Shabby chic probably brings a lot of ruffles, lace, and weathered furniture to mind. Though the phrase isn't often heard these days, it certainly hasn't disappeared—it has simply rebranded. 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 style. The look eventually fell out of popularity, but in just the last couple of years, it has seen a boom in popularity.
It has again become a favorite decorating theme, often referred to as "cottagecore" or cottage style with farmhouse often toeing the line of shabby chic, too. 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.
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Keep It Simple
Though shabby chic was once known for its layers and layers of fabrics, ruffles, and decorative objects, this isn't necessary for nailing the overall look. Bedrooms can be simplified, but with the right materials and color palettes, still look cozy and elegant—tenets of this design style. One thing that has not changed since the 1990s is the use of repurposed items and vintage furnishings in a shabby chic bedroom. See if you can find objects that can have a new life in the bedroom, whether it's old baskets, antique suitcases, or an old shutter as a headboard.Continue to 2 of 20 below.
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Update the 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 black and deeper blues used in this well-styled bedroom. This look relies on white and softer colors, but it doesn't mean you have to throw out anything that's slightly more saturated. If you are one who loves color and bright tones, shabby chic may not be the best style for your whole home (though your bedroom could be an exception).Continue to 3 of 20 below.
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Layer Those Textiles
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 4 of 20 below.
04 of 20
Try Shabby Chic Meets Modern Farmhouse
Shabby chic plays impeccably well with modern farmhouse. Both utilize vintage and antique elements, weathered materials, and cozy textiles. As the bedroom pictured here shows, beadboard and wooden furniture often associated with farmhouse style works really well in a shabby chic bedroom, too. The linen, flowers, and patterned pillows give it the perfect touch of elegance. Depending on which way you'd like to sway, you can add lighter colors if you want a more shabby chic result, or keep the darker tones seen here to lean more towards modern farmhouse.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
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Know That It's Not All Pink and Flowers
In the past, shabby chic took it to the maximum with a veritable explosion of pink, flowers, beads, and ruffles. Today's updated look is far more suited to a wider range of tastes. There are still plenty of soft materials, floral prints, and light colors, but it's not an in-your-face end result that feels too frilly and overwhelming. As long as you carefully select your decor, shabby chic can come through with fewer items. This bedroom is a perfect example. The lighter colors, corner chair, and elevated chandelier make a huge impact without relying on excessive layering or shelves of collectibles.Continue to 6 of 20 below.
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Opt for 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 20 below.
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Give Your Bed the Spotlight
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 the 1990s, 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 as big an emphasis on ruffles or extravagant trim.Continue to 8 of 20 below.
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Embrace Light Pink
Typically, shabby chic decor combines several patterns in one room. While the cabbage roses and oversized florals of yesteryear are still pretty in small doses, they certainly are not your only options. Nowadays, you can combine more minimal patterns or instead choose to blend colors rather than prints. Light pink is the face of shabby chic and it can be incorporated in a gentler way than it once was. As seen in this whimsical bedroom, touches of soft pink, yellow, and aqua all work well together. The particular structure and shapes of the side table, trim, and bed frame make it feel even more shabby chic, too.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
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Amplify All-Things Cozy
Take a page out of the cottagecore book and really emphasize cozy materials, whether through headboards, blankets, pillows, rugs, or curtains. Blending and layering these elements provides that shabby chic appeal. Mixing unexpected colors will also give it more original and eclectic touch. These days, it's much easier to create a shabby chic look in a modernized way that feels cleaner but still retains that warmth and quirkiness.Continue to 10 of 20 below.
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Blend Minimalism and Shabby Chic
For an even more pared-back take on shabby chic, you can blend it with minimalism to create a sleek bedroom that's still cozy and slightly cottage-y. This space utilizes patterned pink curtains, a ladder blanket rack, and an elegant white bed frame to infuse a touch of shabby chic here and there. But the mostly white color palette, Scandi-inspired cabinet pulls, and white pouf provide a few more modern fixtures than a classic shabby chic room would typically have.Continue to 11 of 20 below.
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Choose a Brighter Accent Color
Rather than being swallowed whole by an all-white or powder pink room, break up the space with a gorgeous accent color. This bedroom still feels gentle and calm, but the warming pop of pink coming from the rug punctuates the space and gives it a little splash of saturation. Together, the ruffled duvet cover, boho chandelier, and rug all help it maintain the best aspects of shabby chic in just the right amounts.Continue to 12 of 20 below.
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Add a Parisian Touch
Though Parisian and shabby chic styles differ, they play well off one another. This children's bedroom has the soft and textured touches and vintage pieces often found with the latter. On the other hand, the cityscape and more elegant chandelier are very much reminiscent of the European city.Continue to 13 of 20 below.
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Embrace Shabby Chic Bedding
As noted earlier, beds are one of the best places to go all out with shabby chic design, mostly because of how easy they are to mix, match, and layer. Try a variety of unique throw pillows and choose a duvet cover or comforter that's heavily embellished or full of texture.Continue to 14 of 20 below.
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Look for Old and Well-Loved
Clean, modern items of furniture are stylish, but they don't really have a place in shabby chic rooms. Rather than thinking sleek and streamlined, find antiquated items or source vintage dressers, bed frames, and shelves that aren't sparkling new. Distressing, flaws, and worn surfaces add to the charm of styles like cottagecore and shabby chic.Continue to 15 of 20 below.
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Modernize Shabby Chic Elements
While distressed furniture is a hallmark of shabby chic, you can still embrace the trend without fully enveloping a room with every feature. This room has the expected light and airy color palette and the right style of furniture and decor but it's more modernized and streamlined. The soul of shabby chic is there but the room won't feel dated in a month's time.Continue to 16 of 20 below.
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Pare Back Shabby Chic
Another way to make shabby chic a timeless look is paring down the frilly parts. Rather than having thick, ruffled window treatments, heaps of blankets, and weathered wood as far as the eye can see, this lovely room tones it all down. Even in doing this, it still feels cozy and whimsical.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
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Stick With Neutrals
Shabby chic is undoubtedly eclectic. Its wild mix of prints and fabrics set it apart from many other styles. To translate this trend in a more timeless fashion, seek out various patterns and textures in a specific range of light neutrals. There will still be plenty for the eye to soak in, but it'll feel more cohesive, as this lovely guest bedroom-meets-office shows.Continue to 18 of 20 below.
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Hint at Shabby Chic
If you love the layering and materials of shabby chic but aren't interested in doing an entire room up in this style, simply add small hints of it. This retro-inspired room has elements from a variety of different style types, including Art Deco, cottagecore, shabby chic, and mid-century modern.Continue to 19 of 20 below.
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Sprinkle in Southern Flair
It may come as a surprise, but by now, it's easy to tell that shabby chic is quite the adaptable style. Shabby chic can be melded with many styles, including a more Southern look as this room proves. There are plenty of fun fabrics, vintage items, and even a chandelier, but the golden finishes and framed artwork offer a little differentiation.Continue to 20 of 20 below.
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Add Shabby Chic Touches to a Nursery
Even the tiniest residents of your home can have hints of shabby chic laced throughout their first bedroom. The floral wallpaper, natural wood crib, and different fabrics paired together give this nursery all the best parts of shabby chic without it feeling overwhelming.