Jeanette Fisher

Article Summary:

Wabi Sabi, an ancient Chinese philosophy adapted by the Japanese and practiced by many Westerners today, presents an alternative way of living beyond a way of decorating your home.

Wabi Sabi: More than an Interior Design Method

Wabi Sabi, an ancient Chinese philosophy adapted by the Japanese and practiced by many Westerners today, presents an alternative way of living beyond a way of decorating your home. However, you can adapt your interior and landscape design using Wabi Sabi principles for happiness.

The ancient wisdom of Wabi Sabi practitioners helps today’s busy home makers with interesting interior design ideas. “Wabi Sabi” (pronounced “wah-bee sah-bee”) evolved along with the Zen Buddhist tea ceremony. Wabi Sabi interior design followers learn to relax, take time to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of natural design, and to know that their home doesn’t need perfection to bring joy. Our research findings in residential Design Psychology support these same principles.

A local newspaper once wrote an article about our beautiful Victorian home in Florida, saying that we lived “in our private museum.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. We had seven kids and all their neighborhood friends running around the house. Our active family lived with antiques, but they were far from perfect. Although we had never heard of Wabi Sabi, which teaches that the scratches and imperfections from years of use add beauty to furnishings, we lived some of the Wabi Sabi ways.

Before you relate Wabi Sabi to Shabby Chic style, understand that the Wabi Sabi way of life starts with simplicity, whereas Shabby Chic interiors often fill spaces with a lot of interesting finds, which can end up with too much to care for and eye clutter, according to Design Psychology principles. We learned this lesson of too much design detail, which can make you feel overwhelmed, when we moved from our expansive Victorian home into a smaller house and had to choose the more important furnishings from the treasures discovered over ten years of collecting.

If you want to makeover your home for joyous living, consider Wabi Sabi restraints along with Design Psychology principles:

Simplify your life and home design. When you choose the best from your treasures, keep those accessories that support positive memories, regardless of monetary value.

Take pleasure from natural beauty. Choose design details with colors, patterns, and textures similar to those found in nature, which feel harmonious to people because they connect us to the earth.

Appreciate your home and furnishings, no matter how imperfect. When you love your home, this love shines throughout and makes it easier for you to clean and maintain. Your positive attitude brings you encouragement to find beauty all around.

Inspire yourself with fresh ideas for home makeover projects that will make your setting and your life simpler and more relaxing. Because many homes suffer from paper piles, home office makeover projects, from a simple corner desk to a complete room dedicated to working at home, offer a great place to begin redesigning your home. Explore new storage systems and filing methods to end clutter. Office supply stores sell organizational tools redesigned to blend in with home décor.

Practice daily rituals in your home like the Wabi Sabi tea ceremony. Set up areas in your home for specific activities that make you happy, like a reading nook in your living room and a bistro table in your bedroom.

Wabi Sabi beliefs include the principles of incomplete and impermanent designs, which parallel the Design Psychology principle that your home needs to grow and change, to support your changing lifestyle and emotional needs.

In contrast to Wabi Sabi’s use of modest and humble furnishings, Design Psychology appreciates the inherent beauty in all things. Enjoy the fruits of your hard work and don’t feel guilty when mixing the humble with quality showpieces. I love my Italian Millifiore glass lamps sitting next to my Mexican Rose rock.

Like any good design theory, Wabi Sabi finds beauty in the unconventional. Your originality in design makes your home unique. Design Psychology practice avoids the use of furniture “groups” and prefers unique, individual pieces offering comfort. If you were tempted by a furniture set, such as matching sofa, love seat, and the three matching tables, don’t worry; just know that additional pieces don’t need to match perfectly and that blending styles and finishes makes unconventional, unique spaces.

Design Psychology supports fearless home makeovers, bold with colors to lend emotional support yet restrained, without overly-filled rooms, to provide backgrounds for people and harmonious living.

Create a home to celebrate life, one full of tranquility and beauty. When you choose simplicity, you choose happiness.

Jeanette Fisher, Design Psychology Professor, expanded her new interior design methods into real estate investing. After years of research on how environments affect emotions, she shares her expertise with homemakers and real estate investors. Her websites are and www.Joy to the

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