The term ‘Shabby Chic’ was coined by British Designer, Rachel Ashwell. One of the main reasons people are drawn toward the Shabby Chic style of decorating, is simply because of its versatility. With a backdrop of primarily white, you can incorporate an array of different pieces into one space with ease.

Whether you’re a Shabby Chic expert, or you simply love the style but struggle with how to incorporate the look into your home, here are 4 distinct ways to achieve this classic style in your space:

Creative Collections

If you are a lover of flea-market finds, Shabby Chic might be the perfect style for you. When decorating your home, consider the artful statement pieces that you already have. Shabby Chic is all about vintage finds, modern accessories, and feminine fabrics all working in tandem for a pulled together. Tara Nolan of explains, “Don’t let the word “Shabby” fool you when adapting the principles of shabby chic style into a room. The look may be unstructured and lacking in formal rules, but this timeless aesthetic can add an effortless elegance to your home. With handicrafts, salvaged furniture and vintage textiles available not only in flea markets, but also in retail shops (often as reproductions), you don’t have to search high and low for the perfect piece. You might even have a diamond in the rough right under your nose—a down-and-out piece of furniture just waiting to be whitewashed and restored. That’s the beauty of shabby chic style—it’s budget-friendly and easy to acquire.”

Go through your home and pick out a few of your favorite items, for instance, a clock your grandmother gave you, your favorite teacup, a collection of funky jars, etc. all of these things can be grouped together to create an eclectic display. Nature can bring an added element to Shabby Chic collections. Sara Elliot shares her insight by saying, “Nature can provide the best accessories. Shells, driftwood, ocean glass, seeds, acorns, pinecones, rocks and woven grass pieces can all become elements of modern, Shabby Chic or blended décor. The nice thing about natural pieces is that they add amazing texture and shading. They can easily become the focal point of a table or mantel, and they’re great conversation starters. When using smaller elements, be sure to arrange them in odd numbered groups (threes and fives). For very small pieces like acorns or seeds, collect them in apothecary jars or woven baskets.”

A few fun ideas to get you started include:

Soft Tones

One of the main characteristics of Shabby Chic style includes soft feminine colors. The calming and cozy color palette associated with this romantic style offers great versatility no matter what kind of look your trying to achieve. These colors pair well with rustic, cottage, and modern elements. shares, “Truth is, when you’re painting furniture piece by piece for a shabby chic room, it doesn’t necessarily all need to be the same shade of white. In fact, if you’re pairing your décor with old antiques, and distressing things to add character, a few different shades of white on your furniture will only add charm.” Have fun playing around with mismatched linens as well as blending bright white with tea stained pieces. Remember, shabby chic is all about blending the things of yesteryear with the here and now. Some romantic Shabby Chic colors to help you get decorating include:

  • cotton white
  • dusty rose
  • baby pink
  • muted mint
  • soft lilac
  • butter-cream yellow
  • misty blue

Distressed Furniture

Shabby Chic style is distinctly recognized by distressed or antique furniture. Since this form of design relies heavily on the merge of old and new, it works highly in your favor and is ideal for those on a tight budget. According to, “The main characteristic of shabby chic interior design is aged and distressed furniture. It could be chosen for its appearance of age with all the signs of wear and tear or it can be distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.” It’s amazing what you can do with a few dollars, a thrift-store find, and a bucket of chalkboard paint. Virtually any piece of furniture can be turned Shabby Chic, but here are a few easy places to start:

  • old picture frames
  • your dining room table
  • mismatched nightstands
  • bar-stools
  • wood framed mirrors
  • dressers
  • bookshelves
  • wood wine racks

Re-purposed Treasures

Shabby Chic design centers around the artful blending of new and old, this opens the door for an assortment of fun DIY projects. Put your creative hat on and try your hand at some of these ideas:

  • turning an old door into your coffee table
  • using a reclaimed shutter as a shelf
  • finding new uses for old luggage
  • make a jewelry hanger out of an old frame
  • use salvaged barn wood as a room divider or headboard
  • a vintage birdcage as a lantern or potpourri holder

Keep in mind that with Shabby Chic, you can also try your hand at experimenting with alternative uses. If you have an old chair that isn’t really sturdy enough for sitting on, try using it as a planter or a nightstand. Instead of your typical coffee table, you could use a picnic bench, steamer trunk, or stacked pallets as an alternative. You can also play around with containers by using a cake platter for a jewelry organizer, an old suitcase as a toy-chest, or a worn ladder as a towel rack.

The possibilities are endless and budget-friendly when it comes to Shabby Chic. With a creative eye, a fresh coat of paint, and artistic placement, ordinary objects can become lifetime treasures.