The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Interior Design and Style - Shabby Chic

shabby chic pair of chairs

Shabby chic is a design style which extends from the home to general fashion and even attitude. It is relaxed and casual and mixes and matches expensive items with cheap market finds.

Originally created by interior designer Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic incorporates the use of second hand, worn and distressed items, mixed with antiques, heirlooms and new pieces. Creativity is key and the ability to mix colours, textures and era's to create a look which fits the Shabby Chic definition and yet looks different from what your neighbour or friend might do.

Finding items suitable for creating your Shabby Chic home is both easy and fun. Second hand shops, antique markets and online auction shops are the best ways to find perfect items. Despite shopping in diverse places for your items, it is still important that all the items have some sort of cohesion. Yes it should have a mixed feel, but matching is important too. Deciding on a colour theme which will pull all of your items together is a good way of achieving a cohesive feel. Cover chairs, paint furniture or add cushions or throws to brings diverse pieces together with colours which match.

Shabby Chic works well with patterns on both walls and furnishings. Pretty 40's inspired florals work well and when added to a pastel colour palate can easily create the look you are wanting to achieve.

It is also easy to change the look of your shabby chic home in a few easy steps. For example if you want to warm it up for winter, simply add some heavier fabrics and curtaining. Try a warmer colour on the walls and buy some velvet material for covering cushions.

Creativity is important when it comes to creating this look. When scouring the antique store it is important to think laterally about how certain pieces can be used in your home. Will they need repainting, distressing or stripping? It is also a good idea to change the function of pieces of furniture. Perhaps by removing the doors from a cupboard to turn it into an open dresser or hanging an attractive rug on the wall to make it into an artistic feature.

Old fashioned skills are perfect for achieving a shabby chic look as well. Get out your knitting needles and crochet hook to create throws and cushion covers. A sewing machine can turn old pieces of material into bedspreads or curtains. You may think that a crocheted doily looked old fashioned in your Gran's house, but in yours it will look effortlessly chic.

Don't be afraid to accessorise your home in the same way you might throw on a necklace or a hat. Knick-knacks need to be carefully chosen, but with this look you can afford to have plenty of them. Pottery, china, lamps, candle sticks and ornate pictures and mirrors all work well in this environment. Choose pretty and even extravagant items. You will soon realise how cheaply these items can be found at flea markets and boot sales. Just keep your overall theme and colour palate in mind. The final accessory is plenty of garden flowers, artfully disarranged.

If your home is too modern to pull this look off – don't despair. It is possible to “distress” a modern home too. Add some wainscoating or decorative mouldings to create a more old fashioned ]]>