A Shabby Chic Kitchen

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A Shabby Chic kitchen can be a simple, budget friendly creation that completes the look of your simply shabby style home!

If you adore the shabby style home, creating a kitchen that complements this simple, casual decor just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Easy on the budget if needed, with the opportunity to use flea market finds and consignment bargains, your chic kitchen design can come together quickly!

Let's look at some of the creative Kitchens that Shabby Chic lovers have designed:

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Simplicity is the key to this Shabby Style Kitchen design, but the distinctive details of this beloved decorating philosophy are evident.

The touches of soft pink and blue in the decorative accents, teacups and dainty pitchers hanging from small white hooks in the kitchen window, elegant trays and displays as well as the ever present flowers give this humble space a Shabby Style elegance.

You can't mistake the Shabby style of this pretty and elegant Kitchen!

I noticed the lighting and lace right away, as well as the dainty plate display on the walls. There is nothing in this space that is particularly expensive or that would break the budget, which is one of the wonderful aspects of decorating in this style.

Note the area rug...clever idea that I have used in my own Kitchen. If you have the width, it protect the floor and looks great.

photo source unknown

There is so much to see in the details of this Kitchen with a Shabby Chic influence.

If you love to display collections, vintage finds, collectables, etc...this is an example of a Country twist to a Shabby Style decor. I like the shutters and ruffles on the window  :)

photo source unknown

This photo shows you that no matter what the backdrop of the area is, you can create an elegant Shabby Style decor!

Over-the-top chandeliers work in this expansive area and offset the massive beams and exposed wood ceiling. Colorful accents, lots of flowers and elegant touches create the signature look.

Let's Create our own Shabby Chic Kitchen!

Let’s visualize a kitchen that is just waiting to become a chic little jewel. Here is what we have to work with as we look at our project:

  • Walls are painted in a typical, boring shade of white (yawn)
  • Floors are a neutral tile finish - we can work with that
  • Cabinets are a light oak wood finish of decent construction, so they have possibilities
  • Kitchen furniture in the nook...hmmm...doesn’t seem to be any. So we’ll have fun with that part of the shabby chic kitchen project.
  • Counter tops are an off white solid surface, simple but will work just fine for our decor.
  • There is a window above the kitchen sink and a window (3 ft wide by 4 ft tall) in the nook area. They are waiting for us to make them look great.

So that sets the stage for our kitchen design, shabby style!

First, let's do something with the walls in the kitchen

Shabby chic colors are typically soft shades of rose, blue, green, yellow and cream. Our little kitchen will look great and blend well with the rest of our home’s decor if we find a beautiful shade of rose.

You'll find beautiful shades of paint exclusively for Shabby Chic from the creator of the style, Rachel Ashwell:

See all of Rachel Ashwell's Chalk and Clay Paint 

I think we'll use the shade Pink Petals shown above for the walls of our Kitchen project :)

Let's look at the cabinets next

A Shabby chic kitchen can work well with either wood finish or painted cabinets; it depends on the type of cabinet you have and what condition they are in.

The cabinets in our imaginary kitchen are in decent condition, so we’re going to leave them in their light oak finish.

But we are going to make two changes to them:

First, we’re going to remove the doors from two sets of the cabinets and leave the shelving exposed to create a small area to display our tea cup collection.

The cabinets we selected are uppers and they are at the end of the line of cabinets, furthest away from the ‘task area’ of the kitchen (sink, stove, frig).

After we remove the doors, we’re going to:

1) place a simple wood trim around the cabinet openings to finish them off

2) paint the backs of the exposed cabinets in a color that is about two shades darker than the walls.

We'll use London Light, shown above. That will be a beautiful combination of color.

3) glue lace trim to the edges of the shelves to create a shabby style look

Then, we are going to find a darling little cabinet pull that fits with our style and use those pulls on the remaining cabinets; they still have their doors on :)

We’ll move on to the windows now

Let’s work with the window over the kitchen sink first.

We are going to use some re-purposed materials for this window in our shabby chic kitchen.

Here is what we’ll need:

1) a tension rod that fits the inside of the window (ours is about 30” wide)
2) three or four vintage hankies that we found at a flea market.

They are similar in size, with various soft colors and patterns, nothing bold or bright for this shabby window treatment! We’ll make sure they are clean and pressed.

We will fold each hankie in half to form a triangle, then hang the hankies over the tension rod, overlapping them slightly, points hanging down. The sizes will be off slightly, but that’s okay. It is all part of the charm of the window treatment.

The tension rod will be placed on the inside of the window at the top.

Now we’ll put a lovely shabby style treatment on the nook window.

