Monday, April 8, 2013

Wabi-Sabi: 5 Ideas for Your Home

Wabi-sabi is a wonderful new-to-me Japanese concept that embraces simplicity and beauty that comes with age (you can read more about it here). I've found this concept to be very inspiring and have been letting the ideas trickle through me this past week ever since I read about it.  

One of the things I've been pondering is what wabi-sabi means for our homes. I thought it would be interesting to find some examples of rooms that exemplified the principles of wabi-sabi. When I looked at these beautiful rooms, I was struck by five take-away ideas:

1.  Use real art.  Real art in our homes will reflect who we are and what our interests and tastes are better than a piece of art that was bought at a chain store (I actually worried when I was selecting the photos below that someone would recognize one of the rooms from a Potter Barn ad or something so I looked hard for something that seemed original).

Canadian House and Home

Mix and Chic

2.  Use handmade items.  Since handmade items are all unique, they help our homes be original and personal. The handmade items might be anything from a quilt, or some pottery, to a hand-forged stove venthood.  They might be something you have made yourself, or a family treasure, or something you purchased at a craft sale.

Country Living


3.  Use natural elements.  This has got to be one of my favourite ways to decorate.  Not only do natural items have the right price tag - free - but I love the organic feel they give a room.  I'm always collecting pine cones or rocks or twigs to decorate with.  Natural elements also mean decorating with natural wood furniture or floors or wood beams or even using live plants in your home.

Poetic Home


Style by Emily Henderson

4.  Use vintage items.  The signs of age and patina that often accompany vintage items add to the charm and sense of history. These items may be family heirlooms, or be treasures from thrift or antique stores, or they may even be worn parts of your home like exposed brick or beams.

Country Living

House Tweaking


5. Clear the clutter.  A room that is carefully edited helps you appreciate what you have. Space and light then become the most important elements in the room rather than the furniture and objects of daily living. Clearing the clutter creates a calm atmosphere and helps you focus on the people in the room rather than the objects in the room.

Jessica Helgerson Interior design

Country Living

Aren't they beautiful rooms?  Did you notice any other trends?  How did these ideas resonate with you?  

I am pretty faithful at #3 and #4, but need to work on #5 (in a big way!)  How about you?

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  1. I like this. Actually the clutter one is something I force myself to work on since I recognize how it bothers me and gets me grumpy. The "real art" was one that I committed to three years ago when I decided to buy myself a piece of real art for my birthday. It has been so much fun making choices about pieces that mean something to me on a personal level.
    Fun post. Gave me something to think about.

  2. Beautiful images and great tips - I wholeheartedly agree with all of them!

  3. God, I love this blog!! and yes, I'm always clearing the clutter :)

  4. You are really good at breaking concepts and styles down into easy take away steps. I struggle with number 5 the most too.

  5. Tips to live by not only in arranging a room but in arranging your life. Less is more. I am particularly drawn to that lovely, serene Country Living bedroom.

    Beautiful pictures all.

    Cheers, M-T

  6. I am happy to say ( and I was surprised) that I have followed all 5 rules. No wonder I love my house! Thanks for all the info. Kit

  7. I love this concept! I guess this explains why my apartment doesn't feel as homey as my parent's.

  8. I didn't know about Wabi Sabi, but you explained it very well.. I love a lot of those simplicity rules. Except get rid of clutter. I am so attached to everything......!! What to do...... !?!??

    hugs x
    Crystelle Boutique

  9. Ooooooo I like every single inspirational photo in this post. Wow. Of course I love it when people use original art in their homes. I already to that, and not just my own art. We have a pretty good collection going here! We like handmade items, too. I have a serious addiction to handmade pottery and all things Etsy. I need improvement in the area of natural elements. As a matter of fact, my very favorite images in this post are from the natural elements section. LOVE the living rooms. I need to bring in more houseplants to clean our air, too. I do use some toxic paints and solvents....

    Vintage! I love vintage! I want to go on a roadtrip this summer in search of some neat vintage finds, if I can.

    Clear the got me there. I am actually working on that this spring. But it's hard when you live in a family of collectors!

    Great post! I need to print out your poster and stick it on my fridge!


  10. great tips and I especially love the way the mantel and above it are decorated -- perfect wabi sabi