Carol Ruth Weber
Shabby Chic Décor For A Relaxed Chic Comfortable Abode
Shabby Chic is a popular style that promotes comfort and coziness. The original Shabby Chic style began in the large homes found on the countryside in Great Britain. Europeans evoke elegance even when shabby. Maybe it is the accent but the British and French seem to know how to present an elegant appearance even when not attempting to be formal.
flickr, Design Folly
The country houses in Europe are inviting, decorated with very comfortable furnishings. Perhaps the furniture was handed down from previous generations from their formal city homes after the pieces aged and were replaced. These furnishings are comfy with a worn and distressed look that is inviting as if saying "sit, relax, you won't wear me out anymore than I am already".
With the meaning of the word shabby as not the normal description that one would like for their décor I now refer to the Shabby Chic style as "Relaxed Chic." The relaxed decor is lovely with distressed and vintage pieces. Sofas and chairs invite you to rest as if on a fluffy bed. Furnishings range from the elegance of carved French to the simplicity of Swedish and American Shaker.
Oversized slip covers often cover sofas and chairs creating an inviting look.
Many of the furnishings embrace their aged appearance wearing their worn layers of paint proudly.
Colors are soft, often in white pallets or soft colors.
Patterns are of soft chintz fabrics with country checks, stripes and flowers.
Fabrics are vintage in appearance faded with age or new to be fashioned to appear as if aged.
Wooden furnishings whether actually vintage or new appear to show lives of happy living with distressed edges and worn finishes.
Vintage wood furnishings are often painted in lovely white or light colors of blues and yellows.
Weathered metal furnishing add dimension to a room.
Decorating should be rewarding fun. Imagine yourself in a lovely house on a farm in the country with wide plank wood floors and an old fashioned wood stove. Place yourself inside the dream room that is to be decorated.
Decide color palette
Shabby Chic often brings thoughts of white, but light colors in pastel hues work as well. Think about a linen white instead of a bright white. Soft colors such in rose, mint, yellows, greens and blues blend lovely. Even darker patterns will work when distressed into a faded look. Beautiful French toile fabrics are often used inviting scenes of the countryside in the pattern. Traditional floral patterns printed on a linen baric give the relaxed chic look that you are looking for.
Determine needed furnishings
flickr, Andy Roberts
You have the color palette so now it is time to determine the furniture that you want and need. Different rooms require different furnishings. Living rooms, bedrooms as well as kitchens can all be dressed in a relaxed chic décor but you need to take care of each room’s needs.
The living room: This room is the center of the conversation and should be focused on that. Make it beautiful with a sofa with an oversized slipcover. Create a conversation area by adding a country French carved frame armchair. Add vintage natural wooden nesting tables to use as an end table. The coffee table can be an aged metal base with a glass or wood top. Prefer the clean look of paint to weathered wood, then create a room using wooden furnishings painted in white, yellow or blue. Use a high gloss enamel for long term wear.
A country kitchen: The country styled kitchen is the ultimate relaxed chic look. Decorate with a wide planked wood farm table as the centerpiece for the heart of the home. Surround the table with painted ladder back chairs and slip covered cushioned seats. For excitement consider using vintage chairs that do not match and paint them in the same finish. Use the same fabric for cushions or upholstery to tie the furnishings together.
The bedroom: Peaceful rest in this room means you should focus on the ultimate of comfort in a relaxed chic decor. Fluffy bedding takes center stage. Shades of whites in cottons, lace and crocheted create a clean and comfortable appearance. Not a fan of white then use a pretty print of roses. Use an antique iron or brass headboard to frame the bed. Add a small chair by the window to sit and read. Vintage finds can be used as bedside tables and dressers. Leave the natural beauty of the aged wood or paint the treasures for a cleaner look.
Decorating in the shabby chic, or relaxed chic, style is a great time to have fun discovering new finds at antique stores, thrift shops and garage sales. When perusing through treasures think outside of the box. By being creative and inventive you can turn tossed out refuge into new found beautiful vintage décor.
Buy the cheap unappealing artwork for the attractive frame then use the frames to frame mirrors or old family photos.
Vintage lighting fixtures can be painted.
Stools can double as end tables.
Old patchwork quilts make lovely throws for the sofa and bed.
Old trunks can be repurposed as tables with the added benefit of extra storage space.
Use the drawers from a found dresser as wall shelving and replace the drawers in the dresser with baskets.
An old child's chair can be painted and used as a pedestal for a plant.
Accessorize for the final touch
Accessories add a personal statement as well as a layer to the décor for a finishing touch. Bring patterns and textures in with pillows. Tapestries look beautiful on the wall and add a new dimension to the room. Area rugs should have the aged appearance that a needlepoint lends. Add lighting with delicate chandeliers and pretty lampshades.
Relaxed Chic not only is an attractive and beautiful decorating style, but is also an eco-friendly way to decorate the abode. By renewing vintage items one is creating a sustainable living environment. Have fun creating new decor from the old.
Enjoy your relaxed and chic surroundings. Never be afraid to dance!
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