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11 Wabi Sabi Home Decor Ideas That Embrace Imperfection

Find beauty in the blemishes.
04/17/2018 05:19pm ET

Marie Kondo’s “less is more” minimalist design philosophy has been riding the mainstream wave for years now, inspiring homeowners everywhere to reorganize their t-shirt and sweater drawers and ditch clutter that doesn’t “spark joy.”

Though it’s a practical way to re-prioritize what’s important in our homes, the joy-sparking method has one major flaw: It’s downright EXHAUSTING. Though it probably shouldn’t be, a minimalist lifestyle takes more than a minimal amount of effort. That’s where wabi sabi, the traditional Japanese aesthetic and world view focused on the acceptance of imperfection, comes in.

The lifestyle experts at peer-to-peer marketplace Etsy predicted earlier this year the renewed rise of the wabi sabi home trend in 2018 (alongside with terrazzo and “liquid effect” designs).

“What firmly disconnects wabi sabi from minimalism is appreciation and not perfecting, “Etsy’s Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson told HuffPost. “In minimalism, the goal is eliminating unnecessary objects and clutter with perfect execution. Wabi sabi is about the care and appreciation for items that may have blemishes or slight irregularity in the raw materials.”

Both trends embrace a lack of clutter while promoting the accumulation of mindful objects, though the end aesthetic of minimalism and wabi sabi is completely different.

“When trying to achieve wabi sabi zen, yes, eliminate clutter, but also celebrate those special pieces that have imperfections and embrace that beauty,” Johnson says.

For folks who want to embrace the imperfect side of life, here are 11 wabi sabi design and decor ideas to get started:

1
Rustic wooden bench
Etsy // RustedPulchritude
This table is the embodiment of wabi sabi: imperfect, blemished, awkward, and still beautiful. It's perfect height for use as a plant stand or statement piece in any room. The legs are made from crooked and wonky branches. The top of the chair was charred with flames to give it a worn, irreplaceable look.
2
Washed linen pillowcases
Etsy // notPERFECTLINEN
These handmade pillowcases are made of washed linen specially woven by the designer's "local linen manufacturers." The process is time consuming because they are doubled washed once they're made. This creates the natural wrinkles and extra softness that gives them their dreamy, live-in look. Get them in 25 prints and colors.
3
Hand-built ceramic spoons
Etsy // pazceramics
These ceramic spoons are handmade and glazed. With imperfect edges and raw, unglazed exteriors and handles, they'll transport you to a cafe on the rocky cliffs of Santorini when you use them for your morning coffee, granola or looseleaf tea.
4
Knotted rope wall hanging
Etsy // shopsaraclark
This birka knot is designed to resemble the flat knotted and metal decorations found on the clothing once worn by Norsemen. It's made of 100 percent cotton rope and has been knotted and stitched to maintain its shape. They're made to order, which means they're all unique and a little different from the ones that came before it.
5
Brush stroke ring dish
Etsy // houseandhoneyco
This wabi sabi ring dish is like a piece of contemporary art all on its own. It's molded by hand, so no two dishes are exactly alike. They're unpainted -- except for the rims and the brush strokes in the middle -- and are covered in a varnish so they maintain their matte look. If you're a minimalist who loves functional art pieces, this is it.
6
Washable paper storage bag
Etsy // WarmGreyCompany
These washable bags are made of natural cellulose that's hand block printed with solvent-free inks. They're lightweight, can be hand washed, feel like leather, but look like crinkly paper bags.
7
Handcarved wooden bowl
Etsy // RustedPulchritude
This unique wabi sabi serving bowl is carved by hand from cream-colored weeping willow woodin a local woodshop in Maine. It's a stand-out-from-the-crowd bowl that your guests are sure to compliment time and time again. The bowl is accented with natural knots from the tree, so it's truly non-replicable.
8
Secret pond felt coasters
Etsy // feltplanet
These felt coasters would look right at home in a log cabin or a rustic lodge. They bring the gentle curves of nature indoors with their 100 percent German Merino wool design.
9
Square ceramic planters
Etsy // krikriceramics
These footed planters are ideal for herbs, succulents and small cacti. (No need to eve re-pot!) It has a simple design that mimics simplistic Scandinavian design, but has the soft curves and airiness of natural wabi sabi style.
10
Wooden kitchen utensil holder
Etsy // RoosterStudios
Even storage containers are missed opportunity for beauty. These kitchen utensil holders are made of discarded wood, like copper beech, cherry or walnut. They're not attention grabbing. Instead, they're unassuming, but once you take them in, you can't stop sneaking peeks.
11
Organic stoneware serving board
Etsy // TagliaferroCeramics
This organically shaped serving board is perfect for entertainers. It's made of clay and stoneware that's been rolled with a subtle linen texture and covered in mattefying glazes. Each tray is cut and made by hand, so it's like a little surprise to see what shape each one becomes.

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