The home should be a comfortable place, where we can relax and put our feet up and feel ‘at home’. It follows then that its décor should create the right ambience to feel relaxed and at peace with the universe. And of all the interior design trends currently filling the pages of interior design magazines perhaps wabi sabi is the one that most reflects this search for inner calm and harmony. It is also without doubt one of the most attainable, but it does require thought and reflection. Below we provide some tips and ideas of how to introduce wabi sabi into the home.
What exactly is Wabi Sabi
Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that is derived from Buddhist teachings and its interpretation of what it means to exist. Celebrating the ephemeral, the asymmetrical, impermanence and absence, wabi-sabi in terms of interior design is about the things we bring into our home, how they are arranged and perhaps most importantly of all how they can help generate a feeling of calm.
Wabi sabi as a guiding principle
In order to introduce the wabi-sabi aesthetic into the home remember that it’s more about attitude than it is any specific rules to follow. The most important aspect is respect for nature, for materials and the environment. This should mean an opportunity to de-clutter and not being nervous of having empty spaces. Order should reign but not obsessively; keys might have a specific dish on a hall stand, magazines can be gathered in a rack near a living room coffee table, art works are grouped together on a wall in an overall composition.
Wabi sabi as a variation on minimalism
The wabi sabi philosophy is also concerned with utility and authenticity, so only the things that are really necessary belong in a space. And they should be made to last, wabi sabi is all about the emotional attachment that we build up with the things that surround us. It is the opposite of having designer furniture, objets d’art and expensive artworks in the home. In fact the crafts and things that are home made are much more appreciated in the pursuit of balance and harmony that pieces that are merely expensive.
The wabi sabi principles regarding furniture and art works
Wabi-sabi is at its core a radical, almost ant-capitalist understanding of our environment and how it affects our wellbeing. Because appreciation of Mother Nature is so central to wabi sabi those elements of furniture that we use to furnish our home should be sustainable, woods for example that avoid harsh varnishes, textiles that are naturally treated, accessories that fulfil a function and are not just decorative.
Green Wabi Sabi
Potted plants and cut flowers are a wonderful place to begin. The more the better. They should ideally be grouped and kept off window sills. A hand made ceramic or glass vase would be the perfect container for them.
Keep calm and wabi sabi
Quiet in the literal sense is another important aspect of wabi sabi, in order to be in tune with the universe a certain degree of silence is required. Remember that the more soft furnishings in a room the better the acoustical performance will be. Silence in the bedroom for example will not only help achieve a night’s sleep but also create a space for meditation and renewal, for mindfulness, which represents the very core of wabi sabi.