What is the difference between Farmhouse Style and Shabby Chic?

What are the Differences between Farmhouse Style and Shabby Chic?

No two style names are more confusing than Farmhouse Style and Shabby Chic. You may think you know what one or the other is, but, likely. You’re just guessing. So, we’re going to clear up any confusion and show you the difference between these two styles!

What is Shabby Chic Style?

The word “shabby chic” is widely used in the world of interior design, but what precisely is meant by it? Baroque splendor meets rustic charm in this room, featuring antique furniture with faded surfaces and glistening decorative details. Shabby chic, also known as French country, is a bohemian style that’s become popular among the city’s youthful, hip, and fashionable set for several reasons. It’s as much a decision in decor as it is a representation of one’s general way of life. You’ll need to blend the correct pieces in your home to get this adaptable look.

With the help of London-born stylist Rachel Ashwell, shabby chic took over the design world. Ashwell has been refining the definition of this style for the last two decades through her company Shabby Chic Couture. Her range of interior design services got its start out of necessity. She told Inc. that she had slipcovers made for her couch to make cleaning up after her two minor children easier. Friends began pestering her about where she got her unusual finds, and she soon realized that there was a need for used furniture as well as a supply for it.

After beginning as a shop in New York City, Ashwell sold slip-covered furniture and finds from flea markets. Shabby Chic Couture is now an enormously successful fashion label in the United States. Her boutiques sell anything from artisan-crafted chandeliers to custom-made couches, all of which she hand-picks herself. Moreover, in 2011, she opened an astonishingly charming bed and breakfast in Texas, which has magnificent rooms that ooze the imperfect beauty of the shabby-chic design style.

The shabby chic style gained popularity in the 1980s because of the desire of homeowners to decorate their homes in an elegant and refined manner. With this design, they could fill their houses with beautiful antiques that had a tale all their own.

Features of shabby chic decor

While shabby chic is usually a mix of patterns and textures, there are few essentials. These:

  • Vintage style with a twist – Some old-looking furniture is new. The “shabby chic” house design never uses just one era of style to look outdated. A mirror from the 1930s and a dresser or bureau from the 1980s would fit well together.
  • Elegant beauty and rustic charm – In shabby chic, some elements are rustic, while others are more sophisticated. It’s pink, light green, and yellow.
  • A whimsical mix of furniture, lights and decor – A shabby chic design produces lovely order out of surface-level disarray. Using wood furniture or vintage accessories is one method. Also, you can rearrange items until you discover a style that works for you and your home. Many elements of shabby chic style are vintage. Use vintage cabinets and lighting.
  • Palette of neutrals with a pastel touch – This is a mild style. This style’s color pallet is usually neutral. Choosing the right color for your home is essential.
  • Shiny accents evoke vintage glamor. – Polished paintings and metallic wallpaper designs may offer a glamorous touch to your walls. Or use gold-plated embellishments like drawer and door handles. Choose mirrored furniture or wall panels to be stylish. People who prefer rustic aspects but do not want to live with the difficulty some items can create are fond of Shabby Chic design.
  • Curves & flutes imply movement – Shabby chic decor is full of nostalgic touches, but it isn’t lifeless. Curlicues, spirals, and sweeping lines add visual interest, while delicate carvings add texture. Cabriole legs, with their sensual curves, are a hallmark of this European-inspired home design.
  • Boho with a feminine touch – The combination of vintage materials and antiques in a shabby chic home gives it a decidedly feminine feel. Soft pinks and light greens with whites, yellows, whites, and light blue chenille trim complement and enliven aging shabby chic decor.
  • Herbaceous plants and natural elements – Grassy landscapes, lush meadows, and trickling brooks conjure thoughts of French country and farmhouse elegance. At the same time, a jute rug on the floor or live plants around the house will contribute to the natural ambiance.

What is Farmhouse Style?

