Shabby chic is a very interesting type of interior design, and it is usually achieved by furnishing the home with antique pieces of furniture, or with new furniture that has been made to look older. This is called “distressing” the furniture, and it is done by painting it in many layers, and even leaving parts unpainted, to look antique, to look like it has a history. The main color, or rather non-color used for shabby chic is white; the decor is predominantly white in this decor type, but you can also use colors like pale pink and blue, ecru, beige, and pastels in general.
One reason why shabby chic has so much appeal for people around the world is that it can be achieved both expensively, and cheaply. It is a good way to decorate for those who like to re-purpose objects, or who like to give them a new life by fixing and painting them. Thus, you can use both new furniture, and actually old furniture, and you can even use them for different purposes than their original ones. How could you describe shabby chic? It’s precious but not pretentious, it’s delicate but homey, it’s melancholic yet joyful. It expresses a positive and romantic outlook on life.
Shabby chic decor is to be differentiated from period decor in that it is a bit more dramatic, a bit more theatrical. You can create a fully shabby chic living room thus: paint the walls in a light beige, and pick only white furniture, or take old wood furniture and paint it white without trying too much to make it perfect; you can even leave areas where the wood is visible, or rub the dried paint with sand paper to make it look old. Materials used for the couch, drapes and pillows should be white cotton or linen. Those who are truly passionate about the style even go so far as staining the linens with tea, to give them a vintage look.
Mirrors, glass and chandeliers are essential symbols of shabby chic; some feel the style can be a bit kitschy, and the truth is you can easily fall into that category if you insert too many elements. Floral patterns, and actual flowers are also important elements you can use. Place a large table in the center of the room, cover it with a laced or floral tablecloth, and on top of it put a white vase with pink roses: voila, it can’t get any shabbier than that! If you’d like to learn more about shabby chic, you should know there are several schools, or movements: the cottage chic and beach cottage chic, the French country style, and the very eclectic Gustavian style, which is inspired by Swedish interior decoration.