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How to Create a Shabby Chic Bathroom Style

Updated on March 9, 2018
viryabo profile image

Discovering the therapeutic benefit of indoor water features with my aquarium, I soon found that tabletop waterfalls gave me the same effect

The shabby chic decor theme refers to a popular decorating style that really didn’t start off as a style until about 20 years ago when the term was first coined and when it became fashionable to join the shabby chic die-hards bandwagon.

The style embraces the look of aged or well-worn shabby-looking furniture and furnishings, wood showing layers of paint, washed-out prints, faded textiles, pastels, and distressed finishes.

More like a country style look, shabby chic can be described as a timeless eclectic theme with a modest, unobtrusive effect that must not be confused with an antique or vintage look.

You can create a shabby décor theme with discarded furniture that can be upcycled, old décor objects, and other reusable interiors materials, including antique and vintage furnishings, and cheap furniture pieces or sets you can buy from the stores.

This makes the shabby décor theme one of the most affordable ways to enhance or upgrade a room by creating and putting together stylish products of higher quality and better value from their original worn states.

A shabby chic theme showing a distressed bathroom sink cabinet and vintage accessories. Notice the washed-out blue finish, a look typically associated with shabby chic decor.
A shabby chic theme showing a distressed bathroom sink cabinet and vintage accessories. Notice the washed-out blue finish, a look typically associated with shabby chic decor.

How to Create a Shabby Chic Bathroom

If you want to upgrade a bathroom on a shoestring budget without compromising on quality and style; if you desire a timeless classic chic that gives a warm relaxed feel, take the shabby chic style into your bathroom.

There are quick and simple ways to achieve the style and the time you need to spend to carry out the task may be as short as a few hours to a couple of days, and you probably won’t need more than a couple of tins of matt paint, a scraper, and a small paintbrush. However, this depends on the size of the room and the extent of works your upgrade will involve.

  • Bathroom cabinets, shelves, and other existing bathroom furniture can be given the distressed look to get the old or aged look typical of shabby chic.
  • Paint all the trims and crown mouldings white because white is the main base colour of all things shabby chic.
  • Paint the walls with a matte (or flat wall paint), to get an authentic look. It is important to note that walls must not be too shiny, glossy, or flashy, but rather must look dull and worn.
  • White and off-white combinations look fantastic, as do white and soft pale yellows. You could also try white with bold cream vertical lines.
  • For a great effect, use a vintage yellow (or a pale gold shade) and a neutral sand hue finish to create a soft warm feel that is typical of the look. Another great theme is painting the wall surfaces with stripes, using two shades of the same warm colours.
  • Wallpaper with subtle features or trailing patterns will give the bathroom a stylish modern twist.
  • Another floor to wall finish worth considering for the shabby chic bathroom is metro tiles which gives a modern industrial look. Stick to white or shades of white.
  • Floor finish (tiles) must be a neutral shade or faux bleached floor tiles. Remember that words such as faded and bleached remain common terms often applied to the shabby chic style.

Choosing the Right Bathroom Accessories for Shabby Decor

The shabby chic bathroom style can be accessorised similarly as you would the country style but can be given a modern eclectic twist by using the right type and colours of decorative items. So, what types of accessories work best and what hues give the stylish impression desired?


To modernise the theme, add pastel pinks, blue, or green colours, preferably tiny floral prints on a fresh white or off-white background. Hues and tones can be introduced in the towels, curtains, glass jars, candles, floor mat, and other accessories. Pastels have a unique way of making fabrics look old and antique. You can also tea- stain pale or white fabrics to produce an authentic old vintage look.

Alternatively, you can change all the towels to white, a colour quite prevalent in shabby chic bathroom décor. Simple inexpensive white towels will add an instant fresh look. Towels in a soft creamy colour or champagne shades are great too, as is match the towels to the bathroom's wall colour.

Typical shabby chic soft colours. Colours can be introduced into the bathroom through accessories, fabrics, towels, and storage containers
Typical shabby chic soft colours. Colours can be introduced into the bathroom through accessories, fabrics, towels, and storage containers | Source


The essence of the shabby chic style is basically decorating with, and displaying furniture that is old and worn as in 'passed down', antique, or vintage. You can use some of your old furniture, with their original old paint or stain, as long as they possess distinct signs of age.

