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Wabi-Sabi Living: Finding Beauty In Imperfection

January 25, 2018
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Nothing’s perfect.

In most cases, cracks and dents are unsightly home defects that you’d instinctively want to hide or fix once they are spotted. But pause for a moment, and ask yourself this: “Are these flaws truly unacceptable?”

If the recent popularity of wabi-sabi in the interior design world is any indication, the answer is “no”.

wabi sabi home

Image source

As a Japanese philosophy that encourages us to discover beauty in imperfection, wabi-sabi offers a refreshing approach of dealing with interior flaws. Instead of covering up every scratch and blemish, wabi-sabi simply recognises and accepts them.

Why? Because life is never perfect.


It’s Not A Style, It’s A Way of Life

Contrary to what you may be thinking at this point, wabi-sabi isn’t a décor style.

Unlike say rustic chic or industrial décor, it’s a mind-set that is associated with certain design tenets, moreso than a particular “look”.

wabi sabi home

Interior Designer: The Design Abode

Put simply, ‘wabi’ conveys the value of simple austerity, whereas ‘sabi’ is about understanding that looks are temporary, unlike inner beauty.

Still confused? Here’s exactly what you need to know about mastering the wabi-sabi philosophy.


1. Embrace Minimalism (But Not In The Usual Way)

wabi sabi home

Architect: 0932 Design Consultants

Rather than focusing on creating sleek, sterile living spaces, homes with a wabi-sabi aesthetic instead practice minimalism by removing all things unnecessary.

And that includes frivolous non-essentials, such as fancy ornaments and useless decorations, which have neither emotional nor practical value.

wabi sabi home

Architect: 0932 Design Consultants

So in a way, wabi-sabi isn’t just about curating the contents of a home for a tidier living space. It also helps homeowners discover what’s truly important to them.


2. Accept That Things Age

wabi sabi home

Interior Designer: KDOT Associates

While things don’t have to be completely tidy, creating a messy home definitely isn’t the main aim of the wabi-sabi philosophy. It's about celebrating modesty, rusticity, and the fact that things age.

wabi sabi home

Interior Designer: The Local INN.terior

Have a weathered antique chair or even a sewing machine that has seen better days? Keep them around because they’re going to be useful for conveying the perfect imperfection that wabi-sabi is all about.


3. Opt For Natural Materials

wabi sabi home

Interior Designer: Third Avenue Studio

Natural materials like wood, metal and stone show the passage of time better than their synthetic cousins because they become more beautiful with age, developing scratches, cracks, and peeling layers while becoming part of an imperfect home as the years go by.

wabi sabi home

Interior Designer: Third Avenue Studio

Accordingly, embracing wabi-sabi also means accepting natural materials due to how well they capture both halves of this Japanese philosophy.

In terms of looks, you’ll also find that an earthy palette of browns, greys and greens goes well with the overall restrained aesthetic of wabi-sabi homes, which tend to have a moody, but cosy feel.


Putting It All Together

wabi sabi home

Interior Designer: UPSTAIRS_

At its core, creating a wabi-sabi home is straightforward: It starts with accepting time-worn surroundings and ends with appreciating their beauty.

So the next time, you spot a crack or dent, consider treating them as part of the décor rather than eyesores!


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