Tired of striving for the impeccability and perfection? Of late, the trend of modern interiors have favoured the clean lines and heavily-curated aesthetics of Scandinavian minimalism. Perhaps it’s time to let our hair down and lean towards more relaxed decorating solutions.
Deeply rooted in zen buddhism, the ancient Japanese concept "wabi-sabi" (侘寂) has emerged in recent years as the guiding light for people of all walks of life. Wabi, denotes simplicity and living in tune with nature, but Sabi, refers to the ageing journey and its fleeting transience.
It’s main lesson of finding beauty in imperfection does not merely apply to an aesthetic principle in the world of interiors, but also as a way we view the world— a philosophy that guides you in your everyday life. Practitioners of Wabi-Sabi have embodied the mindful practice of embracing imperfection as a path to greater happiness, so why not apply it to our houses and its rooms?
A wabi-sabi home is usually of austerity and calm. However, not to be mistaken with the industrial power of brutalist styles of interior decor, it exudes more of a relaxed and lived in look— one that allows itself to mature with age, characterful. The nature of this aesthetic is that it accepts the natural cycle of growth and decay while appreciating its imperfections.
Release your tension and embrace the uncomplicated opt for a more simplified approach, like the natural order of things including decay, wabi-sabi is meant to be fleeting, simplified and even, fleeting.
CELEBRATE THE NATURAL AND HANDMADE
Inviting both Wabi and Sabi in your home is not difficult, just take a look around your home, and start with your bedroom or living room as it’s one of the most personal of spaces. Even better, using homemade items such as a plate or a jar you made during a one-off pottery class or a wooden stool made from repurposed wood. It will also show its age over time rather than most store-bought home depot kitchen sets or ceramics.
It is said that handmade items reflect and embody the personality of the person making them.
Inspire serenity through space and muted colours to denote airy openness. Like desert landscapes, thoughts akin to tend to lend a sense of contentment to the viewer or the person living it. Other than earthen hues and unbleached whites, colours drawn from the natural world can include the dark purple of peach pits, rust red of copper patina, and the blues and greens found on olive trees— darker, heavier shades that don’t just celebrate the lighter side of nature but the natural ageing processes too.
BEAUTY & UTILITY
Start by appreciating what you have already in your home and personal spaces. Repurposing old items that are incomplete will breath new life into it. For example, a lidless pot can now be the centerpiece of your dining table with fresh flowers or an old jar that holds teaspoons. It appreciates that not all things stay new forever and we can tell a story or relay a fond memory about most of the objects you see laying around the room.
When choosing materials, opt for the unpolished and unprocessed such as leaving marble slabs rough and unhewn, linens unbleached and metals unpolished. Walls can be left as is, unpatched or let to age naturally without a fresh coat of paint.
If tiles are chipped or broken, you don’t have to change the whole floor altogether, but opt to repair it using the Japanese method of Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi, repairing broken objects, usually ceramics with gold or silver lacquer. Repair, but don’t disguise the cracks or imperfections.
You might surprise you how good relax looks.
LIVE IN NATURE, APPRECIATE THE OUTDOORS
Wabi Sabi epitomises the appreciation of the outdoors. If you’re cramped for space, bring the outdoors in gradually to reflect your environment and mindset by using native plants that you’re comfortable with, paired down with materials that age with the weather like wood, clay or terracotta. Start a mini indoor rock garden by bringing home pebbles, rocks or even artifacts you find on the beach that brings a memory home with you, watch your garden grow.
Blemishes and asymmetry will only add to the beauty and authenticity of it.
Simple and no fuss, avoid flowering plants that require a great deal of attention. Instead stick to lush greens and shrubbery. Tending to your mini garden space should be natural, calming and a gentle part of your day as opposed to a facility management and showroom curation.
Unlike Chinese Feng Shui, which follows a formal set of rules of colour and placement, there is no one right way to gradually introduce Wabi- Sabi into your personal environment. In decorating, remember that this philosophy in interior decorating translates into cherishing the flaws and embracing the ageing process of things to create a habitable ambience— warm and inviting as opposed to a showroom arrangement.