Not to be confused with zen, which is a Buddhist principle, feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice meaning “wind and water.” By following the principles of feng shui, you can align your living space with your internal self in order to promote harmony and fulfillment. You can even set yourself up for progress and success if you let your home décor mirror your dreams and goals.
Adopting just a few feng shui principles can make your life happier and less chaotic. Read on to learn which design tips create this energizing effect.
Encourage the Flow of Positive Chi Energy
According to ancient Chinese thought, your chi (qi) – or life force – flows throughout your body. If your chi is ever blocked, your body will suffer ailment and malaise. This is why some acupuncturists seek to redirect chi through your body through the strategic placement of needles.
In the same way, you can redirect the energy of your home through decoration and design. Here are some of the most basic principles for allowing chi to circulate freely throughout your home.
- Clear clutter – Items that are tossed about the counter and floor block movement through your space and give off depressed (si chi) energy. Clean your clutter by separating your excess items in “keep,” “give away” and “unsure” piles. Let go of the “give away” pile and any items in the “unsure” pile that you don’t use in a year.
Though you may prefer it, you can’t simply toss your items in a closet or under the bed. Feng shui emphasizes minimalism. Without this, none of the other principles will make a difference in your mood and energy.
- Invite light and air into your space – Light and air bring levity and vitality to your living space. Invite light in by keeping windows clean and visible, using a sheer curtain for privacy if necessary. With light fixtures, keep their glow soft and dispersed, not beaming in one spot.
Mirrors can create the illusion of light in darker spaces. Just be sure to avoid mirrors right as you walk in the front door, in front of or above your bed or directly facing each other. If you don’t like mirrors, crystals and reflective metallic surfaces can achieve the same effect.
For air, open the windows every now and then and bring plants into the home. The oxygen they produce will improve the quality of your air.
- Understand the paths of energy – If it helps, visualize chi as a stream of water flowing in your front door and throughout your home. You don’t want the chi to get pooled in corners, but at the same time, you don’t want the chi to flow out any other doors and windows too quickly.
Make sure that you can walk freely about your furniture. This includes being able to reach all couches, dining room chairs and both sides of the bed – even if you live alone. Doorways should be free of obstructions.
Additionally, people feel more secure with their backs square against the wall, so position couches flush with the wall and give beds headboards. Another tip on beds: You should be able to see the door from your bed, but your feet should not be pointing straight at the door in the “coffin position.”
Lastly, you must avoid attacking energy (sai chi). Most commonly, this occurs when a sharp corner from furniture or the wall is pointed directly at your loved ones. If you can, choose furniture with rounded corners and make sure sharp corners and not pointed at your couch or bed.
Design Around the Bagua
Though feng shui is based on nature and balance, the principles are not as unstructured as you may assume. To achieve good feng shui, you should use a Bagua (or Pakua), which is a map that tells you how to decorate each area of your home. It is based on the symbols contained in an ancient Chinese text called the I Ching.
There are two ways to use the Bagua in your home. The classical or traditional way requires you to use a feng shui compass (Lo-Pan) to measure your orientation of your home in relation to your front door, which is the portal that invites energy into your home. By contrast, the Western style is much more flexible, letting you section your living area into nine equally sized spaces. You decorate eight of the spaces as you would with a traditional Bagua without worrying about location or orientation. The ninth space incorporates elements from the other eight sections.
- Let the elements be your guide – In the traditional Bagua, each part of your home corresponds to a different element. There are five basic elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.
- Choose the right colors – Depending on the element you are trying to elicit in each area of your home, each space should have a set color scheme. For example, in a fire area, you might rely on warm and passionate red and orange tones.
- Vary your shapes – In addition to color, shapes can evoke symbolic meaning. Sturdy, square-shaped furniture can remind you of earth, for instance, whereas gentle waves are reminiscent of water.
- Coordinate your rooms with the parts of your life – According to feng shui doctrine, the eight fundamental areas of your life are:
- Life journey and career
- Knowledge and self-cultivation
- Family and health
- Wealth and prosperity
- Fame and reputation
- Love and relationships
- Children and creativity
- Helpful people and travel
- The center of your home – which corresponds to the middle section of the Bagua map – affects well-being and balance.
All nine areas of your home should reflect these wishes and goals for the future.
Customize the Perfect Home with Brohn Homes
Brohn Homes understands that you want your home to be both comfortable and the fullest extension of yourself. That’s why we let every one of our clients pick from a multitude of top-quality finish and feature options to truly make their home their own. Whether you choose stainless steel for your metal element or maple cabinets for your wood element, we will make sure your home makes you feel happy and energized.
Contact us to learn more about Brohn's personalized design process.