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Mid Century Mashup: How Wabi-Sabi Can Add an Eclectic Twist

Interior design trends come and go, but when two fascinating styles like Wabi-Sabi and Mid-Century Modern collide, it’s something special. If you're in search of a way to combine both the minimalist elegance of Mid-Century design and the beautifully imperfect essence of Wabi-Sabi, you're in luck. In this blog post, we'll dive into the key elements that make this hybrid design trend unique, and offer some budget-friendly tips for achieving this aesthetic in your own home. 

A Quick History Lesson:

Wabi-Sabi 

Wabi Sabi Style

Originating in Japan, Wabi-Sabi is an art and design philosophy that celebrates the beauty in imperfection, asymmetry, and transience. Imagine hand-thrown pottery, distressed wood, and natural materials, all softly whispering, “Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” as they age gracefully over time.

Mid-Century Modern

mid century modern interior design

Mid-Century Modern design was born in the mid-20th century and flourished in post-war America. It’s characterized by clean lines, functional forms, and a playful juxtaposition of materials, including wood, metal, and glass. Think Eames chairs, sunburst clocks, and open-concept layouts.

Marry these two philosophies, and you have Wabi-Sabi Mid-Century—a style that's perfect for those who appreciate both the order of geometric shapes and the beauty of imperfection.

Key Design Elements

mid century modern meets wabi sabi

Minimalism Meets Maximal Texture

Use simple Mid-Century furniture as a canvas to layer on textural Wabi-Sabi elements. Think a sleek teak table topped with a fringed linen runner or a ceramic bowl with an uneven glaze.

Natural Materials:

Wabi-Sabi's natural textures resonate with the Mid-Century's penchant for wood, stone, and organic forms. Combine materials like bamboo, unfinished wood, and handcrafted textiles for a well-rounded look.

Neutral Palette with Splashes of Color

Though Wabi-Sabi gravitates towards muted, earthy colors like grays, browns, and creams, you can add Mid-Century flair with flairs of colors like teal, mustard, or burnt orange in your accent pieces.

Balance & Asymmetry

balance and symmetry in interior design

Aesthetically position your Mid-Century furniture in a way that complements the asymmetrical elements of Wabi-Sabi, like an off-center painting or a uniquely-shaped vase.

Focal Points:

Create focal points using classic Mid-Century pieces like artwork, lighting or  wallpaper with Wabi-Sabi elements like a handwoven throw or a rustic flower arrangement.

Quality over Quantity:

upcycling

Thrift Shop & Vintage Stores: Hop on the upcycling trend–and have fun doing it– by hunting YMid-Century furniture at thrift stores, estate sales, or on online platforms like eBay or Craigslist. These pieces may have the ‘lived-in’ appeal that’s perfectly aligned with the Wabi-Sabi lifestyle.

DIY Textures: Instead of buying expensive handcrafted textiles, try DIY methods to create texture. For example, you can use coffee to stain a white cotton table runner, or age a wooden frame using sandpaper for that Wabi-Sabi distressed look.

Local Artisans: For pottery and ceramics that have a Wabi-Sabi feel, consider supporting local artisans. Their work is often less expensive than mass-produced designer pieces and carries a personal touch.

minimalist interior design

Less is More: Remember, both styles prioritize functionality over excess. Avoid clutter and focus on key pieces that serve a purpose, whether it’s a well-designed Mid-Century coffee table or a Wabi-Sabi stoneware set for your dining table. However, we also believe that you should do you, so if you like more, just arrange it in a way that’s functional. 

By blending the refined structure of Mid-Century Modern design with the natural, unforced beauty of Wabi-Sabi, you can create a living space that’s not only visually captivating but also soul-soothing. 


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