Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi

I just recently learned more about the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi; underplayed and modest, a kind of quiet undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered.

Sharing a quiet Wabi Sabi moment in the early morning light!- image via Melinda Montanye

From a spiritual point of view I fell in love with the concept as it is a tool for contemplation, or a philosophy of life, that finds beauty in things that are impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. In other words that wear and tear; chips, cracks, and fissures; assymetry; flaws; and defects actually make things more interesting. A comfort as we are all aging and filled with imperfections, right? Below is the most shared image I’ve ever posted on Facebook (over 2000X) and right up the Wabi Sabi alley.

the most shared image I’ve ever posted on my Facebook page!

3 Elements of wabi-sabi:

  • Nothing lasts.
  • Nothing is finished.
  • Nothing is perfect.

3 Questions wabi-sabi asks:

  • Is it useful?
  • Is it beautiful?
  • Is it meaningful?
Couldn’t you say the same thing about life in general? It is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and in nature and the natural: it values uncluttered, natural, and modest surroundings. Wabi-sabi decor inspires minimalism and simplicity; possessions and other items are pared down to the essentials based on utility, beauty, or nostalgia (or all three). The color palette often sways toward whites and earth tones due to the use of natural materials.

There is beauty in a quiet moment captured!

Though my personal style tends to more color in life it seems that while I just heard about Wabi Sabi I have been preaching many of the same principles in this blog when writing about slow home, slow food, slow entertaining, the new face of beauty and beauty in all forms!
Simple beauty  and simple vignettes are a place to rest the eyes and the mind and simply (no pun intended) breathe. We often find this restful place in nature and can create it in our homes with simple vignettes of beautiful items that are meaningful to us.
Wabi-sabi enthusiasts (called “wabibitos”) tend to embrace simplicity in daily life by living in smaller homes, driving a smaller cars, or even eating simply and just enough to be pleasantly full. It is a slow way of living…similar to what we here in the west ascribe to the slow movement. And very similar to what I call slow home!

yes it is!

Wabi stems from the root wa, which refers to harmony, peace, tranquillity, and balance. Generally speaking, wabi had the original meaning of sad, desolate, and lonely, but poetically it has come to mean simple, unmaterialistic, humble by choice, and in tune with nature.

Sabi by itself means “the bloom of time.”  It’s the understanding that beauty is fleeting. The word’s meaning has changed over time, from its ancient definition, “to be desolate,” to the more neutral “to grow old.” Sabi things carry the burden of their years with dignity and grace.

Wabi-sabi is not a decorating “style” but rather a mind-set. There’s no list of rules. Creating a wabi-sabi home is the direct result of developing our wabigokoro, or wabi mind and heart: living modestly, learning to be satisfied with life as it can be once we strip away the unnecessary, and living in the moment.

finding moment to be quiet in, here I sit peacefully-image captured by Melinda Montanya

Wabi Sabi is a way of life and a Little Bit of Beauty™ for sure! What do you think of it? Does it sound appealing to you? Are you a wabibito? 

Check out the video below to get a sense of how Wabi Sabi can play out in your home, enjoy!




  1. Lyn Higgs 9 years ago

    this type of beauty signifies a gentleness in life and since we all live in a stress filled world-this fills in the cracks and smooths us down a little!!

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      Thanks Lyn, as always for stopping by! Love seeing you pop up here there and everywhere!

  2. Irene, this is truly gorgeous. I love the parallels drawn between the mindset of Wabi Sabi decor and the slow/simple living movement. Gorgeous inspiration on an otherwise difficult morning in my household.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Author
      Irene Turner 9 years ago

      So Brooke, we have a mutual admiration society going. I just saw your boards on pinterest recently. Love your vision. Raising children is difficult. Don’t worry, it WILL simplify over time!

  3. GRNY Renovation 9 years ago

    Harmony, peace, tranquility, and balance… that’s the right words that comes to me in this post! Love the quote too!


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