9 wabi-sabi basics for a happy home

April Kennedy April Kennedy
川口孝男建築設計事務所 Modern windows & doors Wood White
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Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. It acknowledges three things: nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is finished. In popular culture, it is famous for being the concept behind Kintsugi ceramics. These are cracked ceramics that have been repaired with gold leaf in order to be made more beautiful. The process is meant to embody the idea that nothing is ever truly broken. But the wabi-sabi aesthetic is more than just ceramics. It is an aesthetic that reveres authenticity above all else. So how can you create an authentic decor according to these ideals? Well, here at homify we have collected some of our favourite Japanese interiors to show you how…

1. Nostalgic decorations

A wabi-sabi interior is often devoid of mass-produced objects. It is more common to find personal objects with nostalgic value that have a sense of history. Just look at the items on display in this Japanese living room, for example.

2. Raw finishes

The ruts and textures of raw concrete and wooden floorboards should never be covered with artificial coverings. The wabi-sabi style is one that places great importance on authenticity. This means that the raw materials of the home should be part of the decorative appeal.

3. Neutral colour schemes

To continue the natural theme, wabi sabi interiors are often inspired by the colours of nature. Neutral colours reign supreme and earthy browns, grey blues, golden yellows and soft greys are synonymous with the look.

4. Transience

The ever changing beauty of nature is one such element commonly used to decorate with the wabi sabi aesthetic. This is often used by Japanese designers who use stippled screens and shades to create transient shadow patterns on the walls and floors of the home. 

5. Antique furniture

The presence of cracks, scratches and signs of wear are said to be symbolic of the passing of time. So older pieces of furniture and lovingly repaired antiques are a key part of this aesthetic.

6. Ceramics

Weather they are broken or not, simple ceramics in neutral tones are often the accessory of choice. It's best to avoid anything mass produced in a factory of course. This is about embracing the earthy quality of the materials and the natural undulations that come with hand-made forms.

7. Minimalism

If you are a less-is-more kind of person, then this is the style for you. Declutter, eliminate extraneous furnishings and look for the beauty in simple forms and careful symmetry.

8. Wood, wood and more wood…

Wooden furniture, floorboards and decorations are key to any wabi-sabi inspired interior. They are also a great way to add natural warmth to a minimalist interior.

9. Kintsugi art

New Kintsugi repairkit Humade Dining roomCrockery & glassware

New Kintsugi repairkit


If you have fallen a little bit in love with the concept of Kintsugi ceramics, there are cute little kits you might even buy and use to repair your broken old ceramics. This one come to us courtesy of designers Humade.

If you are considering the ins and outs of creating a neutral colour scheme, check out 10 ways to a perfect neutral décor scheme.

What do you think of the raw, authentic qualities of these interiors? Just let us know in the comments field below!

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