Bad chair good!

by Sophie Newbert & Jack Bruce

Shabby Chic is the perfect way to mix the old with the new and bring a vintage yet classy appeal to wooden furniture. At Salvage Row, we take great pride in bringing used furniture back to life, not only does this help us equip young people with new skills, it also helps us recycle furniture that would usually end up in a skip! 

Sophie and I will show you all you need to know to Shabby Chic a piece of furniture and save you some well earned cash!

What is Shabby Chic? 

Originating in Britain, Shabby Chic is a term used to describe furniture that shows signs of age and ‘wear and tear’. This term can also be used to describe new furniture that has destressed features that give a piece of furniture an antique appearance. 
Typically, Shabby Chic furniture would have been seen in British ‘country’ homes. Old/Antique Pieces of furniture would have been painted numerous times, often with layers of paint showing through on areas of increased wear. Not only does this give the piece of furniture an underlying story, it also gives the furniture a timeless elegance. 

So, how can I do it/What will I need?

The great thing about Shabby Chic is that most people will have a piece of furniture in their home that will be suitable for a Shabby Chic makeover. If not, we stock a wide range of items that would be perfect for your project. 
For this step by the guide, we have used an old dinner chair that needs a bit of TLC. 


We started with a nice but pretty run-down chair

We started with a nice but pretty run-down chair

We like to use Annie Sloan chalk paint on our Shabby Chic projects. We buy this paint from a local retailer called ‘PIG’ in Messingham, Scunthorpe. Annie Sloan paint can easily be ordered online. Alternatively, most brands of paint such as Dulux produce a suitable chalk paint for Shabby Chic projects. 


We like to use Annie Sloan chalk paint on our Shabby Chic projects

We like to use Annie Sloan chalk paint on our Shabby Chic projects

You will need a Chalk paint wax (And wax Brush), we like to use Annie Sloan chalk paint wax clear. This product is designed to be used with most Annie Sloan chalk paint products. 



The first thing Sophie does when starting a Shabby Chic project is to wash the item with a damp cloth and soapy water. ‘This ensures that all the dirt, dust and any other grime is washed off the item before we put the paint on’. 


‘Now the item is sparkly clean, we can add our first coat of paint’. Sophie’s favourite Shabby Chic colour is Duck Egg, so that is what we will go for! Some item’s (including this chair) will only need one coat of paint; it all depends on the type/darkness of the wood. Don’t worry too much about a completely even/perfect application of paint; the idea behind Shabby Chic is for the item to look destressed/weathered and old. 

Wait…and SAND!

Once you have sat and watched paint dry, it is time to lightly sand your item. This is Sophie’s least favourite step…But it was a very important on! ‘We do this to slightly weather the paint and remove any rough patches’. 

Wax On

Apply the wax using a wax brush or simply use an old rag. ‘it seals in and protects the paint and gives the item that vintage sheen’. The wax will complement the paint and give your furniture a natural Shabby Chic look. 


Smile, You have done it! 

Admire your work! You are now a Shabby Chic pro! 

We are always looking for old/used pieces of furniture for Sophie and the team to work their magic on. If you think you can help us out, give us a call or drop by to see what all the fuss is about!! 


Paul Nickerson

Hello. I'm Paul Nickerson. I'm a web & marketing expert based in East Yorkshire. I offer organisations of all sizes help in selling more, improving their online presence and making their marketing zing.