How to Use Shabby Chic Art

While too much shabby chic style decor can make a staged home look too girly, too crowded, or too tattered, there's nothing like an old, framed oil painting of roses or a painted tray to make a room feel homey. It won't work in all settings, but here are some tips for using these pretty paintings.

Frames painted white and distressed are classic shabby style. Roses are also part of the essential package. Photo:

Bathrooms and bedrooms especially lend themselves to these pretty pastel renderings. Small ones can be tucked into a corner of the bath, and larger ones can hang over a dresser or bed.

On the other hand, contemporary rooms look more pulled together if the art is modern. Posters, photographs and abstract paintings are going to work better than what I am calling shabby chic art. So, if you're going for a more polished, modern, uptown look, skip the vintage florals in chippy frames.

There's nothing wrong with clustering a group of small floral paintings on one wall. In fact, it's preferable to scattering them around the room.

Just two unframed floral paintings over the bed, both hung on hooks, create a cozy look
Photo: Country Living.

Shabby or cottage style art doesn't always have to be paintings. Boxes, tabletops, trays and lamps that pick up the vintage look have the same charming effect on a room.

A lamp like this is ornate enough to carry a room that's too simple. You don't have to spend big bucks. Almost any lamp base can get a rose decoupage or decals to convert it to something similar in mood. Photo: Lamps Plus. 

The pastel colors that make shabby chic so appealing are the same that make home staging work well. They're non-offensive and familiar.Photo: Such Pretty Things.

There's nothing wrong with mixing new with vintage. One of the principles of shabby chic is combining elements that don't usually appear together, like fine crystal and wrinkled linens.

Art doesn't have to be graphic art. A mirror can qualify as wall art, especially if it reflects aspects of your room you want to make sure buyers notice.

Mirrors with elaborately carved frames are easier to find second hand than art with frames that lend themselves to a distressed finish. Here, the contemporary lamp fits in perfectly. Photo:

You can find shabby chic and cottage style artwork suitable for staging at flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores and eBay. I've found that a search of "vintage rose paintings" gets you better results than "shabby chic art," on eBay.

I wrote about the good and not-so-good points of decorating shabby chic style if you are selling a home in this post.

Where do you find your artwork for adding shabby chic details? I would love to learn about your sources.

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