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


Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Marianna V.
Past Member 6 years ago

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

Susan S.
Paul Stephan6 years ago

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.

Douglas S.
Douglas S6 years ago


Kath R.
Kath P6 years ago

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

Maira Sun
Maira Sun6 years ago


Camila K.
Kamila A6 years ago


Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita S6 years ago

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!

Lynde Toom
Lynde T6 years ago

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.

Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog6 years ago

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 :)