3 Basics of Feng-Shui

Beautiful foyerFeng shui is the Chinese philosophy of harmonizing yourself and your environment to create a flow of positive energy.

Now, while that might sound a bit out-there to you at first, think about it with an open mind. Every interior decorator builds their life’s work on the idea that an environment can affect its inhabitants. It can influence our mood, our attention, and even our relationships. Consciously or unconsciously, there are atmospheres where we feel peaceful, others where we feel energized and invigorated, and others where we feel distinctly uncomfortable.

Incorporating the elements of feng shui in your home doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul that will grant you mystical powers. Rather, it’s about using time-tested techniques that will maximize your space and help your home become a more functional and happy place.

Feng Shui is a practice thousands of years old. Originally, it had a lot to do with the orientation of important buildings like temples and palaces. The alignment was based off of everything from the placement of the stars, to the birthdate of the residents, to the balance of the elements. Obviously, if you want to truly make your house conform with all of the traditional principles of feng shui, it will take more than a brief blog post. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from some of its principles now.

Here are three basic principles of feng shui to get you started:

1: Chi, or Energy Flow

Feng shui is all about enabling an effective flow of energy throughout your house. Energy flows into your home from outside, and it can radiate from its inhabitants. The arrangement of the rooms, windows, and furniture can all contribute to whether that energy is effectively channeled, or whether it’s lost or blocked. In order to keep a free-flowing feel of energy, try this:

  • Clear out the clutter
  • Make clear pathways throughout the house with the placement of your furniture
  • Have good lighting, and clean air. This might include strategic window dressings, task lighting, indoor plants, and lamp placement.

2: Yin and Yang

At its most basic, the idea of Yin and Yang acknowledges that the world is made of opposites which are distinct from each other, attracted to each other, and held in balance. This is symbolized by black and white symbol representing two fish swimming around each other. It’s important to note that each has a piece of the other. Yin is represented by the dark. It’s the female element, encompassing rest, nurturing, receiving, and softness. On the other hand, Yang is the male element which incorporates light, activity, and hardness. Each of your rooms will want to lean towards one or the other of these, but each should also incorporate elements of both. In order to make a room that is more yin, use soft, curving lines, upholstered furniture, a carpet, dark colors. If you want more energy and excitement in your room, you’ll want more bare, angular lines, more lighting, bright colors, and furniture with wood, tile, or marble.

3: The Five Elements

The five elements are fire, metal, water, wood, and earth. Each has corresponding colors and shapes. Carefully balancing all of these elements can help your house be more conducive to its various purposes. For example, fire can be incorporated into your home using triangles and the color red. This element provides a spike of energy for fame, reputation, career and passion. Earth can be represented by squares, stone, and yellow or brown colors. Earth is associated with center, support, and can create a grounding energy.

While you can make certain areas focus specific kinds of energy, it’s important to remember that they should all be balanced and incorporated throughout the house to make the best effect. When all are present, but given different weight and priority, that’s when you’ll have the best feeling in a room.