Hugely popular through the 1990s and trademarked by designer Rachel Ashwell in 1989, shabby chic combined the best aspects of cottage style, vintage charm, budget-friendly repurposing of furniture and other objects, and casual, feminine style. The look eventually fell out of popularity, perhaps a victim of its overabundance of ruffles and clutter. But, the shabby chic vibe did not entirely disappear and it has again become a favorite decorating theme. The basics are the same, and the look has adapted to reflect contemporary tastes for less fuss and bother. But one thing will never change—the casual, comfortable, and welcoming vibe of this cheerful decorating style.
01 of 08
Yesterday’s shabby chic embraced ruffles on bedding, window treatments, and throw pillows; draped crystal beads across lampshades; a multitude of collectibles throughout the room; and an overabundance of artwork. Today, the look is far less cluttered. Pare down the collectibles to just those things you love, forget about all the ruffles and beads, and let some open wall space shine through. The result is a bedroom that is charming and far more restful.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Repurpose With a Purpose
One thing that has not changed since the 1990s is the use of repurposed items and vintage furnishings in a shabby chic bedroom. It makes it easy to decorate without breaking the budget and gives your space quirky charm and personality. Shabby chic embraces individuality and is not a style for cookie-cutter mass production.
For example, in this room, stacked vintage suitcases take the place of traditional nightstands. Take a look at lots of other ways to upcycle or creatively reuse items in the bedroom:
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- Use old shutters in place of a headboard.
- Place a big bass drum set on its side to make a whimsical bedside table.
- Repurpose an antique chair to hold your bedside lamp.
- Try a stretch of picket fencing or a decorative iron gate for a bed footboard.
03 of 08
Updated Color Palette
One of the hallmarks of shabby chic style is lots of white, and that has not changed. But while pastels were the predominant touches of color back in the 90s, today, you are just as likely to find darker-hued accents, such as the deep blue used in the romantic bedroom pictured here. This style relies on white and soft-feeling color. Rethink using this style if you love black, gray, super-bright colors, or want to place an emphasis on neutrals in your bedroom.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Shabby Chic Goes Minimalist
It might seem that shabby chic and minimalism are direct opposites, but actually, you can blend the two styles into a wonderful hybrid. For proof, check out the bedroom pictured here. The mostly-white palette with accents of pink, soft textures, a rustic trunk, and a repurposed bedside table (an old milk crate turned on its side) are pure shabby chic. Meanwhile, the clean, open, and serene vibe is pure minimalism.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Not Ultra Feminine Anymore
In the past, shabby chic took feminine to the maximum with a veritable explosion of pink, flowers, beads, and ruffles. In today’s updated look, the look is far more suited to a bedroom shared with a partner with different tastes. While the distressed wood, painted furniture, floral prints, soft palette, and cozy fabrics are still present, they are not over-the-top any longer, making the style far more versatile and appealing to others.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Serene and Sophisticated
A pure-white bedroom feels very serene and calming, but it can be sterile if not done right. Luckily, an all-white shabby chic bedroom has just enough texture, interesting lines, and touches of romance to keep the look welcoming and peaceful, without a trace of starkness or the doldrums. In this room, the architectural headboard is ornate, as are the light fixtures and furnishings, but the simplicity of the palette and the lack of pattern keeps the overall vibe feeling sophisticated and tranquil.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Your Bed as the Star
Your bed in a shabby chic bedroom should definitely be the star. Pile it high with throw pillows and shams atop a cozy duvet, quilt, or comforter over comfy sheets, and you will have a hard time waiting until bedtime to climb in each night. While in 1990, all of the bedding would likely be pink and covered with roses, today, it is just as likely to be white or another soft color decorated with a mixture of patterns. The biggest difference from then to now is that you will no longer have an emphasis on ruffles or extravagant trim.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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Mix and Match Patterns
Typically, shabby chic décor combines several patterns in one room. While the cabbage roses and oversize florals of yesteryear are still pretty in small doses, they certainly are not your only options. Today, feel free to combine florals with stripes, geometrics, whimsical designs, or polka dots. You can even leave out florals altogether as pictured here. As long as you choose patterns that work well together and complement your color scheme, the style can work for your bedroom, too.