Do you ever feel like the perfection of modern interiors and decor can be a little overwhelming? If so, you may find solace in the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi. Wabi Sabi is an art form that releases a need for perfection and encourages us to embrace flaws and seek beauty in the natural aging and decaying of objects and environment. It encourages us to embrace the impermanence of things, and is becoming increasingly popular in the world of interior design.
In this article, Jade Bicheno, owner of online store Terra Cruda, explores the concept of Wabi Sabi, and how you can embrace it in your home and your life.
What is Wabi Sabi?
Wabi Sabi is a Japanese lifestyle and design philosophy that celebrates the beauty of raw, unrefined, and imperfect objects. It encourages minimalism and simplicity, emphasising a deep appreciation for the cycle of life. In interior design, Wabi Sabi embraces the use of natural materials and organic shapes in order to create a space that is calming and comforting. This aesthetic is all about accepting the imperfections of life and embracing them as part of the natural beauty of the world.
The history of Wabi Sabi dates back centuries, to the beginning of Zen Buddhism in Japan. The term “wabi” derives from a 16th century poet’s idea that finding joy in simple things was more meaningful than chasing after the material goods of life. This concept eventually evolved into what we now call Wabi Sabi, which celebrates objects and spaces that are naturally aged or have been left untouched.
The philosophy is rooted in appreciation for all things old, worn, and slightly imperfect.
The art of embracing imperfection
From the wrinkles on a loved one’s face to the chipped paint on a wall, there is something comforting about honouring imperfection. Wabi Sabi embraces the beauty in the imperfections of life and nature, celebrating the raw and unrefined elements that make up our everyday lives.
When it comes to our lifestyle and interior design, embracing imperfection is paramount, as it highlights the beauty in things we cannot control. Living with a Wabi Sabi mindset means striving for balance between functionality and nature, and by incorporating imperfection into our homes and lifestyles, we can gain a greater appreciation for life’s little details and cultivate a sense of calm amidst the chaos.
How to achieve the Wabi Sabi aesthetic
Through minimalism and thoughtful design, we can create an atmosphere that speaks to the natural chaos of life. This doesn’t mean forgoing aesthetics altogether. On the contrary, Wabi Sabi is all about seeking harmony with what is, rather than seeking refinement.
To achieve this look in interior design and decor, it is important to emphasise minimalism and the natural qualities of each element. Minimalism is key to creating a Wabi Sabi atmosphere, as it allows the focus to be on the natural elements and their unique imperfections, rather than on clutter or items with too much decoration.
When selecting furniture or decor, choose pieces that are made from natural materials such as wood, metal, stone, and clay, as these will bring out the subtle beauty of Wabi Sabi. Look for pieces that have been crafted by hand, as this will allow you to appreciate the little flaws and imperfections that are part of their charm. If you choose pieces with an aged look, it will add to the feeling of authenticity that Wabi Sabi seeks to achieve.
Incorporate plants into your interior design to add a natural touch. Avoid perfection when arranging the furniture: a slightly off-kilter table or chair gives a room character. Incorporate texture by adding woven blankets and throws, leather cushions, and tactile rugs. Keeping colours neutral also helps evoke the serene atmosphere of Wabi Sabi.
Embracing this philosophy requires us to move away from trends and opt for something timeless instead. By combining good quality materials with thoughtful execution and design, you will be able to cultivate an interior environment that is beautiful, serene and sustainable. Wabi Sabi allows us to release judgement and perfection, and instead enjoy living with less and finding beauty in things that often overlooked.
Celebrating the Wabi Sabi concepts of intentional imperfection, at Terra Cruda, Jade sources sustainable products and homewares that stray from refinement. She prefers natural materials, rough textures, blurred lines and broken rules.