Wabi Sabi: Harmony through imperfect purism

Wabi Sabi represents the joy of clarity, the reflection on the essentials and the recognition of perfection in something imperfect. Discover the Japanese tradition, which has aspired to be a trend

wabi sabi the art of the imperfect
Source & Copyright by Yana Vanya

Author: Elizabeth K.

Instagram and Pinterest provide us with wonderful pictures, inspiration and trends. It seems like we desire the perfectionism on social media channels. Now, however, Wabi Sabi is one of these trends. Which is why we need to wonder: Does something imperfect fit in here at all? And our answer clearly is: Yes, it fits! It looks wonderfully cozy. And not only that. It also feels natural. The whole thing has its origins in Japanese philosophy.

What is Wabi Sabi?

The term Wabi Sabi goes back to the Japanese tea master and Zen monk Sen no Rikyū. Closely linked to Zen Buddhism, Wabi Sabi pursues an aesthetic concept of the authentic. The interplay of the two words can be explained even better:


Source & Copyright by Yana Vanya

Wabi means something like lonely and lost. It's the part of impermanence. Sabi, on the other hand, describes being old, showing patina and being mature. In short: the effect of time. Together they denote the appreciation for age, imperfection and the sense of space and time. This standard is deeply rooted in the Japanese concept of art and culture. And appears in many - known to us - Far Eastern examples:

  • Ikebana
  • Japanese gardens
  • Bonsai
  • Japanese ceramics
  • Japanese tea ceremony

From east to west

The perception of beauty and aesthetics has a long tradition in Japanese culture and philosophy. One can speak of an “ideology of beauty”. Within the frame of thinking of this ideology, every substance, every part - both physical and spiritual - and every being is recognized in its most natural and original form.

This view differs from the Western concept of an artificial beauty which strives for perfection. And maybe that's why it's right for the here and now. Wabi Sabi is about naturalness and the acceptance of flaws, small errors and signs of age. These are integrated into texts, art, architecture and (interior) design.

Living according to Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a way of life, not just an interior style. This interplay between life attitudes and living trends has successfully manifested in other examples already: hygge, minimalism and purism. And those who already occupy themselves with sustainable topics and meditation are not far away from Wabi Sabi. The implementation does not have to be perfect right from the start. After all, it's about the imperfect in life.

Key Steps - This is how Wabi Sabi works in your own four walls:

  • Simplicity is the key
  • Appreciating the little things in everyday life
  • Enjoy emptiness
  • Choice of comfortable and durable designs
  • Integration of nature and the four elements
  • Integration of raw textures
  • Revival of the old
  • Return to the essentials

Top 3 tips for your Wabi Sabi way of living

1. From old to new

Vintage furniture tells stories. Small scratches, the patina or the notch on the foot make these finds unique. Special heirlooms also go perfectly with Wabi Sabi. Because vintage pieces and antiques are all about the soul, memories or experiences. In short: everything that makes you positive is allowed to move in.

2. Free from ballast

Create space - for example with the Marie Kondo method. Decluttering will calm the atmosphere in your rooms and automatically reduce unnecessary disruptive factors. Releasing ballast has a liberating effect and as soon as you feel the feeling of lightness and freedom, new (furnishing) ideas come along.

3. Take nature as an example

Less is more - also when it comes to colors and furniture. Take a look at nature - at mountains, forests or bodies of water and their color nuances and textures. With warm tones, wood, stone and natural fibers you can bring natural aesthetics into your interior.

The Wabi Sabi color palette

  • Warm beige
  • Dark brown
  • Light gray
  • Fine natural white
  • Soft cream tones
  • Subtle rose and copper colors
  • Muted green tones

Muted earth tones can stylishly be complemented by contrasts such as a strong dash of color. In general, accents loosen up the room, which is why highlights can also be set using pastel tones. Home textiles such as pillows, carpets or blankets are perfect opportunities to implement this deco idea. Another great way to tastefully use colors is a new coat of paint.

While Wabi Sabi by no means excludes comfort, the focus is always on restraint and longevity. Selected, high-quality materials, quality workmanship, craftsmanship and the harmonious match of colors and shapes create the basis on which you can build decoratively.

Decorative elements according to Wabi-Sabi

  • Meadow flowers
  • Hand-blown vases and glasses
  • Hand molded candles
  • Linen table linen
  • Coarse wool plaids
  • Long pile carpets
  • Open fireplace
  • Water bowls and fountains
  • Indirect lighting sources
  • Small herb pots
  • Dried flowers

Living according to the Japanese philosophy is mindful and dynamic at the same time - like nature and life itself. And mostly it is the little things that ensure well-being and bring you into Wabi-Sabi harmony.


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

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