Wabi-Sabi: The 2018 Design Trend All about Embracing Imperfection
Count us in for the Japanese art of being imperfectly perfect
In the age of overly-curated Instagrams, it can seem impossible (and exhausting) to keep up with @thejoneses. We’re busy, we’re not perfect, we’re ok with that. And that’s why we’re so drawn to the idea of “beauty in imperfection” espoused by wabi-sabi enthusiasts.
What is wabi-sabi?
A historically Japanese movement, “wabi” connotes rustic simplicity, natural elements, and a less-is-more mentality. “Sabi” translates as “taking pleasure in the imperfect” and celebrates the beauty that comes with age, like patina and wear.
So how does this translate to home design?
According to Elle Décor, wabi-sabi means emphasizing the use of organic materials, pieces made with innate imperfections, and embracing authenticity, even if that means it's a little off-kilter. Think: hand-crafted pottery, wrinkled linen sheets, wood furniture with uneven grains, and artfully mismatched picture frames.
How to “do” wabi-sabi:
Embrace the Un-Done
Great news for people who hate ironing sheets. Forget crisp hospital corners and opt for “artfully mussed” linen sheets on a loosely made bed for a lived-in look. Casually toss your throw blanket across the bed and sit back to admire your advanced design skills.
Photo credit: @stylingbolaget
Get the look:
Shop it: Allswell Double Hemmed Linen Euro Sham ($70), Allswell Double Hemmed Linen Duvet Cover ($350 for Full/Queen), Allswell Cotton Waffle Weave Coverlet ($300 for Full/Queen)
Bring in natural elements to your space, with a focus on woods, stone, clay, and plant life. Fans of this look include actress and entrepreneur, Jessica Alba, who told Us Weekly that she swears by the Japanese philosophy. She explains, “I am an earthy and tactile person—I enjoy and embrace the imperfections of real life." She uses "real wood or anything with a natural touch" in her home because these items are "the most beautiful" to her.
Photo credit: Allswell Home shot of Athena Calderone’s home
Photo credit: Scandinavian Homes via Freshome
Get the Look:
Shop it: TOV Furniture Bushwick Dresser at Hayneedle ($704)
Shop it: Decmode Teak Bowl at Hayneedle ($43)
Shop it: Syndicate Home Geometric Terrarium at Hayneedle ($60)
Go Artfully Asymmetric
Permission to embrace off-balance. To achieve wabi-sabi, My Domaine advises avoiding symmetry and to style accessories in odd numbers. Julie Pointer-Adams, a wabi-sabi expert and author of Welcome Wabi-Sabi, encourages an unfussy and relaxed approach to focus on warmth, ease, and comfort.
Photo Credits: Julie Pointer-Adams from her book, Welcome Wabi-Sabi, available here
Get the look:
Shop it: Allswell Cotton Printed Rectangular Pillow in Indigo ($70), Allswell Cotton Textured Pillow in Marigold ($54)
Shop it: Arteriors Home Darby End Table at Hayneedle ($702)
Shop it: Mercer Large Recycled Glass Vase at Hayneedle ($102)
And last but not least, just relax. As Etsy's in-house trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson told Elle Décor, “Keep it real, be authentic, and be happy that for once you don’t have to make your bed to be cool.” (But making your bed is still cool, too.)