How to incorporate wabi-sabi into your home

Whether your home acts as a quick retreat from the outside world, or your home is where you spend most of your time, it is important to feel comforted and supported. 

 

One way to do this is through updating your surroundings. Using interior design to ground your home and make it feel more like a personal oasis. 

 

The Japanese principle of wabi-sabi dates back to 16th century Japan. This way of life teaches us to embrace the impermanent, appreciate imperfection, and recognize the beauty of nature.

 

Historically, this teaching manifested in the philosophical, with wabi-sabi teachers encouraging their students to be critical of the artificial and appreciate the natural. It was a mindset and a way of thinking. 

 

Eventually, wabi-sabi teachings extended to the physical world. Today, the wabi-sabi way of life has planted itself into interior design. 

 

What to look for:

Cracked Bowls

Cracked bowls were not seen as something to discard, rather, they were celebrated. The cracks in the bowl added character to the bowl instead of taking away value. It was common to see cracked dishware at traditional wabi-sabi tea ceremonies for this reason. In wabi-sabi inspired spaces you will often see a nod to this tradition.

Natural Tones & Textures

Natural tones and textures were considered to be more desirable than manufactured dyes. This is why it is common for the wabi-sabi palette to be more muted and earthy.

Irregular shapes

Perfectly straight lines are not prioritized in this aesthetic. Because of this, we often see elements of wabi-sabi design take on unexpected shapes.

 

Wabi-sabi rejects the need to “be perfect” and instead encourages its followers to just be

 

This makes a space that is tranquil, balanced, and harmonious. A perfect way to remove yourself from a world that feels like the complete opposite. 


So, how do you incorporate wabi-sabi teachings into your design?

Embrace the impermanent.

Objects showing signs of natural processes such as weathering from the sun or the effects of human treatment are celebrated in wabi-sabi as they are a reminder that in nature nothing is permanent.

How to achieve: Try incorporating natural textures into your design. Wood or weathered rock are great ways to play around with texture and add interest to your space.

Appreciate imperfection.

Show appreciation of natural irregularities. Do not view them as taking away value from an object, instead view them as a way to understand the object’s story.

How to achieve: Opt for a few cracked bowls --often put back together and then painted in gold, or ceramic ware that is irregular in shape.

Find beauty in the natural.

Respect the beauty of nature over artificially manufactured beauty.

How to achieve: When choosing a color palette, choose earthy tones inspired by nature instead of loud colors. You can even incorporate this by literally bringing the "natural" into your home with indoor plants.

Now, more than ever, it is important to feel supported by your surroundings.

 

With the ancient teachings of wabi-sabi in mind, you can create a space that does not rely on manufactured colors, prints, or textures to feel interesting. When your space does not rely on the external to feel supported, you will not rely on the external either. 

 

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