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Home Interior Design Styles: Wabi Sabi, Shabby Chic, and Design Psychology

Aug 17, 2007
Wabi Sabi, an ancient Chinese philosophy adapted by the Japanese and practiced by many Westerners today, presents an alternative way of living more than a way of decorating your home. However, you can adapt your interior and landscape design using Wabi Sabi principles for happiness.

"Wabi Sabi" (pronounced "wah-bee sah-bee") was formalized as the Zen Buddhism tea ceremony evolved. Zen Buddhism originated in India, traveled through China in the 6th Century, and to Japan in the 12th century. The ancient wisdom of Wabi Sabi practitioners helps today's busy home makers with interesting interior design ideas. Wabi Sabi interior design followers learn to relax, take time appreciate the beauty and simplicity of natural design, and to know that their home doesn't need perfection to bring joy, which compares to our research findings in residential Design Psychology.

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. This lesson of too much design detail, which stops the eye and makes you feel overwhelmed, became apparent to us 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, both in antique and thrift stores.

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, inspiring fresh ideas for home makeover projects.

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.

Similar to the Wabi Sabi tea ceremony, practice daily rituals in your home. Create a home to celebrate life, one full of tranquility and beauty. Choose your home interior design style to best support your happiness.

Copyright 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jeanette Fisher, author of interior design books, has researched the effects of environment on emotions for over 15 years. She teaches Design Psychology and real estate investing. Free Design Psychology ebooks http://www.JoytotheHome.com/
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