Shabby Chic in the Home

Shabby Chic in the Home

If there’s a problem with modern interior design, it’s the fact that a lot of it has no soul. It may be flawless, as well as being expensive, but it can often appear too clinical. Perfect homes with modern lines are often masterpieces of design, but fail to tell a story of the past or give an insight into the tastes of the owner.

In the past few years, there’s been a change in the idea of what constitutes great interior design, with a return to exposed brick and stonework. Examples of this being the increasing popularity of buying and refurbishing old warehouses and farm outbuildings, leaving many of the features such as exposed girders, pipes and bracing intact, to give a rustic or industrial feel. Modern interior design is increasingly focussed on a more shabby yet stylish vision to give the impression of effortless chic, as opposed to a gaudy trying-too-hard approach.

Shabby chic originated in Great Britain, emulating the style of grand country houses, and is becoming very popular amongst furniture designers, with a move towards a ‘distressed’ or used look. This gives the impression that the owner has great taste, without being materialistic, the furniture looking as if it has been selected for it’s utility value as well as style. Furniture design is making a move towards a bygone era of sophistication and quiet affluence, old money rather than new.

The style can be achieved by buying new furniture designed towards this look with the finish being deliberately aged, for instance tables or chairs made from roughly finished wood, with coatings such as Danish oil allowing the grain through. however, many people achieve the affect by scouring second-hand stores for classic pieces of antique-style furniture and refurbishing it themselves to get the required finish, giving a personal touch.

The effect can also include the soft furnishings around the house, such as curtains and sheets. Antique lace gives a classic times-gone-by feel, as does ticking on blankets and seat coverings. The use of faded linen also gives an evocative aura of age.

Utility objects such iron baths, bedsteads, and cast-iron radiators can give a grand ‘Etonian’ feel, functional, stark, yet timeless, along with classic iron stoves and ranges.

The essence of this style is to marry the classic elegance of the old with the new, so that modern interior design benefits from innovation, whilst keeping with tradition.

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