French Shabby Chic FurnitureCredit: http://www.indonesiaclassic-furniture.com/images/news/news-20100706152921.jpg
French shabby chic furniture is a variation on the much-loved shabby chic style of interior decorating. There's one thing I should make clear: there is nothing actually 'shabby' about this kind of interior decor! The term shabby chic is defined in detail in another one of my articles, but the basic premise is that you take a good piece of antique looking furniture and distress it slightly, usually by painting it white or a light shade of a primary color, and selectively sanding and refinishing it. It creates a nice effect, mimicking years of use and love.
French shabby chic furniture is a variation on this, using french style furniture as the basis. This works extremely well for a number of reasons which I will explain in this article! In fact, this article is intended to teach you about french shabby chic furniture, common styles and pieces, and ways you can incorporate it into your home.
French Shabby Chic Furniture: OriginsCredit: http://www.dfwlimited.com/WebRoot/BT3/Shops/BT2472/498A/12A4/0D05/EBF2/437A/0A0A/33E7/9513/INT2259.jpg
When we're talking about French shabby chic furniture, we should explain precisely what we mean. French shabby chic furniture IS shabby chic furniture. What do I mean by this? The whole style of distressed, simple furniture came from the french pastoral tradition. When you search for French furniture, you're likely to find one of two styles: French antiques, and French country shabby chic style furniture. The pastoral, cottage pieces are the ones that this movement gained momentum from, and so technically speaking they are the ideal pieces to build this style around.
Luckily, french shabby chic furniture isn't hard to find. This style had a massive influence, and can be found in virtually every corner of the globe if you search hard enough. Your local antique or second-hand store will likely have many French pieces available to check out, some for quite reasonable prices.
French Shabby Chic Furniture: Popular Style CuesCredit: http://www.dfwlimited.com/WebRoot/BT3/Shops/BT2472/4ACE/35C6/DF1D/D613/BAD0/0A0A/33E9/3AF4/MOULIN-NOIR-BEDSIDE-WITH-MARBLE-INT2327-FRENCH-BOUDOIR-SHABBY-CHIC-BLACK-COACH-HOUSE-FURNITURE.jpg
There are a few distinctive characteristics of French shabby chic furniture that you'll notice in almost all pieces you find. There is a particular 'silhouette' of these items that is hard to mistake.
First, most of these will have cabriole legs. These are curved, highly stylized legs that really set the piece off. Due to past associations with the rich upper class, the cabriole leg instantly imbues a sense of posh luxury. It is really nice to have a piece or two with such legs because it really sets a tone for a space. You don't want too much of a good thing here, because your space may end up feeling 'stuffy'. The cabriole leg consists of an upper convex curve, then a concave one near the foot.
Second, French shabby chic furniture is almost never 'square' or 'rectangular'. By this I mean that there is usually some sort of curve to them, whether it bulges out slightly at the front, or curves up luxuriously at the back. A typical french style chest of drawers will have a bulging set of drawers.
Lastly, you'll notice a heavy hand with the details. Elegant scrollwork along the top, nicely tiered layers of wood, tasteful knobs and bits of metal. Nothing about French shabby chic furniture should say budget, it should all be high class elegance.
French Shabby Chic Furniture: How To Use ItCredit: http://p.mdcd.net/product_images/full/1240e9dda85d68065f2069b22fa7790471e9e19f.jpg
French shabby chic furniture, as explained earlier in this article, shouldn't be used with too heavy a hand. Unless you're going for an exact replica of a 19th century French living room, you don't want to have too many pieces of the same origin. Your room will look nicely tasteful and eclectic if you use a few pieces of French furniture.
This kind of piece works well as a statement item: you can use it to 'center' your room and say something with your decor. It makes a good conversation item, and it can bring a pop of style and color to an otherwise unremarkable space. French style furniture also has the interesting effect of seeming to take up less space than it actually does, probably due to the fluid lines and thin legs. So if you don't want to overwhelm a space with heavy pieces, this might be a great option for you!
French shabby chic furniture is a great idea and option for your decor, and it's something I'm always on the lookout for. I hope this article has helped you make some decor decisions.