If you are looking for shabby chic painted furniture ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Clicking on each picture will open the website where I found the examples (it will open in a new window so you can easily return here). But before looking at a few pieces found around the internet to spark your creative juices, let’s look at the definition and characteristics of the shabby chic style and see where it originated.

Shabby Chic Style

The term shabby chic was coined in the 1980’s but is still a popular style in home decor and a perfect choice for those she-sheds. The relaxed informal style is achieved by mixing painted furniture in white or soft pastels with natural textiles. The definition of shabby chic according to Wikipedia is as follows:

  • Shabby chic is a style of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.
  • Shabby chic items are often heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through obviously time-worn areas.
  • Besides white, the shabby chic style also includes soft neutral colors such as sky blue, rose pink and beige tones.
  • Hints from French-style interior design often show in shabby chic homes such as Rococo-style lighting fixtures, furniture or wall paneling.
  • The shabby chic aesthetic also expands to the garden, with the same design principles of using timeworn garden furniture and feminine accessories.
  • Decorators consider shabby chic a soft, relaxed, romantic style that looks comfortable and inviting, and is usually associated as feminine.

Historically, English/French/American cottage owners often used their leftover furnishings and decor from their main house to furnish their country or lake cabins. This is how the “cottage style” got its name and is often referred to as shabby chic.

Simplicity and casualness are the main essentials of the cottage or shabby chic decorating style. Items have a soft, comfortable appeal and may even look weathered and worn however, a shabby chic space is never dated or tattered.

Typical characteristics of a cottage-style space:

  • Slip-covered, overstuffed furnishings
  • Soft color palette using pale greens, pale pinks, pale blues, soft grays, creams and white.
  • Painted and/or distressed furnishings and decor
  • Fresh flowers and floral fabrics
  • Vintage or handmade items
  • Tea-stained or faded fabrics
  • Carefully controlled clutter
  • Mixed patterns and plaids
  • ”Rumpled elegance”
  • Architectural details – moldings, columns, etc – often reused in unique ways
  • Painted or rusted wrought iron
  • Read more at https://www.thespruce.com/decorating-shabby-chic-or-cottage-style-452462

Shabby Chic Bedroom

From My Front Porch To Yours did a feature on how Melanie decorated her home throughout with the Shabby Chic style. She is a proponent of using what she has and repurposing pieces for other uses. The central idea of this style is comfort and Melanie’s home provides plenty. Here is a picture of one the bedrooms, notice all of the pieces that she’s painted white to achieve continuity.

Shabby chic bedroom with layers of ruffles on bed.
SOURCE: www.frommyfrontporchtoyours.com


In a collection of Shabby Chic bedroom ideas over at HomeISD.com they include the following photograph of chippy painted shutters being used on the wall behind the bed to provide architectural interest.

Shutter covered wall in a shabby chic bedroom makes a statement.
SOURCE: homeisd.com


This cute little nightstand found at a flea market then painted white with a splash of flowers decoupaged over the front helps tie the unmatched furniture styles together.

Decoupage nightstand used in the decor of a shabby chic bedroom.
SOURCE: decoholic.org

Shabby Chic Living Room

As stated previously, one of the main attributes of the shabby chic style is comfort. Look at how Carissa over at Bless This Nest styled her living room just full of comfort. See her use of architectural details by using old doors.

Shabby chic living room styled with old doors adding architectural interest.
SOURCE: www.blessthisnestblog.com


I was unable to locate the original source for this example of a shabby chic living room, but look at the use of painted furniture in the design. The use of soft pastels adds a nice pop of color in this living room.

Shabby chic living room with sectional sofa and pink pillows.
SOURCE: Pinterest

Dore at Burlap Luxe is quite the expert at the shabby chic style, she has all kinds of painted chippiness examples on her website. Below is just one of them.

An all white shabby chic living room with greenery on the coffee table.
SOURCE: burlapluxe.blogspot.com

Shabby Chic Kitchen

Another important component of the shabby chic style is repurposing interesting pieces of furniture into other uses. Notice below how they have painted an ornate credenza and are now using it as a kitchen island. Also, notice the unexpected use of a chandelier in the kitchen. (Note: This photograph was found in a collection of shabby chic examples on the website link attached to the photo – I cannot be sure that is the original owner)

Shabby chic kitchen with light pink cabinets, pale blue walls, painted cabinet on legs for an island, and a chandelier for lighting.
SOURCE: archzine.com
A Shabby Chic kitchen with pink table being used as an island.
SOURCE: Pinterest

One more excellent example of repurposing pieces in unusual ways is this one found all over on Pinterest and many websites, however, I couldn’t find the original owner of the photograph. (Note: if it is yours please let me know so I can give proper credit)

Try your hand at the Shabby Chic style

The best thing about decorating in the Shabby Chic style is that is doesn’t have to break the bank. At its core, Shabby Chic embraces reusing and repurposing found pieces. Those found pieces may be sitting in your very own home, in your storage unit, or your parent’s attic. Look around with a fresh set of eyes for interesting pieces with good bones; look past the ugly brown and see the potential.

Once you find a piece, assess its condition and prepare it for painting (discussed here). Choose a chalk type paint in a white color or soft pastel then start painting layer by layer. The first coat should be put on with a light touch using a chip brush. You might decide at this point that you like that look; if so, put some wax over it and follow up with a top coat of your choosing. If not, take a better brush and add another layer of paint. After the paint has dried, you can take some sandpaper and start rubbing off the paint along the edges to reveal the wood underneath. Take as much or as little off as you like (depending on the look you like best). Clean the piece once again to remove the fine dust created by the sanding. Rub your hand over the surface to make sure there are no rough spots. Once the piece is smooth, wax it and add a top coat.

Hopefully these ideas have inspired you to try painting furniture in the shabby chic style.

Happy painting,


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