What Is "shabby Chic"?


Quick Answer

Shabby chic is a style of interior design that emphasizes furniture, accents and finishes with a pleasantly aged look. It is modeled after the careworn elegance of English country homes and finds beauty in everyday items. The look is relaxed and comforting, but never grungy.

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Furniture and accessories discovered at flea markets, garage sales and attics have a natural place in shabby chic interiors. Pieces are often distressed, whether through the passage of time or intentionally. They are usually painted in muted colors. Whitewashing is common and helps to create a light, airy look. Surface treatments such as beadboard on walls lend depth to the muted palette.

Upholstery fabric is often mixed with florals, stripes and checks in a unified color palette grounded in beige, creams, soft browns and whisper-soft blues, greens and pinks. For easier pattern mixing, the same background colors are often chosen. Upholstered pieces sometimes sport dressmaker details such as skirts and pintucks.

Textiles are soft and comfortable, usually made from natural fibers. Linen, muslin and cotton are most common. Both eyelet lace and burlap add texture. Accessories are an eclectic blend of old and new, hard and soft. Whether they are vases or candle holders, picture frames or antique road signs, accent pieces are intentionally mismatched in an easy, casual style.

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