When Shabby Chic & Modern Collide

The two styles are surprisingly a perfect pairing.

Illustrated by Briana Gagnier for Lonny.

Oh, shabby chic. Made famous by the late, great Laura Ashley, the floral-filled, vintage-inspired, frilly aesthetic took over the design world in the '80s and continued to make an impact for years. While Ashley's clothing line made prairie-style dresses the norm, its iteration in the home called for a feminine take on farmhouse — complete with lots of creamy linen textiles, ornate chandeliers, and light-wood furniture.

While shabby chic hasn't been mainstream for quite a while, remnants of the style are slowly popping up again in new ways. Just look at the resurgence of cane furniture, Batsheva's retro puffed-sleeve dresses taking over Instagram, and the continuing love for all things Chip and Joanna Gaines as proof. Yet we are not ready to go full frill in our homes again.

Instead, we decided to do a little experiment where we would see what shabby chic would look like paired with a few more modern designs. Mixing styles is a good design exercise after all. So, we dug some of our favorite home decor sites and were able to curate three spaces that lean in to a Laura Ashley-inspired aesthetic, while also feeling super modern and fresh.

Sure, we may have written off shabby chic as an outdated trend. But these rooms are giving us a whole new reason to break out a ruffle or two.

When Shabby Chic & Modern Collide
Courtesy of Wayfair; Courtesy of Design Within Reach; Courtesy of Anthropologie; Courtesy of CB2.

The Living Room

Your living room is the centerpiece of your home, so you want to make sure it's both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. For our modern additions, we chose a bold dark marble coffee table and an abstract, yet neutral rug to ground the space. A funky accent chair lends an eclectic hand to the design. For a shabby chic touch, a linen settee and jeweled chandelier add a traditional and feminine air to the room. Together, the space feels cohesive, glam, and ready for entertaining.

Ophelia & Co. Burton Settee, $959.99, Wayfair.

Norm Architects For Menu Plinth Coffee Table, $1,950.75, Design Within Reach.

Anthropologie Draped Bijoux Chandelier, $798, Anthropologie.

Anthropologie Palmistry Chair, $998, Anthropologie.

CB2 Promenade Abstract Rug, $399, CB2.

When Shabby Chic & Modern Collide
Courtesy of CB2; Courtesy of Urban Outfitters; Courtesy of West Elm; Courtesy of Anthropologie.

The Bedroom

While cane furniture was a shabby-chic staple, it has recently become a common addition to more modern Cali-cool spaces. That's why we thought it was ideal material to use while styling our bedroom. The cane bed frame looks extra cozy with ruffled white bedding à la Laura Ashley, while a graphic tiger rug and sleek millennial-pink side table makes the room more appropriate for 2019.

CB2 Bobila Cane Bed, $999, CB2.

West Elm Mitzi Nightstand Antique Rose, $104, West Elm.

Urban Outfitters Marte Six-Drawer Dresser, $699, Urban Outfitters.

Anthropologie Rivulets Quilt Queen, $328, Anthropologie.

Urban Outfitters Tufted Tiger-Shaped Rug, $69, Urban Outfitters.

When Shabby Chic & Modern Collide
Courtesy of Coming Soon New York; Courtesy of Wayfair; Courtesy of Birch Lane; Courtesy of Arteriors; Courtesy of Consort Home; Courtesy of Tappan Collective.

The Dining Room

When decorating the dining room, we knew a white farmhouse-style table and upholstered chairs would be essential to ground the design with a shabby-chic vibe. From there we tried to think of a few creative ways to spruce up the space. A sculptural light fixture and shapely oversized mirror make the room feel contemporary, while a funky vase brings in a fun splash of color. A framed photograph of girls in prairie-style dresses serves as the perfect final touch — tying everything together with an image that feels equally modern and shabby chic.

Grain Wood Furniture Valeri Solid Wood Dining Table, $439.99, Wayfair.

Lark Manor Bluffton Side Chair, $305.99, Birch Lane.

BZippy Vase, $350, Coming Soon New York.

Consort Bellissima Mirror Series No. 3, Price Upon Request, Consort Home.

Arteriors Linus Linear Chandelier, $1,820, Arteriors.

Gia Coppola Untitled III (Joshua Tree) Photograph Framed, $700, Tappan Collective.


I am Lonny's Senior Associate Editor. You can find me writing about interior tips, scouting out the coolest new spots, and rallying behind amazing female entrepreneurs. You can reach me at shelby.wax@livingly.com or on Instagram @shelbywax.
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