Shabby Chic Wallpaper
Shabby Chic Wallpaper: The Guide
Charming patina, cherished memories and faded elegance are what makes Shabby Chic so special. There is no need for immaculate beauty - instead, design elements with signs of age and wear-and-tear determine the look. The combination of old, new and unusual as well as elements of different time and style eras lets this romantic-nostalgic interior design exude an irresistible feminine aura. Wallpapers in the Shabby Chic style provide the authentic character and thus a template for intuitive creativity.
Table of Contents
- What are wallpaper models in the Shabby Chic style?
- What are the regional differences of Shabby Chic?
- How does Shabby Chic wallpaper differ from vintage wallpaper?
- Which colours are typical for Shabby Chic wallpapers?
- Which patterns characterise the Shabby Chic wallpaper style?
- Which rooms are most suitable for Shabby Chic wallpaper?
- What are the best ways to combine Shabby Chic wallpapers with different interior design styles?
- Why is the Shabby Chic wallpaper style so popular?
- Our tips: Design ideas with Shabby Chic wallpapers
In the 1980s, the Shabby Chic style was born in England and from there it quickly spread to the USA and many other countries. The look of faded elegance is based on deliberate traces of use and ignores perfectionist demands.
"Shabby" stands for the faded elegance which is inspired by the furnishings of the impoverished British landed gentry. It is characterised by an aged, much-used and slightly dusty appearance which triggers a similar effect in the viewer as granny's wallpaper suddenly appearing when another, more recent layer is removed.
The elegant look and historical origin of the furnishings and interior design style which add a touch of faded glamour to the room are elementary components. Heirlooms, flea market finds, hidden gems in the attic and home-made items are skilfully combined and provide the "chic" element.
Signs of use
Authentic originals benefit from the signs of wear and tear such as scratches, flaking, fading colours, stains and patina. Furniture, objects, wallpaper and floor coverings in the Used Look are made to look old with a number of clever techniques.
Ignoring perfectionist demands
The Shabby Chic look does not aim to be flawless. Instead, the focus is on the beauty of the imperfect. Originally, the style was intended as a counter-movement to the perfectionist Victorian furnishings of the bourgeois English middle class. Together, all the small marks and traces of time create an enchanted atmosphere that fades with the years, providing a homely ambience.
It's not only the English Shabby Chic which has its ardent followers among design enthusiasts.
American and Scandinavian Shabby Chic also serve as popular blueprints of many imaginative interior design concepts.
English Shabby Chic
In England, the birthplace of Shabby Chic, rose patterns are essential elements of interior design, from wallpaper to carpets and accessories. Animal motifs and sweet cupcakes as well as discreet polka dots are also popular. The romantic character of the wallpaper models determines all other aspects of this particular interior design style. Matching furniture should have an old-fashioned charm and be simple and rural.
American Shabby Chic
English stylist Rachel Ashwell imported Shabby Chic to America in the late 1980s. She staged the look with purpose-designed furniture and matching accessories. Favourite colours: off-white and candy-coloured pastels. The preference for particularly romantic variations of the style is sometimes exaggerated in America to an almost kitschy extent.
Scandinavian Shabby Chic
The Gustavian style is considered the source of inspiration for the Scandinavian or Swedish Shabby Chic. This sober and elegant new take on the French Rococo style is characterised by simple, unadorned furniture. Matt colours in light shades, e.g. ivory, pink, pastel green or grey are most popular. A fresh white base colour with light blue contrasting pattern elements is also typical.
In contrast to Vintage wallpaper models, those in the Shabby Chic style show flaws and signs of age. Their romantic look and nostalgic appeal exude a feminine aura and also scores points in terms of sustainability.
For Vintage & Retro wallpaper, specific patterns from a particular time or era are reproduced true to the original or newly interpreted. Shabby Chic wallpaper styles, on the other hand, boast a faded elegance with flaws and signs of wear and tear. Every blemish makes their appearance more valuable for the interior design style.
Romanticism is emotive and associated with love, affection and sensitivity. Dreaming, poetry and transfiguration also characterise the romantic style. Romantic aspects are an ever-present element of Shabby Chic wallpaper. They are represented by flowers, charming birds, playful tendrils, historical patterns and powdery-pastel light colours.
The magic of the past captures us all one way or another. Similar to Vintage wallpaper, Shabby Chic models trigger happy memories. However, these are not necessarily tangible or obvious in Shabby Designs, but rather of a more general and discreet nature. Nostalgia as a concept (i.e. not tied to a particular pattern or motif) characterises the style.
Signs of time
Traces of time and age are clearly and deliberately evident in wallpapers in the Shabby Chic style. This might manifest, for example, as damaged layers of paint, each telling a unique story. This results in many little stories that together determine the atmosphere of the room. Vintage wallpapers are usually connected to just one specific story relating to the pattern.
