Want to know what shabby chic decor is all about? Not sure where to start?
Here at Knobbles and Bobbles, we are big fans of this trend ourselves, and we have a whole range of shabby chic door knobs and homeware accessories for you to feast your eyes on.
In fact, we love it so much that we’ve put together a handy guide to give you the lowdown on this ever-popular home decor style, so you can get some inspiration for your own home, too.
What is Shabby Chic?
Shabby chic refers to a style that incorporates aged or worn-out pieces into interior design.
Often confused with vintage style decor, where the pieces come from a certain time period, the idea of the shabby chic style is that furniture accessories are meant to be slightly imperfect. They are supposed to stand out, which means that spaces that embrace shabby chic decor have tons of personality.
The imperfections that come with the shabby chic look aren’t to be confused with rustic styles, either. The difference here is that shabby chic has more feminine accents (think florals, ceramic, glass, and eclectic geometric patterns), whereas the former has more rugged features like exposed wood, and uses denser materials like burlap to name a few.
The History of Shabby Chic Decor
The term “shabby chic” was originally coined in an American magazine known as the World of Interiors in the 1980s. However, the style itself has existed throughout time. Since it isn’t attached to a specific movement or time period, it takes inspiration from various places.
English Country Houses
Large English country houses, for example, have been said to demonstrate the essence of shabby chic decor pretty well. The old paintings, draped furnishings, wall decor and overall opulence takes a maximalist approach to interior design. A unique thing worth noting about shabby chic interiors is that there is no such thing as being “over the top” – you can get away with incorporating all kinds of patterns, from stripes to polka dots in one room.
Other notable places that have also taken on this approach include French chateaus, particularly drawing on influences from the Baroque and Rococo era. The level of detail that goes into furniture and home accessories that are found in the French approach means that it is definitely the more upmarket way to go if you’re looking to replicate shabby chic interiors.
Notable characteristics of French shabby chic style include lacing furniture with metallic accents, and styling your interiors with opulent accessories – think chandeliers, fancy vanities and antique paintings.
In this section, we will be discussing the materials, lighting and colours that you need to know about in the world of shabby chic decor.
Most shabby chic homeware is made out of iron and timber, which includes bed frames, chairs, hooks, tables and shelves.
Soft furnishings commonly make use of light and soft materials like linen, lace, and net that give it a feminine accent. Tassels are also widespread here, which demonstrates the ability of shabby chic to somehow always stay in fashion.
The paint job is often always worn out, and this is done intentionally to appeal to the timelessness of this trend. Expect to see a whole lot of exposed woodwork and faded brass/iron accents.
Having said that, it is actually common for people to intentionally “shabby chic” their furniture. Ways in which this has been done include using sandpaper to distress wooden furniture, such as tables and cupboards. They are then finished off using a special wax to seal the surface.
The overall effect maybe a little on the maximalist side, but shabby chic rooms make use of lots of natural light. You might see heavy drapes being used on window curtains, but natural light is always allowed to come in – this can easily done by fitting a window net, to give an elegant and delicate finish.
Shabby Chic Colour Palette
Shabby chic rooms follow two principles: having attention to detail and a delicate touch. An attention to detail can be an opportunity to experiment with pops of colour. The delicate elements come from keeping your overall decor airy and light, with pastels and whites working well with the main elements of the room.
Avoid going with darker colours for most of your interiors, as this can make the room look cramped, and is where it tends to become more rustic-looking as opposed to shabby chic.
The choice you make when it comes to your colour palette will achieve different effects. Bold colours can be great for making a statement and adding personality, whilst lighter colours like beige and cream can convey a sense of harmony and warmth. Take a look at some of our shabby chic colour palette suggestions below:
Try: dusty pink, baby pink baby blue, mint green and lilac.
To capture the shabby chic feel, we would recommend painting your existing door knobs or drawer knobs a metallic colour. If you want to take it to the next level, you could opt for brass or copper door knobs and handles for an antique finish.
Try: off white, champagne, ivory, vanilla or cream
Floral is the most commonly associated print in the shabby chic world. Depending on the effect you are going for, they can be quite versatile. You can use florals to add feminine accents or introduce a sense of regality with more opulent designs.
Beyond florals, other prints such as stripes, polka dots, and various geometric patterns can also be found in shabby chic prints. On the whole, shabby chic rooms rarely stick with one kind of print, so feel free to mix things up and have a combination of them.
Types of Shabby Chic
Taking inspiration from the grandeur of English and French country style houses with a cosier twist, cottage shabby chic switches things up a bit by introducing hints of colours that are a bit more out there, such as pastel green.
Beach House Style
Opt for corals, azures, and sandy colours when deciding on a colour scheme for a by-the-beach feel.
Adding stripes to your decor can also be a great way of going with the nautical theme.
Mad Hatter Style
For the more adventurous, the mad hatter shabby chic decor works brilliantly. Chandeliers, assorted colours, vintage lampshades hanging from the ceilings, and floral china tea sets make the perfect tea party affair, where the only limits are your imagination.
We are loving this shabby chic themed cafe in Abu Dhabi – another example of how this decor is winning over people from around the world.
What’s trending in the world of shabby chic decor online? Find out more about all the shabby chic design trends in this section.
The country with the most interest is Malta, followed by Italy, Switzerland, the UK and Sweden, so it looks like the shabby chic trend is certainly making waves in Europe.
The term shabby chic alone has been hashtagged a massive 7.2 million times on Instagram, proving that it’s definitely a trend that’s getting people talking. And it’s global – shabby chic Indonesia has over 300,000 posts alone.
When it comes to the most popular hashtags, the top four were:
It’s not hard to see why so many people love it – there is something about the imperfections of worn furniture that really grabs your attention. Even incorporating just a couple of shabby chic pieces into your rooms can make them stand out and make them a talking piece.
Shabby Chic Interiors By Room
Shabby Chic Bathrooms
A crucial part of achieving a shabby chic bathroom is that the furniture is a little rough around the edges. Think worn-out paint work on cupboards and sink countertops, metallic taps and handles.
Why not use our metallic light pulls for a quirky and out of the box way to spruce up your bathroom?
Shabby Chic Bedrooms
A shabby chic bedroom is one that boasts comfort and luxury. And it is a versatile look, too – when done right, shabby chic decor can also be elegant.
Mirror and glass elements in your bedroom decor, especially in places you wouldn’t usually find them are a great way of making a statement – which is exactly what shabby chic decorating aims to do.
Shabby Chic Living Rooms
Chandeliers, large ornate mirrors and clocks, and distressed cabinets are the way to go when piecing together your shabby chic living room.
To make the space easy to redecorate and to create the illusion of more space, try and stick with lighter coloured walls if possible. You can then add pops of colour through your homeware accessories like wall art.
Shabby Chic Kitchens
Open shelving is also another emerging trend, where items are placed on shelves for direct examination. Place mugs and oil cruets on your shelf, and add a wicker basket to turn up the rustic factor.
We have a range of opulent shelf brackets and timber shelves to choose from – shop our shelf accessories
Now that you know all the ins and outs of this widely loved decor trend, we hope that our guide has given you plenty of shabby chic home decor inspiration to work with.