Rustic Chic: 4 Tips to Get the Shabby Chic Look for Less

Rustic or shabby chic table.

Whether you call it shabby, farmhouse, country, cottage, or rustic chic, modern shabby chic is less of the stuffy, contrived style of the past and more of a modern lifestyle choice.

Many are choosing to repurpose, refinish and make do rather than purchasing new furniture and decor elements in their interior decorating.  It’s more about living a more sustainable life and creating a home that evokes rustic comfort and hominess.

With origins in the British and French countrysides (where it was called cottage and French countryside) rustic chic is about using what you have and whatever else you can find to reuse and repurpose. It’s a perfect decorating style for those who are environmentally and socially aware. The style happens organically as people make the decision to lead a less consumer driven life.

A lot of DIY is called for in creating this shabby chic look–it’s pretty much unavoidably linked to this decorating style. For some that sounds like lots of fun and they are ready to jump in with both feet.  If that doesn’t describe you, but you like the look and what your home decor to reflect your efforts to create a smaller footprint, we’ve put together tips to create a more modern and sustainable rustic chic look for your home.

Rustic dining table.

Image: karapaslay

1. Quality and Not Quantity

In creating a modern rustic chic look, the key is quality and not quantity. Solid, well-made furniture, even if it’s showing it’s age, is more preferred to new. Make these sturdy pieces the foundation of each room.

Rustic outdoor living.

Image: Wickerfurniture

2. Repurpose

Repurposing is reusing an item other than for its intended purpose. For example, using an old washtub as a magazine bin, an old bathtub as an outdoor planter or an old roll top desk as an undated bar station. Repurposing allows for creativity and is ultimately more sustainable.

3. Refinish

Let’s say you have an old bureau that is scratched, dented and faded. Instead of putting it out at the curb, considering refinishing it with a coat of paint. With rustic chic, wear isn’t considered something to hide away, but something to embrace and highlight.

Wicker table and chairs.

Image: Wickerfurniture

4. Thrift, Yard and Estate Sales

While creating the rustic chic look, thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales and auction houses are going to be your best friends. Just remember the goal isn’t to fill your whole up with a bunch of knick knacks, gewgahs and tchotchkes for the sake of it like a collector would, but rather to lovingly and purposefully add pieces to your home that you can keep out of the landfill and from creating a demand for more and more consumer products.

Don’t be afraid to jump in; there really are no rules because the goal isn’t about creating a showroom home, but is more about creating a home that matches the sustainable life you are living.

Top Image: Post Road Vintage

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.