Shabby chic is a design style that celebrates the unique beauty in imperfection. It's about blending a (usually) light color palette with distressed surfaces or objects that hint at a more genteel past. It often includes overstuffed cushions, soft lines and the liberal use of floral chintz-inspired fabrics.
Shabby chic is fundamentally an eclectic design style. It borrows from multiple historical periods and mixes those disparate elements into a cohesive whole. That whole often appears vaguely romantic, somewhat muted and almost always plush and inviting. It's a style where the whole exceeds the sum of its parts. It's endlessly flexible, which makes it open to broad and interesting interpretations, too.
One new area of shabby chic design integrates modern elements with distressed, overstuffed pieces. It can be surprisingly effective at softening the appearance of ultra-modern architecture (think metal, glass and basic black) or even the cold look of a very large room. If you love shabby chic but want to tone down its feminine underpinnings with a slightly more masculine or geometric vibe, modern shabby chic may be for you.
On the next pages, let's take a look at five ways you can get shabby chic with a modern sensibility.