What is Shabby Chic Style Interior Design? | Learn from the Experts

Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

Shabby chic is a style of interior design that combines elements of vintage and modern decor. It is characterized by a mix of old and new, distressed and repurposed items, and a soft, inviting color palette.

This style has its roots in the 19th century when it was popular among the upper classes to decorate their homes in a way that expressed their individual style and tastes.

In the late 20th century, shabby chic saw a resurgence in popularity as people sought out vintage items to decorate their homes. This was largely due to the emergence of thrift stores and flea markets, which made vintage items more accessible to the general public. The style also appealed to people who wanted a home that was cozy and inviting, with a hint of nostalgia.

The popularity of shabby chic led to the rise of companies such as Pottery Barn and Anthropologie, which offered upholstered furniture, curtains, and wallpaper in the style. Today, shabby chic is still popular and can be seen in homes all over the world.

It is often characterized by a mix of antique pieces, distressed wood furniture, and painted walls and ceilings in soft pastel colors.

Characteristics of Shabby Chic Style

Vintage and distressed furniture

shabby chic style 1

Shabby chic style is often characterized by repurposed and distressed furniture, such as armoires, dressers, and other large pieces.

These furniture pieces are often painted with a light color, like white or soft pastel colors, and distressed with sandpaper to give them a worn, vintage look.

Additionally, antique pieces are often used to create a more aged look. These pieces may have signs of wear and tear, such as scratches and dents, but this only adds to the charm of the shabby chic style.

Soft and muted color palette

The soft and muted color palette of shabby chic style usually includes pastel shades and neutrals, such as white, cream, and pale pink.

These colors are generally used to paint walls, furniture, and upholstery, which creates a cozy atmosphere.

Additionally, the muted colors help to draw attention to the distressed pieces and antiques, making them the focal point of the decor.

To further enhance the style, homeowners may choose to add touches of bold colors, such as a bright red armchair or a vibrant blue dresser. These bold pieces can add a pop of color and help to tie the whole style together.

Layered textiles

Layered textiles are also an essential part of the shabby chic style. Homeowners often incorporate various patterns and textures to give the room a cozy, lived-in feel.

Examples of textiles used include lace, linen, and chenille. These textiles can be used to cover upholstery, or as curtains, cushions, and throws.

The combination of these fabrics can create a textured, layered look that is both inviting and aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, these textiles can be used to add subtle splashes of color, such as a bright pink cushion or a blue throw blanket.

The shabby chic style is all about creating a homey and inviting atmosphere, and the best way to do this is by layering textiles with different patterns and textures. By mixing lace, linen, and chenille, homeowners can give their homes a unique and stylish look that is sure to impress.

Floral accents

shabby chic style floral

Floral accents are a key part of the shabby chic style, as they add a touch of femininity and romance to the space. Homeowners often opt for patterns and motifs inspired by nature, such as roses and other flowers.

These can be incorporated into the decor in various ways, such as with floral wallpaper or a printed cushion. Additionally, home decor items like vases, mirrors, and picture frames can be adorned with delicate floral motifs.

These floral accents can be paired with distressed furniture and antiques to create a rustic yet feminine look. The combination of these elements creates a cozy atmosphere that is sure to put family and guests at ease.

Furthermore, these accents can be used to add splashes of bright colors, such as a yellow vase or a pink mirror frame.

The shabby chic style is all about celebrating femininity and romance, and this is best achieved with floral accents. By incorporating patterns and motifs inspired by nature, such as roses and other flowers, homeowners can create a beautiful and inviting space.

Romantic and feminine touches

Romantic and feminine touches can be added in a variety of ways, which can be used to give the space a more romantic and inviting atmosphere.

Ruffles, bows, and other delicate details can be incorporated into furniture, curtains, and bedding to create a look that is both cozy and stylish.

Additionally, these details can be used to provide pops of color, such as ruffled curtains in a bright pink hue or a blue throw blanket embellished with bows.

For an even more luxurious feel, homeowners can incorporate crystal chandeliers. These can be used to add a touch of glamour to the space and can be used to bring in light and sparkle. Crystal chandeliers are available in a variety of styles, from traditional designs to more modern ones.

