And the code word is "shabby chic". Yup, yup! I haven't gone loony, really, to promote shabby. It's in. 'Shabby' has been treated with much contempt, until 1989 when designer Rachel Ashwell picked the poor, orphan word and gave it a sexy, new meaning! Highlighting the comfortable imperfections that make a home sinfully relaxing, her company 'Shabby Chic' has inspired a global home aesthetic with a style that screams classy, country cottage comfort. You might disagree, but there is something about little imperfections, faded colours and aged furniture that gives shiny steel a run.
Intentionally left imperfect, shabby chic is reflective of décor that's inviting, reassuring, unpretentious and beautifully 'lived-in'. Honestly, to me, the most important quality that differentiates a home from a house is the ease with which it welcomes its people and shabby chic is quintessentially, 'Kickback and relax, for this is home'. After a 10-hour shift, I think this is the rejuvenation we all have been looking for.
Shabby chic is winning with whites
I do not mean to sound like an evil racist but if you want to adapt to principles of shabby chic, you'll have to lean towards the fairer palette. I said palette! Lol, let's just say, it's all about turning your home into a sweet English country cottage look-alike! Get the drift? To begin, give your home a healthy dose of dreamy white and use a wee bit of pastel, natural, and mute here and there to highlight. As long as other colours are adding up to only 10% of your décor, you are in the right track. Turquoise, aqua, peach, pink, grey and moss green are my personal favourites as accent colours while decorating shabby-chic.
Go crazy with seating
Straight lines, factory made and clean symmetry is ubiquitous! Where's the whimsy? Call in the old-world-charm into your home with garden chairs, reclaimed lumber, railway sleepers stripped into a table or curvy mismatched chairs with linen upholstery. Pair a wooden bench on one side with Queen Annie chairs on the other if your space allows. It's not who you can be, it's what you are here for!
Use restored and repurposed crates
As a lover of shabby chic décor, I love old patina and weathered wood. There is no need to buy them off-the-rack from an uptown shop unless you have an obnoxious amount of money which you can dispose off -- in which case, do some charity and send some this way. Shabby chic is possibly the most frugal décor style, if there existed hierarchies in décor world. Pick discarded fruit crates from curb-side, love it a bit, say a little prayer, give it a whitewash and you'll end up with a pretty good piece yourself. Plus, it will cost you 1/10th of what you'd pay anyway! Whitewash, add a wheel or two and turn it into a functional cart or Modge Podge wine-crate printables on it and turn it to a centerpiece as I have: The possibilities are endless.
Ornate mirror, wooden palette
Nothing screams shabby chic more than an ornate mirror or a wooden palette headboard. For mirrors, try hunting the used-furniture shops. They are generally available in silver, gold or copper colour: all you need to do is get it home and whitewash-love-baby! Distress the paint from the sides to let its original colour show through. Put it up with other mirrors or ornate frames in a cluster. For a palette headboard, curate strips of weathered wood or barn wood in shades of ash and brown, place them side by side and nail them. Attach hooks behind and hang it on the wall just above your bed, to turn it into a headboard. If you have a bistro style dining area, this should look great as a backdrop!
Again, wicker baskets totally float my boat! Use them to keep your magazine near the foot of your bed, group vintage bottles in them for that French flair or simply keep some seasonal fruits: I am in love with anything wicker. For that shabby-chic look, paint them white and add a linen liner! I love keeping fresh cut flowers in them and place them in groups in a dull corner. It's all about being carefully careless!
Pretty bottles in lavender and aqua
To bring in the old-world atmosphere, nothing does a better job than a few vintagey, tinted bottles. If you can't find vintage bottles, or they come with 'will burn a hole in your pocket' tag, make your own. Simply mix sketch pen ink and Modge Podge (available in Hobby Ideas) and colour regular glass bottles from outside. They will dry clear giving your bottle a translucent tint! You can find tutorials here.
Ruffles, laces and prints in florals
Quintessential to shabby chic décor is layering of upholstery. Yards of ruffle, lace, burlap, linen, cotton -- all collectively form the shabby chic essential. A quick way to incorporate this style is to add ruffles to your cushions. Follow the 10% rule again for patterns and prints. Most importantly, stick to colour shades which are pastel but mute. For example, use smokey pink, peach with dollops of white, teal, grey, cream, putty, aqua with a touch of grey and retro green.
Vintage buckets, colanders and tins
I heart this element in shabby chic style. A galvanized tin pail with a bunch of pale pink roses and there you have a piece you can die for! If you are living in a small space, use the tin measurers you see in your grocery shop. They look fantastic with a flower or two on your side tables and dining centerpiece. Use colanders with seasonal fruits as centerpiece as well for that country cottage feel!