Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Crash-Course in Shabby Chic! Part one!

Shabby chic decorating is very distinct - the aesthetic is very obviously girly and romantic, and it's not hard to pick out when you see it. But when it comes to making your own room shabby chic, it can be a bit more difficult. Where do I start? What do I need to do to turn my existing furniture into furnishings that will match my new style? Well, I thought I might give you all a quick (and perhaps rather blunt and a wee bit silly) crash course on what to do!

Step 1. Make most of your furniture white. 
For the most part, shabby chic is all about light colors. White furniture makes the perfect backdrop for all the romantic, girly stuff you're going to scatter everywhere later! I was lucky enough to already have a white bed, white bedside table, and white bookshelf. White wicker is always a safe bet when going for light romance, so I picked up a clothes hamper and nabbed a pair of gorgeous white chairs at a garage sale that look exactly like the one I pictured. I don't know, these chairs must have been super mass-produced, because I see them everywhere. Oh well, they're super gorgeous anyways!

2. Have an accent piece of furniture.
Picture borrowed from
Pink, turquoise and robin's egg blue are the colors you want to use. You can pick any piece you want, but usually a dresser, armoir, or bookshelf works best. I'm working on a turquoise dresser for myself right now. Whatever color you choose, you're going to want to distress it, whether that be with a bit of sanding paper or a grey wash like the dresser above.

3. Identify all the other basic elements of shabby chic decorating
Roses, antique lace, roses, skeleton keys, roses, sparkles, roses, books, roses, girly antiques like dress forms, roses. Did I mention the entire style is smothered in roses? Now decide which ones you like best! I sure hope you like roses!

4. Go shopping!
Hit up antique stores, flea markets, little junk stores, craft shows, group rummage sales and garage sales, and maybe even some relatives' attics in attempt to find anything and everything to decorate or organize your room. Old fancy mirrors, anything lace, tea pots, porcelain dolls, blue glass bottles, giant skeleton keys and rhinestone necklaces can be strewn about alongside more unique items that catch your fancy. Be sure to be on the lookout for basic items to replace current ones - baskets and chests for organization, a new quilt or set of sheets in a style that better matches what you're going for, or a new vanity. I've got old playbills, a collection of antlers that I'm quite fond of, a reproduction ad from a jewelry store featuring Marylin Monroe, and my great-grandmothers dress form alongside her sewing machine table, a new floral bedspread from Walmart, and my repainted chest from the Goodwill! You don't have to make everything match perfectly, in fact it's better just to grab at whatever you feel really magnetized to. This is your living space, don't try and make it one specific way, feel free to mix and match!

Next up:
Part Two: Putting it all together!
Part Three: Getting Crafty With It!
Until next time!

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