Interior design

The Wabi Sabi living trend: What makes Japanese aesthetics so appealing?

wabi sabi living trend sofa upholstered coffee table driftwood

We present you a new furnishing concept from Japan – the simple aesthetic combines the Asian love for simplicity with the Zen Buddhism teaching as the key to joie de vivre. The Wabi Sabi living trend is based on modern, puristic furnishing principles and at the same time brings a romantic touch from the past. In the article we will reveal what is actually behind the term and how you can interpret the inspiring message of the Japanese in your own four walls. Go on a journey of discovery, learn to appreciate the beauty of the little things and create more free space for creative hobbies! We show you how it works.

The Wabi Sabi living trend – an overview of the philosophy of life

wabi sabi living trend living room dark green wall kitchen

Similar to Hygge, Wabi Sabi is not about a specific furnishing style with clear principles, but much more about a philosophy of life that brings the beauty of imperfect things to the fore. The pursuit of perfectionism does not play the main role here – in contrast to minimalism, a reduction to the essentials promotes personal development and imagination.

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The term “Wabi Sabi” is derived from the Japanese words Wabi (sad, alone) and Sabi (past) and stands for the transience of all things. The literal translation doesn’t sound very inspiring – but actually Wabi Sabi has a positive meaning in Japan and is understood as an inseparable part of the Buddhist basic idea for liberation from all unnecessary objects. Functionality comes first. Basically, as with purism, it is important to get rid of the things that are not used in everyday life and to tidy up the rooms.

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Even more so – only after you have made yourself independent of property, can he recognize the simple aesthetics and the elegance of the little things. Even when setting up, convenience is paramount. Instead of styling the perfect flawless interior and focusing on symmetry and harmony, the Japanese aesthetic fascinates with a natural look. The combination of inherited and purchased furniture made from natural materials may seem chaotic at first glance. But on closer inspection, the interior turns out to be an authentic beauty.

The Wabi Sabi living trend – the basic principles

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Anyone who is fascinated by the Wabi Sabi living trend and would like to implement it in their own four walls must know the basic principles of Japanese purism. Here are the most important ones at a glance:

  • Concentrate on the essentials. The puristic way of life says that a sparingly furnished room gives enough free space for movement and the flow of energy. The visual emptiness is particularly appealing. Keep to the rule of thumb: “Less is more”. Every piece of furniture in the room should fulfill a specific function and should really be used on a daily basis. Estimate what you really need and which items will significantly increase your living comfort – without thinking about their aesthetics. It is better not to concentrate on a uniform living concept – this will keep you flexible.
  • The Wabi Sabi living trend has established itself as a counter-movement to consumer society – and, on the other hand, promotes a return to nature. It goes without saying that natural materials are used in abundance in interior design. All the more so – even old furniture with a patina can be accommodated in a Wabi Sabi interior. In Japan, many pieces of furniture are inherited and remain in the house for several generations.

wabi sabi living trend living room old ceramic vases

  • Furniture and home accessories with flaws set accents and are highly valued for their decorative properties. So you are allowed to make homemade ceramic vessels with restored vases, bowls and the like. mix.
  • Fabrics, textures, differently treated surfaces bring variety to a puristic interior. Normally, linen, cotton, wool, but also leather come into question. They are skilfully combined with marble, hand-blown glass, earthenware, exposed concrete and of course wood. A successful mix of materials increases the feel-good factor in the room and brings structure to the facility.

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  • As far as the colors are concerned, the choice is up to your own preferences. Nevertheless, the spirits are mostly divided here – the minimalists tend to have a gray color scheme with light wood as an accent, while the purists opt for furnishings in white, elephant legs and cream. It is important that the eyes relax and an ambience with a homely character is created.

Wabi Sabi living trend – combining furniture

wabi sabi living trend fish koi pond mural gradient black and white

Wabi Sabi allows individuality to be expressed – anything is allowed as long as you like it. Here is an overview of the most important pieces of furniture:

Upholstered furniture: Low seating furniture is typical of Japanese culture – in the living room, a modular sofa and a coffee table made from recycled wood create a cozy lounge corner. The cozy reading corner (see photo above) should not be missing in the bedroom either – the upholstered armchairs with headrests can always be repositioned in the room if desired. The soft seat cushions, the pleasant feel of the linen fabric and the stable wooden construction promise the highest level of seating comfort. By the way, Da Wabi Sabi furniture is made from local woods and scores, among other things, with a high-quality production that guarantees its longevity.

Wooden furniture: coffee tables, dining tables and even washbasins are traditionally made from recycled wood. The wood surface is not sealed, but simply treated with a special oil – this way the raw look is retained. An attractive grain simply cannot let go of the eyes and transforms what at first glance appears to be a simple piece of furniture into real statement pieces.

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Bathroom furniture: stone washbasin, ceramic bathtub, glass shower cubicle and, optionally, a small cabinet complete the bathroom range. The marble tiles are ideal for a minimalist look – they complete the black and white color scheme and give the bathroom character in an instant. Large windows let enough light and air into the bathroom, cozy bonsai trees transform it into an oasis of well-being and give the room the finishing touches.

