Combining Shabby Chic and Modern

A shabby chic/modern kitchenMixing retro styles with modern looks is very on trend just now and a popular decorating style. Some people may have mid 20th century legacy furniture that they want to fit into their homes and others may like the retro style but not want to create a total retro look. An eclectic mix of retro and modern can look perfectly stunning. Difficult to label, mixing modern and retro has been tagged Shabby Retro, Retro Chic, Urban Chic, Fresh Vintage, or Retro Modern. Essentially, it means taking retro furnishings and accessories and blending them with modern furnishings and accessories in a pleasing and stylish manner.

Shabby chic accessories or retro accessories are what we specialise in at our store and later on, we will show how some of our pieces can be combined in a modern theme. Firstly, though, here are our thoughts on pulling the modern and shabby chic accessories together for a fusion look. In an urban setting, people will often buy old industrial items such as metal shelving, chairs, and desks. These old metal furnishings are popular finds from old factory sales. Depending on the setting, metal furnishings contrasting with modern sofas and chairs with bold and vibrant coloured soft covers gives a clean but chic look with an edgy retro vibe.

In suburbia, nostalgia for kitchenware, a return to baking and the cupcake revolution sees many decorators on the look out for genuine retro shabby chic accessories for the kitchen. Metal canisters for storage, iconic “Kitchen Aid” style mixers, and kitchen appliances help to give a retro look in a modern kitchen space. Old kitchenware is very popular and genuine fifties kitchen tools and aids are sought after.

There is a whole market out there for “hip” collectables and some of the thrift store items of yesteryear that come in bright colours are making waves in specialist retro shops and collectors markets. Experimenting with shabby chic accessories and modern twists can lead you to discover new ways of showing off your home.

Colour is the one thing that can evoke a feel for the era you are targeting. Who can forget the browns and oranges of the seventies or the pinks, browns and lime greens of the sixties? The patterns of fabric and textiles in stripes, swirls, and polka dots add to the retro feel.

Key Pieces in Store for your Modern and Retro/Vintage/Antique Look

We love our 18th century painted bookcase now in stock (and at a sale price!). As you can see, with glass-covered doors, the piece is ideal for displaying different items or collections. This piece of furniture presents a clever way to display modern glassware, collectibles, and ceramics in an antique retro look.

Have you seen our little gallery of artwork and prints? With pictures from the forties and retro posters, your walls could be the focus of your retro and modern fusion.

There are a few guidelines to help you pull your look together once all of your shabby chic accessories have been sourced and here we give some tips to make the process go with a swing.

Mixing It Up

  1. Decide if you want a room of retro furnishings with modern accents or a modern room with retro accents using an accessory or two. It is essential to let one era dominate or else there will be an all out war and clash between the objects. Choosing one way will allow the two types of décor complement the other.
  2. Decide on what will link the retro and modern. There needs to be an element that unites the chosen pieces. Colour that is present in both times is good to use or a wood type. A visual theme such as nautical or the ocean will pull everything together.
  3. Opposites attract so experiment with opposing pieces by combining a modern desk with antique or retro chair. Alternatively, pair a vintage sofa with modern lamp stand.
  4. Combine elements that are similar. Putting modern and retro furniture together that echoes the other looks really good. For example, combine an old mirror with sleek lines with a new minimalist cabinet or dressing table.

Do not be afraid to combine your elements and use colour. Mixing up shabby chic accessories, retro, vintage and modern furnishings is not for the faint of heart but just a little planning and a clear view of what you want the end result to be will make the process easier. We have several interesting pieces in store right now that will complement any setting of retro and modern décor so call by and see us and we will give you the grand tour of our fabulous emporium!


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