Image Credit - Pinterest“Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes”. — WIKIPEDIA
“Wabi-sabi” is a Japanese term that has been around since the 15th century, which essentially means finding beauty in imperfection. It came about as a reaction to the dominant trends of the time, which relied heavily on over-ornamentation, lavishness, and the use of rare materials. There is an assuring calm that comes in living the Japanese wabi-sabi ethos - it involves grounding oneself by forming a deep connection to the earth and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. This translates to interior design through the materials we discover around us; furniture built from bare knotted timber, floors of rustic stone, pitted concrete walls and surfaces, woven rugs, and intriguing hand-made textiles. A lived-in look is nurtured rather than show-home chic, and a reassuring sense of peace and tranquility through simplicity. Of course, abstract ideas such as wabi-sabi aren’t always the easiest to apply. If you’re not ready to go all-in philosophically, here are a few basic tips and tricks that will help give your home the cosy, feel-good vibes we all crave.
GET BACK TO BASICS
Image Credit (left to right) - Kooku Design, Yellow Trace
With wabi-sabi, simplicity is key. Keep possessions to a minimum by inviting only things that bring nostalgia, harmony, efficiency, or a combination of all of these into the home. Build the room around the furniture - wabi-sabi interiors favour paired down layouts where the functional items are the focal point and remember to leave plenty of negative space.
Once you have your design elements in place, it’s crucial to think about how you’ll go about putting all of the pieces together. You’ll want to allow your sourced pieces space to shine whenever possible, to bring an element of nature into the room. When you’re ready to consider accessories, pay special attention to items that also have a functional purpose. Decorative bowls and trays are always a solid accent, A handwoven Persian over-dyed rug is a subtle statement piece, and houseplants add a hint of freshness to the space. If your thumb is less than green, instead incorporate a few succulents to bring you all of the benefits of natural plants without the maintenance.
BRING THE OUTDOORS IN
Image Credit (left to right) - Japana Home, Pinterest
What is more perfectly imperfect than all things nature? Earthy hues and organic materials are key to getting this look on lock, due to the universally good vibes they bring. A large part of wabi-sabi is about connecting to the earth, this interior design trend relies on living and working with raw, honest, natural materials, and the beauty that can be found in imperfection.
Raw textures and forms reflect a passage of age and time, in keeping with the core of the wabi-sabi philosophy. Look for soft greens, blues, taupes and greys to create a sense of calm and serenity. Combine bamboo, rattan, and other wood textures to help align the space with nature, bringing a taste of the outside in. The key is not to overdo it and let things fall as naturally and loosely as possible - again, no fuss! No perfection!
ARTISANAL & HOMEMADE
Image Credit (left to right) - Pinterest
Wabi-sabi is all about embracing and celebrating authenticity wherever it can be found, and there’s nothing more authentic than homemade decor and artisanal accents. In this sense, the wabi-sabi philosophy promotes freedom in design, so don’t be afraid to mix and match. Therefore, you shouldn’t settle for a piece just because it matches your prevailing style: Decor choices should come from the heart, they should be a reflection of something you love with the purpose of bringing you joy. Art you made yourself, or ceramics from a local market are all homespun elements that’ll enhance the warm, authentic feeling of your space. Why not elevate your home’s feel with the addition of an upcycled traditional Persian rug? Our over-dyed rug collection merges seamlessly with the wabi-sabi design aesthetic - Overdyed rugs also known as distressed rugs came into fashion a few years ago for their softer colours and design, making them smoothly adaptable to any space. Below we have selected just a few of our favourites.
Our last tip is the most important one. In keeping with the idea of embracing imperfection, wabi-sabi preaches a sustainable approach to home decor, deliberately working to find the beauty in existing flaws. Usually, when we discuss adding finishing touches to your interior design, we talk about how to give it a professionally-designed edge. However, in this case, we are looking for the opposite. When a piece naturally reaches the end of its life cycle, flex your creativity to ensure they remain useful in the home, leaving a rough edge to your completed design. Be it an aged leather sofa or distressed floorboards, mold them into your aesthetic instead of finding newer replacements. Your unmade bed? Here’s permission to call it “artfully mussed.” Though, Keep in mind that there is a difference between embracing the essence of wabi-sabi and losing your design to day-to-day clutter.
What do you think of wabi-sabi design? Is it something that you’d consider trying out in your own interiors? Share your opinions with us.