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The Meaning of Shabby Chic
A beautiful grouping for a Shabby Chic look
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.
Shabby chic decorating
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!)
More shabby chic decor...
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 décor 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?