Welcome Your New Baby With The Comforts Of Old. Shabby Chic Is A Delightful Trend That Begs Decorators And Designers To Recreate The Lovely Atmosphere Of Days Gone By. Shabby Chic Offers A Delightful Theme For A Nursery, And The Options Are Endless.
What is shabby chic?
Shabby chic means a little something different to everyone. It’s more of a feeling than a textbook design style.
Carpenter, designer, and television host Brian Kelsey describes shabby chic as “casual, clean, whimsical, but rough around the edges, and distressed whites with contrasting wood tones.”
Donna H. Baumann of DHB Designs agrees, sort of. To Baumann, shabby chic is “pure comfort living… a room that has slipcovered upholstery, washable linens, and a clean crisp color palette.”
Interior designer Natalie Umbert believes shabby chic is “an effortless combination of comfortable, gently lived-in furnishings and charming fabrics that are luxuriously soft yet practical.”
Pictured, right, is the Baby Pink Toile Crib Bedding from KooKoo Bear Kids.
Shabby chic baby furniture
Kelsey, Baumann, and Umbert didn’t use the words “old” or “antique” to define shabby chic. Instead, the words “clean” and “comfort” were the more common themes.
This is important when selecting baby furniture. As tempting as Grandma’s antique crib may be, it’s not safe. Older furniture items carry serious safety risks such as lead paint and wide-spaced slats, so resist the urge to bring home that gorgeous flea market find for baby’s room. Get safety tips here on buying used cribs.
Kelsey has two young boys and turned to online resources for new furniture—specifically the crib and changing table—with antique styling.
Kelsey faced the same dilemma when looking for nursery furniture—specifically the crib and changing table—for his boys, so he turned to online resources. KooKoo Bear Kids and Posh Tots offer safe, high-end replicas of old-fashioned furniture. Rachel Ashwell’s Simply Shabby Chic™ nursery furniture for Target (in stores and online) is a more affordable alternative. (After all, baby won’t be in that crib forever!)
Pictured, right, is the Baby Blue Toile Crib Bedding from KooKoo Bear Kids.
Baumann recommends buying items meet the most current safety standards and make them shabby. “Paint new furniture with the NO VOC paint,” says Baumann, “then give it some age by using household items—a set of keys to bang it up, a little sandpaper to finish off the edges.” The furniture will look like time-worn pieces, weathered and antiqued over the years.
Beyond the crib and changing table, the remaining nursery pieces can be those vintage or antique beauties discovered at estate sales, flea markets, and eBay.
“Buy an old dresser, an old cupboard, or some other unique piece of furniture,” suggest Kelsey. “Pick a coordinating color and paint it! To give the furniture some shabification, sand off a little of the new paint to reveal the old color below. Add simple glass knobs, and you have a fantastic shabby chic piece of furniture.”
And don’t forget the rocker, says Umbert. An old-fashioned wooden rocker is something you can pick up at a garage sale—and it will fit perfectly with the shabby chic motif. Pictured below is the Troutman Rocking Chair from Pottery Barn.
While you’re rocking the baby, rest your feet on a custom-designed step stool. The antiqued, two-step stepper is hand painted and personalized. “What nursery doesn’t need a stepper,” asks Katie O’Neill, creator of Kt Steppers. “It will serve as décor now and a practical and useful item for your toddler down the road!”
Shabby chic nursery details
Once you’ve found the perfect shabby chic crib, you can build the rest of the nursery around it.
Kelsey associates shabby chic with particular design elements. “I always associate shabby chic with faded wide-strip patterns,” says Kelsey, “but you can’t go wrong with simple white walls complimented by pink or blue accents.”
Shabby chic is appropriate for girls and boys alike. Baumann suggests using white and ruffles with a dash of pink for little girls. “For the boys,” says Bauman, “I would stick with white and keep it very tailored – no frills or ruffles. Perhaps throw in a punch of rich evergreen to keep it masculine.”
“Don’t try too hard,” says Umbert. “Effortlessness is the key shabby chic. Choose only pieces that you love, and let the space evolve as you bring in new finds!”
For more tips on baby nursery design:
- Feng Shui the baby nursery in 6 steps
- Do's and don'ts for creating your first baby nursery
- More articles on baby nursery design, themes and money saving tips