Wabi-Sabi is a trending design style based on the Japanese Zen philosophy. This Japanese philosophy, often referred to as a “tradition”, focuses on imperfection. The basic principle is to accept imperfections including imperfections of your own and those in your environment. The idea is that if you pursue perfection, you drain your energy resulting in stress and anxiety. Not achieving perfection leads to depression. So, embracing imperfection is a perfect goal for harmony in your life.
What is Wabi-Sabi?
There is no real definition of “Wabi-Sabi” as many people have a different translation of the meaning. However, the one consensus is that by practicing Wabi-Sabi, you should take pleasure in what is imperfect and what is understated. For example, a chipped teacup, while part of the tradition of tea ceremonies in Japanese culture, is a thing of beauty. The user of that cup would emphasize the positive attributes of the teacup rather than the negative aspect of the chip. In other words, the person practicing Wabi-Sabi would celebrate the way things are (the cup is chipped) rather than the way it should be.
Thus, Wabi-Sabi style would emphasize the understated, the simple, the imperfect and the natural in life. Asymmetry, simplicity, peace, and the natural state of an object, person, or environment are all principles of this tradition.
What Wabi-Sabi is Not
Don’t confuse naturalness with sloppiness. Wabi-Sabi doesn’t enjoy lack of order, precision or craftsmanship. It’s not about junkiness. If the teacup is broken and unusable, throw it away.
Wabi-Sabi is not about piles of a collection that borders hoarding. It’s not forcing anyone to enjoy the cluttered wholeness of your collection but rather giving one item of it a space on a shelf or a table. For example, rather than showing off your collection of ceramic teapots, show off just one.
Weed out your garden. Toss out the unusable junk. Wabi-sabi takes into consideration that imperfections are sometimes an asset but don’t go out of your way to make things imperfect. Wabi-Sabi isn’t forced-imperfection, like Shabby Chic. Rather, it’s a genuine imperfection and harmony.
An example of a non-Wabi-Sabi environment would be industrial modern with perfect lines, symmetry, and polish. This would be too perfect and thus in conflict with the pursuit of Wabi-Sabi. This perfection of the environment would cause the soul to search for perfection in itself and, as previously stated, can lead to anxiety. Wabi-Sabi is about peace.
How Does Wabi-Sabi Translate Into Home Design?
Decorate with items that have character. Use handmade furniture, animal hide pillows, pottery that’s unique. An antique family piece is a good start. Hang a mirror framed in reclaimed wood on your wall. Add colors that imitate nature. Use greens, blues, earth tones. If your natural environment is the beach or lake, use colors that incorporate what you see outside. Should you live in the mountains, pull colors out of that environment. In a city-scape, focus on natural colors you would see past the buildings. Incorporating plants in unique pots is also a great way to install Wabi-Sabi style.
Use natural fibers. These can include towels, the sofa, chairs, drapes, and bedding. As for rugs, natural fibers in simple yet unique patterns and designs would add a lot to a Wabi-Sabi room.
Jute, sisal, wool, seagrass, cotton, and bamboo are all wonderful materials for flooring. Rug designs with imperfect patterns can be attractive in Wabi-Sabi décor. Also, transitional rugs that generally have a worn appearance in their design, look perfectly imperfect.
This transitional rug is perfect for Wabi-Sabi. It features a soft imperfect appearance. Hand-woven wool offers comfort underfoot. Pair it with dark wood furniture, or bamboo for a lighter décor.
This natural fiber rug combines sisal and seagrass into a lovely piece. Available in a wide variety of sizes, the rug oozes the texture that you should incorporate into a Wabi-Sabi décor.
The blue rug has a texture and design that’s both fun and serene. The color can reflect the sky or the ocean outside your window and offer a sense of peace. The texture will feel great underfoot. Made of hand-tufted cotton, it is both durable and soft.
Loloi offers this transitional rug with a soft, worn appearance for your Wabi-Sabi decorated room. Hand-hooked, 100% wool rug comes in extra-large sizes to fill a room.
Hand-hooked, visually soft rug fits the Wabi-Sabi style. JI-07, in seafoam green and spa, has a ½ inch pile of hooked, 100% wool. Contrast it with darker wood furniture.
With lines of varying width, this hand-braided, striped-patterned rug is perfectly imperfect. The color is subtle yet can pop with the right room accessories like throw pillows. Use it in a bedroom or living room.
NuLoom’s round, hand-knotted jute rug adds texture to a flat-surface floor. Its design incorporates open spaces between colorful circles of woven and knotted fibers. Place it directly over your floor or layer it over a larger wool rug for added texture. Set four occasional chairs around it to define a conversation area of your home.
You can incorporate colorful rugs in Wabi-Sabi. Remember, it’s about appreciating the imperfect. This beautifully multi-color rug has uneven geometric lines and shapes. The colors bring joy into a room and the shagginess adds soft enjoyment.
This Surya rug is a 2-inch thick pile, shag rug with a repeating diamond shape and will never have straight lines in its design. Hand-tufted of 100% polyester, it is completely beautiful the way it is, in a Wabi-Sabi perspective, and will go with almost any furniture style.