What Are the Different Types of Shabby Chic Decor?

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  • Written By: Emily Pate
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Shabby chic decor encompasses a wide variety of decor types, including English country, cottage, rustic and granny chic. Each style has its own variation on the marriage between time-worn, used or even dilapidated decor and functional, quality decor with soft lines and feminine touches.

French cottage style mixes shabby chic decor with an elegant sensibility and French farmhouse style. The style exudes a sunny feel, using bold colors such as red, yellow and green. Faux wall treatments achieved through various methods are a mainstay, adding depth through a textured and time-worn look.

Fabrics and upholstery use calico patterns — bold backgrounds with small repeated motifs. Accent decor such as pillows, cushions, wallpaper borders and vases feature farm themes such as roosters. Furniture typically is made from wood and features hand painting, carving or embellishing as a warm touch.

English country decor mixes classic fabrics, furniture and patterns with contemporary touches. The traditional decor tends to have rich, heavy patterns in conservative colors such as navies, creams, golds and maroons. Classic paintings, ornate ceramics, toile patterns and heavier furniture typically grace an English country-style home. Modern touches, such as a button-tufted couch in an unexpectedly hot pink toile or a mid-century modern coffee table with straight, simple lines can add variety, as do unusual-looking accent pieces or art.


Rustic decor tends to have a more severely "raw" or unfinished look than its other shabby chic decor counterparts, and it features unfinished, dried and frequently cracked wood, unpolished stone and dull metals. Emphasis is placed on furnishings and decor pieces that encompass a primitive look, whether it is a mechanically primitive-looking bed frame made from old metal plumping pipes or a naturally primitive credenza made from railroad ties. Techniques such as dry-brushing, crackle painting and sanding expose under-layers or original finish beneath color washed or vibrant topcoats. Rustic decor has a variety of sub-types, including American rustic, southwest rustic or country rustic, among others.

Granny chic infuses shabby chic decor with handmade touches and vibrant, colorful elements. The term stems from a stereotypical grandmother's decor style — rich with crocheted, knit and handwoven pieces, typically in bold colors and rich, ornate patterns. Vintage floral motifs, especially from the 1960s and 1970s, reign. Color palettes vary but mix muted vintage colors such as avocado and gold with bolder jewel tones. Granny chic might take a seemingly tasteless or gaudy accent piece such as a lampshade, slipcover or crocheted doily and feature the item amid a neutral background in whites or creams or furniture that has sleek, simple lines to balance out the piece's dense textures and patterns.


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