Wallpapers in Shabby Chic designs are known to have a feminine charisma. This is no coincidence, because some women like to indulge in ideas of romance and nostalgia. Many pattern elements on romantic wallpapers, e.g. flowers and typography, seem rather feminine because of societal connotations. A feminine aura has something very sensual about it.
Shabby Chic meets the requirements of sustainability and reuse. Natural materials (or the look of natural materials) create a feeling of well-being. Many wallpaper manufacturers avoid chemicals and use traditional methods and techniques to achieve certain "pre-used" effects on wallpaper.
In Shabby Chic, matt, powdery, delicate pastel colours set the tone. Among the undisputed favourites of the colour scale are white, rosé, turquoise, blue, violet, yellow, green, grey and beige.
In its multiple shades from off-white, cream white and lime or chalk white to yellowish white (yellowing effect), white is one of the favourite hues in the Shabby Chic style. Slightly tinted with other colours such as rosé or vanilla, white refreshes the senses and widens the room. Bluish white is less suitable as it appears too sterile and modern.
A powdery rosé or pink brings a sweet, tender and playful touch to the design. Both colours stimulate the imagination. The psychological effect of the colour pink reduces aggression and increase serenity and satisfaction. Rosé also promotes the warmth perceived in the room.
The colour of the sea and the gemstone that gave it its name adds a certain zest and a tropical touch to Shabby Chic designs. It is stimulating and meditative at the same time. Any shade from light to strong is suitable, and the darker shades come into their own as glaze for old painted wooden boards.
Blue is a fabulous contrast colour. For wallpapers in the Shabby Chic style, light shades from sky blue to pastel blue are the main contenders. Cornflower blue and gentian blue represent nostalgia, romance and faded elegance.
Purple is the colour of the spirit and spirituality. It radiates magic and self-confidence and provides Shabby Chic interiors with a flattering romantic touch with a pinch of femme fatale. Depending on intensity and brightness levels, it spans the effect spectrum from kitschy to majestic and lofty. Good colour partners are vanilla yellow, rosé, mint green and turquoise.
In Shabby Chic, yellow never comes in the "bright sunshine" version. Nevertheless, the light, creamy shades of vanilla yellow, banana yellow and pastel yellow exude just as much positivity and warmth. Combinations with dark orange tones are also very popular.
Green stands for freshness, renewal and hope. In Shabby Chic, this balancing colour with a very lively character is mainly found as mint green. Subtle sage green is also a trendy shade with a strong reference to nature. Delicate blends of light yellow and green shades are also possible options.
Warm light grey or light grey with a hint of violet are a very elegant component in the Shabby Chic style. Delicate shades of grey with a slight touch of green, yellow or beige create soft transitions to various wood nuances, white or pastel colours.
This soft natural shade, which is reminiscent of light sand, conveys naturalness and earthiness - aspects that also have a significant role to play in Shabby Chic. The colour works particularly well with powdery rosé, light grey and creamy vanilla.
Patterns with historical or regional significance characterise the romantic Shabby Chic wallpaper look. These can be designs with flowers, tendrils, Toile de Jouy, damask patterns, dots, checks or stripes.
Flowers and floral decorations are popular stylistic devices of romanticism that express charm, beauty, innocence and tenderness. Roses are among the pattern favourites in English Shabby Chic. In the Middle Ages, the stylised lily was a favourite pattern ornament and a coveted emblem for coats of arms and the symbols of religious orders.
Tendrils composed of leaves and botanical or floral elements emphasise the playful aspect of Shabby Chic. In numerous stylistic and artistic eras, including Renaissance and Art Nouveau, they form opulent decorations. They are often combined with antique wood and flowers.
Toile de Jouy
Toile de Jouy is the name of a classic French copperplate engraving print pattern (named after the manufacturing town of Jouy-en-Josas). It is usually blue-white or red-white with designs reminiscent of delicate, detailed drawings in the style of Chinese porcelain. Enchanting Toile de Jouy patterns are simply perfect for Shabby Chic designs.
Damask/Baroque patterns damaged by the ravages of time are often found on Used-Look wallpaper models which provide the Shabby Chic style with a touch of nostalgia and a reference to the past. Other historical pattern designs of great style eras such as the Victorian style, Art Nouveau and Rococo also add to the look of faded elegance.
Dots/polka dots on their own in cheeky pastels and white or mixed with flowers, roses and stripes are a nostalgic option for Shabby Chic. They are reminiscent of the fabulous Fifties, but were also very popular with the Flapper Girls in the Golden Twenties.
