Get the look... Shabby Chic

Getting comfortable with this well-worn look.

A Shabby Chic interior is meticulously styled to look like it has casually assembled itself over years of good old fashioned living – used but not abused. This diversity is exactly what Shabby Chic is all about. Mixing period furnishings that appear aged and show clear signs of wear and tear with new items that are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. It is this faux-patina that differentiates Shabby Chic from authentic period living. It also means you can do it on a budget, and without having to be a historical purest. So when it comes to antique pieces, ‘faking it’ is as good a making it!

Image Credit: Light Locations
Image Credit: Light Locations
Image Credit: Artists Residence London
Image Credit: Artists Residence
Image Credit: Light Locations
Image Credit: Light Locations
Image Credit: Artists Residence Oxfordshire

Many interiors are light and bright spaces heavy on neutral and pastel colours, but this isn’t a rule. Many great shabby interiors use darker period colours to create a sense of faded grandeur after distressing. The main house bedrooms at Babington House Hotel in Somerset are a great example of how to use darker colours.

Play with pattern...

If your main colour scheme is light, you can be heavy handed here. We’d recommend being more reserved if using strong dark colour on your walls. Bold traditional patterns like Tartan, checkered and plaid work well for fabrics. The use of motifs can be varied and distinctive, however, they should be used as accents on a neutral backdrop rather than as a bold statement in their own right. Alternatively go for a bold floral wallpaper like these amazing examples by House of Hackney and keep the other furnishings simple.

Choosing Furniture...

Pick well-upholstered sofas and chairs that are comfortable and will only get better with age. Opt for more traditional style pieces covered in fabrics that are textural or colourful. Wooden furniture is often hand painted and edge sanded to distress and weather the paint for the ‘scuffed-up’ patina.

Putting it all out there...

Shabby Chic is all about personality over appearance. It’s about wearing your heart on your sleeve. Don’t be afraid to display your personal photographs and artifacts openly, a gallery wall would work great with this look. Mix your photography with other things you love too: art, momentos and other objet d'art are a great way to display your personality and create a sense of nostalgia and romance. The comforting effect achieved by being surrounded by heartwarming memories transcends any comfort achieved from decor alone.

The bathroom...

A shabby Chic bathroom is all about selecting classic pieces that will age well. A traditional fireclay sink, mounted atop a distressed period vanity unit works well here. Try adding unlacquered brass taps like these from Perrin & Rowe that will age with use. A hand-painted freestanding roll top bath would complete the look. Try Victoria & Albert for a stunning range of freestanding baths.

The kitchen...

Choose a hand-painted country style with a worn-in weathered appearance, and a painted wooden table and chairs with faux-patina and burnished corners. And of course, no Shabby Chic kitchen would be complete without the obligatory Aga range and Shaws Belfast sink, both of which are signature accessories for this style, and highly ‘Instagrammable’.

Have you created a Shabby Chic kitchen or bathroom with a Shaws sink? Or are you planning to? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line, or share your creation with us on social media.