6 Best Wabi-Sabi Home Renovations In Singapore That Prove That It’s The New “It” Trend Of The Year

2 November 2023 | BY

Get inspired to embrace the beauty of imperfection and natural simplicity in your living space with these wabi-sabi home renos.

In a world formerly dominated by sleek lines and flawless finishes, wabi-sabi is making its mark as 2023’s biggest interior design trend.

From limewashed surfacing and earthy micro cement and subtle curves everywhere, here are 7 of the best wabi-sabi renovations in Singapore that perfectly exemplify the trend and demonstrate why it has become the trend of the year.

Joo Seng Road – Modern wabi-sabi in a 4-room HDB flat

 Modern wabi-sabi flatImage credit: The Interior Lab

A prime example of modern wabi-sabi is this 4-room HDB flat in Joo Seng designed by The Interior Lab, which features a consistent muted beige palette of creamy beige surfaces with a lime wash finish and pops of dark wood. The homeowners opted for an open-concept home with glass partitions in place of walls for a more spacious look and feel.

 Modern wabi-sabi flatImage credit: The Interior Lab

While simple in design and functional in layout, the home exudes the rustic warmth of wabi-sabi through the thoughtful use of linen day curtains in the living room and study to bathe the home in more natural light and give the interior that soft, dreamy look.

Clementi Woods – Whimsical wabi-sabi condo reno

Whimsical wabi-sabi condoWe love how the wall-mounted TV and its protrusion, in addition to the rustic, minimal wood console, look very much like a modern “fireplace.”
Image credit: Uncommon

This home in Clementi Woods is a tranquil haven in a sea of urban chaos. While this second home on the list checks the wabi-sabi boxes of a muted, one-note colour palette and a limewash treatment for its many surfaces, the unconventional choice of furniture in the form of Baroque rococo-style dining chairs and set of vintage chandeliers throw a whimsical twist into the home’s otherwise modern design.

Whimsical wabi-sabi condoImage credit: Uncommon

In perhaps a move to create more contrast and depth, the master bathroom is bathed in a coat of dusty rose limewash. The scalloped wall sconce, delicate marble sink and the addition of lush plants also work wonders to give the bathroom that spa ambience.

Whimsical wabi-sabi condoImage credit: Uncommon

What’s interesting here is that every living space, from the living area to the bathroom, sports a different vibe and gives you a heavy dose of rustic whimsy. Home – Resort-esque wabi-sabi

Curves truly take centre stage in this HDB flat that boasts organic lines in every direction you look, from its circular accent false ceiling in the living room to the doorways and windows. 

What we love about this renovation has to be the measured use of limewash to add depth and texture whilst incorporating other upholstery textures and natural elements such as rattan and pampas grass to make this HDB truly look like a resort.

Resort-esque wabi-sabiImage credit: Home

When they decided to add structural dividers, the homeowners went with pocket doors, a far more versatile option that allows the space to be opened up or closed while saving space. Arches and curves throughout the home add a softness and tie together otherwise disparate spaces. 

Museion Botanica – Modern “rough” wabi-sabi

Modern “rough” wabi-sabiImage credit: Studio Metanoia

Breaking the light, muted colour palettes of the previous few wabi-sabi renovations is this ground-floor condo designed by Studio Metanoia that shows us a well-executed “rough” wabi-sabi that puts forth a darker take on this popular interior trend.

Modern “rough” wabi-sabiImage credit: Studio Metanoia

The bathrooms in the home, in particular, are solid proof that you don’t need a lot of fancy materials or fixtures to make your home look spectacular. Microcement takes centre stage here, with most of the master and secondary bathrooms featuring the unique material in abundance. 

The subtle screed finish and the earthy tint of it blur the lines between natural and man-made and give us the overwhelming feeling of being in a raw, natural environment. We’re not discounting those twin “stone” bathroom vanities, either.

Modern “rough” wabi-sabiImage credit: Studio Metanoia

The dark earthy tones in the rest of the home further the sense of nature, while the soft organic forms around the home inject the home with a sense of rustic quirkiness.

944 Tampines – Wabi-sabi “desert” maisonette

Wabi-sabi “desert” maisonetteImage credit: Oblivion Lab

At 1,345 sqft, this home in Tampines is already fairly large for an HDB, but its open design and use of Wabi Sabi-inspired elements further amplify the space, creating an expansive, spacious effect. In the living room, the use of blinds as opposed to curtains preserves privacy while allowing light to filter into the home, casting a gentle glow on the room. 

Wabi-sabi “desert” maisonetteImage credit: Oblivion Lab

Meanwhile, the inclusion of Japanese ornamental plants like bonsai helps to subtly incorporate elements of nature whilst adding a pop of colour, which contrasts against the muted tones of the marble countertop, limewash walls, and muted marble in the kitchen. 

Wabi-sabi “desert” maisonetteImage credit: Oblivion Lab

In the private quarters of the home, the owners went for more ambient lighting as opposed to harsh, fluorescent overhead lighting, offering a glow of softness to the rooms. The lights also align with Japanese design style – resembling traditional oriental lanterns – tying into the home’s wabi-sabi theme.

East Coast condo – Aesop store wabi-sabi

Aesop store wabi-sabiImage credit: Ovon Design

At first glance, this East Coast condo looks exactly like an Aesop store. But despite what its interior may suggest, the space is actually a 3-room condo in Marine Vista

Aesop store wabi-sabiImage credit: Ovon Design

Warm lighting casts a gentle glow on the home, while the curves of the walls, dining set, and built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinets further this sense of softness. The wabi-sabi theme doesn’t end in the common areas, as the bathroom includes the familiar limewash of the living space.

Yet, unlike the living area, the bathroom lacks distinct curves and is, instead, marked by sharp, crisp edges and clean lines. This creates a visual distinction between the spaces while maintaining the theming throughout the home.  

Best wabi-sabi home renovations in Singapore

Unlike other design styles that require intensive overhauls and serious renovations, wabi-sabi encourages homeowners to embrace their homes’ natural imperfections and enhance them rather than hide them, as illustrated through these homes.

Whether you’re still deciding if wabi-sabi is the theme for you or just preparing ideas for your future home, hopefully, these wabi-sabi homes will inspire other homeowners to seek out the simple and the imperfect.

For more, check out:

Cover image adapted from: Home, Oblivion Lab, Studio Metanoia, Ovon Design

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

More In...