8 great wabi-sabi interior design tips for your home

Here’s why wabi-sabi in interior design is so alluring, and the many great ways you can achieve it at home.

  • 8 great wabi-sabi interior design tips for your home

Top image: Design by Monocot. See story here
Text by Janice Seow

Many people are drawn to wabi-sabi interiors, and it’s easy to see why.

First off, it is important to know that wabi-sabi is much more than a look or style – it is a philosophy and way of life. ‘Wabi-sabi’ is a Japanese concept that celebrates beauty in imperfection. It embraces all that is natural and pure, and acknowledges things that are in their most natural and raw state.

wabi-sabi kitchen
Design by Open Studio. See story here

There is a certain romanticism surrounding wabi-sabi interiors for sure – it encourages more mindful and authentic living, and fosters a greater sense of connectedness to one’s surroundings.

Here are eight great and easy ways to cultivate your perfect wabi-sabi home and life.

#1 Be intentional with the decor you pick for your home

wabi-sabi living room
Design by asolidplan. See story here

Wabi-sabi interiors extol the beauty to be found in nature. And when shopping and decorating your space, do so mindfully and with introspection. Instead of basing your decisions simply on what’s trending or simply what you think goes in the space, pick items that reflect and define who you are.

It’s about living life with authenticity. Before you rush to pick a glossy art piece from an online catalogue, consider how your own hand-made artwork or personal photograph with an interesting back story might be just the thing to enliven that wall in your living room – and get conversations flowing when you have guests over.

#2 Keep things simple

wabi-sabi living room
Design by Authors Interior & Styling. See story here

Forget unnecessary ornamentation and frills, and choose things that are durable, functional and add value to your life. Colour palettes are also largely neutral and soothing, or inspired by nature.

#3 Incorporate natural elements

greenery at home
Design by Goy Architects. See story here

Wabi-sabi recognises that nothing is permanent, complete or perfect. It rejects the idea of perfectionism, and instead, focuses on what is natural and real. By filling your home with plants and other natural, organic and raw elements like wood, cement and ceramic ornaments, you’re capturing this reality.

#4 Opt for lived-in and not showroom vibes

A wabi-sabi home is one you want to snuggle up in, and never leave. Think cosy and lived-in vibes with an assortment of throw pillows and comfy blankets, as opposed to a glossy home off the pages of a luxury magazine.

#5 Pick items that age with grace

raw kitchen style
Home of Slowhouse founder, Bella Koh. See story here

Go with items that stand the test of time and look great with age. It makes for a more characterful home that’s uniquely you. A solid wood table, copper and brass fixtures, and fine leather sofas are just some of the items that can weather well and form beautiful patinas, so your space evolves, just as you do.

#6 Embrace those imperfections

wabi-sabi details
Design by Monocot

Instead of buying the trendiest home furnishings to replace what you have at home, enjoy the things that you already have, and that hold memories. A chipped vase? Leave it as is, or decorate that ‘imperfection’ if you’re in DIY mode, and celebrate it!

Design by Make Room

Leave your linen bedsheets a little wrinkly rather than stress out about ironing out all the creases. Stack your favourite books casually, rather than colour code them.

green bathroom
Design by Monocot. See story here

Also, go for raw and textured, rather than crisp and pristine walls and floors. Think limewash, textured paint effects and cement surfaces. You can glam it up with shiny objects if you wish.

cement bathroom
Home of Slowhouse founder, Bella Koh. See story here

#7 Go about your day mindfully

Like we’ve said, wabi-sabi is more than a look. It’s a philosophy and way of life. Slow down and take time to discover the beauty in everyday objects around your house and in your usual routine. Such mindful living brings moments of pleasure to what would otherwise be a standard day.

relaxed style kitchen
Design by Authors Interior & Styling. See story here

For example, make breakfast a ritual to set you up for the day. Take time to make that coffee or tea, pour it into your favourite cup (never mind if it’s a little old), smell the aromas and sip slowly. You may want to invest in a good coffee maker or tea pot.

#8 Engage your senses

Home of Lingyi and Marvin, @ourseaofgreen. See story here

Besides the aesthetics and your sense of sight, find ways to stimulate and heighten your other senses too. Choose raw and tactile surfaces, and incorporate water features, wind chimes or other sounds. Candles and incense are a common way to scent your space, but old books, furniture, plants and flowers (fresh or dried) and other common items in the home can give off homey and familiar scents too.

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