Shabby Chic Home Décor: An Infusion of Warmth and Personality

Shabby chic offers understated charm and splendor while infusing warmth and personality throughout your living quarters. The basis of shabby chic is simple colors combined with your favorite artwork, accessories and furniture. This versatile, easy way of decorating is affordable, fun and elegant.

The words shabby chic was first used in the late 1980s by Rachel Ashwell, the creator of this traditional, classic form of interior design. She states that shabby chic is simple and ornate, rumpled and tidy, fresh and traditional and casual and elegant. Rachel discovered shabby chic when she needed to furnish a beautiful and yet practical home for her family. By combing garage sales and flea markets finds and then painting everything white, Rachel created the concept of shabby chic. Originally from England and a resident of Southern California for the past twenty years, Rachel combined California casual with English elegance and people took notice.

Rachel Ashwell

Rachel Ashwell's idea of decorating took off quickly and by 1989, the launch of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic took off in Santa Monica, California. Today Rachel has six home furnishings stores in California, Chicago and New York. Rachel also wrote several books and then partnered with Target in 2004 to develop the Simple Shabby Chic line of décor that is sold exclusively at Target.

To create your own shabby chic domain, think of grandma's house for a moment and the items that were popular during the 1900s to the 1950s. Lacey linens, odd china teacups, crystal lamps and plenty of white accessories create a shabby chic look. Add accents with pastel colors to warm up the whiteness of the room. When using white, be creative and choose various tones of pure white, cream and ivory. If you have a favorite antique, heirloom or piece of artwork, make it the focal point of your shabby chic room and work all the accessories and furnishings around it.

Consider what Rachel feels is a common decorating error when going for the shabby chic look. “One of my pet peeves is too much matching, clutter, frills and people being too quick to complete the decorating process. The solution is to simplify. Be without rather than making a wrong choice. Less is more.”

Rachel also suggests choosing a few select items, such as a table, rug, chandelier and sofa to get started. Get rid of anything you don't use and brighten up the room with white paint and additional lighting. Rachel's favorite palette of colors includes pale pink, pale blue, pale green, ivory and cream.

The best part of shabby chic interiors is that they are not only inviting but timeless. Rachel Ashwell feels that shabby chic is classic so you don't have to revise the look. Instead, you can choose to update your surrounding based on your own personal preferences to create your own shabby chic domain.