  • For this opening, we will install a double rod so we can hang two types of treatments.
  • A simple lace panel always works well in this style of decor, and the kitchen area is no exception. So we are going to place a floor length lace panel on either side of the window.
  • Then, we will put a valance across the top of window, over the panels. We’ll select a small patterned valance that matches the overall color scheme of the space.

Moving on to the floors, we are going to use area/scatter rugs to give our floors
the shabby chic look we desire

Plain colors, prints, natural cotton weaves...those are the types of rugs to look for.

I think it would be fun to mix and match these rugs, as it’s consistent with the style we are working with, so we're going to find several different rugs for our kitchen and nook that complement our decor style, and each other, but do not match.

Here is another way use rugs in the kitchen area.

Remember that you don’t have to put a small rug in front of the sink, another small rug by the stove, yet another little rug in front of the frig,etc.

Measure the space and consider an area rug, 5’ x 7’ for example, that may give some coverage to the entire area. It’s a nice look, and as long as you can clean the rug when needed, can work very well in the kitchen. See the 3rd image from the top for an example.

Okay, how is our shabby chic kitchen shaping up?

We have put a beautiful, soft shade of pink on the walls, created window treatments, found interesting area rugs and turned ho-hum cabinets into an eye catching display of shabby chic decor.

Now let’s turn our attention to the furniture.
We’ll start in the nook of our shabby chic kitchen

Shabby style decor includes vintage, distressed, re-purposed and reproduction furniture, so your budget will dictate what you do here to some extent.

Shabby Chic Dining Furnitur

Here are some things to remember when searching for a table and chairs for the space.

1) You do not need a matching set.

Actually, don't do that. Find a cool table, then look for chairs that will make it look great, in a shabby sort of way.

2) Painted furniture is good. You might need to put a coat of paint on the table and/or chairs...and the paint does not have to match. Complement the decor and your color palette, yes.

Notice the photo from Coastal Living at the top of the page.

You'll see a distressed, vintage kitchen table combined with a chair and a bench (not matching!) to create the Shabby Chic kitchen look that is really rustic yet elegant.

There is a pillow on the bench to add a bit of softness to the area.

Is your kitchen area large enough to accommodate an island of some type?

You could find a vintage dresser/table/sofa table...whatever size and shape fits your space, and utilize it as an island in your shabby style kitchen.

A top can be made for the piece to allow for 'kitchen type' duties, and the possibilities allow for budget friendly (laminate) to higher end tops such as granite. The choice is yours. Leave the table as is if you wish - it's up to you.

Lighting is our next task for the kitchen project,
Shabby Chic Style

Think of soft, pretty, crystals, beading, lace...put those descriptive words together and find the lighting that fits your budget and the space.

  • It could be a small lamp on the kitchen counter to add some soft light to the area.
  • You might find a simple but beautiful hanging chandelier for the nook.
  • How about over the kitchen sink? A dainty white pendant with soft curves could be perfect for that lighting task.

Okay, we have created the foundation of a beautiful Shabby Chic kitchen, but now it is time to really make it our own with the accessories and finishing touches.

Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves through decorating and design...we collect different types of things...so YOU will shine through here.

First, decide how your shabby style will look. Elegant? Distressed, as in the photo at the top of the page? Simple? A little on the sophisticated shabby side? Think about the interpretation and then you can finish the space.

  • Show off your collections in the open cabinets we created, on top of the cabinets if your kitchen has that type of design (most do).
  • Display them throughout the room, on counter tops where appropriate, perhaps on a small accent piece that has been placed in the corner of the nook.
  • Place your collectables on a wall shelf, similar to the photo in the middle of this page.
  • Use lace to create the shabby chic look in the kitchen. Place a runner down the table, a round piece of lace under a small lamp on the counter, pieces of lace on the shelves of the cabinets where your collections/china are displayed.
  • Flowers are always a part of shabby style decorating, so use these freely in the kitchen...fresh or silk, you decide.
  • Adorn the walls with artwork befitting the shabby style, with florals, delicate designs and more.

I purchased a four piece set of hand painted Victorian tea cup prints in delicate gold frames - each print is about 6" x 8". They would look perfect in the shabby chic kitchen we've been creating.

This duo of tea cups offers a slightly different take on the theme...can you picture these in your shabby chic kitchen?

Touches of gold accents are always appropriate in Shabby decor, so we'll make sure to add a little elegance to our space when making selections.

Finally, close your eyes and visualize the beautiful Shabby Chic Kitchen we've created.

Guess what? You can do this, too, for real, in your own home!

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