Shabby Chic® is a look originally inspired by the great old country houses of Britain where time-worn furnishings and fabrics gave off an air of unassuming good taste and an easy, comfortable kind of elegance. It is now one of the most popular decorating trends of our time. Some of our favourite design houses include Greengate, Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley and Emma Bridgewater. Other influences are Matisse, 'Country Living' magazine and junk shops tucked away down little side streets.
The look evolved purely by accident in post-war Britain when ‘thrifty’ was a word high on everybody’s vocabulary list. Not only curtains but furniture too was recycled or bought second-hand from friends or flea markets and turned into something new or simply given a new use. This led to fabrics becoming more and more faded, furniture painted and then repainted would often peel or chip and thus a Shabby Chic® and distrerssed/aged look was the end result.
And so, whilst people had, for a long time, been using recycled fabrics and furniture, filling their homes with old lace table cloths, floral fabrics and painted furniture, it wasn’t until the phrase ‘Shabby Chic’ was first used by 'The World of Interiors' magazine in the 1980’s that Shabby Chic® as a definate style was first recognized. But it was thanks to the well known designer Rachel Ashwell that Shabby Chic® became a household term when in 1989 she adopted the phrase Shabby Chic® to make it her own and founded her company - ‘Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell.
The Shabby Chic® style has evolved and developed and is now rather more deliberate than accidental and often new pieces of furniture are deliberately painted and distressed to give that age worn look. Fabrics are chosen for their muted colours often in floral, check or striped designs and are sometimes even stained with tea to give an aged effect and the whole look has become one of easy, comfortable, practical living.
Simple accessories just add to the look and together with scented candles, some hand-picked flowers from the garden, placed in a lovely old jug, or even a teapot, and set on a piece of aged, painted furniture, will give the home a look of being well loved, comfortable and welcoming.
Laura Ashley Patchwork Cushion in pretty pastels
The essence of Shabby Chic® style is vintage and antique furniture, usually painted white, off-white or beige but with a distressed finish to give a well worn, aged look. Pastel colours are often used in the soft furnishings, favourites being the much loved duck egg blues and greens, soft pinks and greys. There are just a few simple rules to follow to make the look your own, but otherwise, a soft gentle approach without being too fussy but with much love and attention will help you achieve a look which oozes love, charm and simplicity.
Use pieces of old furniture Find pieces of furniture you love from flea markets, garage and boot sales or even the attic, whitewash or paint in pastel colours and then distress to give an old, worn look. Almost any piece of furniture will fit into a Shabby Chic® scheme once it has been given a distressed treatment – you really would be surprised how a coat of off-white paint can transform a boring wooden chair or table.
• Use old fabrics Find fabrics from around the house or buy vintage-looking fabrics from second-hand shops. You can even buy pieces of new fabric which can then be aged with tea-staining but do be sure to test a piece of fabric first to ensure you achieve the desired effect. A crisp white fabric can easily be given a soft creamy aged look with this method.
♥ Thank you for visiting us today at London House gifts and Home ♥ www.londonhouseco.com