As a big lover of the shabby chic look myself I know all too well that sometimes when something is called shabby chic, it actually just means shabby. Not only is that not a good look, many furniture pieces labelled shabby chic are more effort than they’re worth. They break apart easily, the once cute chippy paint, is now flaking off entirely and those upcycled legs are breaking away from your shabby chic farmhouse table. So what’s a shabby chic lover to do without spending more money on high quality remakes?
Everyone seems to have a different tolerance for chippy and uneven paint when it comes to the shabby chic look. Personally, I prefer a good, even paint job with no visible brush stroke lines and only the tiniest amount of sanded back edges to display the original colour or wood finish underneath. This means that I’m in for a very difficult time finding already finished furniture without spending a fortune at La Maison. Instead, I choose to repaint furniture myself either with left over house paint for a seriously cheap edit or white chalk paint if the furniture is in dire need of a lot of sanding back or has a terribly uneven coat of paint already on it.
One of the most difficult items to find in good shabby chic condition are vintage chairs and couches. Oftentimes if you’re lucky enough to find the wooden base in perfect condition the upholstery won’t suit your needs but the majority of the time, the entire chair is in need of some serious work. Instead of purchasing the look you love, which will probably only last a little while if you actually choose to sit in your chairs instead of simply look at them in all their shabby chic glory, find a chair or couch with a solid and sturdy base. Then simply get them reupholstered in florals, or shabby white fabric to match your style.
I know, I know. It can be all too tempting to redecorate in one fell swoop but for the sake of your style, don’t do it. Take your time when finding those shabby chic pieces. When you find a piece you love, inspect it carefully, paying special attention to the paint used and most importantly the joins. Too often, shabby chic dealers will do a rough paint job or upcycle a piece all too quickly in order to make some money from upcycled furniture. The best way to avoid this is to do it yourself by buying your favourite pieces used and doing them up in the shabby chic style you love. If you simply do not have the patience or time to DIY it, then make sure you inspect every piece carefully before buying.