How to Create Shabby Chic Furniture

Shabby chic style table

Have you always wanted to create shabby chic style furniture but not sure how? Now it is easier than ever with our brand new shabby chic furniture paint!

Shabby Chic is best known as a style of interior design where furniture is chosen specifically for their apperance of age. These highly desired signs of wear and tear can be recreated on new furniture using a technique known as 'distressing', where the top coat is sanded away to show the wood or base coat. Distressing has become a very popular design style over the years. Generally, the end result is a one-of-a-kind rustic or vintage look.

In the age of sleek lines, high gloss and flat pack furniture, shabby chic vintage furniture has a huge prominence in interior design right now.

Shabby chic is all about unique one off pieces that really add something to the design of your space. Certainly it might not have perfect paintwork or matching draw handles, but shabby chic furniture achieves a cozy and rustic look that just can’t be achieved by Allen keying 5 bits of white plywood together.

Before we begin we should probably answer the most obvious question: what is shabby chic? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, shabby chic is defined as “A style of interior decoration that uses furniture and soft furnishings that are, or appear to be, pleasingly old and slightly worn”.

The key to this being “appear to be”. Instead of buying old antique furniture, which might come with a high price tag, you can make the furniture ‘appear to be’ pleasingly old for a lower cost and exactly as you wish.

So how can you create these one-of-a-kind shabby chic pieces? The joys of shabby chic furniture are that it is meant to look worn and well loved, so you can’t really go too wrong. By following the steps below you can soon turn an outdated hand me down chest of draws into a rustic farmhouse style dresser fit for even the Queens boudoir.

Case Study

Shabby Chic before and after

Our customer Kerrie wanted to transform her old and tired pine table as it had seen better days. The scandi/shabby look is extremely popular at the moment, but a new table would have cost hundreds. With Vintage Prestige Coconut, you can create high quality beautiful designs from the comfort of your home and save yourself a fortune!! The paint is so easy to apply too, it simply brushes on and after a light sanding you will have created a shabby chic masterpiece.

There are 10 beautiful pastel shades to choose from, and you can even mix and match colours to create something truly unique. The paint is extremely durable, producing a velvety flat matt finish which doesn’t chalk off like standard chalk paint.

“I now have the table of my dreams! The easiest product I have ever used! Just brush it on... give it a light sanding and voila!!”

Our Signature Choice - Rio Verde Vintage Prestige (Shabby Chic) Paint



Renner Rio Verde Vintage Prestige

Rio Verde Vintage Prestige (Shabby Chic) Paint is the star of the show! It leaves a beautiful dead matt effect and is available in 10 beautiful pastel shades. The paint is water-based and low VOC, making it an odourless eco-friendly choice. This authentic Italian style is perfect for upcycling your furniture and creating a distressed Shabby Chic look. Completely transform your furniture! The finish dries to a  velvety and powdery finish that will not chalk off - far more durable than conventional chalk paint. Ideal for painting both interior & exterior surfaces and it is not necessary to apply primer. Create an alluring, contrasting colour texture and style by combining two colours from our irresistible assortment of Vintage Prestige colours. The creative possibilities are truly endless! 

You will need:


  1. Check your brief and do your research – Ensure you know exactly what finish you are after and how rustic or weathered you would like it.
  2. Sanding – Sand and denib the surface to get yourself a great base to build from. Remember though that the purpose is to create a worn and distressed look, unlike most work you don’t need to worry so much about making it look perfect!
  3. Get the right colour – Traditionally shabby chic furniture does not go beyond the realm of creams, beiges and off whites. However, this is your piece so pick your favorite colour and roll with it. For an extra distressed look, try choosing two colours that complement each other. You can find some colour inspiration here
  4. Grab your paintbrush – This is the fun part! Apply one or two of Rio Verde Vintage Prestige. If you’ve just chosen one colour, apply 2 coats. If you’ve chosen 2 colours, apply one coat of each. 
  5. Distressing – Once both layers are completely dry you can begin distressing! This can be done by lightly sanding using your siafleece.
  6. Finish – (optional) Finally for extra protection seal your work with 1-2 topcoats of Rio Verde Clear Varnish!  After that, you’re done! All that’s left to do is find a place for your stunning new (old!) piece!

Once you’ve mastered the process, there is no limit to the piece you can create! When you’re in control of colour choices, you can create the perfect antique looking piece that is certain to match your interior design.