What is Shabby Chic?

I recently joined a “Buy Nothing” page for my neighborhood on Facebook. Neighbors will post new or used items to be claimed for free by someone else nearby. The range of items posted is quite varied: my brother snagged a barely used full-sized mattress and bed frame, while someone else happily picked up a single box of gluten-free pasta from my mom. This group is rife with all sorts of items (three-fourths full bottle of fish food, anyone?), but I tend to scroll through and look for beautiful, used household items. The latest post to catch my eye was a light blue dresser adorned with painted flower detailing. The edges are worn and some of the paint is chipping off, which prompted the poster to describe it as “kids’ shabby chic.” That description made me laugh and think, “Is this how I should describe my style?” Perhaps another way to put it would be “whimsical and VISIBLY used.” 

Judging by the number of comments left after mine by people also trying to claim the dresser, I am not the only one with an eye for lovably used decor. Perhaps a better way to describe it is, “shabby chic.” People with an eye for shabby chic decor seek out furniture that has visible signs of wear. Basically, we are on the hunt for pieces with character. Beautiful pieces, sure, but ones that are a little rough-and-tumble. Shabby chic really sets itself apart. I find it to be a sweet juxtaposition to another style that many homes embody right now: minimalist decor and neutral tones. Homes with shabby chic decor are like the funky, whacky cousin to these sleeker designs.

Interested? Chomping at the bit to decorate your place with lovably used pieces? The best way to achieve a shabby chic look is to shop primarily in thrift and vintage stores. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” really rings true on a search like this. Truthfully, shabby chic as a labor of love. It is quite normal to scour multiple stores over a few weekends (some people take years!) to find just the right piece. The best part of buying used is knowing that I am finding something one of a kind. Another alternative is searching for a local Buy Nothing or FreeBox page online. The only better feeling than snagging an amazing piece for a thrift store price is snagging it for free!

Vintage Thrift Shop Directory — Find a vintage store near you and get started on your shabby chic decorating!

Shabby Chic — Ready to skip the search and find something shabby chic right away? This site makes it super easy.

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