In interior design, feng shui and minimalism are coexistent concepts. They are not the same, but they are pursuant of the same objectives, the creation of a comfortable, livable space.
Taking a moment to consider the goal, impact and appeal of the two interior design concepts will make it simple to understand how the two efforts not only can coexist, but are vital to the completion of each other’s mission.
Feng shui is the Chinese law of energy derived from the proper alignment of physical elements in a space. The goal is balance and harmony between a person and their environment.
While “harmony’’ is the goal in feng shui applications, it is “balance” that creates the harmony. The balance comes from understanding the expanse and limitations of the space involved, then placing physical elements within that space that enhance the impact of each other piece within that space.
Thus comes the balance.
Think of a stack of pennies. The more pennies you place upon the stack, the more difficult the balance becomes.
The same is true of feng shui. Balance requires at least two elements, and each additional element adds to the challenge of maintaining balance. Therefore, while feng shui encourages limiting physical elements out of the requirement of maintaining that balance, the art comes from being able to add an element without upsetting the balance.
The application of feng shui is NOT driven by symmetry, but there is a coexistent thought there as well. Symmetry requires equal and identical use of space on two sides; feng shui requires a balance of elements within a space.
No one who practices feng shui in their interior design will argue against minimalism. “Less is more”’ plays into the application of feng shui just as it is the guiding principle of minimalism.
Minimalism is the goal of creating a space that includes only the essentials and leaves wide swaths of open space. Minimalism aims at reducing visual stimulation by concentrating on monochromatic design. Minimalism designs allow for limited and functional furniture, limited and uncomplicated wall coverings and smooth paths from one side of the room to the other.
Minimalism provides the same joy that comes from drastically cleaning out an office, bedroom or closet. Leaving only that which is necessary creates a sense of freedom within a person’ spirit. The heart opens wide when entering a room uncluttered with unnecessary stuff.
Feng Shui and Minimalism
To consider the impact of feng shui and minimalism working together in interior design, let’s first consider how they differ.
To the space occupant, feng shui is almost entirely subconscious in its effect. Harmony is not something that one can see; it is a characteristic of space that one feels. A room with proper feng shui feels balanced so that the occupant can live in the space without the fear of upsetting the sense of contentment that exists due to the room design.
Minimalism has a visual effect that is consciously absorbed while providing another element of calm within the subconscious. Put simply, one can “see” minimalism in a design, while feng shui is only “felt”.
Think of a room overcrowded with furniture, plants, bookshelves, lamps, tables and all of the items that sit upon or within those surfaces. Our first words to describe such a room is “busy”. The goal of interior design for a comforting living space is to take away the “busy’’ that comes with everyday work life and replace it with a calm that comes from fewer items to live with (minimalism) and every item being in its proper place in relation to the other items in the space (feng shui).
Feng shui and minimalism are the coexistent components that make a living space livable.