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The saying that there’s beauty in imperfection holds especially true for shabby chic bedrooms. The vintage decorating style first emerged in London in the 1980s, and its popularity surged when designer Rachel Ashwell opened the Shabby Chic™ store in California.
A passionate thrifter, Ashwell brought many antique finds to the forefront, which helped define the shabby chic design style. In a 2017 interview with Huffington Post, she said,
“I’ve always been interested in theatre details, ruffles, pleats and fabrics, handmade qualities, and one-of-a-kind items. Also, my English heritage makes me attentive to detail, especially anything falling into the realm of classical and historical, beautiful and functional, and comfortable but imperfect.”
Because a shabby chic bedroom is filled with antiques, every item has a story to tell. This comprehensive guide will teach you all you need to know about using the shabby chic design style to enhance your space.
‘Shabby’ and ‘chic’ may have two different meanings, but when you put it together, the result is a design style that combines rustic cottage charm and vintage elegance.
At the height of its popularity, the shabby chic decor was practically synonymous with femininity because it was characterized by ruffles, frills, and floral patterns. However, in recent years, the shabby chic bedroom has evolved to incorporate some contemporary features, such as a muted color palette and dark-stained wooden furniture.
But with so many different elements at play, one essential aspect of the shabby chic style has remained intact: nothing is monotonous or boring. Even when it’s pared-back, shabby chic embraces distinctive patterns and designs.
Unlike other interior design styles, shabby chic doesn’t follow a strict set of decorating principles. Instead, it’s all about contrasting timeless elements with older, worn-out pieces to create a bedroom that feels dreamy and lived-in.
Aside from antique pieces, the defining characteristic of shabby chic interiors is its color palette. Shabby chic embraces soft pastels, such as baby pink, blue, green, yellow, and lavender. Furniture that’s been painted white is also a shabby chic essential.
For the most part, light neutrals take center stage in a shabby chic bedroom. However, there are some exceptions. Pops of turquoise and burnt sienna are common in shabby chic furniture. Though incorporating some bright color won’t detract from the shabby chic design style, be careful not to overdo it.
For many people, the ideal bedroom is one that feels like a cozy, dreamy sanctuary, and a shabby chic design style can help you achieve that. Here are some ideas that’ll inspire you to hit reset and give your room a makeover.
Mismatched prints are practically a shabby chic bedroom staple, and you can easily find different variations of florals, stripes, and checks in flea markets and thrift stores. For a more modern twist, opt for unexpected fabric patterns, such as brocade, geometrics, and paisley, as a substitution for the traditional florals.
Even though you have every permission to mix and match patterns, it’s still essential to ensure that all the pieces work in harmony with each other so that your room doesn’t look overwhelming to the eye. One way to achieve that is by picking patterns that all have the same base color. In the case of the shabby chic style, white or beige is the most popular option.
Once you’ve defined your foundational color, try to choose pieces in the same color palette or ones that complement each other. For example, if your wallpaper is predominantly white, pink, and blue, your bedroom rug should ideally be one of those colors, even if it’s in a different shade.
Since a shabby chic bedroom strives to achieve a warm, cottage-inspired feel, your bed should look and feel as cozy as possible.
Before you layer on the throw pillows and faux fur blankets, make sure that your mattress size is perfectly suited to the size of your room. A bed that’s too small can make your room look larger, which instantly zaps the coziness factor. On the other hand, an excessively large bed will make your room look overstuffed. As such, mattress dimensions should be your first and foremost consideration when you’re decorating a room.
Once you have the right mattress in place, you can then amp up the comfort with pillows, blankets, and a cozy duvet. Typically, shabby chic bedding tends to be in pastel colors and floral patterns. Another way to incorporate the shabby chic trend into your bedroom is by opting for a bedsheet with an attached skirt.
Shabby chic bedrooms are known for antique furniture and vintage pieces, so it’s also one of the most economical interior design styles. Not only do you have the freedom to pick and choose the items that resonate with you, but the vintage objects will also give your room some personality.
When it comes to shabby chic decor, everything's better with a little bit of age. Whether the pieces of furniture you have are chipped, off-color, or scratched, they’ll fit right in.
Upcycling is also a major feature of the shabby chic style, so if you have anything that you haven’t used in a long time, don’t throw it away. Instead, find a way to repurpose it into something that you can use in your room. One easy idea is to stack vintage suitcases on top of one another instead of a traditional side table.
Bringing shabby chic to your room is a fairly easy task, and one of the best things about it is that these bedrooms are meant to look laidback and a little imperfect. Because the shabby chic bedroom style is so effortless, you can unleash your inner designer and have fun experimenting with different vintage pieces.