Farmhouse Style is a modern take on the traditional farmhouse. Farmhouses in the US and Canada were often constructed with on-site materials, including fieldstone, timber, and made from local clay. It was built to stand the test of time. The fireplace was an essential element in keeping both people and animals warm during the winter months. Farmhouses typically had one or two stories and were built with large rooms. Farmhouse designs usually include country elements like starburst light fixtures, flower patterns on furniture, and stenciled motifs. As for decor, farmhouse style involves mix-matched colors and patterns.

Farmhouse style is found in rustic interiors, which feature exposed wooden beams and rough-hewn wood floors. The inside of the house may have whitewashed walls, while outside, it could be decorated with shutters painted in bright hues. Farmhouse interiors usually contain a mix of modern and antique pieces.

Farmhouse style is characterized by a touch of femininity and traditional elements. It’s influenced by the Shabby Chic look but tends to be more rustic and simplistic. It can feature decorative pillows and floral prints as well as hardwood pieces painted in light shades.

Farmhouse style is currently on the rise as many people celebrate their roots and pay tribute to their ancestors who lived in traditional homes.

Features of Farmhouse Style

  • Feminine look – House elements are carefully combined for a rustic yet traditional effect. They usually include light colors like cream or white, but other colors like pink and soft yellow can also be used. Sometimes the farmhouse style turns out to be fresh and modern, thanks to its appealing mixture of old-fashioned accents with contemporary undertones.
  • Rustic look – Elements of the farmhouse style are usually made of solid wood. Furniture has a straightforward design with a soft touch of femininity. Although this style is generally rather minimalist, you can bring out the beauty in your rooms by using warm colors like red, yellow, or green.
  • Used throughout the house – The beauty of the farmhouse style is that it can be used throughout your home. It’s trendy in the kitchen and bathroom, but you can also use it in your living room and bedroom.
  • Versatile look – Farmhouse decorating represents an entire lifestyle. It gives you endless opportunities to express yourself creatively and enhance your home with its welcoming atmosphere. You can add farmhouse art like rustic tractor wall art or fine art farm animals or rural landscape artwork.

Difference Between Farmhouse Style and Shabby Chic:

There are many differences between the two styles. Shabby chic is a design that incorporates bits and pieces of antique and old items into a fresh and new design that seems to be an eclectic mix of old and new. Farmhouse style focuses more on simplicity, with less clutter and more natural decor.

Shabby chic tends to have a slightly vintage feeling and a sense of youthfulness, almost as if it belongs in the past era but with a modern twist. Farmhouse style often tends to be older, usually recalling simpler times where people had little, which results in simplicity and quietness.

The feeling you get from both styles tends to be very different: farmhouse style is calm and calming while shabby chic is romantic and soft.

Shabby chic tends to incorporate more modern aspects into the design. At the same time, the farmhouse style focuses much more on nature, organic shapes, and old items passed down through the family.

While there are many differences between shabby chic and farmhouse styles, they both focus on nature, old items, and organic shapes. Here are the other key differences between the two types:

