START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

A Wabi-Sabi Home

A Wabi-Sabi Home

I asked a few friends what they loved most about their homes and each of them enthusiastically mentioned comfort. While our nests reflect their inhabitants in both taste and style, it is comfort that invariably comes from the individual imperfection that we all celebrate. How can one achieve a serene, tranquil comfort zone that shelters us from everyday stresses?


Wabi-Sabi is the ancient Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. In it’s authentic form, Wabi-Sabi is based on these elements: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. For those who want to pare down, and focus less on possessions and more on experiencing living spaces, the aesthetic sense of a Wabi-Sabi design approach can provide the inspiration.

Answer these three basic questions when considering a Wabi-Sabi design object:

Is it useful?
Is it beautiful?
Is it meaningful?

Ascribing Wabi-Sabi as a decorating philosophy can highlight the humble, earthy elements of your home, and bring you pleasure with honesty and integrity. I have a penchant for interior design and follow the design magazines and blogs. I’ve noticed a trend of mixing distressed vintage furniture with a newer, softly layered aesthetic that refines the deconstructed roughness and gives a comfortable live-in look. While you reconsider the belongings you already have in your home, surround yourself with useful objects that allow flexibility for a relaxed, comfortable home.

3 Elements Of A Wabi-Sabi Home

1. Imperfection
Find beauty in the imperfections that come from natural age, and wear and tear. An undone look does not mean a cluttered space. While clutter is the ultimate of imperfection, it also takes away from beauty. Thus, objects lose their meaning and just look like messy stuff. A home that brings in a lot of recycled elements can create a balance between minimalism and a cluttered home.

2. Natural Color
No home is devoid of color. Soft colors that quietly complement each other provide a sense of calm. Colors with texture derived from clay and plaster that are inspired by nature, bring harmony, relaxation and a sense of well-being to a space. Natural light and lighting fixtures that cast a velvety glow can emote a serene calmness.

3. Handmade
The look of faded deconstructed mismatched handmade furniture can be very extreme. If used sparingly, the look can also be light, airy and warm like ripped jeans for your home. Choosing handmade objects made by artisans with their inherent flaws, are the antithesis of mass produced items. When hunting in antique stores or tag, flea or garage sales, look for durable items with the simple beauty of heirloom quality.

As with all things imperfect, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Wabi-Sabi House, Robyn Griggs Lawrence
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, Lenard Koren

Credit: Michael Paul for Marie Claire

Read more: EcoNesting, Feng Shui & Organizing, Green Home Decor, Home, Materials & Architecture, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
5:28PM PDT on Jul 19, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:43AM PST on Jan 10, 2012

I wonder how does that relates to feng-shui or vastu shastra.

11:20AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

I love the idea of wabi-sabi, but it seems sometimes there's my idea of wabi-sabi and my husband's idea of wabi-sabi which, when merged, just makes messy-wessy.

7:24AM PST on Jan 8, 2012


10:38AM PST on Jan 7, 2012

The photo you've chosen looks like the type of place I'd like to live...if I had money ;-)

2:22AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011


1:17PM PST on Feb 28, 2011


11:54PM PST on Feb 26, 2011

I am glad to be a follower of Wabi Sabi concept of home decor. I am already one, without knowing that such a system existed! Thanks for the wonder post!

8:27AM PST on Feb 22, 2011

I've always loved the design idea of having everything you own be useful, beautiful or meaningful. But aside from the fact that I like colors that are deep and somewhat bold, I already kinda have a Wabi-Sabi designed home.

4:20AM PST on Feb 22, 2011

How wonderful! In fact, the definition of wabi-sabi given above could be another definition of love :) I had no idea this concept existed but it is a beautiful one...thanks so much for sharing, I'll really have to investigate this further :)

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I think thirty/forty years ago appliances were of a better quality and lasted a lot longer than they…

I wish this wasn't true.

Clergy, firefighters and physical therapists. Makes sense, as they help people, if not save lives, …

Thanks for sharing


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!