06 October 2015

How to get the shabby chic look on a budget

With its origins in ramshackle French Provençal estates, shabby chic has become the darling of fashion magazines and high-end designers. Despite its humble-sounding name, the shabby chic look can be expensive to achieve. But there are ways that you can create that French country cottage look on a budget. Here’s how.

Upcycle your existing pieces

The easiest way to keep your costs down is to upcycle your existing furniture.

Distressed wood is a key component of the shabby chic style, so earmark items such as bookcases, desks and chairs for a revamp.

These items can easily be transformed with some primer, paint and sandpaper. Vinegar can also be used to partially strip away paint, resulting in shabby chic appeal.

If you’re short on existing pieces to work with, try the local op shop or keep an eye out for garage sales.

It’s all in the accessories

Accessories are a simple and affordable way to achieve the shabby chic aesthetic you’re after, without breaking the bank.

Consider the following:

  • Mismatched cushions decorated with lace, hessian and buttons.
  • Layered throws and blankets in tactile, natural fabrics such as muslin or linen.
  • Repurposed bottles, tins and canisters to hold floral arrangements or candles.
  • Empty picture or photo frames given the shabby treatment and hung as a wall feature.
  • Distressed light fixtures.

Bring the outdoors indoors

The shabby chic look has its origins in the countryside, so what better way to capture the feel you’re after than with a bit of nature indoors?

Dried flowers such as roses can be arranged in bouquets, in hanging arrangements, or laid across surfaces for an arty, chic look. Fragrant herbs such as lavender in pots on windowsills bring both visual and olfactory appeal.

Window coverings

When it comes to window coverings and your shabby chic makeover, you need to strike a balance between design and practicality. You want window coverings that work beautifully and are fit for purpose, but that don’t hit a jarring note with the rest of your vintage décor. Modern blinds these days come in a variety of beautiful soft colours and rich fabric textures that are perfect for the shabby chic aesthetic. They are also very practical, allowing you to choose from a number of opacity levels from sheer to blockout, so you can control the levels of light and privacy you desire.

Shabby chic appeal

The appeal of shabby chic decor is its vintage, lived-in look and feel. With this style of décor, you get to lovingly choose the elements that work for you, and have a hand in bringing them to life.

Best of all, it’s a DIY-friendly decorative approach, allowing you to achieve your style goals without breaking the bank or needing to be a design expert!

Tags: Home Design