In England and Scotland, checks and plaid patterns have a long tradition. They can still be found in many country houses and manors. In France and other, often alpine, European countries, the two-tone Vichy check, also known as "farmer's check", is exceedingly popular.
Antique, historical or modern stripe designs are a classic pattern for elegant, timeless interior design concepts based on different eras. On Shabby Chic wallpapers, they are often combined with rose patterns, tendrils or imitation wood to form a sophisticated unit.
Old wood has a unique charm and boasts many facets. In Shabby Chic, driftwood, rustic wooden planks and patinated, colourfully painted planks look particularly attractive and cosy. These types of wood tell stories; they are shaped by time and natural forces, by humans and animals.
Red and coloured bricks are building materials typical for specific regions, and the resulting buildings are cultural assets. They are firmly linked to the history of a town or a family. Weather-beaten stone walls also act as contemporary witnesses for days gone by. In Shabby Chic designs, such stone décors embody the concept of home, nostalgia and romance.
Wallpapers in the Shabby Chic look are perfect for rooms which provide plenty of space for dreams, for romance and nostalgia and intuitive creativity. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
The most personal room of any home opens up a realm of romantic nostalgia and benefits hugely from a wallpaper with Shabby Chic charm. Shades of beige, grey and rosé combined with floral or baroque wood décors create a fantastic cosiness. Just one feature wall can be sufficient to create the desired effect. The remaining walls are painted in a matching monochrome colour.
Classic striped wallpaper combined with damask patterns, or patinated wooden boards in turquoise and vanilla frame the bathtub in a particularly authentic historical way. Shades of light beige and brown, off-white or grey open up the room and flood it with light, increasing the feel-good factor.
Grandmother's kitchen or a kitchen in the style of the 50s, 60s or 70s can be equipped with the latest technology today. The room becomes a unique flair when Shabby Chic provides an individual touch, e.g. with polka dot or brick wallpaper.
Shabby Chic wallpaper designs in matching colours harmonise with classic furnishing styles. Nostalgic patterns in the Shabby Chic look provide modern interiors with an interesting new perspective.
Classic furniture and furnishings
The classical style is based on characteristics of Baroque and Rococo, Art Nouveau or Art Deco. This is evident in furniture types and pattern designs. The colours move within a band of white, grey and shades of rosy powder or earthy brown. Green and blue also have an important role to play. Shabby Chic wallpaper models in matching colours or colour combinations add to the harmonious picture.
Modern furniture and furnishings
Any modern interior benefits from Shabby Chic style components. These can be (to name just two examples) matt iron furniture in a functional form (Industrial) or puristic natural wood pieces. This way, nostalgic pattern elements on wallpaper can be better integrated into modern furnishings than vice versa.
The mix of old and new and the authentic character which works even in very modern interiors are two of the style's key success factors. The romantic, whimsical aura of old country estates and sustainable living also resonates in the look.
Combining old and new
In Shabby Chic, new objects join pre-loved pieces with flaws and blemishes. Antique objects with a fascinating visible past and creative DIY treasures come into their own. The relaxed combination of style elements of different eras (which is also reflected in wallpaper designs) creates a gentle tension that transforms into a pleasant sense of well-being.
Authentic character for modern interior design concepts
The Shabby Chic style gently connects the past with the present. They coexist and emphasise each other. While Shabby Look wallpaper reflects nostalgia and the romance of days gone by, sophisticated designer furniture represent the modern counterpart.
A nod to country mansions
Many people idealise romantic country houses and old farms as they are associated with memories of childhood and days of light-heartedness. They also inspire the desire for a sustainable way of life supported by harmony and love of detail. Shabby Chic wallpaper designs convey this unique aura of romantic country estates.
- Kitsch and art: These two are very closely related in Shabby Chic. Choose a pattern wallpaper with accurately arranged porcelain plates, colourful buttons from grandma's sewing box, antique tile motifs or old toy cars. 20s glamour is another particularly well suited design option.
- PIP Studio: The Shabby Chic world has had a new colour update. The wallpaper designs of the popular Dutch manufacturer of home and living products bring classic pastels to life. They mix bright splashes of colour with rose and tendril décors or combine new pastels. Baroque/damask looks and unusual stripe patterns also come into their own.
- Shabby Chic meets Shaker style: When American Shabby Chic and Shaker style meet, a fascinating design interplay is the result. The simple furniture and utensils of the Shaker style harmonise perfectly with Shabby Chic imitation wood wallpaper, old-look damask wallpaper and stone wall designs.
- Shabby Chic ladies' rose room: Choose a rose pattern wallpaper with a faded look for a feature wall. The room is furnished with an antique divan or chaise-longue and an old bureau. Chandeliers, stucco picture frames, old hat boxes and flower arrangements complete the look.