  • Shabby chic uses light, brighter colors that create a soft, romantic feeling. On the other hand, farmhouse style relies on neutrals and richer colors that are often darker with little to no art. However, both types use nature-themed items for accents like candles or plants.
  • Shabby chic is usually softer and more romantic. At the same time, farmhouse style is calmer and can lean towards a vintage or antique feel.
  • Shabby chic aims for an eclectic mix of old and new. At the same time, farmhouse style tends to focus on using older items with a history rather than simply shabby chic-styled items that are passed off as rustic antiques.
  • The shabby chic design is typically used with light and soft colors like pink, lavender, or yellow. At the same time, the farmhouse style often incorporates darker shades and neutrals such as white and beige.
  • The items used for shabby chic tend to have ornate features such as curled legs on furniture. In contrast, the farmhouse style uses things that are more natural and simpler such as country-styled furniture.
  • While farmhouse style focuses on nature, organic shapes, and older items passed down through the family. Shabby chic tends to focus on a mixture of vintage and new pieces with little emphasis on the piece’s history.
  • Shabby chic almost seems to belong in an older, romantic period with modern elements. At the same time, farmhouse style tends to be timeless, bringing back the vintage feel without being very dated.
  • Shabby chic is typically more feminine, while farmhouse style generally is more gender neutral.
  • The feeling you get from shabby chic is soft and romantic with a sense of youthfulness and lightness, while farmhouse style tends to be calm and quiet, with a sense of vintage and history.
  • Both styles tend to incorporate nature into the design with little emphasis on artwork. However, shabby chic uses more accents, such as candles or plants. In contrast, farmhouse style involves leaves, herbs, and flowers found around the home.
  • Shabby chic uses more modern items with a vintage twist. At the same time, the farmhouse style tends to use older items passed down through generations of the family or gives off a timeless feel.
  • Farmhouse style is used in many country homes, especially in America and Europe. In contrast, shabby chic is often found in French, Italian, Spanish homes.
  • Shabby chic tends to be more feminine, while farmhouse style can lean towards either gender.
  • Shabby chic style is casual and relaxed without being too country. Farmhouse style is typically a bit more formal and sophisticated.

Since the two styles are so similar, it is essential to decide which type you prefer and determine if your home can support this particular look. For example, some homes may not have the square footage needed for a larger Shabby Chic feel or enough room for an open concept. The best way to learn about these two styles is by researching and finding a professional to help guide you if necessary.

Similarities between Farmhouse Style and Shabby Chic

There are similarities, such as specific features like wicker or vintage elements that may be used in both styles. However, the Farmhouse style can support these elements without creating too feminine of a look. In contrast, Shabby Chic often requires more unique pieces to keep this design from becoming too masculine.

If you are looking for an antique shop, feel with vintage elements and traditional features, the Farmhouse style would be your best choice. However, the Shabby Chic look would be ideal if you are looking for a more feminine and delicate design with wicker, pastel colors, glittered accents, and vintage pieces.

Where to get Pieces for Both Design Styles

There are a few options for those who want to look for furniture and other interior decor pieces.

The first option is to buy from a furniture store. The benefit of this option is that there are many different styles and designs to choose from. However, the downside is that prices can be high. There is also the chance that you purchase something that you don’t like.

The second option is to shop at estate sales or auctions. This has an advantage because these items are usually discounted. The downside, however, is that they may not be in the condition that you want them to be in, or they may not be what you’re looking for at all.

The third option is to shop at thrift shops. There are several benefits of doing this. One advantage is that the pieces available will all be different to mix and match details to create your design style. The price is another benefit because items are usually dirt cheap, with most only costing around $5 or less! Another great reason to shop for items at a thrift shop is that you can find unique pieces that no one else has, meaning you will stand out from the crowd.

The fourth option is to buy from specialty shops. For example, you can go online and check out Big Canoe Studios when buying prints. Todd McPhetridge, a landscape photographer, started Big Canoe Studios. This company has an excellent selection of things that enjoy the great outdoors or farmhouse-style living. They sell rustic decor with very refined country accents.

The last option is to buy used furniture online. While this may seem like it defeats the purpose of trying to save money, some websites offer great deals on new and gently used furniture. Sites like Craigslist or eBay also provide opportunities to buy used furniture quickly and easily.

The bottom line is that there are many options for shopping for vintage pieces, Farmhouse style furniture, or Shabby Chic items. Whether you want to look around at different stores in your area or go online, you can get pieces that will help you achieve the style you want.


In the end, it’s all about what you like and how comfortable you feel in your space. It can be challenging to decide when there are so many furniture styles available out there on the market today! That said, we hope this post has helped narrow down which type best suits your needs and personality.

Suppose you have researched this topic and feel that one style is more suited for your home, but you are still not entirely sure which style might be. In that case, a professional can help guide you in the right direction.