‘Shabby chic’ vacation homes in Mexico: How to achieve the look

Shabby chic styles can still look upscale. Photo: Courtesy
Shabby chic styles can still look upscale. Photo: Courtesy

Most people who own vacation or retirement homes in Mexico want it to be relaxed and comfortable. That’s why one of the decor styles I recommend is “shabby chic.”

To me, there is nothing better than chilling out in a home where every piece of furniture contributes to making a home soft, dreamy and welcoming.

The shabby chic decor style has been around for over 20 years and is said to have originated in Santa Monica. It is an eclectic style and comes under the umbrella of rustic decor. It makes strong use of furniture and decor that have the look of being worn-in and distressed. (If you think about how a well-worn pair of jeans feel, you get the idea of how comfortable shabby chic is meant to be.) Furniture can either be purchased from second-hand and antique shops or bought new with a distressed finish that makes it look older. Many online stores in Mexico offer new furniture and decor items with this distressed finish.

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Metal items such as outdoor tables and chairs can have a distressed look that appears as if some of the paint has peeled off. Wood furniture such as dining room and coffee tables can have a weathered natural wood look. For those looking for a more sophisticated edge, use a palette of cream and off-white with white-washed wood furniture.

Include lots of accessories, especially those with texture and details. I love to add vases and jugs that are mismatched to give that homey feel. If a more rustic vibe is your preference, stick to distressed natural wood furniture. A matching bench to a distressed wood dining room table will bring an exciting twist over regular dining chairs. Regardless which you prefer, both will create the shabby chic look.

Along with the “aged” pieces, this decor style incorporates pastel colors, feminine decor touches and oversized, overstuffed upholstery. When selecting your sofa and occasional chair, opt for one with a white or cream cover. Since these colors are more challenging to keep clean, it is critical to get a performance-fabric cover. Look for a sofa manufacturer such as Palliser, which offers these durable, stain-resistant, easily cleanable covers at the same price as regular covers. 

For the bedroom, a white over-filled duvet layered with big fluffy pillows is mandatory. Vintage or distressed wood side tables and headboard will create the cozy retreat sure to have you drifting off to a night of deep, relaxing sleep. Items that are mix-and-match, in stripes and florals, can bring in touches of color to liven up the room. A beveled-edge mirror, antique in style, will be a perfect addition to any shabby-chic-style home.    


Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who sells furniture to customers across Mexico. Interested in furniture and decor for a shabby-chic-style home? Email at sa.novak@solutionsmexico.com.

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