Shabby Chic vs Rustic

Shabby chic , rustic, and vintage are decorating terms that are oftentimes interchangeably used. These are, though, three very distinct styles all to themselves when being incorporated into a home.

Shabby chic and vintage are similar as each gives the ‘old’ appearance, but not all shabby chic products are, in fact, vintage items. Rustic design is a masculine style completely unique from the shabby chic and vintage designs.

There is one thing that you will find in common with these designs and that is the fact that the focus in using these styles is to create a space that borders on relaxation, the unpretentious, and a homely feeling.


In a rustic home, the elements will be all natural. There will be wooden beams on the ceilings, exposed stone walls, reclaimed wooden floors, natural organic accessories, nothing painted except the walls which will be white unless they’re papered in a neutral shade. The furnishings will be modern in leather or mid-century styling with all neutral colors. The design is simple and elegant.

When using accessories for the rugs and pillows, many designers will opt for faux cowhide or sheepskin in the rustic modern abode. Linens are going to be made with jute or sisal in neutral tones. Everything is made to be durable to stand up to wear and tear. Big windows are essential in a rustic home allowing natural light to come in with little to no window treatments.

The basic idea for the rustic house is to bring the outside in. It is deemed to be a very masculine decorating style. In contrast…

Shabby Chic

This style is noted to be very feminine think of delicate lace over a heavy curtain. The rooms are ‘dressed’ up as opposed to having the architecture speak for the space as in the rustic home. The accessories and the furniture do the speaking in the shabby chic space leaving the architecture in the background. The color scheme is kept to neutrals or soft pastels.

Shabby chic is all about being ‘soft’ with linens, rugs, throws, pillows, and the hues to bring a sort of gentle charm to a home. With the furnishings, the paints are distressed and the metals are weathered. It’s deemed as a bit of rustic meets elegance in that you can have an exposed, weathered brick wall but it will be offset with a marvelous gleaming oval mirror.

The idea is to pair the ‘shabby’ with the modern in order to get to the chic.

Both of these styles are very appealing to the homeowner who wants to offer their guests a home that houses no pretension and provides the utmost in comfort and coziness; a welcoming unlike most any of the other design styles on the market today.

The choice will be if you want to let the structure speak to your guests and have nature be the language or if you want the elements to be your voice speaking of a time from long ago. Either way peace and harmony will be the translation.

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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