The term Feng Shui is often bantered around when people are talking about their home decor. You hear it all the time, and I’m finding that often the comments are more scoffing or jokey than complimentary or inspiring. But should they be?
Simply put, Feng Shui is a philosophy of attracting positivity to our lives not just through our mind and body, but also through our surroundings. It is also quite detailed in the sense that there are strategies within Feng Shui to draw the things into our lives that we desire. Things like love, prosperity, luck, success and even money.
Feng Shui translated means Wind Water, and is based on the idea that our Chi (which means energy) is connected to the Chi that exists in our environment, and that if we design our home in a certain way, we will allow our own energy and the energy around us to flow in a harmonious way. The question is, is this a post in the Home Decor category, or the Wellness one? Well, it’s really both. The more harmonious our life is, the better it is for our health.
Here’s four general, but important, Feng Shui points that I find particularly interesting:
Feng Shui is an all or nothin’ deal. If you really want to benefit from it, every area in the home must be “Feng Shuied”, or the rooms that are not will still possess negative energy, and that negative energy will eventually invade the areas that have been designed in Feng Shui.
Feng Shui concept comprises five elements, (wood, fire, earth, metal and water), and the use of all five of these elements in each space creates a sense of balance and harmony as long a they are positioned properly. I actually think this is a good rule of thumb for any kind of decorating, because I am a huge fan of varied textures and and ideas.
Mirrors can be used in Feng Shui, but must be very strategically placed, because they can reflect the flow of energy, and move it out of the room instead of keeping it in.
If it is love you are seeking, place decorative items in pairs, in all areas of your home.
Let’s explore some ideas, room by room.
1. Your Main Home Entrance
According to experts, the home entry way is one of the most important areas in the Feng Shui philosophy, because it is through this “portal” that all of the Chi comes into our home, and we want this energy to be positive. This is also the point at which people are “invited” into our homes, so the space should be warm and welcoming.
The door itself should be attractive, in good repair and unhindered, so that energy can flow smoothly through it once opened, with no barriers. This includes the walkway leading to our home as well. It should be kept clear of leaves, debris, and even snow in the colder months. An interesting thing to note is that many western Feng Shui experts suggest that having a red door will bring peace and harmony …. and a black door? …. money.
Once inside, the foyer as well should be uncluttered/organized and welcoming. Any artwork should be calming and invoke a positive vibe … meaning a photo of your great Aunt Mildred who you despise is probably not the best choice!
If the foyer is small or dark, a mirror on a side wall is a good idea to make the space feel larger, but don’t place a mirror on the wall directly across from the door. Apparently this makes all of the positive energy turn right around and leave!
Another idea to ensure the space is welcoming is to make sure there is adequate lighting, and if none is wired in, put a lamp on a side table or shelf. The muted light from the lamp will add to the “cozy” feel.
2. Living Room
The Feng Shui guidelines for a living room are similar to the foyer, but a little more strict.
As with the foyer, the living room should be uncluttered, welcoming and open.
Here’s where it gets a bit specific though. The sofa should be fully against a wall, and not in the centre of a room (I’ve been known on many occasions to use a couch lengthwise as a separation between two rooms – I guess this is a no-no.)
Placing the sofa against the wall is supposed to ensure protection and stability for the occupants of the home, and in fact, all larger pieces of living room furniture should hug a wall so that there is open space in the room and the flow of energy will not be restricted by having to go around them.
Another “sofa rule” is that it should be placed on a wall facing the entrance to the room so that those sitting on the sofa will not be surprised by people coming up behind them, or miss positive opportunities that may come into their life.
Some other basic rules are to use round or oval tables and side pieces instead of those with sharp corners, because the energy will flow easier around them. Also, make sure there is a lot of light in the room, so if this doesn’t come from the outside, make sure there are adequate lamps and/or lighting in the room.
The kitchen is a tough one, because it isn’t easy to apply many of the rules of Feng Shui unless you are building a home from the ground up or doing a kitchen reno. Some of these include making sure the sink and main meal prep area are facing the entrance door to the kitchen (same principle as with the sofa in the living room), or, making sure the fridge and sink are positioned at least 18 inches away from the stove, or how ’bout this one, make sure the kitchen is not situated below or adjacent to a bathroom or bedroom in the layout of the home (apparently the elements clash for these last two points).
But, there are some that we can manage if we don’t have reno money. The kitchen should be uncluttered and warm and welcoming with a lot of bright lighting, preferably natural (resounding Feng Shui requirements in any room clearly). Also, the smaller appliances and gadgets that are not used on a regular basis, aka, every day, should be stowed safely and neatly inside the kitchen cabinets. This unfortunately includes fridge magnets. I guess my Feng Shui lifestyle is in jeopardy, because I have magnets from every major place I’ve visited and many from my children’s school days on the front of my fridge!
Other rules for the kitchen include making sure all kitchen items are in good repair (no broken toasters here!), and replace any broken or chipped dishes (items in need of repair create negative energy). Also, as with the living room, furniture should be rounded instead of square, and keep your recycling out of sight and your pantry and fridge neat but well-stocked as a reflection of abundance.
When you think about it, we spend 1/3 of our life in our bedroom, and in particular, in our bed, so this is a pretty important room in our home, and the Feng Shui philosophy thinks so too.
One of the most important strategies, is to make sure your bed has a strong, solid headboard, and a strong mattress, as these will provide support and stability to anyone who sleeps there. Another interesting rule is to always have a bedside table on each side of the bed for harmony and symmetry, and also so that the bed will never be directly against a wall. And, of course, the room should be decluttered so that energy can flow smoothly and access both sides of the bed.
Here’s something interesting too, closet doors and the main door should always be closed a night, so that the energy will stay in the confines of the room so we can benefit from it. Also, the room should be decorated with calming colours and artwork to promote a feeling of winding down for the night.
Another important thing is that TVs and exercise equipment do not have a home in the bedroom, according to Feng Shui. They convey too much of a feeling of work and stress and the bedroom should only convey relaxation and calm. Oh-oh, guilty on both counts, I guess I’ve got some work to do … um, but not in the bedroom apparently.
The bathroom is unique in the Feng Shui philosophy because of the unfortunate fact that this room tends to be a germ collector, and germs can turn positive energy into negative. So, as per usual, clutter is a no-no, and regular cleaning is very important. In fact, it is recommended that the bathroom not have a wastebasket, and that garbage is taken to another room to be disposed of, and not left in the bathroom.
Another thing unique to the bathroom is, of course, the toilet, and it causes all sorts of Feng Shui challenges. If possible, the toilet should be cut off from the rest of the bathroom either by a small curtain or faux wall (if you can’t build a permanent one).
Also, always put the toilet seat down after using, so that the positive Chi in the room doesn’t get flushed away. This also goes for the sink and the tub drains as well. Make sure the plugs are left in after use lest your good energy goes … well, ya know, down the drain.
Make sure the bathroom is aesthetically pleasing to make it as pleasant as possible, and as with the kitchen dishes, make sure old towels are disposed of an new ones displayed.
Another must in the bathroom is lit candles which are a fire element and will help keep negative energy at bay.
There is sooooo much more to Feng Shui than what I have shared here including incorporating the 5 elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) into the way you design your space. If you are hungry for more, check out this website by Feng Shui expert, Rodika Tchi (who also happens to be from my hometown).