5 simple wabi-sabi ways
  1. Think about the things in your home that you love best. Value them, and try to find a spot in your home to honor them. It doesn’t matter if those heirloom hand-embroidered linens are stained. After all, evidence of wear is a reminder of the loved ones who used these things—proud wabi-sabi markings.
  2. Replace more conventional art with an enlarged photo from your last vacation, or frame one of your children’s paintings.
  3. Make a rag rug (or have it made) out of favorite clothes you or your kids have outgrown.
  4. Spray your pillow with your favorite scent. Keep your favorite music on the CD player, and remember to turn it on.
  5. Start paying attention to how many rooms you walk into that lack these comfort touches; make wabi-sabi changes and enjoy the serenity.
Adapted from The Wabi-Sabi House by Robyn Griggs Lawrence (Clarkson Potter, 2004).

Are you most at home in an old threadbare chair that sits by your window? Is your favorite bedcovering a frayed quilt you salvaged from a flea market? Are you drawn more to unruly patches of wildflowers than to finely manicured gardens?

If so, you’re feeling wabi-sabi—a Japanese phrase that encompasses a love of imperfect beauty, especially where you live. For anyone pressured by consumerism and mass-produced everything, wabi-sabi is a whisper of wisdom, a call to consciously appreciate your living space in all its flawed comforts.

In The Wabi-Sabi House (Clarkson Potter, 2004), author Robyn Griggs Lawrence reveals why wabi-sabi is so valuable and how you can learn to embrace this imperfect art in your life and home.

“Wabi-sabi isn’t like feng shui, where you can know the rules,” says Griggs Lawrence. “It’s really more about honoring yourself, your intuition, and your sense of style—taking the time to find and have [in your house] only things you absolutely love, even if they’re not perfect.”