Key Elements of Shabby Chic Interiors

key elements of shabby chic style

Reclaimed and repurposed items

Shabby chic interiors rely heavily on the use of vintage and recycled items in order to create a unique and inviting atmosphere. These items might include furniture, lighting, fabrics, and accessories with a worn, weathered look.

Reclaimed wood furniture, such as tables, chairs, and dressers, are common in shabby chic design and can create a rustic, yet stylish feel.

In addition to furniture, the use of old doors, windows, and shutters as decorative elements is essential to achieving a shabby chic look. These pieces can be used to create a unique focal point in any room.

For instance, an old door can be used as a headboard for a bed, or an old window can be hung on a wall and decorated with vintage window frames or wreaths. Shutters can be used to frame windows, or hung on the wall to add a vintage touch to any space.

Shabby chic interiors also often incorporate antique pieces, such as lamps, mirrors, or furniture, to add character to a room. These items can be used to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere, or to inject a sense of nostalgia into the design.

In addition, flea market finds, such as hand-me-down plates, baskets, or pottery, can be used to add a unique touch to any shabby chic interior. Repurposed items, such as old jars or tins, can be transformed into lighting fixtures, planters, or vases.

Finally, a key element of shabby chic interiors is whitewashing. This is a technique used to give furniture or accessories an aged, worn-in look. Whitewashing can be used to give any room a vintage, rustic feel and can be used to add texture and character to any space.

Vintage accessories

Vintage accessories add charm and personality to any shabby chic interior. Collections of china, glassware, and other vintage items can be used to bring a touch of nostalgia to any room. These items can be displayed on shelves or on tables, or hung on the walls for a unique look.

Using a variety of textures and materials is essential in creating a shabby chic atmosphere. Vintage china and glassware can be combined with a variety of other pieces, such as baskets, old jars, and pottery, to create an eclectic mix of elements. These pieces can be used to add a unique touch to any space and will help create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Finally, incorporating antique pieces, such as lamps, mirrors, or furniture, can add a timeless sophistication to any shabby chic interior. These items can be used to tie together different elements in the room, while still providing a unique aesthetic. Antique pieces can also be used to create a focal point in the room, such as a statement chair or an ornate mirror.

Slipcovered furniture

Slipcovered furniture is a great way to add a touch of shabby chic to an interior. Loose, casual slipcovers for sofas and chairs are a great way to create a cozy atmosphere.

Slipcovers come in a variety of colors and textures and can be used to achieve an eclectic look. Not only do slipcovers add character to a room, but they also protect the furniture from wear and tear.

Vintage or antique accessories should also be used to add further texture and interest to any shabby chic interior. Antique rugs, quilts, and throws can be used to create a traditional, old-world look.

The aged patina of these pieces adds a layer of sophistication to any room. Vintage items, such as furniture, lamps, and mirrors, can also be used to create a unique atmosphere.

Finally, layering of fabrics and colors is key to creating a shabby chic interior. Layers of soft textures and muted colors provide a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Drapes, throws, and pillows can be used to add depth and warmth to any space.

Rustic and natural materials

Wood and wicker are great materials to use to create a shabby chic interior. These materials provide a rustic and natural look and add texture to the room.

Wooden furniture, such as tables, chairs, and chests of drawers, can be used as statement pieces or paired with vintage furniture to create an eclectic look.

Wicker furniture is also an ideal choice for a shabby chic interior. It is lightweight and easy to move around, and it adds a natural texture to the room.

Other natural elements can be used to add further character to the room. Natural fibers such as jute and sisal can be used to make rugs or to cover walls.

Baskets made from rattan and wicker can be used to store items and create a cozy atmosphere. Finally, hanging plant baskets and potted plants can be used to bring the outdoors in and create a relaxed, inviting environment.

Cozy and inviting atmosphere

Plush cushions, throws, and candles can be used to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Soft fabrics in muted colors, such as velvet and linen, can be used to add warmth and comfort to the room.

Throw pillows in muted shades can be used to soften the edges of furniture and to add a touch of luxury. Throws and blankets can be draped over chairs or used on the bed for a cozy feel.

