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Perfectly Imperfect

Last year, I wrote about the concept of wabi-sabi.

A brief definition:

Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature….It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all.

At the time that I wrote about this, I was spending the summer at my family’s cottage and I was inspired and transformed by seeing around me all the beauty that cottage living brings. It’s simple, basic, no-frills, imperfect living. There are dents in the heirloom furniture, scuffs on the floors, things mismatch all around the cottage.

Perfectly Imperfect

I resolved when I left there to come to my year round home, that I wanted to infuse that same inspiration into my home. I wasn’t going to walk around denting furniture or purposefully wearing things out, but I was going to appreciate my home for all it is and all of it’s imperfections. There are so many benefits of embracing imperfection at home.

Perfectly Imperfect

If you are willing to see the beauty in imperfection, it’s immediately possible to be more gracious of yourself and your flaws. If you can let the little things go, see the every day wear and tear of living an authentic life at home and your house shows it, you’re setting the tone for how others see you and how you see yourself – as comfortable, real and perfectly imperfect.

We all know nobody is perfect, but it’s easier to see when you are willing to not only show it and admit it but to embrace it about yourself. If you love your home for all of it’s imperfections, so will others. Everyone wants a comfortable place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea with a friend or curled up with a loved one watching a movie while eating popcorn. Making a home comfortable and inviting is far more important than making it perfect.

Perfectly Imperfect

Another benefit to embracing imperfection in your home is that it opens doors to showcase wabi-sabi. Pick up items from flea markets, thrift stores, or yard sales and show off their time worn authentic imperfection with pride – in how beautiful they are and in not spending an arm and a leg for them.

Allow yourself to enjoy your home not in spite of it’s quirks and flaws but because of them. A home is for enjoying, living, loving, laughing. And all of those things are easier when you’re easier on yourself and love where you live for being perfectly imperfect.

Photo credits:
Country Living
Country Home
Remodeling This Life


Emily blogs at Remodeling This Life about simple and frugal living. She downsized her life to move across the country and buy a fixer-upper with her husband, two kids, and two dogs. Emily loves writing, running and eating ice cream. Sometimes she doesn’t leave any for anyone else.

Check out the guest post today over at my sweet friend Nester’s Nesting PlaceRemodeling Guy will be visiting The Inspired Room next week!


  1. teresa

    Most of the items in my home have had another life before they were mine- I love the since of history they give my house. Love the pictures you shared, thanks for a great post.
    Have a wonderful day.

    teresas inspiring blog post..Joy on his Face-

  2. Remodeling Guy

    Wabi-Sabi – I ought to be able to remember that! I completely agree with the concept and now I know it has a name! To be honest, though, if I bump a piece of furniture…I’m hauling butt to another part of the house to try and look innocent. What dent?

    Remodeling Guy

    Remodeling Guys inspiring blog post..Out of the Office – Guest Post at Nesting Place!!!

  3. Vee

    Oh is this why I’ve always loved the family cottage? Heirlooms that truly are antiques with all the vintage clothing and vintage fishing gear and vintage dishes…lovely post and I’ll be visiting Emily on her own blog. Thanks, Melissa!

    Vees inspiring blog post..Snow Day

  4. Jennifer

    That’s a great post! I love the photo with all the mirrors on the staircase!

    Jennifers inspiring blog post..Spring…Please

  5. Jessica Washburn

    I always love the photos you post, they’re beautiful and inspiring (guess you picked the right name for your blog).

  6. LuLu

    Well loved home! A home with family, pets (scratches on the floor because of there nails) the whole package… mismatched furniture love it! thanks for the beautiful pictures!!! I am snowed in today so I am in the mood to play in my home….

    LuLus inspiring blog post..Daydreaming Kind Of Day….

  7. Stacey

    I love this post. Accepting imperfections is pretty hard for me. With boys and dogs they are part of life, though. My husband says to consider the scratches and dents to be, “part of the story of our lives.” I remind myself of this all the time.

    Staceys inspiring blog post..Return of the Ice Age

  8. jen

    Melissa – thanks for introducing us to Emily…hoping you can see out from under your boxes this week. :)

    jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlams inspiring blog post..McDonald’s shares frugal delights

  9. Tidymom

    This is why I love all my distressed furniture! LOL

    Great post Emily!!


    Tidymoms inspiring blog post..Mod Podge Frame tutorial

  10. tami

    Love the post! Sometimes I get furnituritis and get it bad. Then I use the leather cleaner and bank the money saved for trip with our guys. Teen guys will remember and care more about memories made in Hawaii than if Mom got a new sofa.

    tamis inspiring blog post..Seattle Gift Show 2009

  11. Pretty Organizer

    I gues I’m the wabi-sabi guru. Everything in my house is imperfect and I love it. Sure we’re working on things bits and pieces at a time but it seems that as soon as we get one item in ship shape, something else falls into disrepair. I have screws through my rocking chair, an old desk with finish that flakes off (which I love so much I don’t want to refinish it), the initials of my children carved on my piano keys… no not by me and not with permission, and a kitchen table with dents and chips in the finish… it was the table my husband grew up with…. and I love them all. Well stated Emily. Thanks for a great post!

