The term ‘wabi sabi’ has no direct English translation, but rather is a Japanese aesthetic rooted in tradition. The word ‘wabi’ refers to harmony and tranquility while the word ‘sabi’ loosely translates to beauty acquired over time.
The design philosophy reflects the colors and textures of nature and respects the beauty of imperfection. Elegance, simplicity, and handmade are preferred, while anything extra, artificial, or saturated in color is avoided.
Wabi Sabi is aligned with sustainability in the principle of reusing, recycling or repairing rather than replacing. The design style shares the comfort of hygge with the minimalism found in Japanese design and the use of natural colors and textures in bohemian style.
How does one achieve the Wabi Sabi aesthetic? In these seven ways:
Consciously editing and removing the unnecessary creates a sense of calm that emanates from a cluttered space. Quality is more valuable than quantity.
through Apartment therapy
2. Earth tones and muted colors
The Wabi Sabi palette is soft, warm and harmonious with nature. Color is welcomed when muted, think olive or sage seen in the landscape, the various brown tones found in wood or the soft pink of a sunrise.
3. Organic texture
Materials used throughout wabi sabi style interiors retain their organic roots, with knots and grains appearing on weathered wood surfaces, textured stone surfaces visible and textiles natural and woven such as jute and linen. Raw, irregular or matte finishes are chosen instead of polished or glossy.
Wabi sabi accepts visually imperfect objects or materials as part of the sensory experience.
Mismatched and handmade tableware or textiles are sourced from individual artisans or businesses producing small batches.
Wabi Sabi celebrates the inherent beauty found in objects that are old but still useful. Reclaimed or upcycled furniture or objects with history are displayed in a wabi sabi style space. Pre-owned or vintage furniture is included as part of the aesthetic.
Object placement, artwork and visual arrangements create balance through creative use of disparity.
A wabi sabi philosophy also appreciates the inherent beauty of imperfect living and inanimate objects, from bonsai botanicals to broken pottery repaired in the kintsugi style. Opting into the wabi sabi philosophy acknowledges that things become more beautiful as they age or fade, a sentiment that is a pleasant contrast to the chic and new celebrations.
Are you a fan of this warm and timeless aesthetic?