Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shabby Chic Style with Dark Furniture

Shabby Chic Style
Rachel Ashwell coined the name Shabby Chic in 1989 in Santa Monica
where she sold white slipcovered furniture on overstuffed pieces.
It was a super popular look that was all white and light
giving the feeling of easy SoCal living with a prettiness.
It went out of favor and she went bankrupt after 20 years in business.
Since then she has reinvented her business and her brand in 2011
 and Shabby Chic has returned with a narrowed popularity.  Its still
light and breezy with vintage florals added to the mix.  Whites and pastels
used in home decor decorating are often referred to as being Shabby Chic.
And so this guest bedroom I reworked is the topic of todays blog post.
My client, Mary,had a guest room that she started 
to decorate in the Shabby Chic style,
but called me in to finish it up as she wasn't sure how to incorporate
all the heavy furnishings in dark wood.  She did not want to paint anything,
which of course I would have done, were it in my house~but this is for
those of you who may want a lighter look but have dark furnishings.
Lets take a look at a couple of before photos.  To start with the room
had a pretty aqua blue wall color and white woodwork. 
 That was a great place to start.  To try to Shabby it up, Mary had
her husband add a little white chandelier with pink shades from the ceiling fan,
and she purchased a mirrored chest from HomeGoods.  Then she used a ruffled
white bed duvet and shams along with a white shag rug. But the furniture
was large and things didn't feel quite finished.
This shows the guest room in the middle of Mary's decorating.
I planned to use as much of Mary's things as I could to keep costs down.
The white ruffled bedding on the dark wood bed was a good place to start. 
The room felt awkward with the mirrored chest between the two windows.
So the first thing I did was to rearrange the furniture.  Our goal was to work
with what we had~so I shopped the house for a lot of the changes that went
into this room.  That meant things came out of the closets, and I used a coverlet
for the bed from the master bedroom that just had received a makeover recently.
 White sheers were hung from simple iron rods from HomeGoods. 
 A dark grey coverlet was laid over the white duvet. 
The mirrored chest came over toward the entry side of the 
bedroom, which lightened up the overstuffed feeling of the room.  
A few little touches made all the difference. 
 A beautiful embroidered pillow in aqua repeated the wall color as
did the pretty decorative shopping bad that I hung on the armoire door knob.
Don't over look the decorative box and gift bags 
when looking for inexpensive ways to bring color into a room.  
See the pretty gift bag?  What an easy style tip for a bedroom!
A large basket added to the top of the armoire filled the empty space.
It is stuffed with extra pillows, but really the basket adds needed warmth
and texture to the mostly white room. 
Which reminds me...when you shop the gift bag area in HomeGoods, they 
have beautiful gift wrap papers too.  Look how I used an aqua chevron paper
to cover books in this room I recently did~so don't overlook that section as
a great tool in inexpensive home decor!
Pretty book covers created by using gift wrap!
See how it can repeat the colors in a room?
From the rug to the pillows to the books in the bookshelf!
Repeat your main accent color....
(This image has over 650 repins on the HomeGoods Happy by Design board!)
Anyway, I digressed a bit...back to Mary's guest room.
 The soft sheers hung up at ceiling height bath the room in filtered light, 
and the iron rods repeat some of the dark tones.
Too much white and pastels and the room would have been too sweet.
A look at the bed shows how simple yet pretty 
it is dressed in white, aqua and grey.
The mirrored chest became the star of the room, placed by 
the entryway, it is not to be missed.
A whimsical painting from HomeGoods in all the colors of the room capture the 
Shabby Chic style.  I used all of Mary's accents and only added one
picture frame and a decorative paper box in aqua. The bathroom was next!
  The adjoining bathroom was standard faire~how to Shabby Chic this 
space up and give it a coordinated feeling was my goal.  
And it had to be on a budget of course!  Mary had a white linen
drapery panel she wanted me to use.  It was floor length and that is
not everyones choice for a bathroom curtain, but it can be lovely.
The towel hanger and the toilet paper hanger were both underneath the 
window, so that had to be taken into consideration for this quickie makeover.
 Again, lots of white was added for the Shabby Chic style.  
The bathroom vanity and countertop were dark and traditional looking.
I painted the mirror to look like distressed driftwood in white and grey.
Sorry~no closeup, but just lightening the mirror made the space feel 
larger and more airy.  The panel was hung at the ceiling and then
gathered in the center with a length of ribbon and a faux peony then
pinned to the ribbon for a little touch.
 You can always use things you have around the house for 
an interesting curtain tieback.  A piece of jewelry or hair band or pretty ribbon
can all work to coral a long drapery.
The toilet paper and hand towel are all accessible, and Mary has her
elegant flowing curtain in the bathroom.  Oh, and just maybe you can get a 
peek of the Shabby Chic mirror treatment!
 So lighten and brighten with white even if you have dark woods.
You will love the result!
Note: This post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in the designer program on Pinterest, Happy By Design.  

To see more designer tips from HomeGoods please visit our designer Pinterest board here.


  1. I understand trying to decorate with whites when you have dark wood to deal with. I decorate in a shabby, country style with whites, creams and I have dark cherry wood kitchen cabinets and fireplace surround. But it works, it's a little different than most shabby homes and I'm happy about that:)

  2. Hi Amy,
    What a great transformation. I really love what you did with the mirrored side table. The wall art made everything look prettier.
    I can just imagine what that room would have looked like if she painted those dark pieces with chalk paint. I like the dark but IMO painted furniture says shabby chic.
    Love what you did.


  3. Beautiful transformation, Amy! I love the mix of dark woods with pastels. They do add warmth and a feeling of coziness to a room, and what gal doesn't want a bit of femininity to go along with it? :) Love the colors!

    xoxo laurie

  4. You did a WONDERFUL job pulling it all together working with what you had, Amy. It looks really great. We have dark wood in our bedroom that my husband picked out and LOVES so I have used all white/off white in there to lighten it up.

    I LOVE that living room, too- especially the RUG!

    Now- I have a VERY stupid question to ask you...I am looking down at the post below this one where you painted the hutch. Do you actually PAINT with the round brush? I have only used those for waxing. Did I miss the boat there somewhere?

    Hope you are doing well, Amy. I am just catching up from being so crazy busy the past few weeks - xo Diana

  5. You pulled all these accessories together for a great look. Wish you lived near me. I would definitely use your styling advice. Your end result is looks like something out of a magazine.

  6. I really love this makeover Amy. I have dark bedroom furniture that hubby would not appreciate me painting. The rest of the room is fairly light and I love the contrast between the two. Thanks for sharing!

  7. You nailed it Amy! When i saw the first pics, i was like how is she going to make this look shabby chic with all the dark wood, and you totally did! Just switching around the bedding, adding the blue pillow, the curtains, on the wonderful basket on top of the armoire did so much. I like the little mirror placement too. And the mirrored chest went from crowded to fabulous! Very clever in the bathroom with the curtain too. and painting that bathroom mirror completely lightened the bathroom.
    What a great job!



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