Shabby Chic Decorating Ideas

How To Create This Simple, Casual Style In Your Home

› Shabby Chic Decorating


When you think about it, we all have a style of living that we prefer to surround ourselves with.

When I've been away from home all day, as I'm driving back I can almost feel the atmosphere that I'll be stepping into, and that's a really good feeling.

So, what type of lifestyle decor beckons you at the end of the day?

The casual yet elegant Shabby Style is one which most everyone is familiar with.

Enjoyed by those who are comfortable living in a soft, feminine style of decor, it is also casual and comfortable. Nothing fancy in this style of home decor although there is always a faded elegance to the surroundings.

Shabby Chic Decorating...the Quick Version

In a hurry for How-To's & Tips? Here you go:

  • Faded Vintage Elegance is the key
  • Whites of all kinds with other soft shades of blue, pink, green and yellow in the palette
  • Crystal, lace, flowers & candles...use them
  • Layer fabrics/laces...small prints/stripes
  • Soft window treatments...think gentle breeze
  • Slip covers/skirted upholstery
  • Painted, distressed furniture is good

This is accomplished with a mixture of vintage, flea market or reproduction furniture, slip covered upholstery, the presence of flowers, lace, crystal and candles. 

As you can see, these selections are budget friendly, and, you could literally furnish a casual shabby style home utilizing flea market, garage sale, vintage/antique shoppe finds. You’ll probably do some touch up, painting of the distressed case goods, etc. but, it could be done!


How about the Details in Shabby Chic Decorating?

If I were to gaze around a room in this style, I would most likely see:

  • A variety of Fabrics living happily together in the space, including florals, checks, small stripes and tea stained fabrics, as shown in the photo above from
  • Soft colors...blues, greens, yellows, roses and pinks...and always, always, some whites and creams
  • Soft edges to the furniture, such as a gently curved leg on a dresser or buffet, rounded arms on a sofa, or a vintage circular end table.
  • Touches of lace and flowers are in the space, too. For example, the dining table might have an antique lace runner down the center with a beautiful bouquet of fresh cut flowers (or some quality silks) sitting in a vintage pitcher.
  • Crystal is present in this room as well, perhaps as delicate, flower-shaped drawer pulls, hanging from a chandelier or lamp shade, or maybe as a shade pull.

The beautiful sheer window treatment in the photo to the left would work perfectly in your casual shabby or cottage home. Plus, it's easy to create! Click on the photo for more information.

How do you create a
Shabby Style look in your home?

Let's take a closer look at this soft, inviting and comfortable Shabby Chic Decorating style. And, here is some good news if you are decorating on a slim budget and looking for some cost effective decorating gems...Shabby Chic is definitely a style for you!

  • As mentioned, your Color Scheme will include white/ivory, and pale shades of pink, blue and green.
  • The walls of your space can be painted any of those colors, and in fact, if you are creating this look throughout your home (consistency in home decor is a good idea!), think about using several different walls colors in different rooms.
  • Just make sure that whatever color you select for a room, you use on all of the walls to create a soft and consistent look. When you move into a different room or space, that is the place to use the next color.
  • Find a shade that has pink tones, for example, and try it out on a color board. You might be surprised at how much color a soft, soft shade of pink will provide on your walls. Paint the ceilings 'Ceiling White' and if the trim is painted, white is the choice.

Floors in your Shabby style home should be comfortable and have that
'walk on me' look to them.

Wood floors are a good choice and can be distressed if desired, with light to medium wood a good choice. Wood-like laminate floors and luxury planked vinyl are budget friendly options that look great!

If you are working with carpet, light colors are the most desirable.

The bottom line with Shabby, Cottage or other casual style decor is that you work with what you've got, so if you have carpet that is a 'tired' brown tweed, you have a couple of options.

You can rip up the carpet and work with the sub-floor underneath, scattering area rugs throughout the room. Or, you can keep the carpet in place, give it a good cleaning and use smaller area/throw rugs in your color palette to create a lighter overall look for the floor.

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The next ideas for creating Shabby Chic decorating are for the Furniture...the case goods, or wood pieces in your decor. This is the fun part of this style, because you can use flea market finds, garage sale treasures, family antiques, antique reproductions or any piece of furniture that you love.

The key to Shabby style is to select pieces that are white washed or painted in light colors, or light to medium wood finishes.

If you find the perfect dining table and mismatched chairs at the flea market, paint the table if it is a dark wood. It doesn't have to be perfect, in fact and shouldn't be.

Put an elegant and romantic twist on an old dresser by replacing the drawer pulls with 'crystal' pulls. In fact, here is an online source for Cupboard Knobs & Cabinet Pulls that you might find helpful.


Furniture is soft, comfortable, overstuffed with rounded edges and often includes slipcovers. Slipcovers can be a great option if your furniture is in good shape and/or if your budget won't allow for a change.

Fabrics should reflect the color palette as described above and patterns are usually soft florals, stripes and checks. Feel free to mix and match, making sure that if you have a large print floral, for example your other fabric patterns will be smaller overall. Again, if you are unsure how to select furniture for your Shabby Chic style, just remember:

  • Soft pinks, greens, blues and white/off-white
  • Florals, stripes and checks with a solid fabric a sensible option
  • Mix and match fabrics - one large print and the others small prints

Window dressings are simple, breezy and unemcumbering, including cotton, gauze and lace.

Use your imagination and keep the window treatments in mind when shopping at the antique store, flea market and garage sales.

Remember that tea-stained fabrics are a part of Shabby Chic decor, so if you find the perfect window treatment at the flea market but it has some blemishes, go ahead and tea-stain it - the treatment will fit in perfectly!

Accessories in Shabby Chic decorating are what makes this style come alive and make it's own decor statement. There are several things to keep in mind when selecting and placing accessories:.

  • There is an overall feeling of elegance and romance
  • Vintage pieces work very well, but it is not 'country style'
  • Think flowers, candles and lace, using restraint (more is not always better!)

These delicate candles in vintage tea cups would be a beautiful addition in any casual style home...I love the subtle elegance!


Select your accessories and finishing touches for your Shabby Chic decorating with care and from the heart, using what you love.

If you think that adding one more piece might be too much,it probably is too much, so leave it out and live with the room for a day or two before you make a final decision.

Start with the basic pieces in the room and build slowly, if that is what suits your budget. Add touches of elegance and your Shabby Chic decorating will be complete.

Decorate your home with confidence using my
10 Secrets to creating a space you'll love!

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