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Shabby chic interior design style is about capturing a sense of history, and in creating a space that is inhabited by those who care about aesthetics, but also care about simplicity and comfort.  Matching that to the psychological benefits, and style benefits of natural light in a space helps to bring that atmosphere to life even more so.

So, when you’re bringing these important design ideas together yourself, where do you start? Design blogger Lindsey Gregory is here to help outline some of the basics.

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Shabby chic

image: Linda Hartley

If there is one room that perfectly suits the sunny and casual aesthetic of the shabby chic style, it’s the sunroom and screened-in porch. Shabby chic, for the uninitiated, is a style where furniture chosen for signs of wear and tear, or where new pieces are distressed to look worn and torn. Think of it as a softer, English version of wabi sabi.

The great thing about shabby chic décor is that it’s so easy to do on a budget. Much of the DIY projects seen in your favorite design blogs and magazines lend themselves well to the look, so if you’re crafty, this is a great style for your sunroom. What’s even better is that there’s no need to invest in pricey shabby chic furniture. Work with what you have and buy a few pieces here in there to accent the space.

Here’s how to create shabby chic décor on a budget.

Paint and Distress

You can easily achieve the shabby chic look by painting, and distressing, your furniture. After applying a coat of primer, to a set of chairs or your dresser, apply two coats of white paint. After it’s dried completely, gently sand away a few areas to fashion a distressed and well-worn look. I would recommend using wood furniture for this, and accessorizing the pieces with floral or plush white throw pillows.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2441/4273253021_0a1d909646.jpg

Hang an Antique Chandelier

Incorporate some vintage or antique pieces into your sunroom’s décor to tie together the shabby chic look. These are usually pretty cheap, but it might take a few visits to an estate sale or the flea market to find an antique chandelier in good condition. They don’t necessarily have to be working either; it’s just that chandeliers can solidify the look easily.

Billowy, White Accessories

The main color of shabby chic is white, but don’t let that deter you. Even though you’re working with this one main color, there are many shades and tints of white that you can incorporate into your space.  In this casual sunroom, a trio of long and billowy white curtains, a white side table and white chair cushions accent the dark beige wicker chairs and slate floor.

White Couch

No need to go out and buy a new, cozy white couch. Give your old couch, one that’s been worn in new life by decking it out in a white slipcover.

Accent with Mix + Match Prints + Patterns

Though white is the mainstay of shabby chic décor, it’s totally fine to decorate outside of the style lines and incorporate prints and patterns. It’s a bit more modern interpretation of shabby chic, but when done well and with most of the same aesthetic keystones of this style intact, it can work really well.

Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Think about accessorizing your newly white slip covered couch with cute floral and striped throw pillows. In this sunroom, white and brown are the main colors, while differently colored pillows and pottery add fun and interesting pops of color. 

In the end, shabby chic is all about using and appreciating what you have, especially if it’s gently and chicly worn. It’s a great style for those who are crafty and who love antique pieces, as those are really the mainstays. Expect to spend a lot of time in flea markets.  With shabby chic, your dollar will stretch only as far as your imagination!

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Thanks, Lindsey!

Lindsey Gregory is a blogger at PatioEnclosures.com. She’s been blogging about design for nearly five years and has a background in freelance writing, journalism and communications. For more articles and thoughts like this follow Lindsey on the Patio Enclosures Blog.

Cheers,

Rob.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.