Rachel Ashwell may have christened her particular blending of pastels old and new as Shabby Chic®, others call it “new country” or “salvage style” and yet others know it as “romantic style”. Whatever you call it, this soft, feminine style of decorating has many fans. A love of soft pastels, romantic roses and pretty accessories by many country fans has meant that this style of decorating has been part of our lexicon for more than a decade. Many said it was a fad that would not last but they did not reckon on a loyal band of followers who have taken this style and made it their own. Far from diminishing in popularity, this look continues to be a decorating ethos for its dedicated followers. This style is a little too feminine for everyone, but its principles can be taken and worked into almost any home. If an entire house seems a little overwhelming, perhaps the answer lies in creating a supremely romantic bedroom where you let your head go with all this look has to offer.
The starting point for this look is, of course, the softer colour palette. While pink, green and white are the mainstays of this look, other shades such as soft aquas and gentle mauves are also part of the repertoire. Another vital ingredient is a profusion of beautiful fl oral fabrics, mainly roses, which adorn and soften everything from bed coverings to lamps, cushions, artwork, table runners and more. But the most important ingredient to making this look work is a blending of old and new ingredients; time- honoured collectables sit aside newly purchased bits and bobs and all have a place in the romantic home. One of the joys for aficionados is the collecting of elements to blend together. Karen, a devoted “romantic”, tells me the sourcing of bits and pieces brings her as much joy as a finished room. “I get so excited when I find a particularly beautiful piece of rose-patterned ceramic. I just love collecting them and showing them off. For me, the decorating is an extension of my love of rose collectables.” Jane, another fan, tells me it’s about creating a set for her family heirlooms. Her home is filled with family treasures she has put her own stamp on. A standard lamp in her living room once belonged to her grandmother who she says would have wholeheartedly approved of its new rose-covered shade.