The Difference Between Feng Shui, Hygge, and Wabi Sabi

Did you know that the way you decorate your home can have a huge impact on your well-being? The right paint color can make you happy and the wrong one can make you feel down in the dumps. A clean design can foster feelings of calm and a cluttered design can make you feel panicked.

Sounds simple but complicated at the same time! How are you supposed to know how to decorate correctly? If you’re confused, don’t worry. There are a few ancient design practices that can guide you.

Feng shui, hygge, and wabi sabi are three philosophies that entail using certain design elements and arrangements to create a happy, healthy, and stress free home. Want to learn more about these ancient principles and what sets them apart? Read on to learn about the difference between feng shui, hygge, and wabi sabi and how all three can help you reimagine your home.

Feng Shui

This is the philosophy you’re likely the most familiar with. The aim of this ancient Chinese philosophy is to create balance and harmony between various elements. You may have heard people refer to feng shui as the “art of placement” before, because that’s exactly what it is. In feng shui, you meticulously place furniture and décor to create a positive energy known as Chi.

If you want to use feng shui in your home, the easiest place to start is with the bagua map. This map tells you exactly what element and color you should use in a space to accomplish your goals. The wood element and color green are connected to family, for example, and the metal element and color white are connected to creativity. You would use the former pair in a family home to promote good family relationships and the latter pair in a home studio or office to get your creative juices flowing.


Hygge is a Danish philosophy that embodies warmth and comfort. Its goal is to create a warm, comfortable home that makes you feel happy and safe. Turning your home into a hygge haven is easy. Incorporating neutral colors, warm materials like wool, cushy furniture, and dim, warm lighting in your design is key to creating a space where you feel at ease.

Wabi Sabi

If you love shopping at flea markets, you’ll love wabi sabi! Wabi sabi is a Japanese philosophy that emphasizes nature and the beauty and wisdom that comes with age. To create a wabi sabi space, incorporate organic textures like wood and wool and neutral and earthy tones. And instead of purchasing furniture and décor that’s brand-new, buy used and weathered items or lovingly refurbished ones. Don’t forget to make your home look lived-in, either. In wabi sabi, a little bit of clutter is okay! Unmade beds, wrinkled blankets, and shoes left by the door imbue a space with life.

Now that you know the difference between feng shui, hygge, and wabi sabi, you can choose the philosophy that best suits your home and lifestyle.

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Written by Leigh Ann Newman

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