Creating a Comfortable, Inviting Look

The summer heat calls for décor that is cool, fresh and casual.

This is perhaps why Shabby Chic® achieved immense popularity predominantly in the west coast.

Shabby Chic® a phrase coined by Rachel Ashwell, a British designer-turned-Californian hit big in the 1990’s.

Till recently Shabby Chic® was the sizzling trend with retail stores, television shows, books, merchandise and designers enthusiastically focusing on this décor.

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Currently, the euphoria seems to have passed but this style is still very much appreciated and demand remains strong because it is a thrifty look, not requiring to spend thousands of dollars.

This type of design theme is synonymous with white.

Think Shabby Chic® and what come to one’s mind: flea market finds, rose pattern china, distressed white furniture, pastel floral, white furnishings, white crisp drapes.

You are right; the above elements define and bring together the look.

The popularity is perhaps because it is most easy to accomplish with limited budget and time.

This décor is not only comfortable but also easy to maintain specially with kids.

Create A Clean Bright Inviting Room Décor.

You decide you want your room to have a clean, laid-back look, which is remarkably versatile and easy to live with.

Start with furniture; use mostly white furniture pieces that are widely available in retail stores like Pottery Barn, Pier One Imports, Wal-Mart or can even be easily located in flea markets or thrifty antique stores.

If budget restraint is holding you back, you can utilize pieces that may be ready to be discarded; simply paint them white.

The paint transforms an old piece providing a clean fresh appearance.



Do you have a couch that looks worn out? Easy fix; use white slipcovers extensively available at most discount stores.

The slipcovers can be machine washed thus preventing anxiety with spills and other accidents

Keeping with the theme, accessories need to be distressed or white.

Lighting like a Lafayette distressed white sconce not only adds additional light to the room but also creates a warm cozy feel.

To create a romantic ambiance, use a number of candles and lamps.

Look for candleholders, ornate candlesticks painted white with bits of the old iron finish that characterize this decor.

Add color and break monotony by using a needlepoint rug with pink shades.

The flowers on the needlepoint rug provide a pattern.

Throw some pillows on the couch that complement the rug.

The rug and pillows can be a pale color palette.

The primary color is white with dashes of pink pastel colors.

However, instead of focusing on pink or any other pastel soothing hue as a secondary color you can integrate other colors, or even combine stripes or paisleys.

Finally, the alluring look is never complete without fresh flowers.

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Every one loves the appearance of attractive flowers, or the smell of sweetly, fragrant ones. Pick some fresh pink roses from your local grocery store and place them in a glass bowl.

Flowers are inviting, enchanting and moreover pleasing to the eyes.

This décor is casual yet inviting and can be accomplished inexpensively.

Enhance this look with pillows and candles adding lots of home accessories.

Create a comfort-zone environment to reflect your personal style and have your family and friends enjoy the fresh décor all summer long.

Are You Decorating Your Older Home for Comfortable Living

Decorating an older home can be a real challenge.

Most of us don’t really want to live the way our ancestors did.

The aim is to get the flavor of the era you wish to project without the discomfort and aggravation.

Antique upholstery is not noted for its comfort and antique beds tend to be too short for modern bodies and most of us prefer an inner spring or foam mattress to one stuffed with straw or horsehair.

Although I have cooked on an iron wood stove and thoroughly enjoyed it in the depth of winter, there is nothing to recommend it in July.

So where do you draw the line between authenticity and modern life?

Fortunately you can get modern upholstery, with modern foam, coil decks and cushions, in older styles and fabrics.

Unless you are trying to get a museum room, it isn’t necessary to copy the original styles exactly.

Be careful of proportions, but any upholstery piece which is a classic style will blend with antiques, or reproductions.

Fabric choices can give an antique look and are available in reproduced patterns made from modern, low maintenance fabrics.

If you have antiques, avoid the need to put matched pairs of everything.

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Our ancestors loved that balanced look and many of us still find that a comfortable look to live with, but if only your upholstered pieces match, they will draw attention away from your show pieces.

The exception, as always, is in a formal room.

If you are living in a home from the 1700’s and want to get the flavor of the era, you will want more formalized seating patterns.

However, the newer trend in historic houses is to have furniture from several eras from the original built date to represent.

Our ancestors were thrifty.

Furniture was hand produced and costly, so people didn’t tend to pitch pieces which were out of style.

It wasn’t until mass produced, inexpensive furniture became widely available that people started dumping Grandma’s pine table in the chicken house, or slapped a coat of green paint on the solid cherry drop leaf and put it on the front porch.

Generally, keep your upholstered pieces subdued but try for the correct style (or a modified version) of the window treatments and case pieces.

Wing chairs have been popular for 300 years, but make sure yours are comfortable to sit on before you decide you have to have them.

Our ancestors had much better posture and liked sitting very straight.

Classic styles of modern furniture keep the lines of the old, but have a better slant to the backs.

The real effect of the room can be created by how you decorate your walls, floors and windows, and by using accessories creatively.

Decorators are divided about such modern adjuncts as kitchen appliances, TV’s and sound systems.



My feeling is, good design blends with good design.

Some of the newer appliances are beautifully designed and our ancestors would have made that stainless steel, side by side refrigerator with ice and water on the door, the showpiece of the house so I am not a big fan of attempting to hide large modern appliances behind wooden doors and cupboards.

I do think they tend to look better in stainless or black but that’s a personal opinion.

The exception to the kitchen appliance rule is for houses built in the last century when kitchen appliances were becoming common.

Reproductions are available in the styles of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and can make a really clever kitchen which is fully functional.

My feeling about TV’s and sound systems is similar.

If you don’t have a media room, there are hundreds of styles of armoires which will hide the TV and look like a piece of antique furniture.

Choose carefully.

They can be overwhelming.

However, if you want the TV to sit out or hang on the wall, go for it.

You can soften its stark modernity by the things you sit around it.

So when you decide to redecorate and give your home a more period feel, keep these things in mind.

  • Lighting is available in any style imaginable and will give an effect of authenticity.
  • Conversion rails are available to enlarge antique beds and to maximize comfort.
  • Reproduction wallpapers are easy to find and are divided into the eras in which they were popular.
  • Classes on painting techniques and stenciling can be taken at your local home store.
  • The library is a great source for popular styles of all eras.

Once you have done a little research into the look you are trying to create, adapt it to your own needs and decorate in the spirit of that era instead of trying to create a room which hasn’t changed in 150 years.

 How to create shabby chic furniture