Feeling at Home with Shabby-Chic Surfaces and Furniture

Explore the shabby-chic style with Panaria: ideas for cladding and décor that can transform any room into a comforting oasis and a romantic retreat.

Feeling at Home with Shabby-Chic Surfaces and Furniture

A timeless favourite among those who seek ideas for decorating their dream home, the shabby-chic style is a compelling and straightforward solution that can be achieved if one keeps just a few important things in mind.

This style can, in fact, be effortlessly used to enhance the character of any room in the house, from the kitchen to the living room, from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Let’s take a look at the shabby-chic colour palette and the rules one must follow in order to bring these comfortable and romantic spaces to life.

What is shabby-chic style and where does it come from?


The term “shabby chic” promptly summons the nostalgic ambiance of a refined and calming bygone era, characteristic of an English countryside cottage. This interior style first emerged in the 1980s, influenced by the rediscovery of a slow living, simple, and comfortable country lifestyle.

In these renovated cottages adorned with decorative elements, the golden rule is to create an interior that appears informal and “worn”.  These spaces exude casual elegance, as well as a tendency to showcase imperfection, turning it into a virtue.

Originating in the English countryside, this aesthetic style spread rapidly, and was strongly influenced by Swedish design as well as the Provençal and American styles.  This blend sets it apart from other styles of décor, with its casual look and a certain inclination for mixing and matching.

Both simple and elegant, shabby chic has become one of the most popular interior design trends. Today it has acquired renewed vitality thanks to the technological innovations of modern ceramic shabby-chic tiles. Let’s find out more.

Shabby-chic style porcelain stoneware cladding, Panaria Iqoniqa Touch collection
Shabby-chic style wood-look porcelains stoneware floor, Panaria Ceramica’s Nuance collection in Caramel

Shabby-chic style wood-look stoneware floor, Panaria Ceramic’s Nuance collection in Perle

Choosing Stoneware for Shabby-Chic Floors and Cladding


While maintaining consistency among shabby-chic flooring and cladding in different environments is important, it is also necessary to consider practicality. That is why porcelain stoneware offers such a precious opportunity. Thanks to modern technology, it is able to perfectly mimic the appearance of the typical surfaces found in English cottages.

Living room with shabby-chic wood-look floor, Panaria Ceramica’s Borealis collection

Shabby-chic wood-look stoneware floor, Panaria Ceramica’s Iqoniqa collection in Blossom Silk

Shabby-chic three-dimensional stoneware cladding, Panaria Ceramica’s Iqoniqa collection

The quintessential material of this style is undoubtedly wood. With its warm hues, dynamic pattern of knots, and rustic yet elegant look, it is the material that truly conveys the essence of this style.

These days, shabby-chic wood-look porcelain stoneware faithfully reproduces every detail of this look.  To the untrained eye, it is almost impossible to distinguish it from the natural material. Moreover, a ceramic surface presents numerous and highly convenient benefits, from any perspective.

  • First and foremost, its ease of maintenance. Stoneware is much more resistant than wood to scratches, impact, humidity, and changes in temperature. It is, therefore, an ideal material for shabby-chic kitchen cladding or shabby-chic bathroom tiles, particularly in environments prone to heavy use.
  • Its versatility. Stoneware tiles, available in numerous and various formats, can be installed easily in any space you want,  whether covering large floors or more confined areas, perhaps even with an irregular perimeter. 
  • Thanks to significant advancements made in ceramic printing, stoneware can satisfy even the most discerning tastes thanks to its amazing visual appeal. In fact, the colours and appearance of the finest woods can be replicated perfectly, thus minimising costs and maximising practicality.

Consider our Borealis collection, which mimics the authentic look of oak on a lightly shaded surface. The intensely natural texture and harmonious colours, available in four variations, make it possible to create rustic, yet elegant, environments. With a 20mm thick version also available, this collection can even be installed as an exterior floor, establishing a welcoming sense of continuity between the home’s indoor and outdoor spaces.

How to Decorate a Shabby-Chic Bathroom


Taking for granted that porcelain stoneware is the best choice for both bathroom walls and floors, there are numerous elements to take into consideration.  First of all, one must start with an initial style choice: it is possible to use the same tiles to clad every surface, or use different ones, being careful to coordinate them so as to maintain a sense of continuity.

Cladding for the perfect shabby-chic bathroom can be either solid-coloured or decorated with unique patterns.

  • If you decide on a monochrome bathroom, it is best to respect the typical colour palette of this style, such as white, beige, and pastel hues. Furthermore, they should evoke an aged look, emphasizing the signs of the passage of time.  After all, the shabby-chic style rekindles the allure of past eras, reimagining it when needed.