    Pretty Organizers inspiring blog post..The Importance of the Master Bedroom

  12. Tara

    I love this idea. I used to want things perfect and when my child was born I decided the scratches on the table and the floor just add charm, I embraced them! Alot of the things in my home are from vintage and antique stores I love the charm they create! Great advice.

    Taras inspiring blog post..Monkey Diaries~

  13. Lazy Mom Leslie

    Perfectly imperfect is such a fabulous attitude! We all get hung up on acheiving whatever our idea of “perfect” is. We miss the joy and fabulous things happening all around us because our home is not perfect in our own mind. The laundry isn’t all done (is it ever?) the beds aren’t perfectly made, there is a stack of papers on the counter. Let it go! Your children will remember that you spent time with them not that your countertops were perfectly clean and the walls were never scuffed! It’s OK to be a Lazy Mom!

  14. Gennaro

    Beautiful concept. The most beautiful things are those that are natural and that has a sense of inperfection. When too highly polished, some appeal is lost.

    Gennaros inspiring blog post..A Travel Picnic To Die For

  15. Valerie

    Wabi-Sabi. I love it and never knew it actually had a name.

    And I love this quote: “Allow yourself to enjoy your home not in spite of its quirks and flaws but because of them.”

  16. Helen

    What a great post today … photos are all beautiful, especially the first one which I just sat and studied for a long time.

    Helens inspiring blog post..No Feelin’ Blue Today!

  17. Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall

    In addition to the gorgeous photos, very inspiring post!

  18. Moi

    I think you make a fabulous point. I am an interior designer and people expect my house to be amazing – and I hope it is, but what is hope to me is comfortable, clean, organized but homey and warm. That can definitely mean naturally antiqued furniture and some thrift store finds. what a great post!

    Mois inspiring blog post..Compliments and ants invading my desk

  19. jenjen

    I love that term – wabi sabi! What a beautiful concept. I love things that are old and have a story. I think space that is too perfect is unappealing – I’d rather surround myself with things that have meaning.

    Thank you!


    jenjens inspiring blog post..

  20. Melissa

    I just wanted to say I love your blog! I haven’t commented yet but this is one of my favorites posts so far :) I always joke that imperfect is the new perfect and imperfections are just charming details :)

    Melissas inspiring blog post..A Snowy Sunset

  21. Brianna

    You know what would look beautiful in that living room? I light, dusky blue afghan just lovingly draped over the sofa or one of the chairs….

    Briannas inspiring blog post..Camisole Inspiration

  22. blessedmama

    I wish I could make my imperfect things look soooo good! I am still collecting things that I love, warts and all.

  23. Misti

    I love all of that floor to ceiling goodness! Wabi-sabi hmmmmm…

    Misti @ Studio M Designss inspiring blog post..A Peek into the Master Bath

  24. Toni

    Wow, I must comment on this post! We built a house about 7 years ago and lived in it for 5 years. Because of a job change, we sold and moved into something smaller and OLDER. Like, 80 years old. I was enamoured by the quirks and the possibilities, but soon after moving in, the perfectionist in me battled with the adjustment from “perfectly new” to so imperfect and old. Once I “made peace” with the house, I’ve found that I am so much happier here and I realized the reason is because it is not perfect. Now, I know you’ve just moved into a “newer” house and I’m glad I had the opportunity to live in one, but I don’t think I would ever build again…..and I work for a builder!
    (have I already shared this on your site?)
    Love your blog!

  25. The Summer Kitchen Girls

    Ohhhh… we love the fireplace….the mirrors, the chipping & the garden elements!
    What a great post!

    The Summer Kitchen Girlss inspiring blog post..Wednesday Words

  26. Robin

    I love things that are chippy and dented….they always have a story to tell.

    I know it’s been a while since I commented..although I do pop in and lurk from time to time!

    Robins inspiring blog post..Back to The Future

  27. Kim

    I love distressed cabinets and furniture! I even paint things and sand them to get that special look. Thanks for your post!

    Kim @ Forever Wherevers inspiring blog post..Sweet, Sweet Valentine!

  28. Pearl Maple

    Thank you for sharing the simple joys of Wabi-Sabi. Very timely for me, after years of thinking can’t wait till i get to move on from this house full of flaws and lizards, suddenly somewhere in the middle of packing have started to think about all the things i am going to miss.

    (Not the lizards wandering through the kitchen)

    Pearl Maples inspiring blog post..Sky Watch Friday

  29. Barbara

    I need to work on this ;) I’m never happy with my decor!

    Barbaras inspiring blog post..Farewell Domino

  30. Grimalkin

    An important lesson I’ve learned is to choose furniture that ages well. That sleek black coffee table from Ikea looks great when it’s new, but the slightest scratch glares in a very unflattering way. A solid wood table, on the other hand, looks all the more beautiful when it starts to wear and scratch.

    So when I look for furniture, I look based on how an item will look after ten years of wear rather than how nice it looks while it’s new.



  1. The Lopsided Cakes are Delicious Too Edition of Mr. Linky - [...] my wabi-sabi down (if you think I am talking about takeout food or the latest dance move, click here…

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