The term Wabi-sabi is a deeply held and ancient philosophy present in Japanese culture. This Japanese philosophy centers on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. I find this to be such a beautiful philosophy to live by. It allows for imperfections in your surroundings, which will eventually lead to accepting imperfections in yourself.
Wabi-sabi is a philosophy that can be easily transferred to your surroundings, specifically with interior design approaches. This fantastic aesthetic is characterized by a rustic simplicity, asymmetry, and a serene austerity that suggest a sense of both modesty and intimacy.
Materials are often natural and show their age and wear, embracing flaws like uneven textures, rough edges, or irregular shapes. The color palette tends to be muted and earthy, promoting a sense of calm and tranquility. Furniture and decor are chosen for their practicality and the way they harmonize with the natural world, rather than for luxury or ostentation, creating a space that feels authentic and lived-in.
Check out these incredible examples.
When it comes to interior design, Japanese elements are an excellent place to gain inspiration. Based off of this room design, you can see that elements like low-set furniture and muted tones help to create a room that is incredibly relaxed, yet still completely elegant.
While many of the furniture pieces are simple and inviting, decorative features like these gorgeous wall prints corresponding flora accents bring texture and life to the space. Industrial concrete elements provide that austerity we mentioned before, but everything else included successfully warms it up.
This gorgeous living room design is starting to incorporate more of those imperfect details that really encompass Wabi-Sabi aesthetics. Seen in both the long and rustic wooden bench and more finished black coffee table, these furniture pieces bring in a cozy farmhouse feel.
A wonderfully deep-set sofa with soft upholstery is the perfect counterpart to these rustic elements, while the incredible antique-esque wall print incorporates some texture and pattern.
Something that a Wabi-Sabi style living room will always bring to your space is comforting tones. It feels like everything in this space is a different shade of sand, all coming together to enrobe you in relaxing, subdued tones.
Again, we see a wonderful balance of more rough textures as seen in the table surfaces and unfinished concrete walls, coupled with softness that’s found in the area rug and wonderfully cushioned L shaped sofa.
Wabi-sabi living rooms tend to a very good job of somehow combining elegance with ruggedness. In combining shades of charcoal and ivory, the designer accomplished creating a room that is dynamic, inviting, and timeless.
While everything in the space is placed just where it should be, it manages to still feel casually put together and attainable. It avoids becoming too austere or formal that you may be afraid to get crumbs on the sofa. After all, living rooms are meant to be lived in.
I don’t know about you, but this Wabi-Sabi living room exudes relaxation to me. Very neutral and natural tones adorn the space, with gorgeous metallic undertones found in the very plush sofa and beautiful artwork hanging over it.
Subtle but rustic complimentary furniture suits the Wabi-Sabi bill exceptionally well. Each piece is rugged but refined, and softer features found in the sheer curtains and feathery tree in the corner blends everything together nicely.
There’s something very comforting about furniture that is low-set to the ground. It reminds me of those fantastic sunken lounges you can sometimes see in luxurious living rooms from the 70’s – and this striking, Wabi-Sabi style couch in a modern and elevated rendition of that.
This very simply framed, rustic sofa corresponds flawlessly with this very raw-edge coffee table, but it’s all elevated thanks to charcoal colored throws and very striking decorative accessories.
Here we have a Wabi-Sabi living room design that is a bit more on the formal side. Structured sitting furniture with sharper edges bring a brightness, while this lovely, irregularly shaped coffee table feels homey and informal.
More abstract shapes found in the branched centerpiece and the dramatic art piece bring attention and interest amongst the comfort. This room is hanging in a delicate balance of relaxation and attention, and it’s totally working.