Tattered Elegance: An Introduction To Shabby Chic

If you are a budget-challenged first apartment renter, there is a design trend called Shabby Chic that is perfect for you. It’s typified by rustic designs, upcycled accessories, elegantly faded trimmings -such as drapery and linens – and eclecticism, in a way that is both functional and beautiful.

Shabby Chic is a wonderful choice for anyone who is decorating on a budget, or who likes a bit of vintage charm mixed in with their modernity. Here’s our brief introduction to Shabby Chic, to its thrift-shop tattered elegance and faded charms.

The Reclaimed Charms Of Shabby Chic

shabby chic white room interior, wedding decorShabby Chic has evolved as a design trend in response to stark minimalism. Instead of clinical white rooms, full of trendy furniture, Shabby Chic imagines a future of dilapidated Victorian charm, “tattered elegance”, with pastel colors and painted furniture. Interior designer Rachel Ashwell is one of the best known Shabby Chic designers with her book The Shabby Chic Home and her successful blog, Shabby Chic. The style has also spread on the internet, capturing the imagination of millions of DIY interior designers on Pinterest, Etsy shops, Tumblr’s, and Twitter accounts with its faded glamour.

Clever designers show that “dilapidated” and “run down” don’t have to mean “gross”, “tacky”, or “cheap”. “Restored” and “distressed” are two of the most common adjectives used in connection with  Shabby Chic, as are “rustic”, “Victorian”, and “elegance”.

Shabby Chic is an extension of the reclamation craze of the 2000s. Rather than trying to ignore the past, endlessly producing new trends, fashions and fads, Shabby Chic gazes lovingly at the past. Shabby Chic designers recognize quality when they see it, and will restore it all costs. Shabby Chic transforms the past, converting thrift store junk into treasured finds; sanding off the rough edges and updating with a few modern flourishes.

Shabby Chic Helps Us Enjoy Our Lives

Shabby Chic Guide

a handmade fairy tale/via Pinterest

The cold, stark, minimalist future view often depicted in sci-fi shows a cold, distant, detached, anonymous Humanity. Yes, they may have great style; perfect skin, teeth, and hygiene; and immaculate homes, but there seems to be a hardness to the eyes, a stooped hunch in their world – anxiety and neurosis always hovering over their shoulders.

Shabby Chic, by way of contrast, invites us to design our living spaces to embrace warmth, companionship, and community. It reminds us that while what we do at the office is important, to be sure, we need to enrich our lives in our off time. We need to talk to each other, to hang out and watch movies, and be comfortable in our home. We need to sit on our porch (or our balcony, or our stairwell) and sip our coffee or tea or kombucha and stare at the sky, listening to our breath.

Shabby Chic is tattered elegance and faded glory, bridging the gap between 1886 and 2016. It encourages us to slow down,  with warm, elegant, inviting spaces. It is pretty and rough and worn and restored. It is loved.

Are you into Shabby Chic? Where do you go to find your tattered elegance? What are your favorite Shabby Chic sites, blogs, or publications? Let us know in the comments and we’ll make sure to check them out!

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Author My First Apartment
J Simpson

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J. Simpson is a prolific freelance writer, blogger, and musician, based out of Portland, Or. He is fascinated with every aspect of modern living, and how to make the best of it, frequently writing about business, technology, and spirituality, as well as every aspect of culture - music, art, literature, cinema, TV, and comics. For more from J., follow him on Twitter at @for3stpunk.

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