could paint a piece of furniture white first or just add white splotches to it, let it dry and then scuff it up with sandpaper and a paint scraper.

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About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."