Design a Wabi Sabi balcony

wabi sabi living trend balcony green tips bonsai

The Asian Wabi Sabi living style can also be clearly seen on the balcony – a rock garden in small format gives the outside area that certain something. Bonsai trees, moss and conifers in planters form an attractive ensemble that creates a relaxed atmosphere. A small island of nature in the middle of the big city, which invites you to relax after a long day at work and has a calming effect.

The Wabi Sabi living trend – an exciting mix of materials

wabi sabi living trend hallway design pictures natural stone

Admittedly – the natural materials make up the Wabi Sabi living trend. And not because of boring – stone, wood and ceramics present themselves as real all-rounders and find numerous areas of application as flooring, wall cladding and even in ceiling design. In the end, there are contrasts that create tension. In the photo above, for example, the raw look of the untreated stone is contrasted with the sheen of the cut vase.

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A variety of materials and fabrics are used at Wabi Sabi – from hand-woven carpets to pendant lights made of leather and wickerwork. Combined according to the new mix-and-match trend, the different textures form a stylish ensemble and provide variety. Natural motifs such as fish, birds and plants adorn the carpets and decorative pillows and give the room a homely touch. Plants complete the living program.

Wabi Sabi living trend – the colors

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Brown, beige, sand color and warm ivory, cream and champagne nuances are usually present in purist interiors. In contrast to Wabi Sabi, however, the Scandinavian purist interior designers rely on white, in minimalist luxury houses the color anthracite is in the foreground. The Japanese aesthetic is made up of warm wood nuances and earth tones. Light dove-gray concrete walls form the perfect background for the warm color palette with a yellowish undertone. Surprisingly, white is hardly present as a soloist in the interior – this is mainly due to the fact that the color can hardly be found in Japanese nature. Brown creates the optical illusion that you are sitting in the middle of the forest, the color of sand from the stone – that you are in the mountains. Green, especially pink and light blue, set accents and spice up the otherwise restrained color scheme.

Wabi Sabi – The room design at a glance

wabi sabi living trend planks laminate floor planks

In Japan, living space is limited – that is why the Wabi Sabi living style is particularly suitable for small apartments where the residents have to concentrate on the essentials when setting up. The living space in Japan is divided into two – the kitchen with dining area and living room are right next to each other, in any case they are separate rooms. The guests are received in the dining room – this is also where the family spends their evenings together.

wabi sabi living trend kitchen solid wood old optics

Anyone who decides on the style of living should therefore pay great attention to the design of the kitchen. It – as a communication center – is the focus. The fronts are mostly handleless, but made from real wood. The wood has a characteristic grain and ideally – a patina that makes it look old and used. The favorite dishes – for example the porcelain plates, the bowl and the mugs – are displayed as strange decorations on illuminated shelves.

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The wooden floor creates a seamless transition between the kitchen with dining area, living room and bedroom. The Japanese usually hide wardrobes in the hallway – in niches and corners. XXL mirrors are often the only decoration for the walls. Lately the trend has taken hold – and modern pictures are also being hung.

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In the bedroom, light clearly plays the main role – different light sources are skillfully combined and create a cozy ambience. The modern double bed is very low, mostly the mattress is placed directly on a wooden pedestal. Purism at its finest.

Implement the Wabi Sabi living trend in your own four walls – tips and tricks

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Admittedly – even if the Japanese living trend may look so attractive, not everyone can or wants to carry out extensive renovation work, for example to clad the walls with stone. Fortunately, the style can be interpreted in a modern way without much effort. Here are some tips on how to bring a touch of Asia into your interior.

  • Clean up. The Wabi Sabi room is 40% empty. Now is the time to get rid of all unnecessary furniture, decorations, and home accessories. Or to divide the room into zones depending on the function and to redesign it.
  • Upholster the sofa and armchair in linen fabrics – bring some variety with new upholstery made from high-quality fabrics. Decorate with decorative pillows with covers made of cotton, wool, velvet with hand-knitted details. Set accents with textures, not colors.

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  • Replace the old high-floor carpet with a hand-woven variant.
  • Decorate very sparingly, especially with ceramic vases or bowls made of hand-blown glass, with bonsai trees and recycled wood.
  • Less is more – just choose the furniture and home accessories that you really like. Resist the temptation to keep bringing home new items.

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  • Buy less, but in higher quality – durable textiles, handmade unique items and of course home-made decorative items increase the feel-good factor.
  • A neutral color scheme serves as a connecting element in the interior – this makes the furnishings look less eclectic and chaotic.

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Modern, but at the same time traditional, simple but very effective – this is how the new Wabi Sabi living trend from Japan can be described. Behind the puristic concept there is much more than just a furnishing style – it is much more about an attitude to life. Thereby, superfluous furniture and accessories are deliberately dispensed with in favor of more free living space. Instead of colors, accents are set with fabrics and textiles. The focus is on natural materials and characterize the Wabi Sabi interior. The end result is a unique interior design that best reflects the character of its residents.

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The professionals show how it is done – the talented interior designer and architect Sergey Makhno caused a sensation with his Wabi Sabi furnishings. Unconditional modernity is skilfully combined with purism. The end result impresses with a pure luxury ambience in an Asian style!

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wabi sabi living trend bathtub freestanding

The projects from the architecture and interior design studio Sergey Makhno