How to do shabby chic (even in the age of Konmari cleanups)

While the stylists at Home & Decor are thoroughly experienced in decking out spaces in various styles, one of the looks they love experimenting with is the shabby chic.

shabby chic marie kondo

Simply put, this particular style plays on the concept of organised chaos in interior styling. Layers of texture are combined with soft mood lighting and plush seating to create a homely atmosphere. There’s a laidback and very casual mood to it, enhancing the sense of cosiness and conviviality in the room. It’s a look that’s really easy to love but tricky to achieve, and that’s why the style gurus of this magazine adore playing with the concept for our spreads.

(Dining room ideas: How to get a boho-rustic look)

Of course, not everyone is least of whom (I suspect) would be the reigning doyenne of neatness, Marie Kondo. Having risen to fame with her books on home organisation, with four million copies sold worldwide, this petite Japanese woman is going viral again. This time, Marie has launched a mobile app, along with a reality series her cleanup missions paired with touching stories of how homeowners had to grapple with their mess, plus the dramatic difference after.


As a result of the show’s popularity, local homeowners are jumping on the bandwagon to rid their domain of things that, according to Marie’s Zen- like approach, do not “spark joy in their lives”. That may not be a bad thing, especially for those with hoarding tendencies, but, in a bid to go minimalist, many overzealous homeowners are turning their abodes into sterile spaces devoid of character and personality.

(image: Dulux)

Now, it is safe to say that everyone enjoys coming home to a neat and clean house, but notice it’s not a white space with a hard-backed chair that you retreat to when you need some time alone. When I want some private time, I usually head for a corner at home I’ve dubbed my “shabby chic nest”. It’s an intimate zone anchored by an oversized armchair with a standing lamp by the side. That’s where you will also huddled under a plush throw cushion tucked behind my back. There are books, half read, stacked by the side my reading glasses and various knick-knacks strewn around. It’s neither neat nor organised, but I love it. I’m pretty certain everyone has a nesting area similar to mine, a safe haven to escape to at the end of a long day.

So, while you may be inspired to give your home a Konmari cleanup (the method Marie propounds), don’t be in a haste to do away with your cosy space. Some mess is worth keeping, because they, too, can spark joy in you.

This story was first published on Home & Decor's February 2019 issue, as part of the "Hard Truths" section.