Also known as “farmhouse” or “cottage” style, shabby chic decorating has been a interior mainstay since the late 18th century. Although not coined “shabby chic” until late 1980s, this rustic elegance decor style originated in Britain as the middle class sought to replicate the aesthetics found in upper class country homes. The furniture found in these estates had been passed down for generations, giving the decor a vintage and faded feel. To create the same feel in their own homes, the middle class began incorporating distressed antiques into their more modern interior designs. 

This style became more mainstream in 1989 and has been an interior design cornerstone every since. If you’re hoping to integrate more shabby chic decor in your home, follow these few simple tips. 

1. Use Light and Neutral Colors 

When you think of shabby chic decor, you probably picture lacy bedspreads or distressed side tables. However, there’s a key technique used in making all these pieces stand out in the room. When creating the “background” or “backdrop,” consider using a myriad of neutral colors — white or tan for the walls, a light hardwood floor. Since the shabby chic style favors minimalist choices, a light backdrop will help your chosen elements catch the eye. 

2. Reuse and Repurpose

Shabby chic decor is all about repurposing vintage or antique furniture—hence the “shabby” portion of the name. Repurposing furniture is a great way to decorate your space on a budget; while giving you a chance to try out some great DIY techniques. For example, when designing a shabby chic bedroom, you could try the following ideas:

·      Use distressed window panes as a headboard

·      Juxtapose ruffled and layered bedding with an old wooden bed frame

·      Use some antique suitcases as your new nightstand

3. Attempt Minimalism 

When shabby chic decor made a comeback in the late 1980s, the design trend quickly fell prey to clutter and overcrowding. However, today’s shabby chic decor has moved away from that portion of its predecessor’s style and prioritizes minimalism. Instead of filling the room with a variety of weathered pieces, try just choosing one or two; making them the centerpiece of the space. This could be a vintage coffee table surrounded by neutral-colored couches or some shabby chic wall decor placed prominently in your entryway. Pare down your furniture to only the necessary items that you truly love.  

4. Try Different Styles 

There are three different common types of shabby chic decor—farmhouse, feminine and classic—each with their own stylistic differences. The farmhouse style channels more rustic-inspired choices like mason jars, burlap and industrial hardware. Feminine shabby chic harkens back to the 1990 design with sweet elements like lace, ruffles and florals. Finally, the classic style is influenced by the upper middle classes in Britain and France way back in the late 1800s, with weathered wood and large antique furniture. 

When done correctly, shabby chic designs can truly create an effortlessly stylish home. By combining the modern with the antique, shabby chic decor creates the perfect balance between the old and new. 

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