Wabi-Sabi: the beauty of imperfections

A Japanese philosophy that aims to create an interior design based on authenticity and peace of mind.


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There is no such a thing as perfection, they say… but as an interior designer, and in my personal life, I tend to pay attention to details and do everything that I do with extreme care. Going against my nature, this week I want to talk to you about Wabi-Sabi, an interior design style that does not focus on achieving perfection, on the contrary, it is a celebration of the beauty of imperfections. As we face another week at home due to the Corona virus and things are not perfect at all for many reasons, I’m sure this Japanese trend will inspire you a moment of peace and harmony and who knows? Perhaps your next home renovation.


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Wabi-Sabi may be considered the Japanese answer to Scandinavian Hygge style (if you haven’t, you can read more on my blog post here). It is an ancient philosophy and its meaning is hidden within the word “wabi” – natural simplicity, understated rustic elegance, living with humility – and “sabi”, referring to imperfection or seeing beauty in the flaws that come with age. The way it can be interpreted is about the pursuit of authenticity, joy and beauty in the way things are, no matter how old or out of fashion they may be and without worrying about how things could be.


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When applied to interior design and décor, a wabi-sabi home is authentic, harmonious and yes, imperfect. Old rustic furniture or vintage decorations find their place in a home that is not obsessed with the latest interior design colour or trend. In a world where we are too often obsessed with perfection, wabi-sabi promotes tranquillity. I know it may sound like an abstract concept but let’s see how you can apply this philosophy to your home in the #CanaryIslands. You can embrace imperfection with the Japanese art of kintsugi that introduces broken and damaged pottery and vases mended with gold or silver resin, a celebration of fragility and the beauty within the damage. Alternatively, think about artisanal furnishings and handmade accessories for your home.


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Handmade décor is one of the best ways to embrace authenticity and since we are getting personal in wabi-sabi, you can introduce decorations you bought during a vacation, ceramics from a local market or even artworks made by you. Of course, it is important not to clutter the space, this imperfection is not tolerated even by this interior decorating approach. If the Hygge style is about comfort, Wabi-sabi is about reaching a kind of #simplicity that invites a sense of calm into your home. It is not about being minimalists and keeping only the essentials, the goal here is to feel at ease within your own imperfections.


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Organic materials and elements will promote good vibes while earthy hues like soft greens, blues and greys will create serenity. Nature becomes part of the interior design and wabi-sabi is all about the natural impurities found in plants, wood, and stone as this is a constant reminder that time is inescapable and yet precious and beautiful as it passes. #Bamboo, #rattan and other wood textures will align your home interior with nature together with wooden furniture, fresh flowers, and as many plants as you can. Ultimately, wabi-sabi gives you a freedom of expression in your home design because your personal feelings towards a decorative object or furniture is more important than whether it fits or not in the aesthetic of your interior design. If you decide to transform the look of your home, wabi-sabi will be perfect for you if you can keep possessions to a minimum and expose your sensibility towards nostalgia, beauty, and imperfection because their combination will make your home feel authentic and timeless.



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