Wabi-sabi: Finding Beauty in Imperfection

A wabi-sabi inspired home is one designed with nature and humility in mind. It's what makes a home unique, and gives it personality.

Wabi-Sabi is Becoming One with Nature

“Wabi” means “rustic simplicity” or “understated elegance”. In Japanese it refers to living with humility and being one with nature, while “sabi” translates to “enjoying the imperfect” and embracing the ability to accept the life as is, flaws and all.

Many of us are not familiar with the term or how it relates to design, but essentially, Wabi-sabi means finding beauty in imperfection and embracing those imperfections and not only finding beauty in imperfection but realising beauty is because of those imperfections.

This Japanese philosophy is over 400 years old, which is a testament of it being more than a trend but rather a way of life. Design trends that come and go might actually be the reason for people embracing wabi-sabi now more than ever. This philosophy is a reaction to various trends that rely on lavish, over-the-top interiors.

These trends are heavily detailed and ornamental and rarely use environmentally friendly materials or take the natural habitat or ecosystem into account. Over-the-top designs and consumerism is the exact opposite of what wabi-sabi aims to achieve.

The unique principles of wabi-sabi are a guide to introducing these principles into our lives and sometimes the best and easiest way to start is to bring them first into your home. It is then easier to alter and adapt your habits and life perspective. Let’stake a look at some ways to bring wabi-sabi into your home.


Fun & Easy Ways to Incorporate Wabi-sabi into Your Home Interiors

wabi-sabi living naturally and with humilityClear that Clutter

Just because wabi-sabi values imperfection doesn’t mean it approves of clutter. A wabi-sabi home is highly organized to inspire feelings of peace, tranquility and relaxation.

Wabi-sabi aspires to be clutter free but not obsessively so, therefore if you prefer a minimalist aesthetic, you’re already halfway there. Although, it is important to remember that it’s not about simplicity for simplicity’s sake; but rather having a sense of order that invites a feeling of calm into your home. Wabi-sabi is less about minimalism for aesthetic sake and more about minimalism for the mind and environments sake.


Natural Love

Nature and organic materials are a huge part of a wabi-sabi home. The good energy and benefit of plants, crystals and greenery to our surroundings is universally known. Thus wabi-sabi embraces and encourages you to have a home filled with plants, stones and flowers etc. The natural imperfections found in wood, flowers, stone and plants are also a great reminder of the beauty that is found in imperfection.

In order to introduce more natural elements, wabi-sabi focuses on raw textures, earthy hues and organic, natural materials. To really take advantage of these amazing vibes and benefits, integrate wooden furniture, fresh flowers, and as many plants and crystals in your home as comfortably possible—no need to over do it.

Use beautiful, natural wood tables and chairs, counters made of raw materials and if you don’t have much luck with needy plants, use succulents and flowers in vases that will still bring all of the benefits of natural plants without as much maintenance and care.



Different is Good

Everything does not need to match! Your interiors do not need to be symmetrical and ultra-cohesive all the time. In fact, too much matching can seriously affect the character and atmosphere of a home. A home with character and heart has unique pieces that all work together to create a beautiful, cultural experience.

It’s not about purposely pairing unlike things but rather about being okay with adding special pieces to your interiors, even if it might not be a perfect fit aesthetically. When it comes to wabi-sabi, that type of imperfection is, well, perfect and creates a stunning aesthetic that somehow works even with all its ‘imperfections’.


wabi-sabi different is good


Hand Made Beauty

Wabi-sabi celebrates authenticity wherever it is found—and what is more authentic than handmade pieces of decor and artisanal accents for your home? A unique hand crafted vase you found while travelling or some art you made yourself. Asymmetrical ceramics from a market and stunning hand woven fabrics are all beautiful elements that’ll enhance the warm, inviting feeling of your home—one of wabi-sabi’s most important characteristics.

Pieces made from wood or rock help highlight the imperfect appearance that most times lacks in mass produced items. Wabi-sabi interiors mainly use soft shades of taupes, blues, greens and greys as well as neutral and earth tones. This creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity. Plants such as bamboo and rattan help incorporate textures and colours that are authentic to natural elements.


wabi-sabi open spaces
Ukrainian Apartment takes notes from wabi-sabi by Sergey Makhno Architects


Open & One with Nature

Wabi-sabi focuses on the importance of free, open spaces with lots of light and fresh air. Natural light is important for your mental health and that of your home in terms of plants etc. Big open spaces with lots of natural sunlight and fresh air are important to the wabi-sabi philosophy.

Open storage shelving is also important as it makes sure you can’t clutter draws and cupboards you close. Instead, everything is on display and adds to the realness and imperfection of your homes beauty. These shelves display unevenly made pottery with small imperfections, linens and tableware all displayed beautifully in plain sight. This gives a wabi-sabi home a unique, relaxed experience—a feeling that is so much more inviting and warm than a sterile or cluttered home.

Basic, but in a Good Way

The most inspiring thing about wabi-sabi design is that although it keeps possessions to a minimum, it still invites those things that bring utility, nostalgia, beauty, or a combination into your home.

Once again, we know this philosophy and design trend does not use minimalism for minimalism’s sake, but instead it aims only to keep things that create a calm and happy spirit. This mantra maximises the joy of everyday life. Unlike an extreme minimalist who would get rid of a bowl they like because it doesn’t fit their aesthetic, a wabi-sabi follower would keep that bowl specifically because they like it.

Minimalism is extreme to some and so might wabi-sabi seem, as it is a life philosophy as well.
Small steps in your daily life can be done to incorporate some of these practices to ensure a more calm, happy life. Just simply remembering that beauty is in imperfections can change the way you see spaces and more importantly humans!

We hope that you enjoyed learning a little about this incredible Japanese philosophy and that maybe it is spelt the beginning in transforming your spaces. Get in touch with us today to book your first meeting towards building your dream home.


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