By Matthew Currington, Technical Director, The Lighting Superstore
Originally considered an ancient Japanese ideal stemming back to the years 960 - 1279, Wabi-Sabi is having a moment in Western interiors.
The philosophy challenges the role of beauty and lets nature take its course, allowing for incomplete designs, dents and uneven shapes to take their place.
The Lighting Superstore discusses how you can embrace the Wabi-Sabi in your own home and beyond.
Declutter that mess
Wabi-Sabi is more than an interiors trend; it’s a way of life. The first step to embracing it is by decluttering
The philosophy discourages a throwaway attitude and materialism and instead encourages a clutter-less and minimalist way of thinking, stripping out the unnecessary and making you content with what you already have.
Although the two aren’t linked, the KonMari method will be a good starting point for decluttering, helping you to detox your clothes, books, miscellaneous and sentimental items, before moving on to the bigger home pieces. Remove furnishings that don’t have a purpose or meaning first, then remove anything that feels impersonal.
Use any unwanted clothes to create something meaningful for yourself or a loved one, repurpose into a new item of clothing or create your own soft furnishings. Take any leftover items or pieces of material to a charity shop to be re-sold.
Embrace the imperfectly perfect
The very foundations of Wabi-Sabi encourage individuals to appreciate the worn elements of their possessions, rather than always striving for perfection.
It’s believed these flaws are symbolic of the passing of time and loving use, representing many cherished stories and memories that have been made along the way.
Instead of throwing away your favourite old blanket or taking a slightly chipped piece of china to the tip, savour or re-purpose these items.
If you’re giving your home a Wabi-Sabi inspired makeover, you should buy second-hand or hand-made items, which will help you achieve this instantly.
Wabi-Sabi favours having fewer, but more long-lasting items that can be repaired. So, if want to buy new items, invest in soft furnishings, furniture and kitchenware made from natural materials.
Materials such as leathers, linens and wools will not only play to the minimalist and modest aesthetics of the philosophy but age more naturally than synthetic materials.
These homewares are very easy to find, and lighting is no exception. The Emerson Brown Lamp and Amsfield Brown Steel/Wood Ceiling Pendant made from bamboo wood will add a touch of Wabi-Sabi charm to any room.
Take it outside
Once you’ve introduced Wabi-Sabi to the inner cruxes of your home, take it outside and give your garden a new lease of life.
Plants such as Yucca, Japanese Pieris and Variegated Red-Twig Dogwood will adapt and change throughout the year, offering a new aesthetic for every season.
If your garden isn’t in need of an update, consider introducing houseplants into corners of your living room and kitchen instead, to freshen up the space.
Make it personal
Everything should have a meaning in your Wabi-Sabi infused home and personal touches are key to living by the philosophy.
Decorate with family photos in wooden frames and sentimental items at the core, each telling a story or having a personal connection.
Keep the furniture and accessories that have been passed down through the generations. They may feel like they’re on their way out, but these are the items that have been lovingly used by the people who mean the most to you.