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Wabi Sabi Wall Decor: 8 Japanese Interior Design Artworks

wabi-sabi living room with a textured acrylic abstract painting  above a grey couch

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When selecting art for your wabi-sabi space, it's important to choose pieces that resonate with the philosophy at the root of this aesthetic.

Wabi-sabi honours the beauty within imperfections, impermanence, and the beauty of nature's cycles of growth and decay. The philosophy of wabi-sabi can be traced back to the 16th century, inspired by Buddhist beliefs in impermanence and emptiness. It's about finding elegance in the unpolished and valuing humility.

Wabi-sabi also celebrates simplicity and minimalism, so you'll typically find enthusiasts of the style opting for artwork with a focus on negative space, subtle colour schemes, and those that convey a sense of asymmetry, and natural imperfections.

We've compiled a selection of eight wall decor examples that perfectly embody this philosophy. Keep reading for ideas on incorporating wabi-sabi into your home using the ideal wall decor.

Choosing Wall Decor for Wabi Sabi Japanese Interior Design | 8 Options

When selecting art for your wabi-sabi space, it's important to choose pieces that resonate with the philosophy at the root of this aesthetic. Aim for pieces that embrace imperfections, natural simplicity, and a connection to nature. The artwork should add tranquillity to the atmosphere and celebrate the effect that the passage of time has on the world.

1: Plaster Art

wabi-sabi plaster art that resembles cracked earth

Image Credit: SIZMARI | ‘Gaia’ Boho Plaster ArtBuy on Etsy

Plaster art is created by manipulating wet plaster into various textures and patterns, resulting in diverse 3D artworks when dry.

For wabi-sabi spaces, look for plaster art that intentionally showcases imperfections such as visible cracks, indentations or pockmarks, such as the artwork pictured above which resembles natural cracks in the earth's surface.

Many plaster artworks also mimic natural elements such as ocean waves or tree bark which complements wabi-sabi’s focus on nature.

2: Minimalist Art

a minimalist wabi-sabi japanese poster of a tree and a sun on a green background

Image Credit: ShibuiPrintStudio | Minimalist Tree Poster - Buy on Etsy

Minimalist art typically marries a modest palette of colours and textures with a focus on blank space. This creates a simplistic piece that exudes a calming vibe and adds visual interest without disrupting the seamless aesthetic of the space.

This doesn’t mean minimalist art has to be boring - the beauty of minimalist art lies in the nuances. Consider the poster pictured above - the use of a simple colour palette keeps the piece simplistic, but the detail of the tree, and texture of the canvas provide aesthetic appeal.

3: Mixed Media Art

a wabi sabi mixed media canvas artwork

Image Credit: StefBauerArt | “Zen On Wood” Custom Artwork - Buy on Etsy

Mixed media art encompasses any artwork that uses more than one medium, such as paint and fabric. This type of art is often textured and can provide more dimension to your space than single-medium art.

Look for pieces that use unique materials to create abstract shapes and images, and embrace the beauty of imperfection - a fundamental component of wabi-sabi interior design. 

4: Textile Art 

a wabi-sabi textile artwork

Image Credit: LightandFiber | “Sundunes” Textile Art - Buy on Etsy

Textile art is made with techniques such as embroidery or knitting or with tools like looms, using various materials and fibres to create items like wall tapestries or hangings, and even rugs and quilts. 

Textile artwork provides an opportunity to fill your wabi-sabi space with natural fibres such as cotton, wool, and linen. The organic irregularities often present in this type of art support the wabi-sabi ethos of embracing the beauty of natural flaws.

Look for wall hangings that use a complementary collection of fibres to create a multi-dimensional piece that will bring both meaning and visual interest to your space. 

5: Japanese-Inspired Art 

a japanese wabi-sabi canvas artwork of a tree and sun

Image Credit: Peddlex | Japanese Canvas Painting - Buy on Etsy

Japanese art is often aesthetically aligned with the wabi-sabi concept, embracing simplicity, natural materials, and a subdued colour palette.

In the painting shown above, there is a focus on blank space and clean lines, while the abstract appearance of the tree reflects impermanence. The high-contrast yet muted colour palette adds a dramatic touch to the overall minimalistic feel.

6: Abstract Art 

a wabi sabi abstract artwork

Image Credit: KalmArtsStudios | 3D Abstract Art - Buy on Etsy

Abstract art focuses on shapes, colours, and emotions without distinctive or realistic representations, which aligns with wabi-sabi’s emphasis on simplicity and imperfection.

Consider the piece pictured above - a focus on negative space speaks to the minimalist aesthetic, while the irregular shapes celebrate the beauty of natural flaws, both fundamental elements of wabi-sabi interiors. 

7: Handmade Wall Art

a wabi-sabi ceramic wall-hanging that resembles  shells hanging from a string

Image Credit: GoldfinchArtCo | Ceramic Tile Wall Hanging - Buy on Etsy

When choosing art for wabi-sabi spaces, it's important to consider, not only, the mediums and forms used, but also the background behind the artwork.

Authenticity plays a significant role in these spaces, and artisanal, handmade artwork carries a history that embodies the spirit of wabi-sabi.

For example, the handmade ceramic wall hanging shown above has an organic, irregular form and earthy texture that perfectly captures the essence of wabi-sabi, serving as a reminder to appreciate the transient nature of life.

8: Textured Paintings 

a set of textured canvas paintings

Image Credit: AbigailJoyStudios | Organic White Line Texture Painting - Buy on Etsy

As traditional wabi-sabi spaces embrace subdued colours and simple aesthetics, textured art allows you to add more diversity and depth, making the space feel intentional and curated. 

When choosing paintings, consider ones with artistic textures such as visible brushstrokes or those employing techniques such as relief art or impasto (palette knife painting). Artworks created with acrylic or oil paints are common choices, as these mediums tend to be thicker and naturally produce textured finishes.

For a cohesive wabi-sabi atmosphere, look for paintings with nature themes, such as botanicals or ocean waves, or those that exude a sense of natural ageing and weathering, reminiscent of aged stone walls or natural wood.

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