Home Decorating Ideas - Define Your Style...Shabby Chic or Simple Urban?

Published: 15th June 2009
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If you think about it, we all have a style of living that we enjoy and find both comforting and relaxing. When I've been away from home all day, as I'm driving back I can almost feel the atmosphere that I'll be stepping into, and that's a great feeling. At the end of the day what decor lifestyle beckons you? For this discussion we'll compare two similar yet very contrasting decorating styles.

These two styles take different approaches to a vintage look. First is Shabby Chic, which most everyone is familiar with. Shabby Chic is similar to cottage style decor and is known for white, distressed painted furniture, soft floral colors in pale shades of pink, blue and green, vintage accessories and comfortable, slip-covered furniture.

You'll probably find fresh cut flowers, antique lace tablecloths, scented candles and crystals hanging from the antique chandelier. Shabby Chic decor includes a mix and match of fabrics such as stripes, florals and checks, tea stained fabrics and flea market finds. All in all, you will be comfortable and at home with Shabby Chic if you enjoy a soft, floral, feminine style of decor.

Perhaps you enjoy some vintage decor but are looking for a more refined look with a contemporary flair. Your lifestyle decor choice might be Simple Urban.

Simple Urban decor is a combination of vintage and contemporary with natural fabrics, medium to dark toned woods, rich neutral colors and decor accents of iron and glass. And, the result is an uncluttered and spacious look. Antique pieces with clean lines (no Victorian here) and flea market finds are integrated into the decor as a counterpoint to the sleek urban style. Unique accent pieces, vintage or new, take the spotlight in this decorating style.

You'll find a color palette comprised of shades of tan, gold, cream, brown and black, with bold accent colors to give drama and excitement to the area. As you decorate your space, you might find some great upholstery at a flea market or consignment shop, or purchase new. It doesn't matter as long as you maintain the overall clean look and love the piece. The same applies to lighting, as you may install some track lighting in one area and find a great antique lamp for another.

What other design elements are found in Simple Urban decor? You'll find wood or tile floors with area rugs, with the rugs comprised of a natural weave such as sisal, or you could take a different path and create a bold look with a very colorful rug. Case goods, whether they are new, vintage or flea market finds, will be a medium to dark wood tone. There may also be metal or glass accents. Creating a unique look with unmatched pieces will enhance your Simple Urban decor, so use your creativity to find some great end tables, bookcases, dining sets and the like. Window treatments can be a simple as a window shade for privacy with fabric side panels hung on iron rods. You may opt for wood blinds, shutters, verticals, or nothing at all to cover the windows. Use fabric sparingly, as you don't want a treatment that is over dressed.

Your final touches will pull everything together in your Simple Urban home. Accessories can be big, bold and colorful, vintage, reproduction or contemporary. As with your other selections, if you find a piece that you love, then use it. Be mindful of how much you put into your space and always avoid the cluttered, messy look. Each piece should have a presence of it's own.

So where do you fall in these contrasting styles? If you love the soft, whitewashed, floral vintage look, Shabby Chic is right up your alley. For those who prefer a subtle vintage decor with contemporary flair, Simple Urban may reflect your taste. Whatever you choose, enjoy decorating your home and creating your unique abode.


Candi Randolph is a Design Consultant and author of 'Ten Simple Steps to Design Success!' a simple home decorating ideas guide. For more information please visit MySimplyDesigned.com

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