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:
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 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
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.