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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stylish and Inexpensive Shabby Chic is still on trend

/ On : 1:38 AM
It is a home decorating style that has been around for the past two decades or more, but shabby chic is still going strong. Its popularity seems to have gone from strength to strength, even travelling from the UK to the United States, where it gained celebrity fans such as Oprah Winfrey.

The name 'shabby chic' was first coined at the end of the 198's, when it evolved as a means of copying the worn, but still opulent, furnishings of English stately homes. Twenty five years on, it hasn't lost its appeal. So what is it about this decorating aesthetic that keeps it at the top of the home interiors chart?

Vintage and Timeless
The basis of shabby chic design is the reuse of vintage, timeless furniture pieces, which have been up-cycled with paint effects and finishes that give them a new lease of life. Using specialist paints, waxes and glazes, shabby chic painted furniture is deliberately given a distressed and worn look which perfectly captures its slightly faded, but charming, magnificence. French furniture styles lend themselves particularly well to this technique, because of their elegant and sumptuous designs. Updating these pieces results in a sort of rustic luxury that is stylish, simple and relatively inexpensive to achieve. It is this cost effectiveness that has primarily maintained shabby chic's popularity.

With the placement of a few key pieces and decorative touches that bring the look together, the style is simple to copy. Done well, it can give the impression that no expense has been spared in refurbishing, when in reality, only a moderate amount of spending has been necessary. The luxury and grandeur that this decorating technique can convey is a key factor in its longevity.

Recycling older furniture also has many plus points. Firstly, older pieces are of good quality compared to cheaper modern furniture, which is readily disposed of in a short space of time. Vintage furniture was built to last. This is especially true of wood furniture which is easily updated with a change of colour, finish or fittings. Indeed, it is this process that forms the heart of the shabby chic style, in essence.

Reduce, re-use, recycle
In addition, in recent years, the re-use and updating of old furniture and decorative pieces has struck a chord with the public because of its association with being eco-friendly and "green". Reducing the need for the wastage and disposal of bulky items helps to protect the environment. It also gives the home-owner a sense of pride that they are making their own small contribution to saving the planet.

Perhaps the most appealing part of shabby chic is its simplicity. There need be no worries about matching fabrics or colours, as mixing and contrasting is a vital part of getting the look right. Many people turn their own hand to giving old pieces the shabby chic treatment with some success. For those whose up-cycling skills are limited, however, there is a proliferation of companies who have already done all the hard work and who can supply a range of furniture with a professional shabby chic finish.

Wilson is an interior design specialist with a love of shabby chic painted furniture. He writes on interiors for a range publications and websites.


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