The term feng shui conjures images of rearranging the sofa and chairs, but feng shui is much more than simply rearranging furniture. It’s an ancient system of encouraging balance and harmony in life. Feng shui can be used throughout the entire home and even at work.
The practice of feng shui examines how object placement affects the flow of surrounding energy, which in turn can affect your personal energy and life.
Feng shui is not a quick-fix or get-rich system or a phony superstition. Rather, it is all about the interaction of different objects with each other, as explained by Dummies.com:
“Feng Shui offers a unique way of looking at yourself and your environment, and it provides a way of bringing balance, comfort, and harmony into your environment in a manner that is difficult to achieve by any other means.”
Following the principles of feng shui can subtly improve the balance and harmony around you, which can result in success, stress-relief, and happiness. In fact, according to feng shui consultant Natalya Kaylin, redesigning your space with feng shui can reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy, and improve sleep patterns.
Using feng shui in your living space can be simple and nearly cost-free.
There are several ways to improve feng shui in each individual area of the house, but a few rules and suggestions hold true in every space. These include:
- Get rid of clutter
- Avoid harsh lighting like fluorescent bulbs
- Use natural light or warm-tone light bulbs, such as pink bulbs
- Bring nature into the design through curved furniture or houseplants
The most important aspect of feng shui is to find balance. Arrange furnishings so everything is balanced and has a good flow. Experiment until you find the design or arrangement that feels best to you.
Different tips for each area of the house can help you find balance throughout your home.
For example, make a small entrance more welcoming by hanging a mirror or piece of artwork (especially one featuring a natural landscape) on the wall perpendicular to the door. In the bedroom, keep the bed away from the door and make sure there’s space underneath it for energy to flow. Additionally, removing things that can potentially cause stress or distraction, such as bookshelves or TVs, from the bedroom can make it a much more relaxing space.
Use soft yellows, whites, pinks, and greens in the living room, and make sure the room isn’t too crowded. This means trying to use furniture that is proportional to the living room, rather than way too big, and choosing quality over quantity when it comes to decorative items. The decorative items you do use should be ones that encourage a warm emotional response, like framed photos of beloved memories or tranquil paintings.
In the kitchen, try, if possible, to make sure the refrigerator, stove, and sink form a triangle. If this isn’t possible, though, at least try to make sure that the stove and sink aren’t facing each other directly, to avoid a clash between the opposing elements of fire and water. Also keep the fridge and cupboards as well-stocked as possible to imply abundance.
Feng shui can also be used in your office, and it can even be beneficial for your desk design.
Most people spend a lot of time working, so making your office as welcoming and comfortable a space as possible can have a big impact. First, as in the rest of the house, clear away the clutter and get rid of the harsh fluorescent lighting. Place your desk so you’re facing the door, with a solid wall at your back. If this isn’t possible and you’ve got your back to the door, you can add a mirror to your desk surface that reflects the doorway right in front of you.
Balancing the elements in your office might help you keep it organized, so try to strike a good balance between earth and metal elements. Earth elements include things that are earthy-toned, square-shaped, or made of stone. Metal elements are items that are metallic-colored, like sculptures or vases.
You can also arrange your desk surface using feng shui. First get rid of clutter, especially unfinished or unresolved projects, and make sure that at least 50% of your desk surface is clear at all times. Use the bagua map to figure out what should go where. This map can be used throughout your entire home, if you’d like, and it lends itself well to a desk layout.
Utilize the bagua map to encourage a few areas of your life you’d like to advance. For example, the back left corner of the map (and therefore of the desk) represents prosperity and wealth. If you want to encourage prosperity, put something in this area that reflects that. A small jar of change would work well, as would a plant – especially a money tree plant.
Plants can actually make a great addition to the feng shui of any room, not just the office.
This tip holds true even if you’re not interested in feng shui. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter found that a working environment enriched by plants can significantly improve productivity. In fact, adding plants to stark or “lean” designs can increase productivity by 15%. This may be because plants have already been shown to lower physiological stress, increase the attention span, and improve general well-being.
Additionally, in a study conducted by a NASA scientist, it was found that houseplants filter the air, removing volatile organic compounds found indoors. Chemicals like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and mercury can all be reduced by houseplants.
Different plants are more effective at removing certain chemicals, but these plants are some of the best over-all choices to filter your space’s air. When choosing a plant for feng shui, pick one that complements the reason you’re getting it. You can even coordinate and choose a plant that both cleans the air and encourages your feng shui goal. For example, the chrysanthemum is a great choice to filter the air, and it also encourages happiness and optimism in feng shui.
Above all, arrange your home and office in whatever way makes you comfortable and keeps you happy. Feng shui is a great way to bring some balance and organization into your life, but do what makes you feel most at home.
Have you ever used feng shui to balance your life?
Image by Dave Fayram via Flickr