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This Japanese home trend for 2018 is an ode to imperfection

The past few years have seen Scandinavian interior trends taking over our Pinterest boards, Instagram feeds, and pages in magazines. However, while clean, sleek and all-white interiors photograph well, they can be a hassle to keep tidy — and lack any semblance of personality. We don’t know about you, but we believe that homes aren’t meant to be perfect. Instead, they’re meant to be lived in.

To us, a great living space should focus on a style that resonates with you, where you curate special pieces that you love — such as homeware and artworks that accurately reflect your individuality.

Wabi-sabi is a new interior design style that’s gaining traction this 2018.

Here’s where the emerging interior trend for 2018 comes in. Called wabi-sabi, it is quite the opposite of the flawless Scandinavian interior design we’ve collectively gotten used to.

And no, it’s not to be confused with wasabi.

What’s Wabi-sabi? 

Described as the art of finding beauty in imperfection, wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese lifestyle philosophy that celebrates impermanence, simplicity, craftsmanship and modest surroundings. It is a mash-up of two things: Wabi (simplicity) and sabi (the beauty of age and wear).

The philosophy first appeared in Japan in the 12th century but has been popularised more recently by designers Tatsuro Miki and Axel Vervoordt. Wabi-sabi emphasises the use of organic materials and pieces made with innate imperfections in order to embrace authenticity.

Wabi-sabi embraces natural materials and artisan textures. (Image credit: Andrey Avdeenko)

How to incorporate it into your home

In wabi-sabi, raw edges, natural materials and handmade details take centre stage. Interiors feature artisan textures and inherently-flawed decor pieces such as rattan chairs, hand-crafted pottery, wrinkled linen sheets, and wood furniture with uneven grains — anything that makes your living space look more aligned with your personality, no matter how eclectic and disorganised it may be.

Check out this hand-crafted vase for your flowers. (Image credit: Rabbit and Dragon)

Since a large part of wabi-sabi is about connecting with the earth, the trend relies on the use of natural materials — whether it’s light woods a la Nordic design or terracotta used in the Mediterranean look. Additionally, the trend also sees concrete, exposed brick and tarnished metals making a comeback. And if you’re looking to feature artworks in your home, consider buying them from flea markets, craft shows and independently-owned shops instead of mass-produced paintings.

“No matter your personal style, there is one key factor to nailing this trend for your home design: Find the beauty in the not-so-perfect,” said Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s in-house trend expert, in an interview with Elle Decor.

“Think tables or cutting boards with burn marks or ceramics that have not been perfectly thrown. Accepting the idea that your home does not have to be showroom-ready is all it takes. Keep it real, be authentic, and be happy that for once you don’t have to make your bed to be cool,” she added.

This living room features earthy tones and imperfect design.

However, there is a difference between embracing the essence of wabi-sabi and being distracted by day-to-day clutter. You’ll want to be sure that your aesthetic choices remain purposeful instead of resulting in a mess — because that can (and will) affect your state of mind.

If there’s one thing wabi-sabi teaches you, it is to embrace imperfections. Hey, at least you now have an excuse to leave your bed unmade in the morning.

(Main image credit: Andrey Avdeenko)

This Japanese home trend for 2018 is an ode to imperfection

Dewi Nurjuwita

Senior Writer

Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.


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