If you don’t have old furniture you can use but still desire a shabby chic décor, buy new but cheap furniture or just work on the existing ones.

You can imitate the worn look by painting the furniture, allowing it to dry thoroughly, and then sand by gently rubbing the top coat of paint to show a bit of the wood and patches of the base coats on the areas of bathroom furniture that naturally wears off first.

Example of a distressed bathroom table in a shabby chic style setting
Example of a distressed bathroom table in a shabby chic style setting | Source


Furnishings chosen must complement and enhance the new bathroom makeover. Choose linen and cotton fabrics if you can instead of synthetic or man-made textiles. Linen inspired by old French, in whites, looking vintage, worn or lightly bleached out are very popularly used in shabby chic settings. Furnishings to look out for include:

  • Antique style gilded mirrors or silver-framed mirrors
  • Open wall shelves (shallow)
  • Vintage style roll-top bath (if you plan for a full upgrade)
  • Lace or voile curtains
  • Traditional style wall sconces
  • Decorative set of Oka baskets to store towels, toiletries, and other bathroom items
  • Robe hooks made from wood

Remember to allow a mix of these with a few modern features – bathroom sink, taps/faucets (wall mounted taps keep lines clean), bathtub, shower enclosure, and toilet.

Using these simple and affordable shabby chic makeover ideas will not only liven up a lack-lustre bathroom, it will also create a brand new classic look.

That’s the beauty of shabby chic style.

Further Reading:

Bathroom Designs to Expect In the Future

© 2011 viryabo


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    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      You are welcome E. Shabby chic is a wonderful theme and its affordability makes it more attractive to many.

      Thanks for visiting.

    • enchantedmirror profile image

      enchantedmirror 6 years ago

      oh wow, that first image is gorgeous! i love how the distressed look on the frame of the mirror and its color matches the drawer. thanks for all the practical tips you included in the article.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      You're welcome toknowinfo

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      Great article. Thanks for sharing so many of your ideas.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      Thank you Rebecca,


    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      awesome ideas-- as always, and found it when I needed it. many thanks.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      I know how you feel What's News. Not many go for the shabby & chic. It is unique though.

      Thanks for visiting and for your nice comments.


    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      Hello Denise, its always so good to see you.

      I've been unable to log easily to the internet in the past few days, its been a trip. Hence my late reply to your usual kind comments.

      Your dream sounds just like mine, except i forgot to put in the jacuzzi and you forgot to include the soft music!

      Thank you so much for your visit.


      PS: I couldn't finish the challenge, 20 in 30. But i'll start all over again in April. :)

    • What's News profile image

      What's News 7 years ago

      I have seen many bathrooms decorated in this style. While it's not my style I still enjoy the look of it.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      *Hello Becky,

      Just signed in and saw your very nice comments. So good to see you.


      So glad you enjoyed the article. what i like about shabby chic is the fact that the old worn pieces don't look bad after all and have a chance of being relevant (style wise), again.



      Thank you, and thanks for visiting.



      You are welcome. Thanks.

      How's it going?


      *Hello CW, so nice to see you here. Thanks for your kind comments and for the visit. So good to see you.


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      I just love a well designed bathroom, period! It is my dream to have a 'perfect' bathroom with space; a double shower; AND a jacuzzi tub; room to have plants, a window, a skylight...oh, better not let me have my dream, you'd never get me out of there! LOL

    • cwarden profile image

      cwarden 7 years ago from USA

      Great look. Thanks for all of this information!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Loved this Hub - great ideas and so easy - thanks.

    • mepperly profile image

      Shelly Epperly 7 years ago from Vancouver,WA

      great that look.

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      I'm a big fan of shabby Chic. Excellent information about how to achieve this time honored style.Great video too; I think the stained glass rose medallion in the bedroom window is lovely and the cherub shelf with the pot of roses in the bathroom looks adorable too. Thanks for an awesome hub.