As we start to look forward to summer, now is the time to refresh your garden decor and create something fresh. Let's take a look at some ideas for how to bring the popular shabby chic decor style to your garden. We have got a couple of easy tutorials for some of the best home ideas.

All our ideas are in one place, so you don't need to search the internet for hours. All you need for inspiration is to read on below to find ideas and inspiration to create your dream shabby chic space.

What is Shabby Chic?

Shabby Chic is the name of a set of different aesthetics that many people like at the moment. It is a very pretty style, based around upcycling, hand made things, and well-worn vintage items and styles. If you are wondering how to make a shabby chic garden or what vintage garden ideas work for shabby chic garden styles, you will need to understand what counts as a shabby chic garden.

Shabby Chic Style

The shabby chic garden style hinges on a lot of the same ideas as a vintage garden. Vintage garden furniture designs, such as cast iron or vintage wooden pieces, with faded paint and flower designs.

Shabby chic garden design is similar to the designs and images you might think of as going with a cottage or other small rustic home. You are looking for upcycled items, flowers, and DIY garden furniture made with love.

Shabby Chic Colours

Beautiful shabby chic garden designs are generally free from bright colours and vibrancy. You are looking for the sorts of romantic designs, images and colours you would associate with a cottage, such as pale blue, green and white, other pastel shades, or materials patterned with flowers. Spring tones, natural pastel shades, and pretty patterns are the order of the day. Read on below for creative projects for a shabby chic garden with a little time and effort.

Shabby Chic gardens vs Vintage gardens

Well, in most cases you won't see much difference between a shabby chic garden style and a vintage garden design.

Both vintage garden design and shabby chic garden decor are built around similar use of vintage garden furniture and colour. The biggest difference you are likely to see is one of weathering.

A shabby chic garden is likely to feature more weathered styles of garden furniture and design, with outdoor furniture designs that look like they have been well used with love for years.

Pastel colours, blue, green, white, and other spring tones are common, but shabby chic is more associated with a country cottage or a new shed than with a photo of a beautiful Victorian formal outdoor garden space.

How to distress paint for Shabby Chic

One of the most popular ways to achieve an outdoor shabby chic style on any piece of garden furniture is with a little distressed paint. Let's take a look at how you can easily achieve this at home without even needing any specialist tools.

You Will Need:

Paint (in your chosen colours)


A paintbrush

Old clothes

A damp tea towel

Step by Step:

Step 1

Wipe your item of furniture down carefully with a clean, damp tea towel.

Step 2

Give it a quick pass with some sandpaper to loosen up any flaky paint.

Step 3

Paint up your furniture!

Step 4

Once the paint is dry, apply a second coat of paint over the top.

Step 5

When the second coat of paint is completely dry, it is time to distress it. Carefully sandpaper the edges and corners to wear off the fresh paint and leave the older layers below.

Faded floral wood patterns the easy way

Faded floral patterns on wood furniture are a great way to achieve a unique shabby chic style, bringing that faded vintage look to any furniture you like.

You Will Need:

Wooden furniture

Floral paper napkins

Mod podge glue (matte)

Exterior varnish (matte)



Step by Step:

First, you will want to separate the top layer from each of your napkins, to get a single sheet of tissue with floral patterning. Next, lay these sheets out on the top of your table, spreading them out however you want. Alternatively, tear them roughly into pieces and glue those down one by one.

Then, it is time to glue. Using your paintbrush and glue, spread a layer of glue across the surface. Lay the napkin down on the glue, and then brush it smooth. Work carefully to stop the tissue from tearing. Add another layer of glue over the top.

Once the glue has all dried, it is time to sand. Use your sandpaper until you are happy with the smoothness of the surface and faded finish. Focus on the edges and sides, wearing through more of the tissue designs for a worn, shabby chic style. Next, apply a few coats of clear matte varnish for protection from the weather, and you are all done!

Upcycling and Shabby Chic

One of the most popular ways to transform your outdoor space into a shabby chic style is upcycling. Upcycling is something that many people want to try their hand at right now, as it only takes a little work to get the ideal results that you read about on blogs across the internet every day of the week.

