March 22, 2020

Why Shabby Chic is Back….Time to Embrace it

In the midst of these challenging times, we are now, more than ever, seeking comfort and familiarity. As we’re hunkered down at home, we find ourselves reflecting and nostalgically reaching for the past, even in terms of design and the ways that we can bring more comfort into our homes. We’ve recently seen “Grand Millennial” or “Granny Chic” style—the incorporation of busy florals, ruffles, embroidered linens (just to name a few trends)— stepping into the spotlight, and we love the coziness and warmth it can bring to a space (when styled correctly)! In similar fashion, Shabby Chic—a trend we remember all too well from the 90’s—has made a resurgence this year, and we can confidently say that it’s back better than ever. I can also confidently say that I am a personal fan and not unhappy about this return.

It’s time to drop the negative connotation that I think many consumers and designers share about the Shabby Chic look as common, overdone, fussy and old news. Now, with a more modern touch, the new Shabby Chic feels fresh and updated, but still beautiful, soft and comforting, which is why we have fallen back in love with it—and while we are sequestered at home it is the perfect time to reintroduce it to our homes. The washed linens, soft colors, gentle fabrics, and painted furniture that have reappeared in the design world are not only soothing, but are also light and airy, which is exactly what we want to be surrounded by while we are cooped up in our homes. Of course, this isn’t to say you should rid your home of its current aesthetic and transform it into a Shabby Chic getaway. We know it can be tricky to update your home with a completely new style, so we recommend using a guest room as a starting point, and you can be your own guest a few times a week! Spending time within different spaces of our homes is a great way to stay sane and switch up the scenery a bit, and refreshing your décor to create a little oasis is even more needed at a time like this.

Fortunately, Shabby Chic lends itself to DIY advocates, too! Incorporating the trend into your home can be as simple as taking grandma’s chair and stripping, refinishing and painting it. We love that Shabby Chic feels so imperfectly perfect, so no need to stress if the paint doesn’t look completely even or is more faded/faint on certain areas. Regardless, more time at home means more time to practice fun DIY tricks like this.

Traditional Shabby Chic Style

Cabbage roses and florals, distressed painted furniture, French influence, ruffles, washed linens, pastels and sometimes white on whites.
Shabby Chic

Shabby Chic Traditional StyleTraditional Shabby Chic Style

Today’s Shabby Chic Style

Whiter, brighter, less cluttered, more tailored but still soft, floral and feminine.

Gabby DecorShabby Chic Style TodayToday's Shabby Chic StyleToday's Shabby Chic Style

Create Shabby Chic Yourself

Looking for a quick, easy and fun project? Here are a few great online tutorials on how to achieve the shabby chic look in your space.

Brit & Co is deeply discounting their online classes right now. How about making a bouquet of paper florals by Jessica Pezalla of Bramble Studio

DIY Paper Flowers

Try an online tutorial with the one and only Annie Sloane, the creator of Chalk Paint (the thick, milk paint that helps give you that Shabby Chic look).

Annie Sloane Chalk Paint DIY


Or learn how to wash your linens for that super soft, shabby chic feel.
Washed Linen DIY Bella Notte Bedding


Stencil a floral mural wall from Cutting Edge Stencils. Floral Wall Stencil

Get the Look

Not really in the mood for a DIY project? Here is my round-up of fresh, shabby chic looks. There is even something for your pet.

Karen Wolf Shabby Chic Product Round-Up

More on Shabby Chic Today

For more on the Shabby Chic resurgence and how to get the look, check out my perspective and other design leaders’ insight at Pure Wow: https://www.purewow.com/home/shabby-chic-design