Trend alert! What you need to know about wabi-sabi
It may sound like something you’d add to your favourite sushi roll, but we’ve heard a whisper that wabi-sabi is about to take the interior decorating world by storm.
The trend has been bubbling below the surface for a while, but now it’s about to take off in a big way.
So, what exactly is wabi-sabi? And how can you bring the look to your home?
Our interior design experts tell us that wabi-sabi refers to the ancient Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in imperfection.
A way of life for many people, it’s about accepting things as they are, rather than wishing for something better. It’s about embracing not only the imperfect, but also the impermanent and the incomplete, the modest, the humble and the unconventional.
In decorating terms, it’s the opposite to buying shiny new things and having an impossibly perfect home. The wabi-sabi design trend is more about embracing authentic pieces, even if they are well worn and maybe a little cracked or chipped.
While it may sound easy, it takes a careful eye and thoughtful editing to achieve the quiet, grounded style associated with wabi-sabi.
If you’re keen to bring a little wabi-sabi to your home, here are 5 top tips from our interior designers to get you started:
1. Natural materials:
Wabi-sabi encourages the use of natural materials and neutral tones to bring about a sense of grounding, and a feeling of being connected to the earth and the simple pleasures in life. Timber, stone, brick and concrete are great choices. Plants add a simple freshness. Look for a colour palette inspired by nature.
(Image: Natural tones & macrame - lukecaldwell.com)
Perfection is out. Flaws are in. Wabi-sabi is definitely not about replacing old treasures or covering up the less-than-perfect. This is about finding beauty in the chipped paint, the well-worn leather, the old bricks and the well-worn floorboards.
(Image: 'Kintsugi' crack method - pinterest.com.au)
Less is generally more when it comes to wabi-sabi. The items you select need room to shine, so aim for pared-back styling and stripped-back simplicity. Sticking to functional pieces will help keep your spaces free of clutter. A simple bowl, or a cosy rug can take pride of place even if they have seen better days.
(Image: Daniella Witte - daniella.femina.se)
Embrace the timeworn and the pre-loved, looking for those pieces that just get better with age, like a beautiful timber dining table passed down from one generation to the next. Decorate with what you already have, and don’t be afraid to upcycle, recycle and repurpose. Find new ways of making imperfect items functional.
(Image: Lady Darwin Designs - pinterest.com.au)
Fly markets, curio shops and craft stalls are great hunting grounds for items that are ‘the real deal’ or one-of-a-kind, rather than a mass-produced imitation. Look for beauty in the odd, the misshapen, the awkward and the ‘ugly’. What you find may surprise you.
(Image: One of a kind macrame - idea-awards.com.au)