It’s been a long year. One that none of us will soon forget. If you’re like me, this could be the most prolonged time you’ve ever spent within the walls of your own home. The days may feel longer (or shorter) and your mind is probably having a hard time focusing and staying positive but I’ve found a way to push positive vibes into my living space. And I’ve been doing it for years.
Yes, I’m talking about feng shui — pronounced “fung shway”
An ancient practice with modern twists
Long, long ago, think 5000+ years, the royalty of China used feng shui to create a certain “flow” within their palaces, cities, gardens, and even cemeteries. Their goal was to ‘harmonize’ decor and the accompanying space. Feng shui is all about ‘chi’ or important energy — if you practice yoga you may have already heard this term. It is this energy that is thought to be harnessed simply by the arrangement of furniture, art, rugs, plants, and other decor. This taps directly into the ideology of yin and yang where there should always be two complementary elements balancing each other out in life. This ancient principle is even more grounded to the earth by recommending using color and material variations that represent the five elements: Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood.
The objective of feng shui is to promote favorable energy for your health, success, love, and well-being as well as those within your home. You can even go as far as to contact a feng shui expert, geomancer, who will use your unique Chinese horoscope and other calculations. This helps them get a deeper look into what particular aspects of your domicile may be out of balance.
When I first learned about feng shui I was pleasantly surprised by how intuitive, easy, and honestly, energizing it helped me and my home feel. Guests to my home often positively comment on my home energy. It could’ve been the very act of rearranging things or it could’ve been the new pathways I created for positive and balancing flow, but either way, it’s something I still practice today. I’m no expert but I will share some tips to inspire you to begin the pleasing task of of building the right energy into your home.
Map your home out
Before you do anything you will want to create a bagua “energy” map. This is what is used to divide your home, office, etc. into nine separate themed areas. The center of the bagua is thought to be the “heart” of the home and where all energy is dispersed to all other areas of the home. Think of this like the treasure map to finding your feng shui. It will help you improve, assess, and enrich the entirety of your home. There are two ways to create a bagua energy map — the Classical (Traditional Feng Shui) way using a compass reading from your front door or the Western (Black Hat Sect/BTB Feng Shui) way, by aligning the lower end of the basic bagua grid with the wall of the front door of your office or home. There are also several other varieties on Feng Shui but these are the most popular.
There are endless reads and videos that can give you pros and cons of each. Do a little research and see which one most powerfully resonates with you and your lifestyle. I have tried both and prefer the BTB method as it is easier to apply to any shaped spaces in my opinion but you may feel differently but this is the one I’ll be referring to. Both systems should work, I truly believe intent+belief=results.
Another important part of feng shui is identifying the “commanding position”. This position is usually occupied by an important piece of furniture — your desk, your stove, your bed, your couch, etc. You won’t need to move all of these into better positions but when possible you want those furniture focal points to face the nearest door when you are using them. I’ve learned that while I don’t need to be directly in-line with the door I always avoid having my back to the door.
You can use feng shui apps for assistance but if you want to get super technical you can use your artistic skills, no matter how limited to create the bagua map as follows:
- Make a grid with nine rectangles or squares that will overlay your home or office layout plan. I use tracing paper cut down to a scaled down size of the floor plan. This helps me avoid unnecessary white, sometimes confusing, space.
- After you have made a grid, just overlay it over your floor plan. Take care to align the bottom of your grid with the wall of your office door or front door.
- Lastly, give each one of those nine spaces an accompanying focus. Always go left to right.
You want this area to really boost knowledge and learning. Make plans in this area for solid feelings of decisions. Placing plants, nature pictures, learning materials like books and guides is a good start. This needs to be an area of little distractions so that you can focus on what needs to be done and done well. I like using this area for meditation, yoga, and quiet time.
This space is what is going to reinforce how your work, career, and overall life moves forward. It’s a place of great energy power because it is usually the front door. I keep this area full of mirrors, neutral colors, and devoid of clutter. I like to have one or two dark colored items here absorb the flow of energy coming through.
