Achieving Wellness: Feng Shui & Kanso Interiors

November 4, 2020
Mavis Zhou

When it comes to building and organising homes, more and more people are looking to the philosophies of the East for inspiration. Feng shui is one of the most well-known formulas out there for a happy home built upon good energy.

Look to Japan, and there is kanso, often dubbed the ‘Japanese feng shui’, which is rooted in simplicity and zen. When creating your ideal space, it’s essential to understand what you want from it. Both feng shui and kanso can provide different means of creating an area that serves you best. While the two may have intersecting ideas about what is best for the home, here’s how they differ.

What Is Feng Shui?

Some may call it pseudoscience others view it as more practical, Feng shui’s philosophy is rooted in the theory that your home design can affect your energy. It literally translates to wind and water, which are two critical flowing elements on earth.The principle of feng shui is centred around balancing all five elements of the world; each element is said to attract different energies and is represented through colours. 

- Fire is naturally associated with red and corresponds with passion and illumination. 

- Water comes in the form of black and is known for its ebbing and shifting qualities.

- Wood comes in the form of green and blue, it is known for its expansiveness.

- Metal is white and is known for its beauty and adeptness. 

- Earth is in the shade of brown, orange or yellow and is known for its grounding and stabilising spirit. 

By having these elements in your home, in just the right places, good energy will be abundant. The practice of feng shui often requires in-depth knowledge and can be complicated; however, at its core, it encourages people to create a life that is fulfilling and has a balance of energy.

Looking for more information on how to achieve feng shui at home? Explore our fundamental guide to feng shui with nine changes you can make today.


What Is Kanso?

Kanso means simplicity, and that’s precisely what it aims to achieve with your home. It is modelled after the seven principles of zen.

Fukinsei which embraces asymmetry

Seijaku which favours silence 

Shizen embraces naturalness 

Koko invites austerity 

Datsuzoku speaks to the freedom from worldly attachments. 

Yugen which builds insightfulness 

With theses even words in mind, you can picture a place that is free from ornate trimmings, heavy patterns and brash colours. It focuses on restraint for over-consuming and finding joy in simple things. It encourages you to build your home with a purpose. This concept is part of a set of ancient ideals that include wabi-sabi, which embodies transient beauty, an appreciation of nature and imperfections. It is an important life lesson that has been translated into modern home principles and even fashion.


3 Ways to Achieve Feng Shui

The Commanding Position

This should be applied to the main object of any given space. Feng shui places a great emphasis on the bed, desk and stove; however, it can be applied to any significant piece of furniture within a room. The idea is to position these pieces facing the door, without it directly being in line with it.

The commanding position is said to put you in a place of control in your life.

Let Your Stairs Know You Care

The staircase is one of the essential components within feng shui. It is a source of good energy and requires some attention. To maximise on good energy, place a picture at the bottom of the staircase, as well as lights. This is to create balance, a moment for pause and to keep the good energy flowing slowly.

Don’t Flush Your Money Away

Feng shui dictates that you always keep your bathroom doors closed. While you might think this is hygiene-related, it has to do with money. The bathroom naturally makes you think flushing, and in feng shui water is related to wealth. It is said that keeping your bathroom door closed as well as the seat down will help stop your wealth going down the drain. A plant in this room also helps maintain good energy as it ‘soaks up the water’ around it.


3 Ways To Achieve Kanso

Stick To The Essentials

Kanso calls for the elimination of non-essential items. It may seem strict, and it can be a little cutthroat. It encourages you to leave behind anything that doesn’t serve you every day. This includes things that may even have some sentimental value like souvenirs or decorative items that were gifted to you over the years. In the end, you’re left with only the bare essentials that serve you best. The purpose of this is to create a home that is calming and allows you space to breathe.

Nothing Lasts Forever

Kanso allows you to be more reflective of your surroundings; it asks you to appreciate the things within your home and acknowledge that they may not be around forever.Your favourite armchair will serve you well, but after a decade and a half, it may have a few tears and have broken down completely. Kanso encourages you to appreciate the beauty in the breakdown, but ultimately when the time has come, to let go.

Design Purposefully

Are you one to host cocktail parties in your garden? Do your kids use the garden to play daily? Or is your garden a space for respite? Kanso encourages you to design by routine. Creating a space modelled around your activities means you’ll get the most out of it. That might manifest in chairs, storage, layout or even lighting. Feng shui also embraces this concept, encouraging people to understand the function of the room first, before designing it accordingly.

Whether you’re looking to implement a slice of feng shui or fully commit to kanso at home, remember both are rooted in what works best for your happiness. They champion a more reflective approach to home design with a pinch of practical organisation tips. Taking a note or two from either philosophy and marrying them together can serve you equally as well.

Feng shui is one of the most well-known formulas out there for a happy home built upon good energy.