Shabby Yet Chic – How To Mix Old With New


You’ve probably heard the term shabby chic already at least once or twice, but in case you don’t know, it’s a fun new(ish) fashion movement which focuses on making old new again and appreciating the well-loved or ready used look.

Shabby chic is whatever you want it to be really and part of the fun is the fact that you can make it your own because there is so much room for creativity…

Where Did It Come From?

It originated in Britain and the inspiration comes from the idea of old country houses which would be full of ornate furniture aged by time and looking stylish yet ‘shabby’. Of course the recession has also generated a culture of recycling old furniture and this has led to more creativity and a whole new fashion movement really.

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to rummage through other people’s trash to find shabby chic items for your own home.

How Can I Get It?

The important part is the idea of old and new. You can buy shabby chic furniture from artists and designers, you can make your own or you can just experiment with mixing styles.

For instance:

You could have a nice new sofa in your living room, but covered over with an old blanket and facing an antique farmhouse chair on a modern polished floor. The only limit is your imagination really.

So, Distressed Is Good?

You wouldn’t want everything in your living room to be distressed (think of the splinters!) but distressed is a popular look, particularly for dressers and wooden furniture. You can have natural wood either showing signs of age or purposely aged, or you can have distressed and painted furniture.

It’s all a question of what you think will work with your space and what you think looks good. Shabby chic is trendy, but it’s more important to do something that you find is fun and looks good, so it’s a matter of taste.

What About Seating?

Shabby chic seating can work too, and if you want to, you can recycle pre-love sofas and arm chairs, but since most people like a more modern, sturdy seating solution, you can buy new stuff in an old style.

Mixed carefully, a newer arm chair can look entirely at home next to a vintage or antique book shelf and a distressed dresser.

Don’t Forget Accessories


Mixing old with new is fun of course, but it is important to consider how the look of your home fits together. Too much new can make the old look out of place and the reverse is also true. So if you have an old style of sofa and some nice vintage furniture, don’t go with an ultra-modern coffee table; it might just look odd.

Consider accessories like clocks, lace cloths and old fashioned cushions, but mix in some slightly more contemporary items too if you like. Don’t be afraid to take a view and if you try something that doesn’t work, try something else.

DIY & Money Saving

Buying shabby chic can be expensive, so for the more adventurous among you it is worth buying the larger items and then adding detail with a  few choice bargains (eBay is always your friend here).

Antique style chairs and chests of draws are easiest to source cheaply because it doesn’t really matter if you buy something that has seen better days. All you need then is an electric sander and a few hours of hard work.

Sand down your purchases as un-evenly as possible, recover or leave bear as you prefer, make sure they are clean and solid and before you know it, your shabby chic living room will be complete and sensational!

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