Embracing the French shabby chic look is surprisingly simple. By mixing and matching a few key elements, you can give your space timeless appeal and create an appearance that exudes character and warmth. Taking inspiration from the classic style trend that emerged in the 1980s, French shabby chic is all about chippy white and blue finishes, comfy seating arrangements with crisp white slipcovers, vintage French accents, and elegant floral elements that tie the look together.
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Traditionally relegated to the bedroom, freestanding dressers with intricate details and interesting finishes add visual appeal to any space. Whether used to replace a traditional console in an entryway or as an added storage space / display surface in a kitchen or dining room, hand-painted dressers like this one embody the French shabby chic look. Note the antiqued hardware and exposed wood grain, which add authentic charm.
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French text has a time-honored place in shabby chic design, and when printed upon cozy pillows, upholstery, or wall hangings, it serves as a natural complement to this look. Clean white slipcovers, crisp finishes on tables, and a few floral-inspired touches provide balance, framing the text while preventing it from overpowering.
Combine different shades of white, from cream to off-white, warm to cool, to make a strong statement. This works in any French shabby chic inspired space; combine textiles, simple artwork, and luxe, carved pieces. Create vignettes by grouping objects and artwork together for stunning impact, and use neutrals like silver, grey, and blue to add interest and contrast.
A hand-painted chest with exposed hardware and a stone top adds functional interest to the bedroom, while found objects such as a pair of heavily distressed doors that serve as a headboard provide rustic texture. These elements, along with flour sack pillows and a wrought iron café chair combine perfectly with crisp white bedding, a bouquet of green hydrangea, and a few classic furnishings such as an ottoman turned nightstand, proving that French shabby chic can be gender neutral rather than overtly feminine. A wrought-iron chandelier imparts elegant contrast.
Distressed wood is a key feature in French shabby chic design; where better than to use it than in the kitchen or dining room? A simple plank table, paired with vintage-inspired essential chairs, creates a feeling of welcoming, timeworn ambience.
Faded, antiqued gold, chippy architectural elements, and a few simple but elegant pieces come together to create a sophisticated space. French shabby chic is a look that embraces the faded and antique, letting you make the most of interesting roadside finds and quality foundation pieces such as this sofa.
An elegant crystal chandelier presides over this dining room, adding sparkle while contrasting beautifully with an appealing combination of distressed wood pieces, treasured objects, and simple floral accents. New and old elements coexist comfortably, creating unfussy ambience and a welcoming, lived-in look.
Here, feelings of elegance and romance take center stage. Chandeliers and decorative lamps, plenty of whimsical carved details, lots of overstuffed upholstery, and a few splashy floral touches combine to set an amorous tone. An array of decorative mirrors makes the space seem more expansive and refined, yet warm and interesting. French shabby chic is often romantic and feminine; this space embodies these values perfectly.
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