Home improvement: How to practice the Wabi-sabi philosophy


If you’re looking to go minimal this year, look no further than the Wabi-sabi philosophy. Originating from Buddhist influences in ancient China, Wabi-sabi is a Japanese way of living that embraces the beauty in imperfection and impermanence. In interior design, the Wabi-sabi style connotes simplicity interspersed with asymmetry and rough textures to keep things interesting. Think rugged walls, rustic finishings, and minimal arrangements. Often, the Wabi-sabi philosophy justifies the penchant for unique beauty developed with time. Want to know how you can bring it into your own home? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Clean aesthetics

Clean aesthetics
The first and most immediate indication of the Wabi-sabi style is a clean and minimal look. To maintain this, the most important thing to do is to adhere to an earth toned colour template for your home. Also, keep clutter at bay to upkeep the barrenness. When there are nothing to distract, the real beauty of your home, carried in details, can shine.

Textured walls

textured walls
In honouring the beauty in imperfections, the Wabi-sabi philosophy embraces textures and rough edges. A good way to experience this approach is to engage in exposed bricks around your house. This can be interpreted as a wall in your living room or outside on your patio. The irregularity of the exposed bricks not only comes with their unpainted state but also their arrangements. Highlight this trait with furnitures of opposing colours to contrast.

Touches of zen

interior plants
The great thing about the Wabi-sabi philosophy is that it also addresses mindfulness. Through its lens, the meaning of beauty is more than meets the eye. The Wabi-sabi touch is more than artistry; it is the celebration of life’s impermanence and incompletion. So why not accentuate your home’s industrial identity with some reminders of nature? We think indoor plants work best to incorporate outdoor elements. While you’re at it, throw in a couple of bronze or brass statues into the view—nothing whispers ‘zen’ quite like these beautiful decors.

Tokens of life

pictures wall
Everyone loves a good story, and the thing about the Wabi-sabi style is that it advocates the idea of history. Imagine your home the museum of all your achievements, pitstops and emotions, which make great home decorations! Maybe you owe your career success to a motivational book, so why not make it a table centrepiece? Perhaps some friends or loved ones have been the reason for your happiest times—a good reason to use up beautiful photo frames! Whatever it is that inspires you, display it. The use of your life’s hallmarks as ornaments around the home translates into mindful living, which is what Wabi-sabi is all about.

Rustic furnishing

rustic furnishing

Nothing does the undone, lived-in look quite like vintage or rustic-looking items for the home. If your furniture pieces aren’t already a little frayed around the edges, you can always DIY some marks to achieve the aesthetics. Too scared to take the risk? You can always opt for the safe route of using rustic homewares to add on the raw touch.

Art collection

art collection Wabi-sabi philosophy
An art form that, like Wabi-sabi, celebrates imperfection and asymmetry is contemporary art. Why not let them bring live into your house? Think post-modern pieces that use a lot of collage or mixed media art. Your bricolages, if you have some, can also make the cut, adding a personalised feel. Not a big fan of paintings? You can always opt for thought-provoking sculptures to colour up unused corners and areas.

Photos: Pinterest
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