If you love scrolling through home-décor ideas on social media, but get intimidated by the too-perfect images, Wabi-Sabi might be just what you need. The Japanese ideal of finding beauty in imperfection and creating harmony through simplicity is the perfect antidote for today’s chaotic world, and a great idea for updating your home.
In the context of interior design and decor, a home that incorporates elements of Wabi-Sabi embraces pieces that are lovingly weathered or lived in, while promoting peace and tranquility by keeping things simple. No more obsessing over every detail, or racing to have the latest shiny, high-tech gadget, and nothing overly polished or glittery.
A wide variety of home décor styles can easily incorporate elements of Wabi-Sabi, including shabby chic, farmhouse, minimalist, contemporary, and even industrial. If you want to try your hand at adding a little Wabi-Sabi to your home, here are a few ideas to get started:
Add artisanal and handmade items
Wabi-Sabi is about seeing the beauty in imperfection, and this works great with handmade or artisanal items. Ideas include a unique vase from a local pottery maker, homespun fabrics you found in a bazaar on vacation, or a bench or table made by a local craftsman.
Embrace calm and clear the clutter
Obsessive organization is not the key here, but rather clean, clutter-free areas that evoke feelings of peace and calm (instead of stress and chaos). You can have small items on counters and tabletops, but they need to have a sense of order and functional purpose. Decorative bowls and trays are very Wabi-Sabi, as are houseplants, herbs or succulents that add freshness to the space.
Bring the outdoors in
Speaking of greenery, Wabi-Sabi embraces bringing nature inside the home, valuing plants and organic elements for the sense of peace and harmony they can brings. Nature itself is also a great example of beauty in imperfection. Fresh flowers, hand-carved wooden bowls or trenchers, unique stones or agate, succulents and plants of all kinds, and even natural wood furniture can all add to your Wabi-Sabi décor.
Mismatched is exactly right
Throw out those catalogs where everything matches exactly. Adding something you love or treasure to a room, even though it is not a perfect fit aesthetically, means you’re really getting to the heart of Wabi-Sabi style. Remember, imperfection is, well, perfect!
If you want to study Wabi-Sabi a bit more before making a decision, here are a few books to reference:
- Wabi-Sabi Welcome, by Julie Pointer Adams
- Wabi-Sabi Home: Finding beauty in imperfection, by Mark Bailey and Sally Bailey
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo
In my work as a Realtor in the Arlington, VA area, I’ve noticed elements of Wabi-Sabi working exceptionally well for home staging and décor when selling a home. The peaceful, welcoming feeling it evokes, as well as the natural tones and effortless blending with other styles are attractive for potential home buyers.
If you have questions about home staging, selling homes or the real estate market in Arlington, Virginia or the greater Northern Virginia area, please give me a call. I’ve been living and working in this area for more than 30 years and am ready to help.
A home that makes you healthier? In an economy where consumers are consistently rating health and wellness as a top priority, architects and real estate professionals are creating homes that support overall well-being.
According to the 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor report, real estate that incorporates intentional wellness elements into its design, materials and building is quickly growing. There are now more than 740 wellness real estate and community developments built or in development across 34 countries – a number that grows weekly.
We’re not just talking about physical health, though. In fact, people’s overall views of health take into consideration at least six different aspects, including:
Since homes are typically one of the most important investments people make in their lives – personally and financially – it makes sense that architects, home builders, interior designers and real estate professionals see the potential for integrating wellness-promoting details that support better, healthier lifestyles.
How to create a healthier home
How do designers create homes that support better health and wellness? It starts by looking at the environment a home creates, and the details that can be adjusted to support different aspects of health such as physical, mental, social, etc.
Physical and mental health can be improved, for instance, by using “green” products and construction methods that reduce toxin exposure. Creating soothing spaces that support sleep and relaxation, or that encourage interaction with nature, are also ways to use space and design to support both physical and psychological wellbeing.
Incorporating design and “smart home” elements such as built-in aromatherapy, circadian lighting systems, and sophisticated air and water filtration systems also add to the health factor for new homes.
