If you’ve ever felt the urge to tidy up your desk before you could chip away at a large assignment, you know how important your surroundings are to your psyche. And you know what? It turns out it’s not just another way to procrastinate.
For more than 3,000 years, the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui has been guiding practitioners to transform their homes to better reflect their lives—and to influence the lives they want to lead. It’s all about uniting one’s soul with one’s surroundings and optimizing them both for maximum good fortune.
Can you say “harmony”? Because we sure can! If ever there was a secret to creating a haven of one’s very own, we’re pretty sure Feng Shui is it. Keep reading to find out what Feng Shui is and six ways to add Feng Shui design to your home.
The Basics of Feng Shui
Before you can Feng Shui your home, you need to know about the two principles that form the basis of this school of thought: the Taoist concept of balance and the five traditional elements.
In Chinese Taoism, the essential balance of the universe and everything in it is known as yin and yang. It’s thought that, if you want to have a happy life, you need to balance these elements within yourself, your routine and your surroundings, as well.
A number of religions around the world enumerate the elements. In this Eastern philosophy, there are five: wood, fire, earth, water and metal. These should exist in a balanced way for the Earth to remain in equilibrium.
Feng Shui does include other aspects, like certain objects (mirrors and crystals) and colors (which are often associated with the five natural elements) that can attract good fortune and energy flow throughout your home.
6 Ways to Add Feng Shui to Your Home
The first step toward Feng Shui-ing your life is—gulp—decluttering. We know it’s your least favorite chore, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will a weekend spent playing toss/donate/keep free up space in your home for the items you love and use most, but you’ll also be able to pass belongings you no longer need on to someone else.
Finished? Now it’s time to get down to the business of Feng Shui home design:
Create statements, plural
Feng Shui involves energy, known as “chi,” which tends to zip in and out of the home if it isn’t focused properly. To do that, create statement-making areas with artwork and interesting objects, like souvenirs from trips, favorite books and heirlooms. Put these opposite doors and stairways to make the energy—and your guests—pause before they continue moving through your home.
Focus on the floor
Entrances and pathways throughout your home are important parts of functional design. You can use hallway and stair runners to lead guests from room to room. Differentiate different living spaces, like dining areas and reading nooks, with larger area rugs. If you have hardwood floors, laying rugs underneath seating areas and sleeping spaces will create a comfortable balance between hard and soft elements.
Mix and match
Hard, straight lines aren’t Feng Shui’s favorite thing. Do your best to break them up. Instead of one large photograph, create a gallery wall. Soften a sofa with modern lines and right angles with squashy upholstery and plenty of pillows. Create meandering paths through your home rather than direct lines from doorway to doorway.
Balance doesn’t always mean having two of everything. Remember, your home isn’t Noah’s ark! To ensure that your rooms are symmetrical, you want the layout of one side or one area to have the same amount of visual weight as another. That could mean two identical nightstands framing your bed in one room and two comfortable chairs opposite a couch in another.
Usher in light
Clarity is essential to living your best life, so it’s no surprise that light—and natural light, if possible—is a hallmark of Feng Shui home design. Keep your windows as unobstructed as possible and use light bulbs that mimic white light. And while you’re at it, hang some mirrors on those walls! They’ll bounce the light around, making your space look larger and brighter in one easy home decor fix.
Bring on the elements
Most of us are drawn to a specific element and tend to overwhelm our spaces with it. This leads to imbalance and a lack of fulfillment. To regain control of your life and find your happy place once again, do your best to balance the elements represented in each room of your home through your decorative choices.
For wood, think you could purchase woven bamboo shades or reclaimed wood furniture. For fire, warm colors and candles are easy to add to any space. For earth, potted plants and natural floor coverings, like jute rugs, are excellent choices. For metal, try mixing the metallic accents and finishes on your furniture, decor and in your bathrooms and kitchen. For water, consider a small fountain or aquarium.
Take It to the Next Level
Once you’ve experienced the benefits of Feng Shui home decorating, we bet you’ll be eager to upgrade your interior design skills with the help of this Eastern philosophy.
To really nail this “art of placement,” it’s time for you to get technical. Feng Shui traditionalists use both an energy map, or Bagua, and a special compass, or Luo Pan. The energy map, which is drawn based on the entrance to your home or your individual rooms, will tell you where to place certain items in order to welcome certain prosperous elements, like wealth or knowledge, into your life. The compass helps you put these items exactly where they ought to be to maximize your good fortune.
Sound good? We think so! If you’re set to study up on this Chinese practice, hit up your local library for reference guides. Alternatively, you could hire a Feng Shui expert who specializes in interior design. Either way, you’re sure to create the home of your dreams.
About the author:
Kenneth Gordon serves as the Assistant VP of Factory Direct Blinds. Kenneth is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Factory Direct Blinds marketing and advertising initiatives. Before joining Factory Direct Blinds, Kenneth served 6 years in the United States Air Force as a Military Police Officer. Kenneth enjoys spending time with his two sons and beautiful wife Brittany when he’s not working or writing.