Introducing wabi-sabi, a unique Japanese interior design aesthetic. Derived from the Buddhist Zen principles of finding beauty in both nature and decay, it focuses upon enjoying the simple pleasures of life and feeling connected to the earth.
This trend is anchored within three key themes: authenticity, simplicity and elegance. It’s an extension of the Danish hygge trend, but without an obvious focus on comfort and warmth, resulting in a raw, dramatic interior.
As quoted in award-winning interior design and lifestyle blog Interior Style Hunter, it was Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt who “popularised wabi-sabi design in the west”. He stated that to “create such an effortless aesthetic takes time, care and meticulous attention to detail.”
Vervoordt’s designs for the Greenwich Hotel Tribeca resulted in this trend’s strong growth in popularity. You can read more about wabi-sabi in this Interior Style Hunter article.
Feeling inspired to create your own wabi-sabi interior? These three tips will help you bring this trend into your home:
1) Use raw materials
2) Prioritise functionality over decoration
3) Stick to a neutral colour palette
When it comes to using natural materials, try incorporating stone, wood and metal pieces that are worn and distressed. Wabi-sabi is all about celebrating imperfection, and appreciating the raw appearance of natural elements.
In wabi-sabi design, the way that materials stain, rust and wear is an important design feature, so avoid buying new, mass-produced products and head to charity shops, car boot sales and boutique design stores to find your own unique pieces.
A focus on simplicity is pivotal for achieving this trend, with practical objects like bowls and trays taking centre stage over more decorative objects. As a showcase of the imperfect, authentic raw materials should be celebrated above all – whether that’s a frayed fabric, weathered stone or untreated wooden object.
When it comes to choosing your colour palette, wabi-sabi’s emphasis on nature lends itself to neutral tones, with browns, greens, greys and creams defining the design scheme. Evoking a sense of harmony with these colours is key – stay away from colour clashes and bold shades in order to keep the overall look earthy and comfortable.
Bear in mind that wabi-sabi design is not a look that can be achieved overnight; it’s a design trend that takes time to curate and nurture in order to create the balance and harmony required. Team our Dillon Corner Sofain graphite with raw accessories to achieve this trend – its deep, comfortable cushions and dusky grey hue provide the perfect backdrop.
We’d love to see your wabi-sabi design projects! Show us your interior creations on Instagram by tagging @sofaworkshop, or take a look at our Pinterestboard for more inspiration.