What Does Shabby Chic Mean

Shabby Chic What Does Shabby Chic Mean

Shabby Chic is a design style that began in Britain inspired by the style of the country houses that featured old and worn out furniture and furnishings. The cottages were often furnished with abandoned and faded items from the main house. This led to a worn yet put together look, one of casual style.

What Does Shabby Chic Mean?

The term “Shabby Chic” was coined in 1980 by the ‘World of Interiors’ magazine to describe the style that places emphasis on shabby, old items with stories to tell, items where the wear and tear are just added beauty.

The style became popular not just in the United States but also in France, eventually creating French Style Shabby Chic.

When trying to create a shabby chic style, use:


Shabby chic uses soft, muted colors. Off-white, Pale blue, light yellow, etc. come together to create this delicate visual style. Nothing too bold or dramatic. Pastels work beautifully in this look. Shades of white, cream and light yellow do the heavy lifting, with walls and most furniture pieces being painted as such. The furnishings are used to add in shades of blue, yellow, green and pink. Flooring is mostly light wood, however, even light colored carpeting can be used. The overall arrangement should be easy on the eyes.


Patterns are used considerably in shabby chic. Fabrics and wallpapers with floral, paisley, stripes, gingham, and toile all go well here. Patterns are used wherever possible, sometimes even on furniture pieces like cabinet drawers. Flea market finds and hand-me-downs can be used to decorate, to create the faded appeal.

Pie with flower


Wood and fabrics are predominantly used in the shabby chic style. Salvaged wood is often painted in white or pastel shades and used here. Lace pairs well with most materials here. Styles like frills are also popular. Wrought iron, even rusted ones, can be used decoratively to amp up the shabby style.


Painted or distressed wooden furniture, like vintage coffee tables or dining chairs can be coupled with more decorative furniture pieces like an elegant armchair. Sofas and seating are overstuffed and cozy. The wooden furniture often contain detailed carvings and ornate designs, as do some windows and cabinetry. These are balanced well with the vintage items.


Flea markets and vintage stores are great places to find items for decorating the shabby chic room. Re-purpose old trunks to serve as seating or display. Use glass bottles to keep fresh flowers (There are never too many flowers or floral in shabby chic). Keep old mirrors and books on display. There are endless combinations with shabby chic.


This is a style that’s easy to create without breaking the bank or taking down the walls. It is also a great way to use old and worn down items. Even the broken or rusted pieces can be revived with a light dab of paint, without changing much of the appearance, and the relatively new items can be distressed to give an aged look. After all, shabby chic is all about reusing items and creating an easy style, that is inviting and cozy with its lived-in look.


Deborah Torres
Deborah Torres
I fell in love with home decor and interior design in the summer of 2015, when I joined an interior design company as intern. Little did I know then that a few years later, I would still be as passionate about interior design so I created this blog. Writing many posts to help others to achieve the design they like.
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