What IS Shabby Chic?

Let’s talk about where this whole idea comes from. That’s a really good place to start!

The term “shabby chic” seems to have originated in the 1980’s. Wikipedia says it was first used by The World of Interiors  magazine, and spread from there.


Shabby Chic Cupboard


Shabby chic style is, most simply, a blend of “shabby”- or rough, old, slightly aged or damaged items, with “chic”- or elegant, often feminine, beautiful elements. Sometimes the shabby chic design style is achieved in one piece, say an old french provincial dresser, which has antique wear-and-tear, but is, by nature, elegant.


French Provincial Dresser


Or, shabby chic can consist of pairing old antique items with new, soft and elegant pieces, colors and fabrics.


Shabby Chic Living Room


Lately, the shabby chic style is being popularized by distressing new pieces or re-purposing furniture items to give them a tailor-made shabby chic feel.


Like this re-purposed pallet:


Pallet wall cabinet


The shabby chic style can mean somewhat different things for different people. It’s a design style based on the concept of mixing old vintage stylized pieces with soft, typically girly fabrics and colors. Lately, though, I’ve been falling in love with what some are calling the “Masculine Shabby Chic”…. Which is basically a lot of roughed up antiques with lots of browns and whites, all while maintaining a subtle elegance.


Masculine Shabby Chic Fireplace


And while shabby chic can be interpreted differently, it’s probably safe to say that shabby chic is generally not a sleek, modern, or minimalist style. It’s usually a bit more “floofy*”. Tastefully floofy, though, of course!


Shabby Chic Look


*If you are unfamiliar with the highly techincial term “floofy,” it’s okay. It just means that you are clearly not from my bloodline. Normal people might use words like “feminine,” “lacy,” “floral,” or even “Victorian” to describe this style.
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1 Comment on What IS Shabby Chic?

  1. Claire Hamilton-Farrell
    October 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Love your writing style! It’s shabby chic, too! ie: “FLOOFY!” :-)


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