Wabi-sabi – a Japanese style of interior design that embraces imperfection

Contrary to Western ideals that dictate perfection, the ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi finds beauty in every aspect of imperfection. Wabi-sabi encourages a departure from the constant search and obsession with perfection that we experience in our relationships, achievements, possession of material things, physical appearance, and in interior design. 

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What is Wabi-sabi?

Wabi-sabi is a highly influential Japanese concept that emphasizes the idea that “less is more” and appreciates the aesthetics of imperfection in nature. This Japanese philosophy consists of two individual concepts. “Wabi” originally referred to solitary life and the loneliness of living in nature; later it came to the meaning of simplicity, instability, deficiency, and imperfection. “Wabi” expresses gratitude for the beauty of modesty and rustic simplicity. 


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"Sabi" once described the impact of aging or decay. In other words, “sabi” denotes the influence of time on objects, most easily imagined as a transition from one season to another or as the aging of individual objects or bodies. The easiest way to imagine "sabi" is as a unique sign of aging. When the two terms are combined, they create an all-encompassing concept of valuing and gratitude for simple, real, but fleeting life states and forms. 

Wabi-sabi in your home 

The beauty of purity, transience, and imperfection in Wabi-sabi is the antithesis to the classical conception of the Western definition of beauty, which is considered perfect, enduring, and monumental, and too materialistic obsession. Incorporating the Wabi-sabi philosophy does not have to mean hiring an interior designer, becoming an expert in Japanese culture, or living as a Buddhist monk. The beauty of Wabi-sabi is that there is no wrong way to incorporate it into your life and home.

Adopting the Wabi-sabi philosophy means changing your perspective as an individual. It should help create a happier home where you feel more satisfied and eliminates the craving for material things. Wabi-sabi allows you to accept things as they are in your daily life, despite their imperfections. At the same time, it should contribute to the simplicity, serenity, and peace in your life.


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You don’t need to get caught up in the shopping frenzy for decorating in terms of Wabi-sabi; you don’t anything new for the redesign of your home.  Japanese philosophy values nature, so pay particular attention to the materials you bring into your home. Wooden, stone, and metal elements and accessories predominate, which are not only aesthetically pleasing but also age well.

There are already some accessories hiding in your home, you just probably haven’t noticed them before! The principles of functionality, minimalism, and simplicity prevail when choosing accessories. There is also a big emphasis on personal items that can tell your life story. Browse through your kitchen drawer, where an old rusty knife or some other item made of iron, brass or copper might be waiting to be found. Its imperfections tell the stories from the years and years of use. You may stumble across a chipped vase, container, bowl, or flowerpot in your basement or attic. All signs of use or ‘wounds of time’ are appreciated in Wabi-sabi. If you still decide to buy new accessories for your redesign, we recommend opting for sustainable, high-quality, handmade, or vintage products and materials, which will stand the age of time. 


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There are no restrictions when it comes to choosing furniture, as Wabi-sabi also allows for lighter colours and a modern look and shape of furniture. Antique accessories or furniture can blend perfectly with modern elements and minimalist furnishings. This type of furnishing brings the imperfections and asymmetries of furniture and accessories together into an attractive and homely space. Wabi-sabi emphasizes that the living space must be comfortable where you will feel good. Cushions are a great way to add comfort. And don’t forget to include a variety of plants that will bring an extra touch of life to the space.

During the redesign, you can also decide to spice up the walls; turn to nature for inspiration when choosing the colours. This will allow you plenty of choices, from soft pink or beige to soothing blue and green. You can also opt for a slightly different approach with the decorative techniques and coatings SPEKTRA DECOR RUST/COPPER. The primer is suitable for both new walls and restoring old wall surfaces.



These can help create a unique look for the interior wall surfaces in your home, giving them a feeling of natural aging, directly in line with Wabi-sabi. With this decorative technique, you can conjure up a rusty iron or oxidized copper appearance, and create different stages of the rusting or oxidation process. Applying SPEKTRA DECOR RUST together with SPEKTRA DECOR ACTIVATOR will give your walls a rustic feel and the appearance of iron that has rusted due to exposure to natural weathering. If you want to add warmth to a room, we recommend using SPEKTRA DECOR COPPER, which will give the wall surfaces a copper patina effect after applying the oxidizing agent SPEKTRA DECOR ACTIVATOR. This is a rather uncontrolled oxidation process, so the final appearance is almost unrepeatable and therefore unique. If you want a nicer and more natural effect of rust or oxidized surface, don’t overdo it with the activator.


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If desired, you can also combine both coatings and turn your walls turn into a huge and unique painting canvas. Choosing natural colours and unique textures will create a relaxing and intimate home. You can find out more about the SPEKTRA DECOR RUST / COPPER decorative technique here.