8 Simple DIY Steps for Cheap Shabby Chic

Elise Stevenson2 years ago

When we see the word “shabby”, we don’t usually associate it with elegant home décor. However, this European aesthetic has become one of the most popular style choices for the modern day home, with many furniture stores now stocking shabby chic furniture pieces.

The beauty of shabby chic is that you can create pieces using DIY methods that won’t blow your budget. We’ve got 8 simple steps to help you turn your standard furniture into something desirable.


1. Choose your Furniture

Before starting, you should decide what furniture you are going to give a shabby chic makeover. There may even be a diamond-in-the rough in your home. Can’t find anything? Garage sales, antique stores and op shops are goldmines for cheap, good quality furniture.


2. Prepare the Wood

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Remove the current wood finishing to ensure the new paintwork will stick properly to the furniture once it’s finished. You can do this by simply using warm, soapy water, making sure you remove any drawers and hardware.

If it has been polished with wax, use a wire wool pad with either turps or white spirit. If varnished, use sandpaper or a paint and varnish remover.


3. Apply a Water-based Acrylic Primer

This coat will give your furniture a smoother finish, making it easier to work on.

Top tip: With shabby chic, there’s no need to worry about being neat with your painting.


4. Rub on Wax

If you’re looking for the peeling paint look, rub a wax candle on the surface of your furniture. Be sure to do this before applying any other coats of paint.


5. Applying the Paint

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Shabby chic furniture is usually covered in a flat or satin paint. Apply two coats, making sure you allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second.

Depending on what look you wish to achieve, there are certain painting methods you can use:

  • For a simple finish, apply both coats of paint before sealing it with acrylic varnish.
  • For a distressed finish, apply a different colour for the second coat. This will create a two-tone aged look.

6. Distressing the Furniture

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After the first coat of paint has dried, dab streaks of furniture wax here and there with a sponge or paintbrush. Spots that are looking a little worse for wear are perfect to use. Then, apply your second layer of paint. Once dry, wipe the furniture with a cloth to remove the paint from the waxed areas.

If you’re looking to distress the furniture even more, grab your wire wool and sandpaper to scrape off more paint. The best thing is that if you make a mistake, all you need to do is paint over it and start again.


7.Peeling the Paint

To create an even better peeling effect, use a heat gun on a low setting over the entire piece of furniture.


8. The Finished Look

You’re one step away from adding your new shabby chic furniture to your décor. Just add some clear wax furniture polish to the entire piece and you’re done!


If you’re looking to turn your furniture into a shabby chic dream, check out these hardware stores in the Tablelands to get all the right tools.


Mitre 10 – Ravenshoe

Giving advice on the best products, Mitre 10 - Ravenshoe - Tablelands
Giving advice on the best products, Mitre 10 – Ravenshoe – Tablelands

Are you a first time DIY-er? Mitre 10 have you covered with a massive range of products and building supplies. Services they provide include:

  • DIY tools & products
  • Advice from knowledgeable & experienced staff
  • Easy delivery services

Mitre 10 will go above and beyond to ensure you have the right tools to get the job done. Find out more on their LocalSearch profile page.


TGT Pty Ltd

All you paint solutions, TGT Pty Ltd - Tablelands
All you paint solutions, TGT Pty Ltd – Tablelands

TGT will have the solution for you when creating your shabby chic furniture. Their general hardware services include:

  • Domestic hardware products
  • Painting & timber supplies
  • Advice on a wide range of products & trade techniques

They also offer local delivery services. For a full list of services, visit their LocalSearch profile page.