You don't hear me talk much about kitchens here on the blog, you did a few years back though when we had a new one installed. We opted for high gloss units, with the majority of cupboards, including the inbuilt washing machine, dishwasher and fridge-freezer in a colour they called champagne. It's not what I'd call champagne and is a grey-green with some added shimmer and I fell for it as soon as I saw it. And typically it was the most expensive finish they had, but there was no talking me out of it. Well not completely anyway, our compromise was to have our wall units in a gloss soft white, which helped control the costs and also helps reflect light around our windowless kitchen.
Don't worry I'm not about to change it, I think MOH would consider that grounds for divorce as he said he's "never putting in a new kitchen again" and yes, I don't believe him either. But I do think that some houses lend themselves more to one style of kitchen over another, our current house the chic, gloss look works for the open plan space and for how we live, however another style of house would completely suit a shabby chic style kitchen, and it's the style of kitchen I'm more naturally drawn to. One day I might get one, despite MOH's protestations.
So today I'm sharing some tips on how to achieve the shabby chic look, because for now, that's as close as I'm going to get.
1. Install solid wood worktops
You'll often see solid wood worktops in rustic style cooking spaces, and it's easy to see why. Their beautiful, natural finish is guaranteed to give your kitchen that gorgeous shabby chic vibe. They look the part but more importantly they're also strong and robust, so you can trust they’ll continue to look their best for many years.
There are a wide variety of different timbers to choose from, oak tends to be a firm favourite when it comes to achieving a truly rustic look. In our previous kitchen we had wooden worktops and I agree with kitchen specialists Worktop Express that they are full of natural charm and warmth - the perfect combination for creating the ultimate cosy atmosphere in your cooking space.
2. Choose a statement ceramic sink
A ceramic sink, perhaps and old fashioned and original Butler's sink, is often a feature in a shabby chic inspired kitchen. I had one in my previous house, which was original and matched the rest of the kitchen. Back then, when it came to redoing the kitchen, keeping it and incorporating it into the design didn't fit my budget, so it was begrudgingly replaced and used in the garden as a herb planter. Thinking back I've no idea what happened to it, and why I didn't move it with me to our current house.
There's contemporary versions around too, so these might be ideal for your shabby chic inspired space. Belfast sinks are a popular choice, and are similar to a Butler's sink, but with an overflow as fresh water was readily available in Belfast in the 1700's, but not so much in London, so there was no overflow as every drop was used carefully. I can't imagine anyone installing a sink now, without an overflow.
With their crisp, clean all-white colour, this style of sink looks stunning when set within wooden worktops and helps elevate the feel of the whole room. Adding rustic-looking taps would bring an authentic and personal feel.
3. Add vintage-inspired accessories
I think that what makes shabby chic work is the accessories you choose, and it's the perfect excuse to find crockery that mixes and matches. And showcasing your knickknacks is a must, having them on show whether it's in piles on open shelves or arranged in glass fronted units.
Or maybe it's something simple like positioning a pair of classically curved salt and pepper pots on your kitchen table or displaying a selection of Mason style jars on the worktops. You may even want to go for old fashioned-looking appliances, such as a retro style kettle and toaster combination or a set of vintage-esque weighing scales.
4. Decorate with pretty pastels
I'm more of a bold colour kind of girl than pastels, but I think shabby chic needs pastel shades to bring it to life. They don't have to be twee and sugary, unless you want them to be. Adding a touch of mint green, duck egg blue, dusky pink, a pale yellow or creamy vanilla to a neutral colour could be a stylish and modern take on the shabby chic look and set the mood for your room. I think being guided by the style of the property, the light in the space and the rest of your decor is always good advice. I like rooms that look harmonious together, so decorating within a style or colour palette will always work best for me.
Is there anything else you'd add to this list?
* This is a collaborative post