Get the shabby chic look without spending a fortune

One of the original creators of the fashion for ‘shabby chic’ in home furnishings, Rachel Ashwell in New York recently described the shabby chic style to the Daily Telegraph as “the beauty of imperfection”.

sweet home sign

This elegantly sums up the continuing appeal of what has become a hugely popular approach to furnishing and decorating a home, and is now offered by both low and high-end retailers, from John Lewis to small-time eBay sellers.

Fortunately, this has largely to the benefit of the consumer. Whereas once you would have had to shell out a small fortune for a distressed dining room chair or rumpled old sofa, you can now buy ‘the look’ for knock-down prices, either on the high street or online.

It might not all be of the greatest quality, but most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference to a lot of the stuff that’s out there.

And, of course, if you want you can always still spend a fortune for what might be termed original shabby chic pieces, whether antique, salvaged or reproduction.

Go the shabby chic DIY route

And there’s always the DIY route to shabby chic.

Spend time at local car boot sales, hunting round junk shops and reclamation yards looking for what you want. Once found, and you spend a bit of time preparing it,  you could have the shabby chic look for much less than it would cost to buy elsewhere.

From rubbing down old rusty bed-frames, to treating wood chests and wardrobes, there’s a whole support industry out there supplying paints, treatment oils, brushes, accessories and the things you need to finish off the item and make you the envy of your friends.

Or buy a bargain…

However, most people simply don’t have the time and inclination to make the effort needed for the DIY approach.

In which case, there are plenty of good value shabby chic things you could buy to help make your home a more beautiful, interesting-looking place.

From coffee tables to wardrobes, here are some great stores to visit for the shabby chic look:

  1. Furniture123 –  French painted coffee tables available in a choice of colours, from antique white to burnt orange
  2. House of Fraser – Good wardrobes don’t come cheap, and House of Fraser has lovely-looking examples of what some of the bigger stores offer in their ‘shabby chic’ ranges.
  3. eBay – Alternatively, as a cheaper option, try some of the larger, more trusted and experienced shops on eBay, like bedroom_furniture_direct
  4. John Lewis  – John Lewis has good value kingsize, shabby chic-inspired, metal-framed bedsteads from £399
  5. Dunelm Mill – One of the best value homes and gardens UK retailers, Dunelm Mill has a small line of reproduction shabby chic furniture, including great value chest of drawers from £150

So there you go, if you hunt around you could give your home the shabby chic look in no time for a relatively small amount of money (if you look for the deals, and at the lower-end of the price scale).

As touched on above, for true second hand bargains, you can’t beat putting in the legwork, however, and hunting around in local second-hand furniture shops as well as on eBay, Amazon and your region’s Gumtree site.

Don’t forget to check your home insurance covers your new purchases

Remember that if you do go out and buy a load of new furniture, and currently have only low claim limits on your home insurance, it could be a good idea to work out how much it would cost to replace what you’ve bought (along with your existing goods) and check with your insurer to make certain you’re covered.


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