Written by: Kim Jones
Why do we love Shabby Chic?
Shabby Chic is of course a form of interior design, and believe it or not it first became popular in the US back in the 1980’s after being featured in The World of Interiors magazine. Influences back then were the cultures of Tuscany, Greece and Provence. The style originally began in Great Britain and you would usually find the design in grand country houses and anyone with an interior reflecting this style would be seen to have ‘good taste’.So why do we love shabby chic so much?
The UK seems to be having a long fledged love affair with the Shabby Chic style. Just walk into shops such as Laura Ashley or Cath Kidston and you’ll be surrounded by the trade-mark pretty floral patterns that represent the style.
You simply cannot argue with the company turnover of Cath Kidston that is seeing huge yearly increases even in our financial climate. New stores are popping up in shopping centres and town centres, and on every occasion I have been in the shop it has been bursting with young and old alike; such a huge number of us have a soft spot for this style. You can now pick up handbags and even mobile phone covers with something to fit every budget or need.
Maybe it reminds us of Granny’s house? Or maybe we just like to look at pretty things? The best thing about Shabby Chic is that it fits in with all home designs to a degree. If you are a contemporary minimalistic kind of person you could easily have a few key pieces that would not look out of place in your home. If you have an older home, a character property perhaps, then you can guarantee without even realising it you will be dressing your house in this style.
So what is Shabby Chic?
Furniture and fabric should look distressed, show wear and tear and look just like an antique item.
Fabrics are inspired by old French linens, usually in white, cream or pastel colours. The fabric can also be tea stained to give more of an old antique feel, bleached or faded fabrics work very well. Beautiful vintage floral patterns in pastel colours are very typical of Shabby Chic style too
Furniture pieces are commonly distressed looking with peeling paint effects, again in neutral colours and pastels including pinks, blues and grey. You will not find deep or dark colours. Distressed items that are or look heavily painted with layers showing through, imitation pieces are produced by rubbing away the top coat of paint to show the base coat or wood. Slightly damaged items are even better.
Reproduction items are mainly made in a factory these days to keep up with the huge demand, but if you do have the time then you can distress your own pieces at a fraction of the cost. Antique shops, Charity Shops and Boot Fairs are great places to look for an item for a project of your own. You may only need to spend as little as £100 for a great piece that you can paint and distress to suit your own décor. You can even get the kids to help!