Fall in love with our ultimate guide to Shabby Chic home decor and style. Hundreds of photo examples.
Table of Contents
Shabby-Chic Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Shabby-Chic-style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Shabby-Chic-style photo galleries for each room.
This living room is furnished with a wooden armchair and white skirted sofa paired with a dark wood coffee table. It is illuminated by a wrought iron chandelier that hung from the high cathedral ceiling with exposed wood beams.
White kitchen contrasted by black cabinets and pot rack that hung above the stainless steel fridge. It has natural hardwood flooring and a glazed window that invites natural light in.
An all-white bedroom illuminated by chrome dome pendants along with natural light from the glazed windows that are covered in sheer curtains. It has a comfy bed and a round bedside table over wide plank flooring.
Elegant foyer decorated with a large, round mirror that hung above a matching console table over a brown area rug. It is topped with glass flower vases and a gorgeous bronze sculpture.
What is Shabby Chic Home Decor?
Wandering downtown to the historic district to look for antiques has long been a tradition that many shoppers enjoy: finding that piece that is not only beautiful but speaks to you of the many stories it has to tell. A lot of people choose to decorate their homes with objects that have been passed through many families and suggest lasting worth rather than mass-manufactured pieces.
In the 1980s some homes began collecting antique and vintage items in soothing whites, creams, and soft, pretty pastels to enhance a wooden and wicker backdrop that looked more like a country cottage than a display of high-end accouterments, giving birth to a rustic yet feminine decor style that came to be known as shabby chic.
Fortunately for its many fans, as the style gained the traction it offered more choices than having to search the world over for pretty antiques to fit in with their home’s color scheme. Techniques such as sanding and distressing make modern pieces of furniture look beautifully weathered to fit in with a shabby chic ambiance.
Chipped paint also frequently identifies an object as shabby chic, and all of these wonderful imperfections make things feel unique and one-of-a-kind. The charm of shabby chic is that even with its feminine touches it feels unfussy and easy, and even more than that, found treasures suggest the emotions of a lovely day spent at a flea market.
The perfect house to invite someone into a shabby chic aesthetic from the outside could come from a handful of different styles, ranging from cottage, farmhouse, Victorian-esque, or French country. What exteriors should have in common in order to match the decor inside is an air of relaxation, a breath of fresh air away from the urban hustle.
Inside, visitors will find the most pleasant contrasts of textures–rugged wood and ridged wicker with plush throws and cozy quilts–all in calming shades of neutral and pastel. A home decorated in a shabby chic style is full of treasures with character, presenting above all an authenticity of well-loved objects and well-lived lives.
Interior Style Features
- Weathered, Distressed, and Tarnished: Shabby chic celebrates homey, humble materials and textures, as well as antique and vintage, finds worth rejoicing over. An important component that plays well with every aspect of the style is wood and lots of it. You’ll typically see lots of wood in the construction of many homes, and luckily it makes a perfect backdrop for metal and wicker effects and flirty feminine flourishes. Wood beams in blond shades or painted white or a light natural color pair well with the style since they convey the feel of either a farmhouse or just a well-made old home that has sheltered many families over the years. Planked wood shows up quite a bit in shabby chic rooms, painted in neutral or pastel and then sanded and weathered to perfection, giving the breezy and relaxing feel of a front porch swing.
- Touches of Antique Glamor: Along with rugged wood and materials are drawn from nature like raffia, jute, and twine, shabby chic pairs well with a few well-placed sparkly touches. Its feminine take on feathered country style gets elevated with antique crystal, beaded pieces, or even colored glass bottles and vases from discount stores. Don’t be afraid to bring in a bit of the contemporary in graphic patterns like stripes or modern light fixtures, which can contrast surprisingly well against battered wood chairs and textured country fabrics. Ruffles and girly details seem fresh when adorning worn, rugged furnishings.
- Light Colors and Prints: A gentle color palette plays a trademark role in a decorating style meant to pay homage to the old-fashioned in a fresh way as well as offer up a relaxing refuge that feels homespun. Think mostly whites, ivories, and other pale neutrals like eggshell, grounded by beiges, browns, and wood shades. This calming canvas gets sweetened up with pops of ice cream colors, bright pastels brought down to a softer level to match the soft cotton and linens. Patterns do have a place in shabby chic design despite the gentle, faded color scheme, and florals and prints in soft shades of pink, sage, sky blue, lemon, lavender, and orange sherbet won’t overtake the dreamy country atmosphere. Colors don’t have to be perfectly matched as long as they blend and play well together. Try painting a set of simple weathered wooden chairs each a different pastel shade and placing them around a little farmhouse breakfast table.
Exterior Style Features
- Natural Colors and Materials: Homes that look best in the shabby chic decor reflect an antique country vibe on the outside to match the inside. Soft and gentle shades work best instead of heavy contrasts. White or light wood shutters, a light-colored fence, and charmingly tarnished metal birdcages look perfect in this setting. Wood on the exterior is exactly the kind of grainy, textured look the style is based around, from sturdy, rugged wood siding painted or stained in a light color to a welcoming wood plank porch swing and rocking chairs to the lattice that begs flowers to wind around it.
- Cottage and Farmhouse Charm: Barn doors, horizontal planks, metal roofs, and spacious front porches are all part of country curb appeal. Even if your house is not a beautifully dilapidated farmhouse, whitewashing brick can create the same effect. A grassy lawn with innocent, no-fuss wildflowers completes the look, and if you can add a weathered country fence, which can also be great for keeping pets and children safe, depending on the design, so much the better.
