The shabby-chic style first became known in the US and in Europe in the 90’s, thanks to the effort of a few enthusiasts; nowadays, it is so fashionable that even large retailers propose it in a vast selection of furnishings, home accessories and even clothes.
The style is rooted in the Mediterranean culture, as it is heavily influenced by the traditions of Provence, Tuscany and Greece. While it was originally applied to furniture, the shabby-chic design is now extremely popular in tableware as well, as we will see below.
A shabby-chic object is usually painted using light colors, often white, and presents sign of wear and tear, or of age. These are either caused by time or, more often, are artificially produced with ad hoc techniques, like a pickled finish.
One of the exciting traits of the shabby-chic vogue is that it leaves room to your fantasy: there are no strict rules! Here we collect some of the recurring features of the shabby-chic design:
- light colors, as white in all its shades, cream, pearl grey, dove grey, ivory, mauve and pastel colors in general;
- decorations with flowers, birds, hearts and other romantic or delicate fantasies;
- presence of embroideries, laces and crochet;
- wood is very common, but only when not too new, dark or polished;
- vintage and retro themes are ubiquitous, such as bird cages, leather bags, Victorian style cups, old watering cans used as flower vases, oil lamps, straw baskets and wire mannequins;
- shabby-chic mixes very well with many different styles: country-chic, Provençal, vintage, Gustavian, Tuscan, and so on.
The Shabby-Chic Eating Experience
While any room in your home can be made shabby-chic, it is in the kitchen and in the dining room where this style shines the most. Follow these practical advices to amaze your guests!
- The shabby-chic dinner table is usually covered by a tablecloth or placemats, made of linen or rough cotton in white, cream, ivory, pearl gray or pastel colors. Even the lace tablecloth from your grandmother will do! Plastic tablecloths are a no-no, unless you are trying to give a pop touch to your table.
- The dishes are usually in ceramic or porcelain, always in light or pastel colors and preferably with retro or vintage decorations. They do not need to be part of a set, as long as colors and shapes are paired with taste. Do not worry if a dish is chipped or irregular: it will give your table that distressed and antique look that is at the essence of the shabby-chic style.
- The ideal cutlery is antique looking, either in silver or pewter, with a bone or mother-of-pearl handle, possibly from your granny’s set. However, any cutlery will do as long as it is not too plain, modern or kitsch. As for the tablecloth, plastic cutlery should be avoided, even though the daring ones can use it to add a pop effect to their table.
- The kitchenware is often made of tin or pewter.
- The dinner table can be decorated with seashells, candles or flowers, maybe placed in an old repainted tin can.
- Your shabby-chic dinner set will impress your guests even when on display, possibly in a wood cabinet painted in faded white, either in the kitchen or in the dining room.