In today’s connected world, lifestyle trends are going around faster than ever. Interior design has embraced the Danish hygge to create sacred spaces in a home, as well as the Swedish lagom as a more mindful approach to interiors.
Ikigai from Japan is the latest lifestyle concept to pervade the design realm. From choosing a colour scheme to purchasing furniture for bedrooms and living rooms, it influences how spaces look for better living.
What is Ikigai?
Even if you look it up online, there is no literal English translation for the concept for ikigai. The word is roughly explained as your reason for being or ‘the reason you get up in the morning’.
According to the book ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’, discovering ikigai means figuring out your passion, learning how it overlaps with your skillset, and knowing how it can be applied to make a living. The concept is illustrated in a Venn diagram where these four features overlap.
With ikigai, stress reduces when work and passion overlap. Since it’s your calling, the challenging tasks and the long hours at work are something you look forward to. This results in following your passion in a way that leads to actionable results.
Ikigai and Interior Design
How does finding your passion relate to interior design? According to Tim Tamashiro, author of ‘How to Ikigai: Lessons for Finding Happiness and Living Your Life’s Purpose’, ikigai is about mindfulness and attention to beauty and functionality.
Purpose of the Space
The key to a well-designed space, using ikigai, is by incorporating elements of your passion in the space. If you love cooking, the focus, naturally, is to make your kitchen easy-to-use and inviting. If your job entails you to work from home, your home office – or wherever your work area will be – has to encourage you to be productive.
Focus on Quality
It goes without saying that quality matters when it comes to furniture. The pieces that fit in your home must be functional but also enjoyable. Opt to purchase furniture from reliable manufacturers, and make sure they match your lifestyle. If you have kids or pets, stick with dark colours and stain-resistant fabrics.
Ikigai is about being reminded of your passion, so let your personality shine through. Add artwork, knick-knacks and other nostalgic and valuable items in your rooms.
Although ikigai is about showing your passion, don’t overdo the design. This can lead to a cluttered space, which causes discomfort, distractions and stress. To take a leaf from the concept of minimalism, select the most valuable items to display.
Your living space should encourage you to pursue your passion. According to New York designer David Scott, the ideal colour for rooms that inspire creativity is orange, which is a warm, stimulating and happy colour. Of course, the colour scheme depends on the purpose of the room: use blue if the room is meant for relaxation and purple for wisdom. Don’t use the brightest or darkest tones, and mix them with neutrals like black, white and grey for balance.
Passion and purpose intersect when following the Japanese concept of ikigai. When incorporating the concept into your home design, the key to success is identifying your purpose, then combining it with beauty and function.