How to Decorate in Shabby Chic With Dark Furniture

While shabby chic is usually associated with white furniture, you can add a shabby feel even if your furniture is dark. Painting or distressing your furniture will give it a timeworn look. Filling your room with repurposed items, muted pastels, florals, stripes and interesting textures will create a shabby chic look. The main idea is to have your home look comfortable, well loved and with a certain amount of wear and tear.

Mix floral and striped patterns for a shabby chic look.

Step 1

Paint or distress dark wooden furniture.  You can gently sand the edges and corners to give a worn, used look to the finish or paint a crackle medium over the dark paint and then add a coat of white or a pastel that will crackle over the dark finish.

Step 2

Cover your couch with a white or pastel slipcover that has a floral or striped pattern.  Tuck the slipcover in around the couch cushions and add a few throw pillows with floral designs.

Step 3

Layer a [rug](https://society6com/rugs?utm_source=SFGHG&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=8775) with a feminine or cheerful pattern over your hard or carpeted floor. 

Step 4

Use repurposed items to decorate your home.  An old door can be used as a table top, shutters become a headboard and an antique trunk turns into a coffee table.

Step 5

Decorate your walls with cheerful pictures in light colored frames.  Frames with carved or delicate details add to the shabby chic look.

Step 6

Mix patterns and fabrics, but stick with a basic unifying color scheme.  You can have a blend of plaids, stripes and floral patterns in the same room, but harmonize them with a color scheme of mostly white, pink and green.

Step 7

Set out candles in interesting holders; natural decor such as seashells, branches or bird nests; plants in pastel pots; and old baskets. 

Step 8

Light your room with real or faux antique lamps, chandeliers and wall sconces.  Paint and distress lamps from the secondhand shop or add faux crystal tears to a ceiling fixture to create the look of a crystal chandelier.

Things You Will Need

  • Paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Crackle medium
  • Slipcover
  • Toss pillows
  • Rug
  • Repurposed items
  • Artwork
  • Collectibles and decor items
  • Lighting


  • Shabby chic is defined by the use of light colors, a mixture of feminine patterns and a casual, worn look to furnishings and accessories.

About the Author

Living in California, Michelle Ullman is a professional writer with particular expertise in home, garden and pet/nature topics. Her work is published on many websites. She loves crafts and has a deep interest in design and DIY projects.

Photo Credits

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