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6 shabby chic dining room ideas

Shabby chic is the soft, dreamy relation of rustic. There are many similarities, with both aiming for a lived-in feel full of character. However shabby chic includes more traditionally feminine elements, such as florals, pastel shades and decorative textiles. Furniture that appears weathered or distressed lends itself to the shabby chic look, so you can either hunt around for antique or salvaged pieces, or buy new in the vintage style. To find out more, read on for our 6 great ideas for a shabby chic dining room.
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1. Think minimal colours, maximum detail

A shabby chic dining room can be pretty basic in terms of the overall colour scheme, using pale, soothing neutrals. The warmth and depth will come through varied fabrics and ornate accessories.

The simplest approach is to stick to a palette of off-white and cream, working in white-washed and distressed wood for interest. Try a white brick wall as a backdrop, or introduce a white rug, sheer curtains or a chandelier for a touch of glamour.

Vintage wooden furniture is best for achieving the weathered look – source it online, then apply pristine white paint and gently sand it to give it that age-old appearance, or use one coat of chalk paint. A white dining table is your best option for a centrepiece, but if you have a newer item, you could cover it with a white table runner or tablecloth, in such fabrics as linen and lace, to give it the shabby chic look.

Introduce off-white crochet, linen and lace fabrics for depth. A light shade of grey – perhaps used for the flooring – or a floral accent helps to lift the look.

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2. Choose a wooden table and chairs

The star of your shabby chic dining room furniture is undoubtedly the table. Wooden tables and handcrafted wooden dining sets are popular choices. Decorate your rustic wooden table with a white table cloth, and some mismatched vintage crockery and tableware, to have it blend in seamlessly.

The other option is to source an old wooden dining table online, or the newspaper classifieds. Apply some white paint, then gently sand the corners and any areas that would receive wear over time to simulate the aging process.

You could try the same approach with your dining chairs. Look for wood examples, or even a dining bench, and consider a combination of wood and ornate metal too.

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3. Introduce other shabby chic furniture

As well as your dining table and chairs, consider other shabby chic dining room furniture. Look to sideboards, dressers and display cabinets embracing that country style dining room look and then – if you’re feeling brave – make them appear even more lived-in with some paint and sandpaper. Or source salvaged or upcycled furniture instead.

Oak sideboards work well as part of a shabby chic theme. Also consider some old kitchen cabinetry, or a simple plate holder, which you can use to display vintage crockery.

Create a homely corner with a wicker chair painted white and a small oak coffee table.

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4. Add in shabby chic accessories

The key to a shabby chic dining room, or any room you plan to decorate in this style, is to feature the right accessories. There’s a wide range of items that can work, from glass jars and handicrafts to florals and antique crockery. A ‘less is more’ approach is not something to worry about here.

Varying the textures and materials on offer adds depth and warmth – think wood, glass, china, metal, linen and lace. Vintage tins and containers picked up from a jumble sale or antique stores look good dotted around the room, as will an old crockery set on show in a display cabinet.

Picking up shabby chic accessories doesn’t have to be expensive either. A display of mismatched glass jars, vases and jugs won’t cost too much, nor will brightening up the space with some colourful flowers, placed in the centre of the dining room table in an ornament of your choice.

A large vintage-style mirror always works well in a shabby chic setting. Try a statement metal clock too.

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5. Work in a punch of colour

The colour palette for a shabby chic dining room can be quite simple – lots of white or off-white, with some light grey and pastel pinks, purples or blues to add more depth and warmth. You could try a surprise statement colour too, it will work as long as it does not dominate the room.

Channel florals first of all, one of the mainstays of shabby chic. These could be worked into the room via the wallpaper, with some vibrant yellow or pink flowers on white perhaps. You could choose to cover just one wall to draw rather than dazzle the eye.

Pair your dining table and chairs, with upcycled vintage display cabinets in eye-catching colours. If they look distressed they’ll suit the shabby chic theme even more.

Materials such as lace or linen are popular when it comes to shabby chic. Look for a brightly-coloured cushion or two in these materials to add comfort as well as a new focal point.

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6. Lighting your shabby chic dining room

With grey being the colour of shadow – and a shade that works well in a shabby chic dining room – the right lighting can help to enhance the setting. You just need to consider its aesthetics carefully, so it doesn’t look out of place with your shabby chic dining room furniture.

Consider a decorative lighting element hanging over the dining room table. You might like a chandelier in the vintage style, or decorative ceiling lights. Metallics and glass can work, so consider a copper ceiling light or glass pendant lights.

Around the room, you could strategically position a table lamp or two. Buy new and swap the shade for a vintage lampshade, or choose an older piece. Upcycled lighting can be fun, with interesting pieces made out of old piping or car headlamps.

With vintage accessories such a huge part of the shabby chic theme, don’t forget the simplest lighting option. Some decorative candlesticks in the centre of your dining table set will work wonders.

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