Candles with warm, inviting scents can be used to create a soothing atmosphere. String lights can also be used to create an inviting atmosphere, as they provide a warm and comforting glow.

Finally, decorated trays, bowls, and shelves can be used to display candles, accent pieces, and even plants to add a personal touch to the space. Accessorizing these items helps to bring the room to life and creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Variations of Shabby Chic Style

French Country Shabby Chic

French Country Shabby Chic is characterized by a blend of traditional French provincial design and the popular shabby chic style.

A key feature of this look is the use of toile fabrics, such as wallpaper or upholstery, as well as ornate mirrors and furniture pieces with intricate details.

To finish off the look, consider adding rustic elements such as antique rugs or wooden trinkets.

Coastal Shabby Chic

coastal shabby chic style

Coastal Shabby Chic is a fun and airy design style that incorporates beach-inspired touches. This look is created by adding subtle elements like seashells, driftwood, and nautical motifs.

To make the room feel more comfortable and inviting, consider using light colors and fabrics, such as white linen and light blue gingham.

Industrial Shabby Chic

Industrial Shabby Chic is a style that combines distressed furniture with industrial accents. This look is created by adding metal light fixtures, exposed brick walls, and other industrial-style elements.

To make the space feel more comfortable, consider incorporating cozy touches such as vintage quilts or nubby pillows.

Bohemian Shabby Chic

Bohemian Shabby Chic is a beautiful blend of shabby chic elements and eclectic, boho-inspired decor. To achieve this look, mix and match colors, textures, and patterns.

Consider adding bright and colorful textiles, such as printed rugs or ruffled curtains, as well as global accents, like tribal masks or wall hangings.

Tips for Incorporating Shabby Chic Style into Your Home

Start with a neutral base.

Neutral walls, floors, and furniture pieces create a blank canvas for incorporating shabby chic style into your home. Stick to a soft, muted color palette such as light grays, pale blues, and creams.

This will provide a calming atmosphere and give you the freedom to make bolder style choices with the rest of the decor.

Mix and match furniture styles.

To achieve the shabby chic look, combine vintage and distressed pieces with modern items. For example, a tufted velvet sofa in a vibrant hue paired with a rustic wood table or a distressed leather armchair set against a vintage Persian rug. This will add a unique flair and create a well-curated, eclectic vibe.

Add layers of texture.

Texture is an important element in the shabby chic style. Incorporate various fabrics, patterns, and materials in various shades such as velvet, linen, jute, and crochet. Layering these textures will create visual interest and depth in your home.

Embrace imperfections.

An important part of the shabby chic style is to embrace the charm of worn and weathered items. Instead of aiming for perfection, look for unique pieces that have an aged patina or are slightly distressed.

Personalize your space.

Finally, make your space your own by displaying collections and meaningful items that reflect your personality and style. Incorporating photos, artwork, and other sentimental items will give your home a personalized touch and make it truly unique.


In conclusion, shabby chic style is a timeless design aesthetic that centers around the idea of making something beautiful out of something old or worn.

It embraces imperfection and encourages personalization in order to create a unique and cozy atmosphere within any home.

With its range of key characteristics, variations, and applications, it’s easy to see why this popular trend continues to captivate


What is shabby chic style?

Shabby chic style is a vintage-inspired decorating style that combines rustic, vintage, and feminine elements. It typically incorporates distressed furniture, delicate details, and pastel colors. The overall look is cozy and inviting.

How do I incorporate shabby chic style into my home decor?

Start by creating a neutral backdrop with white walls and light wood floors. Then, add distressed furniture, lace curtains, vintage decorations, and floral patterns for a shabby chic touch. To finish off the look, add in soft-hued accents and accessories such as throws, rugs, and lamps with feminine details.

What colors are associated with shabby chic style?

Common colors associated with shabby chic style are pastel hues such as pink, mint, lilac, and light blue. These colors are often paired with white, cream, and light wood.

Are there any materials typically used in shabby chic style?

Yes, some common materials used in shabby chic style are wood, wicker, rattan, and lace. These materials are typically used to create furniture pieces, accessories, and decorative details.