Feng Shui, Wabi-Sabi, Astrology: How Spiritual Concepts Find Their Home In Interior Design
Every project that people pursue becomes more and more personal these days. They have begun to incorporate their own identity, mood, and faith in many avenues of life. Of course, daily routines and immediate environment would fall among these avenues — that’s why we surround ourselves with things that make us feel good and mentally healthy.
Before, interior design was traditionally based on specific styles and techniques: modernism, minimalism, industrialism, suburban, to name a few. But more people began to value meaning over conventions, and more personally driven trends — most of which involve wellness and spirituality — began to capture peoples’ interests.
“Our spaces matter. Our homes, communities, and surrounding environment directly affect our daily motivations,” said interior designer Gala Magriñá, a founder of her own New York-based design agency. “As I’ve evolved throughout my life, it has become clear to me that so much more exists beyond the physical world.”
For holistic interior designers like Magriñá, there is more to a space than function and beauty. The “energy of the space,” moods and feelings, sustainability and natural elements, and the reconnection of oneself to their value system began to weigh as heavy as the basics.
Spiritually Charged Interior Styles
There are many ways spirituality can be imbued in spaces — and this goes beyond just aesthetic embellishments. Sometimes, space itself reflects and expresses a certain philosophy.
While more holistic styles are increasingly becoming popular, this doesn’t mean that the concept is new. In many cultures and belief systems, spirituality has always been at the forefront of activities — including homes and places of worship.
The ancient practice of feng shui involves the idea of energy forces affecting the balance and harmony of an individual with their surroundings. To achieve this, objects are carefully and prudently arranged within a space.
The Chinese words feng shui translates to “the way of the wind and water,” which references a Taoist poem that discusses the innate relationship between life and nature.
There are a lot of rules and tenets to keep in mind in this principle. For instance, the placement of objects is vital in keeping “good” feng shui, which will not only achieve balance but also bring good fortune to a household.
Feng shui makes use of several defining symbols and imagery, all of which hold incredible cultural significance. Some of these include:
- The yin and yang symbol, which is the ultimate representation of balance.
- The Bagua, an octagonal mirror — sometimes referred to as an amulet of sorts — serves as a powerful force of harnessing and activating energy, as well as providing protection against negative chi.
- The eternal knot, also called the “endless knot,” embodies the ideas of perpetuity and spiritual interconnectedness.
- The color red, a symbol of auspiciousness and prosperity. As such, filling the space with reds — as minimally or generously — would invite these into one’s home.
Rooted in Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi involves finding ultimate beauty in imperfection. Spaces that follow this Japanese principle are generally open, minimalistic, and oriented towards the natural environment.
In fact, wabi-sabi in itself is less of an aesthetic style than it is a philosophy. The goal is to not beautify the space or engage the senses — the goal is to allow the individual to connect with the essence and forces of nature.
To Zen practitioners, this is only found in a state of emptiness and unawareness. This is why wabi-sabi places are essentially minimalistic and simple: The less clutter and more natural elements there are, the more spiritual the space becomes.
Other Faith-Based Concepts to Take Inspiration From
Spiritual interior design involves more than just integrating philosophies in a home. Sometimes, expressions of values and wellness can translate as “holistic” just as equally as feng shui and wabi-sabi. Depending on your belief system, here are other aspects of spirituality you can take visual inspiration from.
Renaissance and Classical Elements
For Christians, nothing is quite as iconic as Renaissance and Classical art. From the frescoes of Michelangelo to the chiaroscuro paintings of the (non-religious) Caravaggio, the religious art within these periods remain the most recognizable.
Of course, Renaissance architecture is typically ostentatious, and perhaps not well-suited for most homes in the modern era. But it’s still a great style that could exude and reflect a healthy vibe of modern Christian faith. The trick is to find aesthetic balance.
One of the easiest ways to do this would be to display Renaissance-inspired contemporary religious art. This ranges from small sculptures to place atop surfaces to full-fledged gallery walls.
Many artists are still inspired by elements of classical art: cherubs inspired by the works of Raphael still make appearances in contemporary pieces. Take, for instance, Morysetta’s ‘Cherubian Headache’ — which directly incorporates elements from Renaissance masterpieces (such as Sandro Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’, produced in 1490).
Another piece that explores this classical and contemporary dichotomy would be ‘My Fortress’, which is inspired by one of Shakespeare’s great sonnets. The artist, Cult of the Self, describes Renaissance as “an epitome of art, even to this day.”
For a more graphic option, ‘Angels & Demons’ by Mason El Hage would do the trick perfectly. He said of his piece: “Bringing modern and contemporary compositional elements, and mixing those with the engravings I’d found [online] seemed like it could end up having quite a powerful and striking contrast.”
Check out more contemporary religious wall art here.
Astrology and Other Esoteric Beliefs
A more open source of spirituality in today’s age, unsurprisingly, comes from people’s perpetual fascination with the cosmos. Astrology has always been followed by many cultures, and the belief system is becoming more popular than ever these days.
Many artists depict these ideas in their artwork — the topic of esoteric belief systems is almost becoming a genre of its own. But aside from framed wall art and paintings, more decorative pieces that involve new age spirituality could be found in all aspects of nature.
Crystals, for instance, do not only make beautiful decorations in a room — they are also believed to be incredibly meaningful. It is considered to be one of the easiest ways to uplift and foster the “energy” of a space. Of course, different kinds and colors hold different meanings as well:
- Clear crystal, sometimes called “the master healer,” is considered the most potent healing crystal. It also represents spiritual clarity and balance.
- Rose quartz is often associated with genuine, unconditional love. For those who seek harmony in relationships — in both romantic and platonic sense — this is something to display and value.
- Smoky quartz is typically used to clear out stagnant negative energy. The presence of this crystal is believed to help a space emit more positivity.
Scents can also help in making a space exude more spirituality, so consider putting incense, reed diffusers, and essential oils in the room as well.
Let Your Spiritual Space Speak For Itself
Making a decision on how to incorporate holistic philosophies and spirituality in your space should be grounded on one vital thing: your intuition. Ask yourself: What mood should this space exude? What feels the most right for me?
And when you get that answer, turn your home into a holistic space and let others bask in it. Spirituality becomes infinitely more meaningful when they are shared with others. Your home, of course, is an incredible start for that.