Tag Archives: wabi sabi

Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

We’ve noticed the term “wabi-sabi” popping up on Instagram and Pinterest recently and, because we couldn’t suss it out based on context, we decided to do some investigating into what it means.  Most definitions we found include reference to imperfection and age, but we think this explanation from the Utne Reader says it best:

“Broadly, wabi-sabi is everything that today’s sleek, mass-produced, technology-saturated culture isn’t. It’s flea markets, not shopping malls; aged wood, not swank floor coverings; one single morning glory, not a dozen red roses. Wabi-sabi understands the tender, raw beauty of a gray December landscape and the aching elegance of an abandoned building or shed. It celebrates cracks and crevices and rot and all the other marks that time and weather and use leave behind. To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly.”

So how does that definition translate to decor?  We think this Ibiza home, with its raw, imperfect sink and rough-hewn wood, captures the wabi-sabi aesthetic to a T.

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

The wavy edges of Michele Michael‘s ceramics would put a little wabi-sabi on your table (and we’d certainly like to put them on ours).

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi Sabi

Red House West || Design Definitions: Wabi SabiRecognize this next image?  Its ubiquity on Pinterest must speak to the widespread appeal of a wabi-sabi aesthetic.

This next image is a little wabi-sabi vignette, each piece having its own patina and story to tell.

If a key component of wabi-sabi is that things are worn, loved, and aged, then these two images are wabi-sabi to perfection.

Are you familiar with this term and, if so, did we understand it the same way you do?  Anything to add to the definition?  Have a great rest of the week!