As we start to emerge from the cosy cocoon of winter, it’s time to introduce Wabi Sabi - the hottest interior trend this Spring that's causing a bit of a stir. This Japanese concept can help you create a happier home and feel more content, rather than always wishing for more, it's all about living a life that's authentic, simple and close to nature. Here at The Wooden Furniture Store, we thought we'd take a closer look at the idea that's taken Instagram and Pinterest by storm.
What is it?
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Wabi-Sabi is an ancient Japanese philosophy focused on accepting the imperfect and transient nature of life. It's rooted in Buddhism and arose from tea ceremonies, where the environment is calm and relaxing, with simple routines that generate a feeling of belonging. The cracks and faded glaze of the tea sets are symbolic of the loving use by generations before them.
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There is no direct western translation for Wabi-Sabi, but essentially Wabi means an understated elegance through rustic, simple and natural design, while Sabi means seeing beauty in the flaws that come with age. Wabi-Sabi is a wonky home-grown green bean, a crack in a china plate, a well read favourite book, falling leaves, a worn wooden dining bench and a knee patch on a pair of trousers. It's an appreciation of all that is simple, modest and imperfect.
Embracing Wabi-Sabi in the home teaches us to be content with our current lot without constantly yearning for more. It's the perfect antidote to a throwaway society built on disposable goods and mass-produced items. By personalising your space with much-loved possessions, you can create a sense of peace and serenity within your home. It's hard to escape the fact that every so often we simply need to purchase new things, however, if you buy these new items with Wabi-Sabi in mind, you'll find yourself investing in sustainable materials and unique pieces that stand the test of time.
Love the imperfections
Quite the opposite of aiming for perfection, Wabi Sabi embraces the realities of life - nothing lasts forever, nothing is completely perfect, and nothing is ever truly finished. Embrace and celebrate the imperfections in our home, wooden floorboards can be distressed, a leather sofa that shows signs of ageing is all the more beautiful, or a vase with a crack. This trend isn’t about everything looking pristine, it's about mismatched furniture choices, of all different shapes and designs that work harmoniously with each other.
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In the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, broken items are repaired with gold or silver joinery, so that the repaired object is even lovelier than the original. The breakage and repair becomes an important part of the object's history, rather than something to disguise.
Be clutter free
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Our homes should inspire and rejuvenate us but if every nook and cranny is crammed with belongings, there's little space left for the imagination or for relaxation. Declutter your home and get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the last year, to make your homes as comforting and carefree as possible.
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In order to keep our environment clutter free, for sense of greater well-being, technology is best hidden away. Let your focus be on the natural elements of a room, not modern-day gadgets.
Have a sense of purpose
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It's difficult to balance minimalism and elegant decor. Why not merge the two, by adding decor that is useful? Invest in beautiful utilitarian objects so that your home is not filled with things that just occupy space, but also serve a purpose. For example a large floor cushion that doubles as a seat or storage that doubles as a bench, cupboard and bookcase!
Celebrate beautifully crafted pieces
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Whether it’s a handmade ceramic vase collection, a hand knitted throw rug or a handcrafted recycled timber bench, you can’t go wrong with a beautifully crafted bespoke piece that was made to last. Key to getting an authentic sense of Wabi-Sabi is to avoid anything perfectly formed, ‘overdone’ or mass produced.
Add natural materials
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Wabi-sabi can be found in the quirky details of handmade furnishings that are unique to your home and natural materials such as wood and stone. Bring natural textures to every room by layering artisan and natural textures, such as a sheepskin rugs or a linen table cloth.
Wab-Sabi favours having fewer but longer-lasting and higher-quality possessions, items that get better with age and have a story to tell - just like our Coastal Chic range. Each piece in the collection is made from recycled wood sourced from Southern India. Filled with character, each piece of reclaimed timber is combined with welded cast iron to add industrial edge to its rustic design. Recycled wood furniture is more interesting than mass produced furniture and that’s what makes each piece charming and unique. This large sideboard is a perfect companion to the dining tables in the range and is ideal if you’re looking for lots of extra storage and a beautiful statement piece of furniture.
Image from bauwerkcolour.com
Work with a colour palette that soothes the soul – earthy colour tones work best to bring a sense of nature to interiors. If choosing pattern, pick small-scale designs or simple stripes, avoiding anything that could overpower the natural feel of the space.
Make it personal
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Stamp your own personality on your home with items that have clear links to you as the owner. Decorate with possessions that have a story to tell. Display a family photograph in a wooden frame, pride of place for all to see. Or you could make a feature of an heirloom such as a bowl, vase or a piece of art.
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Wabi-sabi design focuses on giving you a chance to loosen up at home than just please the onlookers’ eye. After all, it is all about who resides in it. We'd love to know what element in your home fits this style?