DEFINITION: Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with a feminine feel is emphasised to differentiate it from genuine period decor.
ORIGIN OF SHABBY CHIC: The term was coined by The World of Interiors magazine in the 1980s and became extremely popular in the US in the '90s with a certain eclectic surge of decorating styles with paints and effects, notably in metropolitan cultural centres on the West Coast of America, such as LA and San Francisco, with heavy influences from Mediterranean cultures such as Provence, Tuscany and Greece.
Shabby chic is also a general term which can be used to refer to a person who is stylish rather than fashionable, where their style reflects quality as opposed to newness
HISTORY: The style started in Great Britain and evokes the type of decoration found in large country houses where there are worn and faded old chintz sofas and curtains, old paintwork and unassuming 'good' taste. The end result of shabby chic is to achieve an elegant overall effect, as opposed to the sentimentally cute Pop-Victorian. Recycling old furniture and fabrics is an important aspect of the look and was especially popular with modern Bohemians and artisans that made up a sidelined counter-culture movement during the 1980s when expensive quality decor became very fashionable with the upper middle classes. The original shabby chic interiors were usually considered in themselves works of art.
The early forms of shabby chic were rather grand but the style has evolved taking inspiration from many forms of decoration. These range from 18th century Swedish painted decoration, the French Chateau as well as the American Shakers where simplicity and plainness was essential.
DESCRIPTION: Shabby chic items are often heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through obviously time-worn areas. The style is imitated in faux painting using glaze or by painting then rubbing and sanding away the top coat to show the wood or base coats. Fabrics tend to be cottons and linens, with linen being particularly popular, inspired by old French linens. Whites and worn or bleached out pastels are favorite colours. Fabric is often stained with tea to give it the look of old fabric. Bleached and faded are terms often applied to the style. It is not meant for old chipped furniture.
The essence of today's shabby chic style is vintage and antique furniture with the original aged paint, or painted white (or another soft pastel color) and distressed at the corners by sanding. Antique pieces such as pie safes and jelly cupboards are popular in shabby chic décor.
Popular decor items are pillows made of vintage barkcloth fabric, vintage linens, chenille bedspreads, vintage chandeliers, and anything with roses on it. It is a soft, relaxed feminine romantic way of decorating that looks comfortable and inviting. Also called cottage style.
SHABBY CHIC...you either love the style or hate it...right? Not so simple. I never liked the style of Shabby Chic for a long time. It just didn't grab me. It kind of felt scruffy or dirty because it was not new or something. However, over the years as I have got older, the style has started to grow on me. Perhaps as I am ageing, I can appreciate the aged look more lol! What I now find appealing is the softer, feminine look of it. There is a fragility to it at times that I do like. I don't like all Shabby Chic, in fact I am pretty particular and only like a few select items. The fresher, whites with pastel pinks, blues and greens get me going more than the aged look of off white, creams, greys, tea stained looks. Although having just said this, I am liking the tea stained doilie look on new items such as clothing. I think for me I have to get past the look of dirty as opposed to aged. Is this just me or do others of you feel the same way?
Well I know someone who is a Shabby Chic ADDICT and has a lot more experience in creating shabby chic wonders of delight than me. Nannyposs...I throw the floor open to you in the comments sections to share with us. Thanks x Tanya