Wabi Sabi is the name given to a style of Japanese decorating which involves using very simplistic furnishings, furniture and accents. It’s also known as “Shiraz” and “Hokkaido”, referencing the two main islands of the Japanese archipelago, Honshu and Hokkaido respectively. This type of decorating is very popular in Asian-themed restaurants and is gradually gaining popularity in Western homes as well.
In wabi sabi interior design, very few furnishings or accessories are used at all. Instead, the focus is on how the various elements of the room relate to each other, and what colours and textures best combine with one another. The basic principle of wabi sabi interior decorating is harmony to nature and straight lines, but in a contemporary context. In a nutshell, it means that anything which is painted, glass-walled or covered in baby mats is ideally suited to go with a wabi theme – and that’s a lot.
Because the primary focus of the interior is on simplicity, most wabi interior designs contain elements such as plain, white, stonework with wabi highlights (often achieved with a matte black or satin finish), straight and geometrical patterns, and a focus on light and bright colours. For example, tiles in the floor and walls may be plain, but embellished with wall mirrors, metal figurines, or patterns of silver or gold. Accents, on the other hand, can be anything that goes along with the theme – from wooden tabletops and chairs to plant containers and vases. Some people like to include plants in their wabi themed interior, especially since they’re easier to care for, and the eventual result can be a very organic feel.
If you want to create a wabi interior design, then you also need to think about how you’re going to introduce natural elements into your design. Since wabi is made from the rice field, it naturally looks good in an earthy environment – with a little bit of sand added for texture and a touch of ethnicity. It works particularly well if you choose soft pastel colours for your walls and furniture. In particular wabi tablecloths and cushions are a great way to soften hard lines, as well as introducing some wildflowers or other botanicals into the space. Another thing you can do is to add a few small pieces of traditional Asian artwork, such as paper lanterns or tea cups, to your wabi interior. These simple touches add a touch of culture to your home that will help make your guests feel more at home.
A major thing that you need to remember about wabi interior design, however, is that the focus should be on making everyday life as easy as possible. Wabi’s low moisture content makes it particularly suited to indoor environments, and what’s more, the low moisture level means that mould and mildew are naturally less likely to grow on your furniture. It is because of this that wabi is particularly good for places such as washing rooms, kitchen areas and basement rooms. It is also one of the most hygienic materials for cleaning rooms – even those spaces that aren’t usually thought of as being clean! You will find that wabi interior designs are particularly effective when it comes to cleaning bathrooms and basements, which are often damp and hot and require specialised equipment.
Because war is made from a rice field, you will also notice that the patterns in wabi are very natural looking, without any distracting lines or irregularities. This makes it ideal for use with Asian-inspired themes, as well as providing a natural flow with other interior designs. However wabi Sabi interior design isn’t just about keeping the space clean, it also works well with natural materials and finishes to provide a very relaxing and stylish look. You can really achieve a very unique and interesting look by choosing your colours and materials carefully. The wabi rice fields, for example, provide a fantastic base to work around and various different materials can be used to give you a truly unique interior design that stands out from the rest.