SHAGREEN HOME FURNISHINGS
Move over brass, it’s shagreen’s time to shine. While online sourcing for a recent project, I noticed an influx of items covered in a faux version of this high-end exotic finish. Historically shagreen (sharkskin) was used to cover decorative items, because of its small footprint. Making it very expensive and highly covetable. With the faux version trending, it’s popping up on every type of furniture and decor. I actually noticed it a few years ago in a MadeGoods product catalog, and they still seem to be the forerunner of the shagreen movement. Lately though, it’s becoming more and more accessible. Still pricey by lots of consumer’s standards, but hopefully this uptake in interest will signal more affordable brands to start producing their own versions.
What can shagreen do for you? Most of the faux finishes I see are a sharkskin pattern (sort of like pebbled leather with slight imperfections) embossed onto vinyl or leather, although, some items are molded plastic. If covering a table or storage piece is adds softness that wood, paint, or metal can’t achieve. The subtle texture creates movement and color variation that won’t overpower your other finishes. Basically, it’s another layer to add interest and depth to your space.
In the images below, you can see shagreen covered furniture ever so subtly making its mark. The material elevates simple shaped, functional pieces. It also pairs beautifully with unpolished brass hardware. Traditionally it comes is a fairly limited color palette of gray, white, and blue, sometimes light green, which makes it a perfect partner to every room I’ve ever designed.
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If you are looking for a wide assortment of shagreen covered goods, look no further than these three brands: Williams-Sonoma Home, MadeGoods, and RH Modern. They have every conceivable item covered in the material. Be wary, it doesn’t come cheap. Even the faux stuff is marked with a hefty price tag.
Below are a handful of my favorite pieces. If I had an extra 2K to spend on a small table, that curved-corner table with the gold interior would already be in my shopping cart. I love a little dose of the material on lamps and mirrors, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to a whole wall papered in the stuff. It would be a nice alternative to the popular grasscloth papers. It gives the same wall texture, but it’s not something you see everyday. If you are on a tight budget, West Elm has a few smaller items that will give you your fix. I own a version of the tray, and it sits prettily on my vanity holding my perfumes and makeup.
If shagreen follows the path laid out by the trends who came before it, I look forward to seeing this finish material showing up in more stores and interiors over the next few months. After a year or so, the market will be completely saturated forcing designers to become disinterested. Finally, it will pop up in 10 years in a fresh way to inspire us again.