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  • The Editorial Team

The Ultimate Wabi-Sabi Home Decor Wishlist

By our team lead Lauren Mitrick Wood

As Realtors we are constantly showing homes with fantastic interiors all around Chicagoland. From Lakeview to Lake Forest we get inspired everyday by what people do to their homes. You can see some of our amazing listings and homes we sold by exploring our listings page. For as inspirational as some of these homes are it's always hard to figure out where a lot of the decor pieces come from so we put together some of our faves you can easily shop. We can't get enough of these wabi-sabi home decor pieces. Not sure what wabi-sabi is? Keep reading to find out more and see some of my favorite wabi-sabi items in my house below...

Tell us which one is your favorite in the comments below.

Want to shop locally? Some of our favorite wabi-sabi stores around the Chicagoland area are; The Golden Triangle, Jayson Home, South Loop Loft, and Pagoda Red.

My husband and I spent the last year renovating our 100 year old Howard Van Doren Shaw home and have had fun sourcing wabi-sabi pieces to sprinkle throughout our home. It's great when you can mix new and old to create an eclectic vibe. You can read more about our renovation journey in part I and part II. Soon, we will have the after photos for you, I promise! We often have people come over and say, "where did you get this?" We love when a piece of furniture, an object or art can tell a story. This piece to your left is one of our favorites and tells a great tale from my husband, Charlie's, past. After college he lived in China and taught English in the tiny province of Shanxi. One day when we were casually browsing a local store here in Chicago called The Golden Triangle we came upon an old medicine chest we both swooned over. We looked closer and realized the chest came from the same province Charlie lived and we had to have it. It now sits in our entryway and welcomes our guests to our home. Since purchasing that piece we have found several others at the Golden Triangle including a Naga bed currently used as a coffee table, another old Chinese piece I turned into my bathroom vanity and a Chinese grain basket that we use to hold our firewood (pictured below). It's been fun not only finding these pieces but learning about their pasts and what they were originally used for. I highly encourage you to check out this store and talk to the owner Doug. He is full of information and travels far and wide to source his inventory from all over the world. The trick in incorporating these pieces into your home is to not over do it. Sprinkle them around and mix them with more modern pieces.

Just what is wabi-sabi?

Wabi-sabi is the view or thought of finding beauty in every aspect of imperfection in nature. It is about the aesthetic of things in existence, that are “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. Wabi-sabi is also deeply influenced by the teaching of the Buddha and its school of thought can be interlinked with Buddhist thinking. It is essentially a concept or ideology that comes from the ‘Buddhist teaching’ of the three marks of existence that are namely “impermanence” (mujō), suffering (ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (kū)”.

Wabi sabi is a beautiful way to describe what is natural and pure and to acknowledge the beauty of any substance or being in its most natural and raw form. It eliminates the rather Westernized concept of artificial beauty and idolizing a state of perfection that is seemingly unachievable and unnatural. The western world has made the concept of beauty into something that is becoming more and more refined as well as more and more unachievable with each passing day and it distorts the idea of natural beauty and accepting the flaws of existence, however, on the contrary, the Japanese belief and concept of wabi-sabi embraces just that and allows the people to be more accepting and open to embracing the beauty of flaws and rawness. Read more here.

And just because finding pieces is so much fun here are a few more...


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