ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Meaning of Shabby Chic

Updated on February 15, 2015

A beautiful grouping for a Shabby Chic look

Beautiful and eclectic groupings can make a beautiful shabby chic statement in your home. The meaning of Shabby Chic can mean different things to different interior decorators.
Beautiful and eclectic groupings can make a beautiful shabby chic statement in your home. The meaning of Shabby Chic can mean different things to different interior decorators. | Source

The shabby chic decorating style

Shabby Chic is an interior decorating style term that was coined in the 1980s. The term shabby chic was first introduced in The World of Interiors magazine and became very popular in the 1990s when the style gained popularity with it's eclectic use of decorating styles with paints and effects.

The meaning of shabby chic can cover a broad range of colors and patterns but most notable are the style use of distressed and worn painted furniture, and the use of cozy and usually light colors and pastels. The color white is very popular with the look and some rooms are done entirely in different hues of white. Some shabby chic interiors are achieved by taking new furniture and painting them, then "distressing" them to look "old and worn". Distressing is a method of painting furniture that artists and decorators use.

This is one of my favorite shabby chic comforters. It moves around the house to be a blanket for dogs, kids or whoever needs it.
This is one of my favorite shabby chic comforters. It moves around the house to be a blanket for dogs, kids or whoever needs it. | Source

Decorating a relaxing room

As an artist, the shabby chic style of decorating appeals to me immensely because of it's worn, eclectic, creative and inviting feel. It's a style that's meant to be "lived in" with dogs relaxing, children playing and adults getting cozy in a warm and comfortable chair, without worrying about "wrecking the furniture". Shabby means well...just that! Shabby and elegant enough to be pleasing to the eye but not intimidating. Guests and family members especially love this style. An added bonus is that if there are some bruises and bumps made to the furniture, then it just adds more character to the piece!

I recently rescued a well worn provincial white dresser from the side of the road and plan to give it a nice little shabby chic makeover. Although it would fit in my interior just fine as is, I plan to add some more "age" to it by adding even more layers of paint, then sanding down parts of the wood to give it that beautiful and old well worn look. I may even paint it a shade of turquoise.

That's one of the beauties of this style: it's also eco-friendly because you can save old pieces of furniture that may have otherwise ended up in the dumps. The colors in shabby tend to be light and airy, with an emphasis on pattern, mismatched items, pastels and age. I have adapted my own style which I call "French Country Shabby Chic", which is a combination of old world french influences mixed in with lighter airier pieces.

Shabby chic also tends to mix and match many patterns together, like stripes and even floral patterns, to achieve a harmonious but charming look. Groupings of old photo frames, faded sliver pieces and antiques make this a timeless style. Decorating with shabby is also fun because pieces can be moved around to change things up occasionally, or new pieces can be added without disrupting the look of a whole room. This is a perfect style for collectors and those that love to frequent garage sales and thrive on finding new pieces of "treasure" (like me!)

The origins and history of shabby chic decorating

Although the term shabby chic was introduced in the 1980s, it was in the 1990s that the style really began to gain momentum, especially in the U.S.. The style was modeled after the soft yet opulent and elegant d├ęcor that was found in many of Great Britain's older country homes.

Well worn items are trademarks of shabby chic, along with an emphasis more on style rather than fashion. Quality as opposed to newness is another thing that sets shabby chic apart from other decorating styles. Another close cousin of shabby chic is "country cottage", which also has many similar influences as shabby chic.

Although shabby chic decorating continues to evolve, it's meaning will still be that of a design that means well worn, elegant, comfortable, eclectic and beautiful. And for creative people and those that love comfort and style, the shabby chic style is a perfect one to adopt because the possibilities are endless, Not too shabby, huh?

Shabby chic can be used outdoors too

This is the porch of my last home that was decorated in shabby chic style. The chair was worn wicker with a mismatched pillow and an old vintage angel table. It was so cozy!
This is the porch of my last home that was decorated in shabby chic style. The chair was worn wicker with a mismatched pillow and an old vintage angel table. It was so cozy! | Source
Photo with permission to copy,transfer and modify. Here are some ideas for color combinations when decorating in the shabby chic style.
Photo with permission to copy,transfer and modify. Here are some ideas for color combinations when decorating in the shabby chic style. | Source

Mismatched decor is beautiful

Groupings of antiques, silver, frames and eclectic items are hallmarks of the shabby chic style.
Groupings of antiques, silver, frames and eclectic items are hallmarks of the shabby chic style. | Source

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Vega) I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

  • Vega Vallari profile image

    Nicole Paschal 

    5 years ago from Saint Petersburg, Florida

    Very informative hub! I always wondered what it was exactly!

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    Thanks Helena - yes, it's kinda "shabby" yet "chic" at the same time lol. Thanks for coming by!

  • Helena Ricketts profile image

    Helena Ricketts 

    6 years ago from Indiana

    I was wondering what shabby chic really meant. Great hub! There's a lot of useful information here.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @snakeslane) Thanks and I'm glad you liked my artistic Pinterest board - it's definitely one of my favorite things to look at!

    @MK) Thank-you.

    @Jackie) Thanks - it is so pretty - I agree!!

    @kerlyn) I used to know someone who dressed shabby chic and also dressed her daughters that way too. They were so beautiful!

    @akirchner) I so agree. I'd much rather let "life happen" then worry about tears in the furniture or scrapes on the furniture!

    @Heather) Thanks and yes, I just love the lived in feel of shabby.

  • Heather63 profile image

    Heather Adams 

    6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    Hey Dorsi - terrific info. I live in an Arts & Crafts era home, and would love to decorate it that way. But like you I want to have that "lived in" feel so I can relax! Great photos.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    6 years ago from Washington

    Hi Dorsi - what a cool article and lovely photos. I love anything distressed as it never has to look "perfect" and that is the way to go when you have dogs and kids and "life" happening. Well done and perfectly laid out.

  • kerlynb profile image

    kerlynb 

    6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

    The closest I got so being shabby chic is in digital scrapbooking. I just love shabby chic! It has its own personality, signature. It is unique and timeless at the same time. If somebody would teach me how to dress shabby chic, I might also give it a try. Voting your hub up, interesting and beautiful!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    6 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Very good, love the last photo!

  • M K Paul profile image

    M K Paul 

    6 years ago from India

    very nice hub

  • snakeslane profile image

    Verlie Burroughs 

    6 years ago from Canada

    Hi Dorsi, I like this page! With the link to your Artistic Things page on pinterest there are so many awesome images and decorating ideas. Thanks for sharing. Regards, snakeslane

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)