DIY – Shabby Chic style!

How to make your own shabby chic country cottage style furniture….

So far I’ve put my own stamp on our fireplace, kitchen corner unit, table and chairs, study desk, full length mirror unit, bedside cabinets and my dressing table stool.

I have always been pretty artistic and loved nothing more as a child than to sit and paint or make something with my Mamma. Now my Mum is pretty “artsy” (to say the least) so I guess the gene came from her.

I absolutely love the shabby chic country cottage style – it’s light, airy and homely – everything I want my house to feel like. So when I bought my first house in June 2012 it was obvious it was going to end up looking like a dolls house sporting everything cream, cutesy, floral and girlie.

Now you can buy shabby chic style furniture from most home stores, but I always find they are either at a premium or are lacking in quality or authenticity. Plus you can pretty much guarantee that a million homes throughout the UK have exactly the same thing in their living room. So I like to make my own…. which is really not as hard as you would think.

I’ve detailed the basic steps below, but if there is anything at all that you are unsure of or that you want to ask please do so via the comments box below or tweet me…

1. Measure the space you want a new piece for.

2. Get yourself on eBay, Gumtree or down to your local charity shop/ house clearance centre (these are where you’re going to pick up the best vintage pieces) and pick up a piece of good quality wood furniture. I usually opt for pine if I can but I guess this step very much depends on what is available and what pieces you like.

3. Head to your local DIY store. You are going to need:
* a screw driver if you do not already have one (sets can usually be picked up quite cheaply)
* a ground sheet (optional – if you already have old curtains/ fabric etc this is only for placing your item on whilst painting)
* a sanding block and sand paper (opt for the denser/thicker stuff – it requires less elbow grease)
* a tin of undercoat/ primer (needs to be suitable for wood)
* the colour you want (Annie Sloan Chalk paints are a popular choice but I use Laura Ashley Eggshell in Ivory – if you want to use the same you will need to pop to your local Laura Ashley store)
* a paint tray and paint brushes
* a tin of bees wax & a soft cloth

4. Remove any handles, attachments etc from your item using the screwdriver set. Which one you will need will depend on the screw heads in your item.

5. Place your groundsheet/ fabric down in an open space and put your item on top. I usually do this outside if it’s nice weather! Then put your sandpaper on your sanding block and sand any varnish/ stain finish off the wood (you are doing this to bring out the grain of the wood so it’s ready to paint).

6. Once you have removed any finish from your item, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any residue/ dust left.

7. You are then ready to paint with your primer/ undercoat. You may need a couple of coats depending on the product so make sure you read the tin.

8. Once your primer has dried, paint with your chosen colour/s! (NB – Paint upwards in full, straight brush stroke/s to get a clean & professional finish – DO NOT do circular motions!) Depending on the coverage you may need a couple of coats.

9. Once dry – wax with your beeswax and a soft cloth.IMG_1781

10. Put your handles/ attachments etc. back on & move to your chosen place!

Et Voila.

-Simple as that!

Jessica KG



  1. 19th May 2015 / 8:00 am

    I’ve been struggling to find furniture in the colour I want, never thought about doing this! Will be giving it a shot! 🙂

  2. 19th May 2015 / 8:00 am

    I’ve been struggling to find furniture in the colour I want, never thought about doing this! Will be giving it a shot! 🙂

  3. 7th September 2016 / 1:53 pm

    Great little tip! I need to get on this, would love some upcycled vintage bits in my house, hadn’t though to use chalk paint!

    • jessicakgxx
      7th September 2016 / 2:02 pm

      Thanks lovely! Glad you enjoyed the post. Up cycling is great as it means your pieces are all personal and unique to you. Make sure you share some photos if you do try it! Jessica KG x

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