How To Shabby Chic Furniture

Learn about how to shabby chic furniture to create a nice and inviting lived-in look to your living room, bedroom, or kitchen that is cozy and comfortable. Shabby chic is just that. Shabby looking decor that still appears chic. What first comes to mind when you hear shabby chic is probably white distressed furniture with large cabbage rose flower prints and mismatched vintage or just older items that somehow go together. Learn to make shabby chic furniture to customize your room.

To shabby chic furniture, you will need:

  • Furniture
  • Old candle or piece of wax
  • One color of paint or several light, delicate colors of paint
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Upholstery fabric
  1. Start with a durable piece of furniture. If you're going to the trouble to create shabby chic furniture, make sure what you use is sturdy. That is not to say you can't use delicate wicker pieces or wrought iron tables with fine filigree details. It just means that the furniture should be in good enough shape to hold up under daily use.
  2. Swipe wax randomly on the furniture. Take an old candle or a piece of wax and gently swipe at the furniture with the candle or piece of wax. This will leave a small places on the surface of the wood, wicker, or metal that will not hold paint. This technique will give a shabby chic look to the furniture.
  3. Paint the furniture. Mix white paint or another light, delicate color of paint with water. Use about four parts paint to one part water. Stir to create a whitewash that you will use to paint the shabby chic furniture. By using a whitewash instead of full strength paint, you will get a better shabby chic look that doesn't cover quite as well as full strength paint would. Let the whitewash paint dry.
  4. Sand the furniture. Take the sandpaper and gently rub off random areas of paint. This distressed look is the cornerstone of the shabby chic look. Also shabby chic furniture shows off bits of the wood underneath.
  5. Paint several layers of paint. Truly old furniture that has the look of shabby chic often has layers of paint where some of the layers underneath show through. To create this effect, paint the furniture using two or three colors of paint then sand off the top layers to reveal the paint colors underneath.
  6. Upholster pieces with vintage look fabric. For ottomans, chair seats, and other soft chairs or sofas, use vintage looking fabric with large cabbage rose flowers, subtle plaids, or other fabrics with pink and delicate greens and yellows.