How to Add Shabby Chic Design in Your New Home

CamelotW025 by DR Horton in Camas, WA.

The Shabby Chic style strikes the perfect balance of relaxed and put-together. For example. this CamelotW025 model living room by DR Horton in Camas, WA.

Light, bright, classic and pretty – these are core elements of the shabby chic style. Going by many names like country chic, vintage chic, farmhouse, cottage, this fun and frilly approach to home decor has been popular by more than two decards. 

Shabby chic is an eclectic style that puts family antiques next to salvaged and upcycled items from estate sales, yard sales, or vintage shops. But don’t make the mistake of thinking shabby chic means just a bunch of clutter. To do it well, you need carefully chosen accessories and a balance of open space.

Want to know how to add a Shabby Chic vibe to your new home? Keep reading!

Why People Love Shabby Chic Design

Shabby chic is a popular look because it’s comfortable, embraces imperfection and it’s all about the process. It’s a style that helps you feel immediately at home in a room. Designer Beverly Solomon, designer and Creative Director at Beverly Solomon Design, loves shabby chic because it, “allows you to express your personality” and when, “properly presented in an eclectic setting it can be practical, inexpensive and get a lot of positive attention.” 

When done right, this style strikes the perfect balance of relaxed and put-together. To pull off shabby chic in your own home, here are some tips, tricks, and hopefully some inspiration: 

Colors and Prints

Prints and patterns are big in shabby chic. Zakiyya Rosebelle, designer, author, and owner of lifestyle brand Sweet Little Luxuries in San Francisco, Calif., says florals, polka dots, and stripes are often used.

For colors, you’ll see pastels, creams, turquoise, white, wood tones, and bright accents. If you have a neutral room, add touches of color with a green or blue table, Rosebelle says, or by painting an accent wall a light, fun color. 

Materials

You can use almost any materials when crafting your shabby chic look, but wood, iron and natural fabrics like lace, linen, burlap, and knits are popular for their warm and cozy feeling. 

Textures & Finishes

Part of what makes shabby chic fun is the variety of textures at play. Distressed, stained, washed out, weathered & worn textures or finishes prevail. Here, chipping paint is acceptable or even embraced. 

Lighting 

Start with a healthy dose of natural light. Beyond that, anything from chandelier, candelabra or sconces to charming, grandma-style lamps can work in your space.  

Accessories 

The possibilities are nearly endless, but here are some ideas: barn door, old window frames, candlesticks, worn picture frame with no photo, old hardcover books, pillows, curved wrought iron bed frame, floppy or trailing houseplants. 

Remember though, to avoid looking more shabby than chic, use accessories of artisan quality; use deliberately and sparingly. 

Variations on Shabby Chic 

Infuse your personality into this versatile style with a few tweaks:

Sophisticated

If you lean more towards the chic, you may want to refine this look. Stick to a palette of off-white and cream, then add white-washed and light wood accents. Add accessories with plenty of details and textiles full of texture including crochet, linen and lace fabrics. 

Nostalgic  

Give your kitchen a vintage-inspired twist with sugary pastels such as sky blue, mint green, pale pink and lemon yellow. Add in some retro fruit, checked, geometric or floral prints against white walls and floors -- and don’t be afraid to mix patterns.
 
Country/Farmhouse 

Embrace the rustic appeal of a rural home with simple Shaker-style furniture, muted stripes or checks, and plenty of neutral tones. Complement your look by adding oak, linen and cotton accents. 

Rebecca Rosenberg is an international digital media consultant and freelance writer.

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