For those whose homes were in need of a little tender loving care, shabby chic was the design style from heaven. Starting in the UK in the 1980s and spreading around the world, the style was pounced on by those who were looking for an alternative to minimalist white boxes. All of a sudden old furniture and scrubbed walls were in and we couldn’t get enough of it.
Unfortunately for those of us with decaying run down homes, the designers quickly pointed out that this new interior decorating craze had to be a fusion of shabby and chic and that mere shabby just wouldn’t do. There was a certain irony in this as the inspiration for the design came from the grand old houses of the aristocracy where items such as chintz chairs were expected not just to last for a lifetime but for several generations. In these homes faded materials and patches were signs of thrift and tradition.
The earliest shabby chic style was rather grand in manner, using large pieces of furniture to make a statement. Nowadays it has transformed, becoming softer and more feminine but still aiming to tell a history of the property or piece.
When decorating your home in this style the easiest place to start, particularly in an older home, is with the walls. Often you will find that they have had a succession of paints or papers. Carefully peeling layers of these back allows you to expose the history of the house and the changing styles that it has experienced. However, this layer peeling should be done by an interior designer or someone with an artistic touch. Mere ripping of paper can just leave your home looking like a building site.
Often the wall layer will provide the inspiration for the colour balance …