It is more to achieve the coveted shabby chic effect than you would imagine. It is far too easy to tumble over into just messy with the additional of one or two pieces. One ragged cushion here or the wrong rug and people are raising their eyebrows as they enter and giving awkward sideways glances to partners.
What is shabby chic?
Shabby chic is the use of worn, older furniture and other features to create a vintage or antique appearance. For those of us who love to feel nostalgic or to reminisce, it is a trip back in time through our furniture. If you think modern and minimalist and skip to the exact opposite, you are somewhere in the region of shabby chic – it is hoped to evoke feels of warmth and homeliness.
Getting that shabby chic furniture
If you have the money, you can get your vintage look by buying antiques. If you spend big, you can make any space look delicious, as long as you bring the right pieces together in a room.
Fortunately, shabby chic design is more than just buying old furniture from an antiques dealer. It is an effect you can achieve with high class furniture with a few simple techniques. Your starting point will be auctions, charity shops or scanning eBay. Look for the bargain that you can make shabby chic with some paint and elbow grease.
The first step is to choose pieces that are sturdy and well made from good wood, with the idea that they should last for years. Two or three quality pieces in a design are enough to create the effect you are looking for. Before working on these larger pieces of wooden furniture be sure to clean the products carefully. Remove all the dust and the grim.
Next, you will choose two or more colours – which should be chalk finish or clay paint. You will use this paint on your furniture. You will want to put multiple coats of paint on the furniture, as it will help when you come to sand off some of the topcoat.
Then, depending on your hopes for the finish, you might want to attack the paint with some sandpaper. You are looking to make that topcoat of paint uneven and “aged”. To sustain the antique look that you create with the painting of this heavy wood, you should use a furniture wax to keep the pattern in place.
Beyond the wooden furniture
There are other areas of interior design to consider, beyond the furniture. You will need to focus on the entirety of the interior aspect if it is going to look cohesive. The matching of colour, texture and well-chosen pieces will make your design look purposeful, even while you are trying to suggest it was an accidental coming together of elements. All pieces should be chosen because they are subtly similar.
Go back to the charity shops and car boot sales and look for the vintage accessories that will be perfect alongside the furniture. For instance, you could invest in an elegant mirror or use your creativity to transform old tools into new pieces of art. Whatever you do, choose natural fabrics and materials that will contrast with the shabbiness of your furniture.
If you are looking for some design shortcuts, you can always decorate with cherubs and garlands – it almost screams shabby chic. The use of these motifs is a throwback to the early 20th century cottage, especially if you use pieces of crockery or tiles. Alternatively, you can go bold with some rose printed wallpaper, especially in a living room.
The way to achieve shabby chic over cluttered and tacky is to choose your pieces wisely. You do not want to fill up the room with cheap accessories. Instead, go to artisan markets and antique fairs and select signature pieces that bring you joy.
Make sure it is you!
When you are going for such a contrived design style as shabby chic, it is easy to let your personality disappear into a showroom of ideas. Ultimately, you are designing your living space and you need to feel at home there too. Often shabby chic can be achieved with your collections of memorabilia, books and wall-art, as well as those vinyl records, which come together to be shabby chic because they are part of your history.
Ultimately, shabby chic furniture and accessories can create an unparalleled effect in your home. With the right balance, something just before broken down and cluttered, you can create a space that starts the conversations with your friends and family.