By Tracey Allen
Shabby Chic style is now one of the hottest decorating trends and with good reason. It is versatile, easy and inexpensive. Shabby Chic – the rich, inviting, practical, time-worn style created by one of America’s top designers, Rachel Ashwell, is a style of living that reflects the grace and simplicity of another time. It is a study in contrast between fresh and traditional, casual and elegant, plain and patterned, simple and ornate, rumpled and tidy. It is often referred to as secondhand stylishness and as such looks like it is here to stay!
Popularized in Britain after the Second World War, the shabby chic look – otherwise known as the ‘country house look’ has become one of the most important decorating themes of the late twentieth century. Money was tight so people were thrifty with their soft furnishings and accessories and sofas became worn, curtains became tatty and paintwork became scratched. During this period people furnished their homes with inherited pieces and many items were handmade as money was scarce. Furniture was often recycled, passed on the relatives or friends or sold at flea markets. The shabby chic charm in these items lies in their past and their history. Scratches, marks and peeling paint are ok – in fact they are encouraged.
The words shabby and chic were combined together in the 1980’s by designer Rachel Ashwell . The term was coined in the 1980’s by The world of Interiors magazine and has since been used as the name of a successful U.S. company founded by Rachel Ashwell. She has turned the phrase Shabby Chic into her trademark and now runs a successful business empire marketing shabby chic design.
Most shabby chic dcor is based on a white or beige theme. Soft colours such as pastel pinks, pale blues, muted greens and washed out grey and neutral tones add an accent of colour. Another great feature of shabby chic is the well-loved look. That old side table that has seen better days is perfect for shabby chic. Give it a coat of white paint and put a vase of flowers on the top. Better still use your grandmother’s old well loved teapot. It is little details like this that make shabby chic work so well.
Shabby Chic reflects the practical and ecology-minded views of the 21st century. By finding new uses for “old” items, we keep from adding to the mountains of items sent to the landfill each year. What’s more, no tree has to be sacrificed for a found, Shabby Chic furniture treasure.
So if you love mismatched tea cups, soft floral fabrics, painted furniture and lots of white or cream accessories then this could be the look for you. It is the look that evokes cricket on the village green, strawberries and cream for tea, chickens in the garden and cakes baking in the range oven. There could be no more perfect image of an idyllic lifestyle than shabby chic.
We have a lovely range of shabby chic accessories to bring that vintage style to your home. We hope that as you browse through our ever increasing range of accessories you will find the perfect item to add that finishing touch to your Shabby Chic decor.
About the Author: Tracey has been designing and producing soft furnishings and shabby chic style accessories for more than 20 years and is now making the items she uses for her clients available more widely through her website