Feng shui is a traditional Chinese practice that uses geometry and symmetry to help balance the flow of energy in your living space. For thousands of years, homemakers have used it to help them achieve peace and prosperity in a more harmonious environment.
More than just hanging specific items, feng shui is about understanding how the elements and energies interact with each other and using that knowledge to create a wholly supportive space. Remembering some do's and don'ts can help transition your home to a peaceful oasis.
In feng shui, the entrance to your home is considered its most important area.
Do: If there's a high-traffic spot in your house near an entrance (like a staircase), use a rug or plant to slow down that energy and make it a more enjoyable space to pass through.
Don't: Try not to clutter up your entryway with shoes, bags, or other things that might be knocked over when someone comes through the door. If you have a cat or dog, don't let them sleep just inside the door; this prevents energy flow in this area of your home.
In feng shui, it's important to use colors that balance each other out.
Do: If you're painting a room and don't know what shades to pick, try using contrasting colors that are both bright and vibrant. This is a good way to bring balance to the room without being too overwhelming.
Don't: Avoid using clashing colors in your home. An unbalanced color scheme can add to stress and anxiety because it creates a chaotic environment where it’s difficult for you to focus on what’s important.
Do: Find the spot in your room that makes you feel comfortable and powerful, and make that your command position; this is where you'll want to be when you're working or relaxing. If there's more than one place that feels good to you, use them both!
Don't: Placing desks or beds facing away from entryways can block the flow of energy and make it harder to focus. Instead, place them so they face outwards towards hallways or other rooms where people are likely to pass through frequently (like an entranceway into a bedroom).
Do: Move any chairs or tables in the middle of the room that block the clear path from one side to the other. Instead, use plants or small objects as barriers between spaces if you need more visual separation.
Don't: Make sure there are no long shadows, piles of clutter, or unnecessary items in the path of where people frequently walk. These can be reflective of old thought patterns that hinder you from moving forward.
In Chinese tradition, the five elements are water (yang), wood (yin), fire (yang), earth, and metal. Each element has its own energy, which can affect your health and happiness. Bu following some feng shui tactics, you can maximize the benefits of each one in your home.
Do: Incorporate wood with plants and natural fabrics like cotton, fire with gently scented candles, earth with low surfaces and earth tones, metal with round shapes and light pastels, and water with deep tones and free-form shapes.
Don't: Familiarize yourself with the clashes between elements and avoid these. For example, earth and the northern direction are known to block energy, as are the southern points and water.
Do: Pick a few favorite inspirational items and display them around your room to energize individual areas. Choose meaningful pieces, like family photos and quotes from inspirational books, and be sure to rotate them often so the energy doesn't get stale.
Don't: Avoid leaving your walls bare and dull, since this doesn't do anything to help the flow of positive energy.
Do: Use the principles of feng shui to remove negative symbolism from your space and make it a more welcoming, calming place in which to live and work. These include upside-down pictures and bold ceiling fans.
Don't: The don't is pretty obvious here: learn these negative symptoms and avoid them when decorating and designing. They can leave us feeling uneasy and disrupt the balance. Beyond those symbols laid out specifically by the tradition, think about what items in your space make you feel uncomfortable and consider parting with them.
The quality of natural light is an important aspect of feng shui. Natural sunlight provides the uplifting, energizing effect that can improve your mood and your life.
Do: Optimize the light coming through your windows by opening blinds and choosing appropriate coverings. You'll be able to benefit from the optimal health, happiness, and natural beauty that light imparts.
Don't: Whenever possible, try to open the blinds and let in the true light. Artificial light alone, while convenient, can drain energy from a space and make you feel like you are living in the dark.
We all have that piece of furniture we advise guests to avoid because it creaks or tips or might fall over. However precious the item, pieces that aren't serving their purpose can disrupt the energy in your home.
Do: Feng shui teaches that every item in our home should be in good working order and serve its purpose. Repair broken furnishings, or, if they're too far gone, repurpose or replace them.
Don't: Fight the urge to hold onto these items "just because." Feng shui believes that having broken or discolored furniture in your home is a sign that something negative is happening in your life.
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home, as it is where we access water — energy from the earth. But that doesn't mean we want to have the privy front and center.
Do: Ideally, erect a barrier between your home and the toilet. This can be as simple as a door, of course, or a secondary, more elaborate divider. Closing off this room will help keep things more comfortable and reduce some of the unclean energy the space inevitably develops.
Don't: Avoid leaving the door wide open when possible. A bathroom that isn't properly separated can cause energy to flow from the bathroom into other areas of your home, blowing negativity into your life and affecting your overall well-being.