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How to Give your Furniture a Shabby Chic Look

Updated on September 29, 2012
how to shabby chic
how to shabby chic | Source

3 Tips for Making Over any Room

Giving a room the "shabby chic look" is quick and painless. In fact, you probably have pieces that you can already use. This quick guide will give you an idea on how to decide what pieces you will incorporate into your decor.

Shabby Chic Furniture

Click thumbnail to view full-size
baby blue shabby chic mirror with wire and pearlsuse pieces unconventionally-- this worn out chair makes a great night stand
baby blue shabby chic mirror with wire and pearls
baby blue shabby chic mirror with wire and pearls | Source
use pieces unconventionally-- this worn out chair makes a great night stand
use pieces unconventionally-- this worn out chair makes a great night stand | Source

Worn-out is IN

Using pieces of distressed furniture in shabby chic décor is a great place to start. You can use a naturally-aged wooden chair or dresser or speed up the antiquing process and make your own. Antique stores and flea markets are great resources for finding the perfect furniture. Many times they have already been refinished or antiqued. If you've never done this before, check out my tutorial on furniture antiquing and refinishing. While worn out furniture is a must-have, make sure your pillows and linens are not. There is nothing shabby chic about stained sheets with holes.

I bought this mirror from Goodwill. I painted it with Clear Blue Sky by Glidden and some blue crackle paint from Michaels. Next I sanded all the corners and edges with coarse sandpaper. I strung faux crafting pearls on wire and twisted around the frame.

Get Inspired:

  • Worn out corners on tables, dressers, and picture frames
  • Peeling and crackling paint
  • Artwork or prints that appear faded

Shabby Chic Accents

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dried lavender in mason jarTurn shabby into shabby chic with vintage doilies.  This one has a lovely floral vibe.
dried lavender in mason jar
dried lavender in mason jar | Source
Turn shabby into shabby chic with vintage doilies.  This one has a lovely floral vibe.
Turn shabby into shabby chic with vintage doilies. This one has a lovely floral vibe. | Source

Florals Are Your Friend

Shabby chic really comes to life with the help of delicate flowers and floral designs. Without flowers, the shabby chic look can look dull-- even lifeless. Don't worry about what flowers do or don't compliment other colors or patterns. Shabby chic doesn't have to match-- in fact, the best executed shabby chic décor usually doesn't match. Mix and match it up even if it doesn't feel natural at first. When you're finished, you'll really see everything blend together in a beautiful look.

Dried lavender is naturally beautiful. I have this small bunch left over from How to Make a Lavender Wreath.

Get inspired:

  • Dried flowers in a jar/vase, lavender wreath
  • Floral patterns on decorative pillows and linens
  • Faded flower lithographs

Shabby Chic Paint

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cracking and peeling paint on shelfshabby chic frames in white and aqua
cracking and peeling paint on shelf
cracking and peeling paint on shelf | Source
shabby chic frames in white and aqua
shabby chic frames in white and aqua | Source

I painted this shelf in "oat" crackle paint by Martha Stewart and "celery sticks" by Glidden.

Pastels Are Your Pals

If you love bright and bold colors, shabby chic might not be a look for you. Shabby chic décor and style thrives on very delicate and feminine pastel colors. Think of an Easter palet left in the sun to fade. One of the reasons that shabby chic works so well and is practically effortless is because pastel colors very naturally compliment each other. Most shabby chic collections will have a reoccuring theme (or motif) of white. White helps this decorating style to appear clean and fresh. You can really have as little or as much white as you'd like-- there's no rule.

Get inspired:

  • Lemon chiffon wallpaper
  • Sea green shutters
  • Pale pink porcelain decorative knobs and handles

Test Your Shabby Chic Knowledge

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Heather Says

Investing time and money into a shabby chic décor has many benefits. Not only does it looks fantastic, but you don't have to clean out your bank account just to decorate a room. Pieces are affordable and easy to make on your own. Shabby chic style is also timeless and classic, not a fair-weathered trend-- meaning you won't see it going out of style anytime soon.

DIY Shabby Chic Green Chair



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    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love the faded, worn look of shabby chic - it's so cozy! Real shabby chic takes some creativity and work. You can't buy shabby in a store! Great tips!

    • miss1magination profile image


      7 years ago

      Re-decorating furniture with shabby chic looks great! I 'd like to try for myself - thanks voted up.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and thanks for sharing.

      I now look forward to so many more to come.


    • Heather Says profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Rode 

      7 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      Cosmic Bus-- thanks for reading and commenting. Target always has beautiful items! I love checking out their dollar sections and you're right, their bedding is gorgeous. I feel like I need a second and third job just to keep up with my Target shopping addiction. Kindred spirits indeed!

      Carol7777-- thanks for stopping by and sharing. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm always happy to see your feedback :)

    • Cosmic Bus profile image

      Cosmic Bus 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      I love Shabby Chic! Target has beautiful bedding that I never seem to have the money for! Lol. Great job Heather, I truly believe you and I may be kindred spirits :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Love this look particularly after looking at many boring home decors. You did a great job on this hub. Lots of interesting thoughts. VOte Up and share.


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