Current homeowners who want to follow this trend don’t have to pack up and move to a new home. Design elements such as smart lighting, air and water purifying systems, and easy remodels or redecorating that transforms inside and outside spaces into relaxation zones can be incorporated to add healthful benefits for all.
Decorating trends come and go. Some become classics and stick around for a while, others not so much. If you’re thinking about selling your home, outdated décor can have a negative effect on potential buyers. Here’s a few trends of the past that can make your home look outdated – and easy ways to freshen things up.
#1 Accent Walls
OUTDATED: If you watched HGTV or read any interior-design magazine in the 90s and early 2000s, accent walls were all the thing. Using big, bold colors, materials like brick or wood, and in-your-face patterned designs, accent walls were a trend that anyone could do and practically everyone tried.
UPDATE: Start by painting your accent wall the same color as the rest of the room. If you feel like the room needs accent colors, use rugs, pillows and artwork to create focal pieces and a flow of color. Easy to move, easy to adjust, much easier on the eyes.
#2 Tuscan Faux Finishes
OUTDATED: The massive popularity of the book “Under the Tuscan Sun,” followed by the movie, created a big trend of decorating everything from kitchens to bathrooms and bedrooms with Tuscan-themed finishes, golden textured walls and painted faux stonework.
UPDATE: Easily updated, all it takes is paint and maybe a little sanding to remove textures and give your rooms a light, clean update.
#3 Jacuzzi Tubs
OUTDATED: Another trend from the 90s that was seen as a symbol of luxury is the jacuzzi tub. Large soaking tubs with lots of jets, surround by candles and lots of bubbles were all the rage. (Think Julia Roberts singing in the tub in “Pretty in Pink.”)
UPDATE: In today’s eco-conscious world where homeowners want to maximize their space while minimizing their costs, these giants tubs that take up to 80 gallons of water need to go. Replacing these tubs with large standing showers with water-efficient shower heads and space for a built-in stool or wood bench is a small project that can give you big returns when you choose to sell your home.
#4 Plantation Shutters
OUTDATED: All the rage for homes throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, plantation shutters were seen as the ultimate in class and style for window treatments. But expensive and bulky plantation shutters are often hard to replace or repair as less people use them. They also cut out too much light for people today who want more light, air and a feeling of connecting to the outdoors.
UPDATE: Replace plantation shutters and let in the light. You can leave windows bare for a direct link to the outdoors or add a mix of shades and drapery to create the look you want. There are no rules and you can create any style or look by raising the height or changing the colors and patterns without too much expense.
#5 Yellow Oak Cabinets
OUTDATED: Last, but not least, are kitchens and bathrooms filled with yellow-toned oak cabinetry that home builders across the nation used by default a few decades ago.
UPDATE: Once again, there are no hard and fast rules for how your cabinetry looks and homeowners are mixing things up for style and functionality to fit their own lifestyles. Reclaimed woods, mixes of light and dark stains, floating shelves and neutral paint colors are all ways to update cabinets – and update your home.
If you’re looking for more ways to update your home, check out these articles:
- Interior Design Trends for 2019
- Luxury Real Estate Trends
- How to give outdated built-ins new life
- The secretly stylish home next door
- Turn your home into a place of relaxation
If you live in the Arlington, Virginia area and you’re ready to sell or learn more about how your home’s décor – both inside and out – can affect your experience, I’m here to help! Give me a call at 703-593-6320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home office décor can have just as much as effect on your work as getting the right technology set up. Here are a few tips and tricks that experienced entrepreneurs and telecommuters swear by to create a more pleasant, productive and business-boosting home office experience.
The best lighting for your home office
If you can’t see, you can’t work. OK, it’s a little more complicated than that, but let’s start with the idea that more natural light is better. For work in the office by day, open curtains or blinds and let light in. Be sure to arrange your desk and computer in a way to take advantage of natural light without affecting your ability to read your monitor.
If you tend to work when it’s dark outside, lighting in your home office should be adequate and layered. Just the light from your monitor is not enough and you’re bound to get headaches if you try to read by it. Place a few lamps in different positions and elevations around the office and be sure to have light that is behind you if you’re working on a computer during night hours.
