Chic and Shabby

Want to make your home zen-like? If you’ve already de-cluttered your space and have good feng shui, then living in white might be for you. 

Chic and Shabby

This style epitomizes convenience, easy living, simplicity of design and maintenance-free living. Think slip covered furniture that can be washed and distressed finishes that will withstand repeated use.

The tone-on-tone colour scheme has a stress-reducing effect and the romantic nature of the style appeals to our sense of passion.

The look is all about the simplest of colour schemes-white-on-white-and mismatched treasures, sensual textures, minimal pattern, twinkling crystal and painted wood finishes. It says, “Simple, yet elegant.”


Lighting plays a paramount role and a hanging crystal chandelier, particularly, is the statement piece of shabby-chic decor. Visit a favourite antique store, flea market, estate sale, architectural recycling centre or lighting store and look for a multi-level piece that’s dripping in crystal.

With shabby-chic styling, a chandelier can look right at home in the bathroom, bedroom, dining room, foyer or the living room. If you find a chandelier you love, but detest the brash finish, simply spray paint the metal surface in white or ecru.

Absence of colour

Purchase white cotton slipcovers for your coloured or patterned upholstered furniture and paint all the walls and dark wooden case-goods (armoires and coffee tables) in a white or cream.


The absence of any real colour demands that you create visual excitement by using a variety of textures. Look for opportunities to add romantic textures such as antique lace (perhaps on pillows, bedding or window treatments), fringed detailing (upholstery trims and pillow fringes), sisal flooring, rattan, cut-glass accessories, rough painted woods and wrought iron.

Less is more

The shabby-chic philosophy is that “less is more.” Part with furnishings that are no longer useful or attractive, and then refurbish remaining pieces by slip covering sofas and chairs, and painting dark, dreary wood finishes an uplifting white. Accessorize the room with white candles, an elegantly framed mirror, romantic oil paintings, and of course, twinkling crystal chandeliers.

Embrace imperfection

An important aspect of the shabby-chic mystique is learning to love imperfection. Don’t fret about less-than-perfect finishes or mismatched lamps and china.

Every shabby-chic space is uniquely personal. The essence of this style is derived from combining timeworn objects and an aura of romance, with the appeal of comfortable surroundings.

Remember: the three goals of shabby chic are beauty; function and comfort, where every item within retains an elegant, yet gently used appeal.


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