“That’s good feng shui.” You may have heard that phrase before, but what does it actually mean?
The term feng shui is composed of two Chinese words: feng (wind) and shui (water). It is an ancient art and science developed more than 3,000 years ago in China and is based on the understanding of nature and that the land is alive and filled with chi, or the energy of the universe. Feng shui aims to create space that allows chi to flow naturally.
On Real Simple, feng shui master and interior designer Catherine Brophy says, “The purpose of feng shui is to get your environment in alignment with who you are and where you want to go — to harmonize your energy with your home’s energy.”
There are eight major life elements in the feng shui bagua, one of the main tools used to analyze the energy of an area: health, money, fame, love and marriage, creativity, helpful people, career, and spiritual growth.
Our homes have their own energy maps, and objects within the home possess chi. Feng shui proponents use this chi to bring luck, wealth, and opportunity into their homes.
According to KnowFengShui.com, “On a basic level, the feng shui map of your home functions just like any other map — it shows where you are at the present moment and how to get to where you want to be. The brilliance of feng shui — when applied in a healthy, no-nonsense way — is that it always clearly shows you the interconnectedness of all forms of energy around you.”
Feng Shui Decorating Tips
Here is some quick advice for creating a harmonious home by using the principles of feng shui and a balance of its five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water:
- Wood relates to natural growth and vibrant health. Decorate with branches, houseplants, and wood shelves and bowls and incorporate brown and green colors.
- Fire brings energy and fuels passion. Cluster candles together and use colors like pink yellow, orange, and red.
- Earth generates nourishment, knowledge, and stability. Decorate with natural elements like stone and terracotta, and use colors like light brown and light yellow.
- Metal is all about strength, focus, and independence. Incorporate metal objects throughout your house and use white and gray colors.
- Water brings wealth, abundance, and fluidity. Incorporate fountains, floating candles, and fluid shapes and use the colors blue and black.
The three most important areas of the home that feng shui affects are the front entryway, because chi enters your home here; the kitchen, because we create health and wealth here; and the master bedroom, because that is where we refresh and nurture ourselves.
Make sure to have an open and inviting pathway into your house, as energy flows in through the front door. According to About Home “A good feng shui house has a main entry designed to welcome, strengthen and channel the incoming feng shui energy throughout the whole house. This will nourish your house and create good energy.”
Be sure that everything in your kitchen is in good working order. In your bedroom, there are several things you can do to improve feng shui, from bed placement to paint color to limiting electronic use before bedtime. Feng Shui Nexus offers 33 tips to improve sleep with feng shui.
Get rid of clutter everywhere in the house, as it sucks up energy in a space. In fact, too much clutter can make a person depressed and fatigued, according to the Institute of Feng Shui. Bring the outdoors in with natural light and fresh air and the earthy elements mentioned above.
Use mirrors wisely. According to Feng Shui-tips.org, “If it’s done correctly, the power of mirrors symbolically double your wealth, health, and happiness. However when the feng shui mirror placement is not correct it can do a lot of harm.” Here’s a guide on what to avoid reflecting in your mirrors.
The living room should have abundant lighting. Avoid awkward seating layouts. Catherine Brophy has more furniture and decorating feng shui tips here.
By using feng shui practices, you can create and maintain a healthier, more harmonious home. This blog post just scratches the surface of the topic; the Internet offers much more information, and some of it is quite specific. To learn more about how feng shui affects Chinese homebuyers, who are active in the Bay Area, check out this previous Pacific Union blog post.
(Photo: Flickr/Simone Meier)