Establish Your Style Series: Shabby Chic

Maybe when you were young, you were fascinated by woodland fairies and Tinker Bell. Shabby Chic IS Tinker Bell style. There is something whimsical about this decorating genre. It celebrates incongruity drawing from many styles, old treasures and imperfection. Shabby Chic is fresh, unassuming and humble and is sometimes synonymous with Cottage style. 

Let us explore the elements: 

Tip#1: White, Bright and Airy: Because Shabby Chic style incorporates weathered elements, bright, light and white keep the look feeling clean and breezy. Flowing sheers, white linens and slipcovers and soft walls like ivory, eggshell and cream give a good foundation to this cottage-like genre. Additional tip: white beadboard and wood paneling thrive in these spaces. 

Shabby Chic Dining Room

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Shabby Chic Dining Room by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

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Shabby Chic Hall by Other Metro Architects & Building Designers Optimise Design

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Austin Architects & Building Designers Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

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Shabby Chic Living Room by Waco Design-Build Firms Magnolia Homes

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Shabby Chic Patio by Other Metro Photographers Tongue in Cheek Antiques

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

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Tip#2: Feminine Furnishings: Ruffles, tailored slipcovers, bed and couch skirts are all a staple of Shabby Chic. Make sure couches and upholstery are plush, often with curling arms and in curvaceous shapes inviting you to prop up your feet. Welcome fabrics are cotton, linen, burlap and other textured materials. Throw in a dash of lace, quilts or vintage fabrics (without being too overwhelming or you are stuck at Granny’s). 

Shabby Chic Living Room by Los Angeles Photographers Amy Neunsinger

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Shabby Chic Family Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O’Hara Interiors

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Washington Interior Designers & Decorators Heather ODonovan Interior Design

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Shabby Chic Family Room by Salt Lake City Architects & Building Designers Alice Lane Home Collection

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Shabby Chic Dining Room by Los Angeles Photographers Amy Neunsinger

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Waco Design-Build Firms Magnolia Homes

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Tip#3: Careful Color and Playful Pastels: Be choosy with your pastel palette. Select one or two pastels to play together either through accessories or furnishings such as faded, pale blues, greens, pinks or yellows. Support these light hues with white furnishings, curtains and walls to balance them out. 

Shabby Chic Bedroom by New York Media & Bloggers Rizzoli New York

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

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Shabby Chic Kitchen by Seattle Design-Build Firms J.A.S. Design-Build

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Shabby Chic Kitchen by London Media & Bloggers Ryland Peters & Small | CICO Books

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Shabby Chic Dining Room by Melbourne Artists & Artisans Sweet William

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Shabby Chic Nursery by Salt Lake City Interior Designers & Decorators Brooke Ulrich

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Shabby Chic Dining Room by Nashville Interior Designers & Decorators Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

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Tip#4: Distressed and Rustic: Chipping paint, gentle patina and distressed wood are pearls of Shabby Chic style. Pair wooden frames with gilded ones among select rustic pieces. This style embraces careful mismatch so feel free to mix in subtle metallics, handmade items or blasts from the past in a delightful collage. 

Shabby Chic Staircase by Princeville Media & Bloggers Kasey Buick

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Shabby Chic Living Room by Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators Jennifer Grey Interiors

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Shabby Chic Living Room by London Media & Bloggers Ryland Peters & Small | CICO Books

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Shabby Chic Living Room by Los Angeles Photographers Amy Neunsinger

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Tip#5: Refurbished and Revitalized Treasures: The salvage yard, flea market and rejuvenating the past is the fun of Shabby Chic. Use old shutters or wooden pallets for backdrops or headboards, brighten up old doors, use shipping crates and old serving carts as trays and bar carts. Remember all pieces thrive with a fresh coat of paint. Shabby Chic and DIY are friends. 

Shabby Chic Living Room by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

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Shabby Chic Porch by Venice Architects & Building Designers tumbleweed and dandelion.com

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Shabby Chic Bathroom by Newport Beach Home Builders Spinnaker Development

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Vancouver Interior Designers & Decorators The Cross Interior Design

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

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Shabby Chic Kitchen by Venice Architects & Building Designers tumbleweed and dandelion.com

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Tip#6: Strategically Eclectic: Mismatched chairs and materials like velvet to wicker, competing style genres like rustic and contemporary and old, weathered pieces adjacent to brand new, funky fresh items. Eclecticism is a flowing theme of Shabby Chic style as it casts a wide net and permits a lot of leeway. The rule of thumb is that if you finds pieces you love, somehow they will all look great together. 

Shabby Chic Dining Room by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

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Shabby Chic Home Office by Huntington Beach Interior Designers & Decorators For People design

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Newport Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Wendi Young Design

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Shabby Chic Living Room

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Shabby Chic Living Room by Princeville Media & Bloggers Kasey Buick

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Shabby Chic Kitchen by Chicago Kitchen & Bath Designers Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

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Shabby Chic Patio by Newport Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Wendi Young Design

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Tip#7: Elegant Lighting: Another stable of Shabby Chic style is to bask in the soft light glowing from a sophisticated chandelier (they don’t call it Shabby CHIC for nothing). Lighting tends to be elegant as these pieces encourage the whimsical feel of Shabby Chic. 

Shabby Chic Dining Room by Other Metro Photographers Elad Gonen

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Shabby Chic Closet by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Branca, Inc.

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Shabby Chic Patio by South East Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Cool Gardens Landscaping Ltd

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Vancouver Photographers Heather Merenda

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Tip#8: Purposeful Patterns: Subtle florals, striking stripes, gingham, eyelet and even a little bit of prep like ikat and chevron go a long way in Shabby Chic, but only touches, otherwise the effect can be overwhelming. Aim for a careful mismatch and subtle colors, not too punchy. Stick to incorporating prints through pillows and smaller scale furnishings. 

Shabby Chic Dining Room by Denver Interior Designers & Decorators Andrea Schumacher Interiors

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Shabby Chic Patio

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Shabby Chic Living Room by Los Angeles Photographers Alex Amend Photography

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Shabby Chic Bedroom by Arlington Interior Designers & Decorators Sara Tuttle Interiors

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Shabby Chic Landscape by Other Metro Interior Designers & Decorators Compagnie D

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Exterior style: Shabby Chic exteriors are like storybook cottages:  

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Traditional Exterior by Weston Architects & Building Designers Oak Hill Architects

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Traditional Exterior by Portland Architects & Building Designers Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

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Traditional Exterior by New York Architects & Building Designers Wettling Architects

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Traditional Exterior by Woburn Building Supplies RHEINZINK

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That’s all folks! We have now conquered Traditional, Hollywood Glam, Eclectic, Contemporary, Industrial, RusticModernCoastal and Mediterranean in the Establish Your Style Series. Next up: Craftsman. 

Stay Saucy,

Jenn

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