  • However, if you prefer a more creative style, there are many decorated shabby-chic bathroom tiles to choose from, ranging from floral motifs to geometric patterns, especially those with a metropolitan look, such as rectangular bricks typical of 19th century cladding. An example is the Silk Brix decoration of the Iqoniqa collection, a versatile solution that transcends fashion by combining graphic elements to create a truly welcoming environment.

When it comes to the arrangement of wall coverings, the perfect solution is to install them at mid-height. The rest of the shabby-chic masonry can be painted in contrasting or tone-on-tone colours.

Shabby-chic porcelain stoneware bathroom floor, Panaria Ceramica’s Blade collection
Shabby-chic porcelain stoneware bathroom cladding, Panaria Ceramica’s Iqoniqa collection

Wood-look stoneware tiles for bathroom floors, Panaria Ceramica’s Kairos collection

Shabby chic porcelain stoneware bedroom floor tiles, Kairos collection
Shabby chic porcelain stoneware bedroom floor tiles, Context collection
Shabby chic porcelain stoneware bedroom floor tiles, Borealis collection

Creating a Dreamy Shabby-Chic Bedroom


While any room in the house can be decorated in the shabby-chic style, the bedroom is particularly well-suited to this style. It is perfect for turning this room into an inviting and calm retreat, providing a break from the stresses of everyday life.

The gentle hues, characteristic of shabby-chic style, induce relaxation, mirroring the comforting warmth of wood found in the linear and uncomplicated textures of the cladding.

The typical floor of a shabby-chic bedroom has no rugs and features a weathered wood look that perfectly captures the spirit of bygone days. To achieve the aesthetic of wood, but with a modern and functional solution, stoneware, preferably in natural tones, is perfect—especially options like those found in the Nuance collection. Here, high-resolution graphics bring out the veins, knots, saw marks, and cracks that form naturally as wood ages.

When it comes to furniture, opt for distressed wood elements for the bed, night tables, and wardrobes, which can be paired with wrought iron and natural fabrics featuring floral motifs.

A Shabby-Chic Kitchen: the Perfect Blend of Vintage Elegance and Rustic Charm


In the shabby-chic style, the kitchen is a warm, welcoming, and inviting environment, full of light: the true heart of the home.  It is a room that welcomes you in the allure of times gone by, swathed in soft and reassuring colours, like the many shades of light brown and beige. In this context too, the appeal of wood-look stoneware is a crucial card to play, perfect for adding a rustic touch to the environment.

But there’s more. Those who dream of decorating a shabby-chic kitchen in the Provençal style will find encaustic tiles to be an excellent option. This is true for both the floor, where they can replace rugs, and for cladding, for example the kitchen top.

Finally, for highly decorative options, one can consider shabby-chic kitchen tiles with geometric patterns or floral decorations.

Metal-look stoneware tiles for a shabby-chic kitchen, Panaria Ceramica’s Blade collection

Shabby-chic ceramic cladding for walls, Panaria Ceramica’s Iqoniqa collection

Shabby-chic wood-look walls for the kitchen, Panaria Ceramica’s Nuance collection

New Shabby-Chic Trends for Furnishing the Home


When it comes to décor, a shabby-chic home welcomes furniture with soft, clean lines. One can choose restored vintage elements that retain signs of wear and exalt the uniqueness of their imperfections. Or one can go with new pieces of furniture, as long as they have a consistent design and an antique, matte finish, perhaps taking advantage of a technique like distressing.

Ultimately, the important thing is preserving that special lived-in allure that makes the shabby-chic style so popular.

At the heart of this is colour, which plays a pivotal role. In fact, the charm of this style’s décor is based on the conscientious use of colour, through which harmony is created between all of the elements in the space. 

Shabby-chic decorated stoneware cladding, Panaria Ceramica’s Iqoniqa collection
Shabby-chic wood-look stoneware floor, Panaria Ceramica’s Kairos collection
Rivestimento a muro decorato in grès shabby chic, collezione Iqoniqa Panaria Ceramica

So what are the colours of shabby chic?   The classic palette always begins with white. Neutral tones like sand, taupe, beige, ivory, and grey are also welcomed. Small accents in natural hues like lilac, sage green, antique rose, and other vintage pastel shades can also be added.

This is why it is not uncommon for dark wood furniture to be painted in a light or pastel shade, recreating a “dusty” look. The goal is to simultaneously create a sense of naturalness and a sense of use, reminiscent of vintage furniture.

Another option for transforming a piece of furniture is to distress the surface through the use of matte and chalk paints.

Flowers can help to enhance the soft and romantic atmosphere, while hanging natural wood frames can add a retro look. However, the key is always to aim for simplicity. Better to have just a few pieces of visually striking furniture. The main objective is always to emphasize the contrast between vintage and modern.

Stay up to date with our newsletter!

Get news, updates and tips on the latest trends.