- Upcycle with Reclaimed Finds: Shabby chic design is a fantastic way to add more sustainability to your lifestyle. Wood can often be produced sustainably and is cost-effective for building, and when browsing through aged, reclaimed wood, it’s impossible not to notice how gorgeous much of it is. This decor thrives on upcycling, repurposing vintage treasures instead of being a consumer of only newly manufactured products. Repurposing also extends to a piece’s purpose as well; the shabby chic decor isn’t afraid to bring a low-profile bedroom dresser into an entryway or hanging an outdoor light fixture in the center of a room as an eclectic chandelier.
If you can’t find all you need from antique shops, estate sales, garage sales, or flea markets, you can still create shabby chic charm by checking websites for the most user-friendly methods of DIY furniture distressing. Paint a great simple wooden piece and then sand it, or artfully chip paint off a metal piece. Take a look at these shabby chic finds below.
Tall distressed white wood bookshelf
Distressed picked fence framed mirror with rose stencil
The juxtaposition of weathered wood planks with soft white paint, antiqued edges, and a girly rose print make this gorgeous mirror stand out in a room, yet its delicate shades will go with any color palette.
Tall white distressed dresser chest of drawers
The rose and vine detailing of this 5-drawer tall chest give it a Victorian flavor as well as more opportunity to showcase distressed detailing of the wood. The white finish is applied by hand.
Damask white sofa cover with ties
This simple slipcover lets even a wildly clashing couch find new purpose in a living room full of pastels and neutrals. The tie strings on the sides provide a simple feminine touch.
Adding more throw blankets to your living room is a great way to bring in a wider array of colors and textures within the light color scheme. To avoid creating a pileup on your couch, lean this whimsical find against a wall and lay throws over one or two of its rungs.
Wrought iron dark bronze vintage look bed frame
The perfect bed for a country cottage setting wrought iron matches beautifully with pastels. Add it to a shabby chic bedroom with ruffles or muted floral patterns.
The components found in many antiques, aged wood, and metal, are the same that will fit into your shabby chic rooms perfectly. Planked wood, shiplap, and reclaimed wood usually come complete with some of the desired agings on their surfaces. Look for other kinds of texture in additional pieces: wicker, chunky woven fabrics, natural fibers, linen, and burlap.
Beyond the attractively tarnished patina of silvery metal watering cans and buckets to display flowers, chipped gold looks great for picture frames, antique mirrors, and smaller accents. Quilts and soft chenilles obviously look great in any rural-themed aesthetic, and linen and muslin bring different textures that are a bit sturdier.
It’s tempting to collect a bevy of treasures from vintage shops and try to work them all into your space but stay away from clutter in order to show off the simple lines of the wood and keep the whole ambiance feeling fresh. Clean lines will best show those fabulous finds to advantage, like:
- antique birdhouses and bird cages
- chipped and weathered pottery painted in soft hues or classic milk jugs
- silver candlesticks
- mannequin forms
- teapots and mismatched china
- watering cans
- paint discarded coffee cans and other tin cans
- vintage crystal or floral-shaped doorknobs or cabinet hardware
- mason jars
- slipcovers, ties, and bows
- flowers in metal pots
- baskets for storage
- old wooden windows painted in a light color and distressed
Mint green metal jug pitcher vase
The green shade of this metal jug vase picks up the green in muted floral prints and injects a garden atmosphere indoors. Use it to brighten any room, from bedrooms and living rooms to kitchens.
Blush cotton tufted chenille fringe throw
Feminine, sweet, and luxurious, the pink shade, intricate pattern, and cuddly texture of this throw make it stand out. Its roomy, all-purpose size means you’ll love it as much for snuggling with as for beautifully accenting your room.
Iron and acrylic Baroque candle chandelier
This metal and crystal chandelier combines dainty elegance with old-fashioned charm. A bit of sparkle plays perfectly with matte pastels and sturdy, rugged foundations.
Ruffled shabby chic blush comforter set
Dress your bed in angel-soft tiers of ruffles in a gorgeous shade of pink. The fancy, feminine flair of this bedding contrasts wonderfully with cool greys and neutrals, and the lightweight fabric can be enjoyed all year long.
Vintage metal jewelry box
You’ll feel like a character in a Jane Austen novel secreting away beloved earrings and lockets in this vintage trinket box. Rose engraving and pedestal legs bring dainty feminine accents to farmhouse bedroom decor.
Styles That Mix Well With It
Shabby chic is an easy style that prizes objects that have seen quite a bit of wear and tear. However, every last piece of your furniture and decor doesn’t need to be worn and weathered. This style makes great use of balance, mixing, contrasting, and blending, and staying within a soft color palette will help steer you away from clashing missteps.
Shabby chic blends well with:
- Beachy: light colors evocative of sand, sun, and surf, with accents of colored glass bottles and seagrass baskets
- Americana: heavy on distressed wood and metal with chipped paint, but be sure to veer toward its pastel pieces
- Glamorous: small touches of bright and beautiful pieces with crystal or shiny metal
Brief Historic Overview
The turn to homespun country and vintage decor graced with delicate infusions known as shabby chic came about during the 1980s. It satisfied a craving for something other than the exhausting quest for perfection which most people could never afford anyway, opting for a celebration of home and family in well-worn, history-filled pieces.
Rachel Ashwell is credited with the first use of the term as a name for the interior design boutique she opened in California in 1989, the offerings of which reflected her love for flea market hunts and mixing timeworn finds with feminine accents.
Why It Looks Great
Shabby chic’s reliance on natural shades and pastels also visually adds more light and roominess to space. The whimsical mix of textures and materials is not only balancing and aesthetically interesting but also cost-effective and easy to achieve.
Shabby chic is purposefully, beautifully humble, meant to be accessible to all.