Wabi-Sabi | Finding beauty in imperfection

Wabi-Sabi is an unusual philosophy as it actually promotes imperfection. The opposite of what many people drive to achieve. The Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi shuns modern perfectionism, the search for clean lines and smooth materials. It is the art of finding beauty in imperfection. To achieve Wabi-Sabi in interior design one would introduce materials with patina. Well worn surfaces rather than perfectly smooth surfaces. Muted colours and hand-made pieces of furniture or art.

However, by accepting a certain level of imperfection our minds can become less anxious. Anyone with children will understand that trying to keep their home meticulously clean and tidy is impossible. It is like trying to paint the Forth bridge. The fact that there will always be some toys out or something spilled on that floor you have just mopped is inevitable. Accepting this will prevent constant stress of chasing after the little ones with a mop in one hand and a toy box in the other.

At work the concept would allow us to finish that piece of work early not do iteration after iteration striving to get it exactly right. Submitting your college coursework now and move on to the next. Of course if you want straight A’s then the concept may not alway be right and a certain level of stress is inevitable.

In essence, Wabi-Sabi is about finding happiness with the simple things in life. It is, perhaps, that nostalgic feeling dreaming of simpler days before technology started to run our lives. It is stripping away the non-essential aspects of our lives and being happy with what we have.

Key concepts of Wabi-Sabi:

  • Seeing beauty in imperfection
  • Accepting ageing in ourselves and our possessions

How to achieve Wabi-Sabi:

  • Use old, worn materials to decorate the home
  • Avoid crisp clean lines
  • Finish that piece of work now, it doesn’t (always) have to be perfect
  • Don’t replace possessions for the latest version. Keep it until it has worn out