Interior Design Styles – Shabby Chic

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Posted

Offering a soft, feminine look, Shabby Chic is a romantic style of decorating that first came onto the UK interior decorating scene back in the 1980s. It is achieved by using furniture that has signs of ageing or natural wear and tear, or by using newer items which are then deliberately given a distressed or painted layer look to get the style of being aged antique.

Colours are soft and gentle on the eye with whites, greys, pale creams, duck-egg blues, gentle pinks and light greens being the most prominent. Matt finishes, rather than gloss, are used along with vintage fabrics in cotton with small roses or flowers, butterflies and birds in old fashioned wire cages or Jouy de Toile French linens. Shabby Chic is a great way to up-cycle furniture, making it an affordable decorating style that can be used in many homes, irrespective of the age of the actual building.


Plush seat-pad on a white wooden chair, with a cream cushion on top White metal day bed frame with cream and floral bedding Cream and pink floral bedding

Get The Shabby Chic Look

Cream dressing room with patterned privacy screen Cream pencil pleat curtains at French doors Ivory white semi plain curtains at a window in a cream living room


Light cream full length curtains, swept back from the centre and held in place with tie-backs are perfect for window dressings. Shabby Chic is the ideal decorating style if you like overly long curtains which pool and puddle onto the floor. Alternatively voile curtains or panels will give a softness and femininity to a room.

Cute shabby chic cream, pink and duck egg blue bird themed bedding Cream armchair and cream cushion with intricate floral pattern and purple and blue butterflies Cream and blue fabric pattern depicting a traditional family scene, that looks like a Royal Doulton bowl


Appliqué stylised bird cage boudoir cushion is the perfect choice for adorning a bed, while pretty butterflies dancing across the face of a cushion are perfect in either the bedroom or living room. Make your own cushions or reupholster chairs in Jouy de Toile to add a chic French influence to your home.

Wooden table lamp with cream fabric shade Cups hung on hooks on a Welsh dresser unit A glass chandelier style light fixture for the home


Accessories play a huge part in creating any successful decorating scheme, and while Shabby Chic has distressed and aged furnishings it doesn't allow for randomness or broken furniture. Every piece is considered carefully to enhance rather than detract from the look, whether it be rugs, table lamps, ceiling lights or object d'art for display.

Chandeliers make fabulous ceiling lights and no Shabby Chic home should be without flowers displayed in pretty vases. Although Shabby Chic has an informal look it isn't messy or too cluttered. Colours compliment each other with no sharp or jarring colours to spoil the tranquillity or peacefulness of the style.

This feminine decorating style remains on-trend, giving a look which focuses on quality and giving redundant furnishings a new lease of life. It could be said that it's the perfect decorating motif for those who love to recycle, and whilst this does hold true today you can buy the Shabby Chic style in a bag so to speak, which is perfect for those who don't have a natural artistic flair!

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