Although the predominantly white living room as a whole works well, one of the most interesting details in it is the two turquoise boards visible in the coffee table, demonstrating what a difference even the smallest amount of contrasting colour can make to a room.
Better Homes & Gardens
The matching of accessories to furniture, whether in terms of colour or pattern, provides a nice counterpoint within a room. The above example of the matching pair of pink cushions and pink chairs is subtly done. It doesn't look contrived, and in fact is almost understated enough to be completely unnoticeable.
Shabby and Charme
Different shades of the same colour palette are used to great effect in this living room, which looks a little busy but is given coherence and structure by the strength and consistency of its colour scheme. Neutral tones ensure that the eye is not taken away from the design of the furniture and windows.
One of the biggest aspects of shabby chic decoration is the reconstitution of old wood and other materials to aid the distressed aesthetic. In this example, you can see the planks that have been reclaimed to construct the coffee table and the old sacks that have been turned into sofa covers.
This room offers a good example of the look that can be created when vintage pieces (the chest coffee table) are juxtaposed against more modern pieces (the sofas and chairs). The hatstand and pictures leaning against the wall give the room a bohemian, cosily cluttered atmosphere.
With only a relatively small window to let in natural light, the emphasis in this living room is on artificial light sources. Two ornate fittings help to obscure the effects of naked bulbs hanging from the ceiling, while at least three lamps with vintage shades stand in each corner to ensure the room is never plunged into darkness.
Light pinks and cream shades are the colour staples of the shabby chic aesthetic, and they are well-used in the furniture here to match the walls while contrasting with the furniture. Be wary of straying into "grandma" territory, though!
Reminiscent of the setting for the flower-filled Gatsby-Daisy reunion scene in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, this cottage living room evokes a country atmosphere with pastel green walls, floral patterns and big windows that let in large amounts of natural light.
This is the quintessential shabby chic living room with a hint of rustic décor in the exposed board walls and table. The rug, in particular, is a touch that might not necessarily be needed on top of everything else, but serves to add a final bit of gloss to the overall image.
The example living room here uses decorative pieces to offer up at least a sense of the shabby chic style. The CALM sign, for instance, emphasises the idea that the living room is a place to relax and take one's time in, while the candlesticks and distressed coffee table are archetypal shabby chic items that can be incorporated into any aesthetic.
There's a lot going on in this living room in terms of furniture pieces and colour schemes, but everything is held together by virtue of the way it is all classic, understated and tasteful (with the possible exception of the yellow-patterned chair). The sofas are unremarkable, but the mirror, table and fireplace more than make up for that.
An interior decor that utilises yellow as its main colour is also not out of the question as far as the shabby chic style is concerned, especially during the spring and summer months. The contrast of the walls, curtains and cushions above with the coffee table, sofa, chair and cabinet is especially striking, though lighter pastel shades may be more appropriate for a shabby chic aesthetic.
House & Garden
This room experiments with open space effectively, but only to an extent – there's nothing wrong with a gap between two sofas, but an open boarded floor instead of carpet leaves the room feeling a bit unfinished. Never underestimate the ability of a coffee table or rug to give a room an added dimension.
Better Decorating Bible
Ornate detailing is the order of the day in this room, with purple accents standing out against neutral walls and floor shades. Venetian blinds add a touch of old-school noir glamour to any room, and work especially well with the shabby chic style.
Fine Homes & Living
When thinking about purchasing a wall mirror, remember that the frame, more than the actual mirror, will determine how it looks in your shabby chic living room. This frame not only surrounds the mirror but also incorporates hooks that can be used for storage in addition to looking good.
Better Homes & Gardens
Wall decoration doesn't have to mean a couple of simple pictures hung up and left – let your creative side run wild! You don't have to go as far as the owner of the room above, but a design like that would look stylish and original in almost any room. The boarded walls are something to think about as well.
Shabby and Charme
Although an exposed brick wall has a tendency to look more rustic than shabby chic, which traditionally makes use of wallpaper or paint, here it is balanced out by the contents of the room, which lean towards the chic side. The country aesthetic is only represented by the wall but the rest of the room takes the brickwork and turns it into the perfect addition to a shabby chic room.
A writing desk makes a wonderful addition to any shabby chic living room, especially with French doors flung open during the summer as shown here. While you might not fancy a Union Jack pattern on your own cushions, a splash of contrasting colour is a visual necessity in an all-cream room like this one.
A fireplace is always a desirable living room feature, and a shabby chic room design can be built around it if you wish – here, comfortable chairs and side tables are pointed at the fireplace, with artwork provided points of interest on what would otherwise be bare white walls.
Full Bloom Cottage
The most daring shabby chic living rooms try things out with dark contrasting colours as well as the pastel shades that are commonly seen used within the style. This room utilises dark furniture against white walls to offer an Addams Family vibe to the room – certainly putting the "shabby" into the term, but also covering the "chic" part with the decorations and furniture design.