Stylish surroundings that energize
Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean your office doesn’t deserve corporate-level comfort. Invest in ergonomic seating for your desk, but also splurge in a comfortable reading type chair for times when you want to read a book, go over a presentation, or just take a break with a cup of tea. Choose paint colors that make you feel energized. Add wall art and decorative items that fit your style and inspire creativity. If you can’t work without coffee or tea, splurge on a fancy setup so you can indulge without breaking your routine.
If you spend a lot of time in your home office, making sure the air you breathe is clean should be a top priority. Indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, VOCs, and carbon monoxide can cause headaches, fatigue, and brain fog – all productivity killers. Studies have shown however, that common houseplants work like nature’s air filters to absorb harmful gases and remove toxins from the air we breathe. Houseplants are inexpensive and easy to care for, so next time you are at a garden center, pick up a few of these proven air-cleaners for your home office: Rubber Plant, Boston Fern, Philodendron, Sansevieria (’Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’), Dracaena, Ficus or Spider Plants.
Work can be stressful, but the beauty of working from home is that you can take a quick break whenever you need it without feeling guilty. Create a relaxing space in your home office you can retreat to when you need to disconnect and recharge. Remember the comfy chair we talked about earlier? Settle in with a non-business-related book for 10 minutes. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of sustained reading can reduce stress by 68 percent. Or have a yoga mat rolled up in a corner you can pull out and use the next time you need to relax, refocus and refresh for whatever challenge comes next.
Set the Stage
If you have the space, try to dedicate a corner of your office as a studio for YouTube videos, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, tele-summits, conference calls and anything video so you don’t have to keep setting up and breaking down backdrops and lighting.
If you don’t have enough space to do this, think about setting up your main working area to be video friendly. Even though people in videos often look like their desks are floating in the middle of the room with sophisticated art and lots of room behind them, don’t be tempted to try this. Putting your desk that far out from a wall means you’ll have power-source dilemmas for your computer, lighting, etc. Instead, set your desk just far enough away from the wall to give it that floating look, hang some great art, but still be able to run cords and plug everything in. Be careful with your cords, of course, and incorporate safety covers, strips, or any solution that keeps them from being tripping hazards. Office supply stores have lots of great ideas for this.
You might also be surprised at one other thing that will benefit from having a desk that looks into a room – your eyes. Staring at a computer all day is stressful for hardworking eyes. By facing into a room, or even toward a window with a view, you can look up from the screen regularly and focus on objects at varying distances to help your eyes refocus and relax.
While Virginia may have its own unique style, interior design trends are fun to watch, and some might even inspire you for your own home. I’ve rounded up a list of the top trends experts say will be hot this year so you can see if anything catches your eye.
People here in Arlington, Virginia like to be on the cutting edge, so the smart home trend definitely will fit in. In 2019, smart homes will keep getting smarter with the addition of even more technology that allows you to control your environment and perform tasks just by using your voice. You’ll see smart faucets, fans, window coverings, mirrors and even smart toilets (yes, toilets!) that can all be voice-controlled. And technology like Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomePod will keep them all connected to increase the functionality of the modern home.
The “Etsy” Effect
Custom, handmade, crafted products will still be stylish in 2019 and used throughout homes to add a softer, more homey tone that offsets all the modern smart technology. Chunky hand-woven blankets, pillows, art and furniture made with natural material in soft neutral colors will be popular for bedrooms, living rooms, home offices and children’s rooms.
According to House Beautiful, bold accent walls in the bedroom are out, but softly textured wallpaper all around is in for 2019. Sticking to subtle textures and colors, using wallpapers in interesting patterns or inspired by nature will add a visual pop without overdoing it.
Another trend for 2019 that antiquing fans, pickers, and junkers will love is the design world embracing anything-goes for furniture throughout the home. No more buying all the furniture for your living room or bedroom at the same store so they all match. Designers are saying this is the year to choose furniture that you love and not worry about being all matchy-matchy. Mix up styles, use antiques next to contemporary pieces, and don’t be afraid to show off your personal style.
As winter moves along for us here in Virginia, it’s a great time to think about ways to freshen up your interior either using what you have – or getting out of the house and checking out what’s new in the showrooms. And no matter what, it’s always a good idea to stay true to your own personal style.