Shabby chic: the trend that refuses to die
The phrase shabby chic was coined in the eighties by British designer Rachel Ashwell in an interview with the newly-launched World of Interiors magazine.
In 2014, shabby chic was the most popular search term on eBay in the Homes and Gardens category, and last year, more that 3,000 shabby chic items sold every day on the auction site.
Shabby chic is a thrown together, vintage style. Furniture shows signs of wear or layers of paint, fabrics are faded and accessories are quirky antiques. Hues are generally muted (white floorboards are popular) but brighter tones can be added for a more eclectic mix. Done well, it creates a comfortable, bohemian feel in a modern home.
The trend probably arose as a backlash to the grandiose style of the eighties, when homes were either swamped with swags of fabric and floral pelmets, or cold and minimal with magnolia walls and pristine black furniture. Shabby chic, with its relaxed, laid-back vibe, was an antidote to status-seeking eighties style.
The look has gone from strength to strength and shows no sign of fading. You no longer have to scour vintage fairs and junk yards for covetable items, but can instead buy pre-distressed pieces with that ‘worn-in’ look from retail stores and across the web.
Shabby chic has much to offer a busy family. A house can evolve over time, with new pieces happily added to the mix. Unlike minimalism – a trend only for the keenly house proud – this style tolerates a relaxed approach to cleaning. It’s great for children, as any knocks, chips or bashes are easily integrated when your furniture is (or looks) ‘pre-loved’.
I’m a great fan of the style and my house is filled with a mix of Oriental antiques and modern pieces with that pre-worn feel. Our new Beijing Blue collection is a perfect example of furniture which is designed for a modern home and yet looks like it’s been around forever. Each piece is handcrafted from chunky reclaimed pine wood and finished with distressed black lacquer frames and contrasting powder blue doors. The finish is different on every one, making each cabinet, console or wardrobe in the range unique.