Today's Shabby Chic

  • 01 of 09

    How to Decorate a Shabby Chic Bedroom

    Adorable Shabby Chic bedroom.
    Add today's trends to Shabby Chic classics. Eric Hernandez/Getty Images

    Hugely popular through the 1990s, Shabby Chic – the name was trademarked by designer Rachel Ashwell in 1989 – combined the best aspects of cottage style, vintage charm, budget-friendly repurposing of furniture and other objects, and casual, feminine style. But the look eventually fell out of favor, perhaps a victim of its overabundance of ruffles and clutter.

    Still, the Shabby Chic vibe never entirely faded away. Today, it’s once again a popular decorating theme, but while the basics are the same, 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.

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  • 02 of 09

    Simple Style

    Shabby Chic bedroom with quilt and iron bed.
    Forget about clutter; today, Shabby Chic is clean and unfussy. Perry Mastrovito/Getty Images

    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’s still charming, but far more restful.

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  • 03 of 09

    Repurpose with a Purpose

    Suitcases as bedside tables.
    When it comes to repurposing furnishings, your imagination is the limit. Diane Auckland/Getty Images

    One thing that hasn’t changed since the 1990s is the use of repurposed items and vintage furnishings in the Shabby Chic bedroom. Not only does that make it easy to decorate without breaking the budget, it also gives your space quirky charm and personality. Shabby Chic embraces individuality; this isn’t the style for cookie-cutter mass production.

    Take an example from the room shown here, where stacked vintage suitcases take the place of traditional nightstands. But there are lots of other ways to repurpose in the bedroom.

    • Use old shutters in place of a headboard.
    • A big bass drum set on its side makes a whimsical bedside table.
    • Use an antique chair to hold your bedside lamp.
    • Instead of a traditional footboard, try a stretch of picket fencing or a decorative iron gate.
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  • 04 of 09

    Update the Palette

    Blue and white Shabby Chic bedroom.
    A simple mesh canopy adds a romantic touch. Andreas von Einsiedel/Getty Images

    One of the hallmarks of Shabby Chic style is lots of white, and that hasn’t 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 featured here. But remember: this style relies on white and soft-feeling color. If you love black, gray, super-brights or an emphasis on neutrals, this probably isn’t the look for you.

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  • 05 of 09

    Shabby Chic Goes Minimalist

    White bedroom in modern Shabby Chic style.
    Yes, Shabby Chic and minimalism can harmonize beautifully. Stuart Cox/Getty Images

    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, rustic trunk and repurposed bedside table (that’s an old milk crate turned on its side) are pure Shabby Chic, but the clean, open and serene vibe are pure minimalism. Perfect.

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  • 06 of 09

    Not for Women Only

    Shabby Chic country bedroom.
    Shabby Chic doesn't have to be overly feminine. Pieter Estersohn/Getty Images

    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 man. While the distressed wood, painted furniture, floral prints, soft palette and cozy fabrics are still present, they aren’t over-the-top any longer, making the style far more versatile and appealing to both genders.

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  • 07 of 09

    Serene and Sophisticated

    Pure white romantic bedroom.
    So peaceful and serene. Caiaimage/Robert Daly/Getty Images

    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. Check out the room shown here; the ornate, architectural remnant headboard is lovely, as are the light fixtures and furnishings, but the simplicity of the palette and the lack of pattern keeps the overall vibe sophisticated and tranquil.

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  • 08 of 09

    Make Your Bed a Star

    Green and white Shabby Chic bedroom.
    Soft green and white feels so restful in the bedroom. Eric Hernandez/Getty Images

    The bed in a Shabby Chic bedroom is definitely the star. Pile it high with throw pillows and shams atop a cozy duvet, quilt or comforter over comfy sheets and you’ll 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’s just as likely to be white or another soft color decorated with a mixture of patterns. But what you won’t find is an emphasis on ruffles or extravagant trim.  

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  • 09 of 09

    Mix and Match Patterns

    Shabby Chic bedding.
    Feel free to mix patterns you love. Clive Tompsett/Folio/Getty Images

    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 aren’t your only options. Today, feel free to combine florals with stripes, geometrics, whimsical designs or polka dots. Or leave out florals altogether, as the room shown here does. As long as you choose patterns that work well together and complement your color scheme, you’ll be fine.