Upcycling is a creative approach that consists of taking worn out, unused, or broken items, or things that are put aside to be recycled and transforming them into something useful.

The Advantages of Upcycling

The big advantage of upcycling is that it is affordable. Furniture and designs can be expensive, but by putting in the work to make a DIY item instead of buying a new one, you can save a great deal of money. Plus, if you make designs like this yourself, smaller upcycling projects can make for a great romantic gift! Upcycling also reduces the amount of stuff that you throw out.

Top Ideas for Shabby Chic Gardens

Upcycle Old Stepladders

A stepladder from your home can make a perfect piece of garden furniture. You can use your stepladder as a perfect set of tiered shelves for your collection of flower pots or other plants. Make sure the back of it is propped up against a wall or otherwise secured, and you have got a great rustic country style accessory.

Floral Fabrics for Vintage Shabby Chic

Floral fabrics are a classic part of vintage garden style, but if those fabrics are a bit more faded or mismatched, then they are perfect for shabby chic garden furniture too!

Decorative Pot Covers

Regular plant pots are fine, but if you are looking for a quirky shabby chic style for your garden, then why not try wrapping them in decorative fabrics? Pastel colours and delicate patterns make for a great collection of pot covers that don't even have to match!

Rustic Wire Planters

Classic wire planters are a great choice for holding a collection of smaller plant pots, bringing a vintage style familiar from any photo of a country cottage and helping your garden to feel like it has been thrown back in time.

Upcycled Crockery

Upcycling old home crockery is a great way to give it back some life. A teapot or cracked teacup makes the ideal quirky alternative for a plant pot, and many people have things like this readily available, just waiting to be thrown out!

Mismatched Tableware

Mismatched tableware adds a great shabby chic vibe to your alfresco meals any day of the week, and helps to make every meal feel special.

Vintage Gardening Tools

If you are going to put a lot of effort into your garden, a good sign that things are going right is that you are enjoying yourself. A good vintage trowel or watering can, can look great and be a real joy to use.

Rustic Seed Packets

Wondering where to store your seeds? Attractive seed packet designs are readily available online and can make every detail of your greenhouse or shed ooze shabby chic at every moment.

Gardening Books

Old gardening books can easily be found in many charity shops. These can be full of great advice and information, and they look great on a shelf with your seed packets, too!

Shabby Chic Love Seats

For a romantic touch, try placing a vintage love seat in a secluded corner of your garden! Wrought iron is a good choice, as is something rustic and homemade from reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed Armchairs

An old armchair that looks a bit too battered to keep in your house is perfect for a shabby chic garden! Give it a touch of paint and some varnish for durability, and you are all set for great patio comfort all summer long.

Neutral Textiles

Rough, natural textiles in neutral colours are a great choice for a calm, rustic look. Try hammocks in pastel tones for unobtrusive, casual comfort.

Rustic Birdhouses

Birdhouses are a great accessory for any garden, and a roughly made, rustic example with worn paint can be really charming. Plus, attracting birds to your garden is a great thing to consider.

Vintage Style Bunting

If you have got fabric offcuts from other upcycling products, cut out small triangles and string them up across your fences for some vintage village fair ambience!

Rustic Signs

Making your own sign with custom designs on can be a lot of fun, and can look great when you hang it up on your shed or by the back door of your home. Try making a sign from slate or wood, painted carefully to read whatever you like.

Decorative Antiques

Antique urns make for perfect planters and bring a bit of classic romantic style to your garden. If you want something a bit quirky, try using the hollow body of an antique clock or the alcoves of a broken sculpture for more unusual planter designs.

Shabby Chic Dining Tables

For a shabby chic garden party, simply drape an old wooden dining table with a floral tablecloth in delicate colours. Pale blues and pinks are a great option here!

Wrought Iron Furniture

Wrought iron is a classic vintage choice and brings a quirky charm to any garden. High quality wrought iron is practically indestructible, so you are unlikely to need to do any repair work on even the cheapest second-hand chairs for your garden!