Terms of the Trade: What is Wabi Sabi?

The Japanese concept of wabi sabi celebrates the messy and imperfect, and accepts the constant flow of change. Where some design derives beauty from clean, sharp, order, wabi sabi embraces rough edges, organic textures, and humble, natural colors.

hand made clay mug with rough, wabi sabi design feel

Rooted in ancient Buddhist and Zen insights about the transience, loneliness, and often emotionally challenging nature of life, this way of thinking teaches an appreciation instead of a rejection of these challenges. Wabi sabi isn't centered on melancholy—it's about inner peace, tranquil beauty, and bohemian joy.

Asymmetrical shapes, rough lines and surfaces, modest simplicity, and a focus on the natural world are other key qualities of wabi sabi aesthetics.

Check out some more wabi sabi designs on our sister site dornob to get some inspiration for your own home projects!