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What is Shabby-Chic?

By Marissa Polascak • July 27, 2017

If you’ve been to Pawleys Island, or even if you’ve heard about it, chances are you’ve seen the phrase “shabby-chic” used to explain the aesthetic of many homes and businesses in the area.  And most of you who have read or heard this phrase may have thought, “what the heck does ‘shabby-chic’ mean?”

Pawleys Island is considered one of the oldest resort areas along the East Coast, and the residents here take pride in that fact, making sure that the gorgeous Lowcountry location stays close to its Southern roots.

By definition, the shabby-chic style uses furnishings and décor that appear to be old or slightly worn, in the most pleasant sense possible. That’s why many Pawleys Island homes, despite how expensive they may be, look as if their wooden siding has been through the wringer. However, this is exactly the aesthetic that many people in Pawleys Island strive for, as it is revered as an endearing quality of the Lowcountry resort area.

Shabby-chic décor may include chipped paint, rust, burlap, weathered wood, wooden baskets, re-purposed items, and more.

In Pawleys Island, don’t be surprised to find many shabby-chic homes and businesses with Haint Blue shutters, doors, or ceilings, and décor. Haint Blue is a classic Southern color that is often used to paint the porch ceilings of traditional Southern homes. Most people use Haint Blue because it is just a tradition that was passed down from generation to generation. Others use the blue paint to ward off “haints” or evil spirits.

Modern shabby-chic styling incorporates other traditional elements such as lace and ornate lamps that accompany old, worn-out, or antique dressers, bed frames, desks, and more. Basically, if it looks old, yet beautiful and with a touch of Southern flare, then its most likely considered shabby-chic.