The consumer practice of throw-away buying and not caring about the origin of a product has drastically changed in the last few years. We’ve grown increasingly interested in learning about where our food is from, is it ethically sourced, is it organic, is it healthy, were the animals properly cared for? Our habits of recycling are also improving – we don’t want to waste, we want to buy responsibly and we want to buy items that will last. It’s these traits, this new mentality for intelligent purchasing that is spreading to all aspects of our life and affecting our buying habits; especially when buying interior products. There is one particular interiors trend that follows the ethical ethos.. shabby chic.
The trend for all things shabby chic has been around for a while now, and is showing no signs of leaving. With the recent revival for choosing up-cycled over reproduction furniture, it’s clear that consumer buying habits are changing. We are going back to vintage roots by thrifting and creating, with a make-do-and-mend attitude. I think the reason shabby chic furniture has been so successful is down to its transferrable nature – blending in to most interiors seamlessly. This is due to the variety of shapes, styles, colours and differing degrees of furniture painting techniques used. Every item of shabby chic furniture looks different and any style of furniture can be up-cycled. Many of the high street chains cottoned on to the trend over the years and have decreated mass produced reproduction shabby chic furniture which I am not a fan of; it all looks the same, devoid of any character. The paint is flat, the wood is cheap MDF and the style is unimaginative. I believe that shabby chic furniture should be up-cycled from antiques or pre-used furniture – you can see the grain of the wood, it distresses authentically and more often than not the furniture is imperfect. It is these imperfections that make great shabby chic furniture – the dents, scratches and uneven surfaces, they all add to the character and individual nature of the piece. For these reasons, I buy from independent suppliers who up-cycle the furniture in-store and by hand. Below is a selection of the best shabby chic up-cyclers!
The following antiques dealers also offer a great selection of beautifully painted, French shabby chic furniture: The French House, A & L Antiques, Maison Artefacts, Belle Epoque, Jensen and Ballantine and for the occasional piece MADE.