At the end of each day take a few minutes to declutter so that when you return next it will be a fresh flowy start. This goes double for your entry way as this represents the first point at which energy enters your home and your life. Stow away items from the outside like hats, umbrellas, shoes, and coats. Make this area as clutter-free, clean, and inviting as possible.You want things to ‘flow’ through just as water flows naturally.
Travel/Helpful People (Metal)
In feng shui this area is about really tapping into the concept of accepting and appreciating the support system you have built. Friends, family, colleagues — embrace that concept without hanging on to the disappointments of those who have let you down. I like monochromatic colors and organization tools (shelves, containers, etc) to occupy this area. This is also where I try to have negotiating work talks.
Metal is thought to help with mental agility as well as productivity. I don’t like the look of just plain metal so I usually have statues, ornaments, sculptures, or decorative metal bowls or art. Metal helps to remove distractions and allows focus, clarity, and discipline.
However you can create happiness in this area do that. This space is about growth, evolving and including joyful times that family brings to our lives. I like to mix natural wood, flowers, natural light, and family photos or heirlooms here.
Wood is thought to represent calmness, spirituality, intuition, and trust. It’s a strong material that will strengthen your family focus and happiness focus.
Sitting in the center of your feng shui map will be an area of health and well-being. This area is best to find stability and balance. It’s the center so it should bring feelings of warmth and reassurance.
‘Mother Earth’ is a common phrase across the globe, so it’s not surprising this speaks to a strong, protective, feminine energy — sustaining, protecting, and healing.
Whether you have children or not, this area is the spot to re-awaken your inner child. This area is for freedom of expression. Think of arts and crafts, painting, drawing, writing, creating videos or playing board games. If you do have children, let this be a place of carefree energy with lots of light and fresh air or incense.
Focus on the words ‘abundance’ and ‘prosperity’ when thinking of this space. This is where you can strive for success in terms of wealth for your life. You should also practice gratitude for what you currently have — wealth can be something you may already have but don’t appreciate enough. I like placing artwork, one-of-a-kind pieces, even a small fountain (flow of wealth) here. Contemplate what you view as abundance and wealth and use that for decor ideas but don’t forget to have something purifying in this area to get it ‘wealth-ready’ — big, green, leafy plants are a vibrant source.
This space used to puzzle me until I read about it more. Fire is a powerful energy. This is about achievements (past, present or future), desires, romance, and vigor. Life on Earth would not exist without fire (the sun), and so feng shui isn’t complete without this passionate energy.
What does fire energy look like? Feel like? How can you incorporate that into this space? The most obvious would be candles or a fireplace, a view of sunsets or sunrises, reds, or decor that reflects that. Fire can be overwhelming energetically so be sure to not go overboard to maintain balance.
Feng shui wouldn’t be complete without a space for love. An area for deep sensuality, romance, appreciation, and attraction. This area can be used to build on already established relationships or attract new ones — platonic or romantic. It can also create a space for self-love for yourself. Take caring of your own emotional needs are just as important as nurturing those of others.
You can hang pictures of yourself and a loved one, mementos, pairs of items, and anything else that feels sensual and loving to you.
Feng shui has so many different nuances that you can partake in such as balancing the elemental energies, the cycle of the elements, irregular shaped floor plans, mirror placement, favorable colors, odd versus even number items, bad “forms”, symbolism and more which can be found all over the web.
However, som key and simple “rules” for decorating while keeping feng shui in mind:
- Always strive for fresh air and natural light when possible — connect the outside to the inside
- You can never have too many plants (or crystals!) — the Earth has given you gifts for healing to treasure
- Keep the front door welcoming — this is the entry point of energy into and out of your space
- Declutter like your energy depends on it — clutter blocks your mental and energetic flow of energy
- Bring in natural elements wherever possible — natural vibes all around
This peaceful and creative way of bringing life to your living space and personal life. Energy enhancement through feng shui is available to you, if only you take the time and keep an open-mind to its possibilities. This beautiful art is about balancing the chaos that is life through visual and practical pleasures. If nothing else, you’ll end up with a kick-ass, intentionally decorated home that feels uniquely yours.