The 90’s was a time when the design and decorating world moved away from the colorful zest of the 80’s and a took a more polished approach towards interior design. Flowery patterns and right oranges were replaced by the stoic presence o0f beige and gray with each home looking more and more like the one next to it. There was no room for finishes and surfaces that were unfinished, rugged or brought in a sense of textural contrast. But that has changed in the last few years with styles like shabby chic, industrial and rustic making a comeback. With it arrived the idea of Wabi-Sabi!

Torquay Concrete House in wood and concrete

Wabi-Sabi is an ancient Japanese concept that celebrates the beauty of natural imperfections that surround us. It could be in the form of concrete, wood or even other man-made surfaces involved in home design. Instead of covering those imperfections with a layer of polished elegance, it is the celebration and acceptance of these minor defects that defines Wabi-Sabi. Rough concrete walls and Wabi-Sabi-inspired design are currently hot trends and here is how you can join in on the fun –

1. Celebrate the Imperfections

It is easy to see why exposed and unfinished concrete walls are so popular in contemporary homes full of man-made surfaces with glossy finishes. Concrete in its most untamed form blends minimalism with an air of industrial charm and transcends styles. Some use it as an accent feature while others go a step further and embrace it fully. This idea of celebrating imperfections works even better in restored and rejuvenated old structures turned into ingenious contemporary residences.

Living room with concrete wall celebrates imperfections
Daring approach to living with the wabi-sabi idea!

2. Usher in More Textural Beauty

The idea of Wabi-Sabi does much more than just revel in the uniqueness of imperfections; it actually brings textural contrast to sophisticated modern homes. Even if you are not using concrete walls in the room, wooden furniture, wall additions and exposed brick walls can make a big difference in the seemingly monotonous contemporary space.

Stunningly transformed London loft draped in concrete and metal
Rustic dining room with a multitude of textures [From: Jute Interior Design]

3. Stay Away from the Mundane

Staying away from mundane here means much more than just adding a different textural feature. Wabi-Sabi-inspired decorating incorporates vintage, antique and weathered décor pieces into contemporary spaces. You can easily stay away from mass-produced objects and if you enjoy a fun, eclectic decorating style and frequent trips to the local flea market, then you will adore this approach.

Restored and revamped interiors in Mexico borrows from the idea of wabi-sabi
Wabi-sabi inspired home office [From: KuDa Photography]

4. Light and Nature

Nature is an integral part of Wabi-Sabi style and its inherent philosophy lets you use different natural finishes without going overboard. Couple use of natural materials with a tinge of green and a whole lot of ventilation and you have an interior that is cheerful, refreshing and inviting. Every style combines well with this decorating approach and switching between trends and seasonal hot colors is also super easy.

Windows bring the right amount of light into the bedroom with concrete walls [From: Houzz / Becky Harris]
Shabby chic style living room with wabi-sabi design philosophy

5. Minimalism with Personality

Concrete is as much associated with minimalism as it is with industrial strength, durability and a sense of innate roughness. Wabi-Sabi-inspired interiors combine this minimal flair of concrete with multiple layers of dashing textures and also give each room a distinct personality. Just flip through the images below to discover this hot new decorating idea at its brilliant best –

Modern industrial style bedroom with concrete wall and platform bed [From: SUBU Design Architecture / Photography by Manolo Langis]
Trying out the wabi-sabi decorating philosophy in the small urban apartment

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