Shabby chic is a mix of surroundings (walls) plus all of the cool furniture and "decorations". Its the eclectic "mix" that brings it all together.
Here is the wikipedia definition of Shabby chic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabby_chic
"Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with a feminine feel is emphasised.." It also clarifies the color palate, ". Whites and worn or bleached out pastels are favorite colours. ...". Now that is the text book definition, it would be tricky, but you can mix things around, I feel that it would take a trained eye to accomplish this.However, to stay "true " to the style, light colored or pastel walls.I hope this helps.
Wiki....where would we be without it.
White is the perfect backdrop for shabby chic! It provides the neutral canvas for everything else and you are not committed to one particular color or palette.