Celebrating the Imperfect – the True Value of Your Carpet


Surely, we all have these little blemishes in our homes that bother us every time they catch our eye. A small scratch on the wooden table. The fading color of the sofa’s covering. A slight bulge in the carpet. But what if we didn’t see these details as flaws, and instead as peculiarities that make our home unique?

This is what wabi-sabi interior design aims for: finding beauty in seemingly incomplete, irregular shapes and forms. In the following, we’ll take a closer look at that concept and explain how it can be implemented in everyday life.

1. Wabi-Sabi Philosophy Explained
2.The Wabi-Sabi Way of Life

1. Wabi-Sabi Philosophy Explained

In the western hemisphere, we’re trained to strive for perfection in every aspect of life. This attitude also informs our sense of aesthetics, as we tend to associate beauty with uniformity and symmetry. But in Japanese culture, “beauty” takes on a completely different meaning. The art of wabi-sabi design follows a two-fold principle that goes back to the teachings of zen buddhism.
Wabi: the Value of Incompleteness and Irregularity

The principle of “wabi” goes back to Murata Shukō, who founded the Japanese tea ceremony in the 15th century. He observed that the moon was most beautiful when partly hidden behind clouds. According to Shukō, this sight is intriguing because it doesn’t give away everything at once. Rather than a full bright moon, it leaves room for our imagination, making us wonder what’s yet to be discovered. Hence, we should embrace the openness of “unfinished” objects” instead of seeking out finished products that bear no mysteries or surprises.

Sabi: the Value of Wear and Tear

“Sabi” refers to the way we perceive natural processes of maturation, aging, and decay. Rather than trying to preserve the initial appearance of an object, we should embrace its natural changes over time. Scratches, cracks, or discolored spots are not indicators of decreased value. On the contrary: They demonstrate that the object has served a valuable purpose, being loved and used over and over again by its owner. Signs of wear and tear thus turn into precious attributes that bring out the unique character of everyday items.

2. The Wabi-Sabi Way of Life

In theory, the idea sounds simple enough: Don’t strive for perfection, and instead learn to appreciate the little imperfections of your surroundings. But that’s oftentimes easier said than done – especially in modern society, where normative standards have such a strong hold on our understanding of beauty. Nonetheless, there are many ways in which you can integrate elements of wabi-sabi design into your daily life. We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you get started.

From Decor to Rugs: Wabi-Sabi at Home

Put unique items center stage

Mass-produced furniture or decorative items are cheap and easy to purchase anywhere – but they don’t tell a story. Wabi-sabi interior design celebrates true handicraft: a teapot painted with special floral patterns, a wooden chest from the flea market, or a handwoven rug that reflects your own taste and personality. You should leave enough room for these items to shine, rather than tucking them away in dusty cabinets.

Use nature as a source of inspiration

Highly processed, synthetic products may look glossy and perfect as long as they are brand new. Overtime however, it becomes hard to retain that immaculate appearance. Therefore, we recommend opting for natural materials that weather beautifully. Wabi-sabi inspired living rooms derive their raw appeal from untreated surfaces such as wood, metal, or stone. The same goes for textiles: handmade carpets made from wool, cotton, or hemp will change in appearance without losing their vitality.

Go back to basics

When it comes to Wabi-sabi design, less is definitely more. Too many decorative pieces make living spaces feel crowded and messy. In order to fully appreciate your belongings, you need to get rid of clutter without any personal value. Simply put: Each object in your house should either be beautiful, serve a practical purpose, or both. Clearing up your space will help you feel more focused, centered, and grateful for what you have.   

Dare to mismatch

Of course, we want our home to be a place of peace and harmony. But this doesn’t mean that you have to color-coordinate everything down to the last detail. So what if the coffee table from the vintage store is a different kind of wood than your grandmother’s old armchair? Or if the pattern of your handknotted rug won’t exactly match the pattern of your pillows on the couch? Wabi-sabi philosophy reminds us that after all, these idiosyncrasies make up the unique charm of our homes: a dynamic place that grows and changes, just as we keep growing and changing in the course our lives.