Quiz: Do You Have a Wabi-Sabi Home?

Wabi-sabi is the traditional Japanese aesthetic that teaches the beauty of the imperfect, the earthy, the natural. More than just an approach to decorating, wabi-sabi is a philosophy, a way of viewing life that values the fragile beauty and impermanence of nature.

According to wabi-sabi, it’s okay that my kitchen table has rings on it from family art-session watercolor-pots, or that you can still see the words “Reid and Iguana” carved on it by my six-year-old when he was longing for a pet iguana of his very own, or that there’s a darkened circle in the center of it from the heat of beeswax votives lit at dusk. These things are part of our family history, and its very imperfections are what makes our table special to us. Wabi-sabi would agree. This is one way of thinking about home-decoration-with-spirit that we can really get behind!

Do you have a wabi-sabi home? Find out here:

Do these adjectives apply to your home?

Understated, humble, unpretentious, earthy, natural, imperfect.

Does your home contain objects that are well-worn, finishes that are “distressed” or that have the patina of age?

Do you value antiques or objects that have a history?

Do you use recycled materials? Do you find that pieces that have been well-loved and reused have intrinsic value?

Are most of the materials in your home natural (like wood, sisal, and stone) rather than manmade like plastic or chrome?

Are the colors in your home muted? Is the palette taken mostly from nature? Do you favor earth-tones, muted greens, and grayed or neutral shades rather than shiny metallics or stark white?

If you answered “yes” to the above, you may have a wabi-sabi home.

If your home is cluttered and filled with “stuff,” though, your home may be “wabi-slobby!” The key is to simplify.

By Cait Johnson, Assistant Producer of the Care2 Healthy Living Channels.

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Aud Nordby
Aud nordby2 years ago


Dan and Tina Partlow
Daniel Partlow2 years ago

Hmmm, an interesting way to look at things!

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Douglas S.
Douglas S.3 years ago


Bob P.
Bob P.3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Kath R.
Kath P.3 years ago

I answered yes to all the questions.

Shirley E.
Shirley E.4 years ago

Wabi-sabi is a new term to me but I love the whole concept and what it says about the values of people who practice it. I'm delighted to think my own home pretty much fits in with this concept - fabulous!

Maija Sarkkinen
Maija S4 years ago

HA! "wabi-slobby"! Thanks, great article to make one think...

Vero Gall
Past Member 4 years ago

Aspects of wabi-sabi that I enjoy are "impermanence" and "imperfection".

I like things that may not survive daily life long, but while they do, they bring enjoyment: things like origami, painted eggs, attractive fruit in a bowl. It's difficult to get other Westerners to understand that I don't need these thing to exist forever. They just need to be for "a time", even if that is a minute or an hour.

Things that are themselves are also amazingly beautiful. The first time I came across the concept of wabi-sabi was in a ceramics museum where Japanese ceramics had been repaired with gold. I completely understood how that could be more beautiful & unique than "perfection".

Understanding the beauty of impermanent, imperfect items has made me a lot happier. I don't need to buy things, to own them. I can just enjoy them then walk away with the enriching memory.