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shabby chic bedroom

The shabby-chic bedroom is romantic and lovingly retro. Used and vintage items take the spotlight in this style.

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As much as I know how to identify a shabby-chic bedroom when I see one, I still find it is among the most difficult styles to accurately describe. You could say it uses vintage and/or used items to bring a worn, well-lived style, but without falling into the, well, shabbiness trap. Because it’s still chic. It’s cultivated shabbiness, in a way that makes it seem natural. A bit like some people’s carefully coiffed bed hair.

Balance

But good shabby-chic doesn’t display its cultivated nature, either. It always finds a balance between effortless and designed. (Should these two be opposites, I wonder?)

See how hard it is to define proper shabby-chicness? It’s really only when you see it well done that you understand what it really is. So, if you’d like to explore this style and use it in your bedroom, here are some ideas, trends and techniques to help you make it as good as it can be.

Colors: Keep it soft

Paint color palettes for shabby-chic bedrooms remain soft and understated. No big brights or dramatic darks; you’ll usually see shabby-chic bedrooms in shades of white, ice blue, mint greens or soft pinks. These colors are meant to recall retro, even Victorian bedrooms.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Los Angeles Photographers Amy Neunsinger

This tends to make shabby-chic bedrooms more feminine, but it’s possible to have masculine shabby-chicness by adding touches of old, worn leather, animal furs and woodworks. Keep them sparse and avoid brights, and you’ll keep in the spirit of the style.

Shabby Chic Bedroom

Furniture: Let’s go antiquing!

Furniture is where shabby-chic really gets fun. Often, shabby-chic bedrooms are defined thus because of a rustic or heirloom piece of furniture like a dresser or a desk that keeps its “used” look.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Dreamy Whites

This piece of furniture is usually the focal point of the room and defines the colors and other accessories in the bedroom. If you don’t have a heirloom dresser to use, bring your friends antiquing and find something that speaks to you.

Watch out: these pieces of furniture are often heavy and big, so you’ll want to have a truck and a couple of strapping and strong people to help you bring it in your home.

Shabby Chic Family Room by Richmond Interior Designers & Decorators Mikey Fuller Interiors

Don’t be afraid to repaint the piece of furniture if necessary to fit your style a little better. A nice rustic white paint will do wonders for a shabby-chic style.

Bed frames: Metal rules

Shabby-chic bedrooms also often feature old wrought-iron beds of the early 20th century. Whether you like the “WWI Hospital” style or “Roaring 20s Bed”, wrought-iron (often painted over in cracked white or grey paint) bed frames will instantly give a shabby-chic look to your bedroom.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Sydney Media & Bloggers A Beach Cottage

These bed frames can really pull a shabby-chic bedroom together by announcing the style right away. People instantly associate them with a retro look that’s hard to forget!

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Other Metro Media & Bloggers Louise de Miranda

Bedding: White, lacy and dainty

Since most shabby-chic bedrooms are feminine, the bedding usually expresses this as well. To fit with the rest of the shabby-chic style, the bedding should also be white (with exceptions made for retro flower patterns and soft colors on throw cushions), and usually feature some kind of lace or frill around the edges. It’s not uncommon to use heirloom and/or traditional bedding in this context.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by London Furniture & Accessories rigby & mac

The more handmade it looks, the more shabby-chic the style. Don’t be afraid to pull out your grandmother’s quilt or handmade lace.

Accessories and decor: retro and flirty

If you want to add some color, do it through accessories and wall decor. Add some retro flower patterns with throws and throw cushions. Hang a flower still life or old portrait paintings. Put down a rug that’s seen some use and has some thin areas.

Shabby Chic Bedroom by Austin Home Builders Schmidt Custom Homes

Chandeliers are also a staple of shabby-chic bedrooms, so if you love them, the shabby-chic style might be just right for you.

Shabby-chic: a romantic style

In the end, shabby-chic is a more feminine, romantic style that uses vintage and/or vintage-looking items to give it a long-loved heirloom style. The paint is never quite finished, the rugs never quite new, the dresser never quite closed. It’s the perfect style if you love to display family heirloom pieces without looking kitsch.

Do you love the shabby-chic style, or is it something you’d prefer to pass over? Let us know in the comments!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.