Here are some reference photos of Sophisticated Shabby, and here's why they work:
First of all let's be honest, those two paintings make this room. But I am of the opinion that any large scale artwork in a soft pallet could help sophisticate almost any Shabby Chic room. I think the softness of the pallet has to remain or else you're wandering into other territory and straying from something that is an essential premise of Shabby. But just the right notes of blue, pink, green, yellow or purples (or perhaps peach) in a large scale painting really add a great flavor to a room. It kind of says "yes, I like to be comfortable, but I'm also smart and stylish"
What I like here is the shabby side table becomes just a little more sophisticated when that more mid-century chair is placed beside it with the more modern print on the pillow. The light fixture keeps it all Shabby though, so there's no doubt of the intent.
Can a colorful room with a mid century style fireplace be Shabby Sophisticated? Well, yes, in this case I think it can. The style of the furniture and an abundance of white and a mixing of pieces and lamps keeps this firmly in Shabby territory. All the fun color makes it Chic and Sophisticated.
Here, I'm again in love with mixing in the mid century stool, just that one thing really elevates this. I also love that they've kept things fairly clean and simple and they've let the outdoors coming in through the windows add the drama to the room rather than tons of accessories. The globe is a nice touch too.
Okay that glass jar/vase is awesome and would look good in any room, but it's really great here. Look at how much texture is going on - that's why this totally white pallet really works. Completely Shabby but completely Sophisticated too.
what kind of struck me about this room is that it has an old world charm. There aren't too many accessories and there is a restraint that is sometimes lacking in a Shabby Chic room.
I love this and to be honest, it's BARELY Shabby, I probably should be calling it more transitional, but I think all the white, plus the peek in to the other room beyond, keep it just inside the Shabby territory.
It's a great kitchen.
Here we're nearly crossing into a kind of French provincial or english cottage look, but again, with the color pallet we stay with Shabby. Don't be afraid to mix woods, but at the same time you have to be careful to keep the tones on the light side using only a few darker pieces.
Those doors as headboard are really great.
Again, more color than we usually associate with this style, but it still really works here because the background is kept light. (all the sunshine helps too)
This is nearly transitional too - but because of the style of the furniture, I think still fairly Shabby by intention.
Just really pretty and simple. Even though a lot of Shabby Chic tends to pile on the layers and the accessories, if you hold back a bit, it gets a lot more sophisticated looking.
I think there are lots of people out there who feel like Shabby Chic is kind of over - but I feel like it can stay current as long as you follow some of these tips. And over-all, you have to like your space. You should never plan your decor around what you think is "hip" at the moment. Live in a space that feels like home and reflects something about who you are!