Interior Design with Chinese Feng ShuiJanuary 27, 2017
Are you the type who can walk into a room and just sense that something is “off”? If you’re perceptive to the vibes or energy in any given space, you’re not alone! According to the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui, even something as seemingly insignificant as awkward furniture arrangement can have a negative effect on the harmony and peace you feel in your living space.
Masters and practitioners of Feng Shui credit balanced energies in design to improved moods, better interpersonal relationships, and above all, good luck. It’s even believed to be able to harness powerful energy to manifest health and wellness benefits. And the best news? You can implement the simple principles of Feng Shui in your home or workspace without even cracking open your wallet.
In its purest form, Feng Shui is the metaphysical art of arranging your environment to work in unison with the naturally occurring life force energy in nature. This energy, in Chinese tradition, is referred to as “Qi”(pronounced, and sometimes spelled, “chi”), and it both permeates and binds every living and non-living thing in the universe.
Feng Shui isn’t magic; it merely harnesses and activates positive energy for a change you can feel in your personal atmosphere. According to Feng Shui, Qi enters your home or office through the primary doorway and exits through the windows. The objective when using Feng Shui design principles is to foster a natural, gentle flow of positive qi rather than letting it shoot through space like an arrow, or worse, become negative energy.
Lastly, you organize each of the elements of your space with a map called the Bagua. With the entrance to your home (and to each room) as your starting point, you can use the Bagua to determine where each element is applied to each part of your environment.
So, now that we’ve got the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of Feng Shui down, let’s break open our toolkit and get into the ‘how’! The main design tools you will use are:
● Color, which adds physiological, emotional, and cultural richness. We mentally associate colors with certain things, such as feelings, cultural holidays, and traditions. When applying the principles of Feng Shui to your space, you will use color to represent and harmonize each of the Five Elements discussed above.
● Sound, which is used to communicate and express ourselves to connect to the people in our environment. Perhaps the best way to brighten up and positively charge the energy in any space is to use music! The right music for any space can even bring peace and neutralize stress.
● Lighting, which activates and generates good energy. Be sure to have enough sources of light that each area of the space can be fully illuminated when in use. Full-spectrum light bulbs are a great tool to simulate natural light when light from windows is insufficient. Fireplaces are also a great source of light. Keeping the Magua map in mind, you want to avoid darkness in areas of a room which represent neglect or confusion in a given area of your life.
● Art, which energizes the qi. Any fine art that pleases you is acceptable, be it paintings, photography, or sculpture. How to choose and place the piece depends on the area of the Bagua you want to focus on and activate. Art should speak to you in pleasing, positive visual language. Avoid art that expresses negative emotion.
● Growing Things such as houseplants and potted flowers are your connection to nature in your home or office. They can be chosen for a specific shape and color to match a particular element of the bagua. And don’t worry, artificial plants are an acceptable “cheat” for spaces where a live plant would not thrive.
● Water Features like fountains and aquaria revitalize the flow of qi in and around a space. For areas where square footage is scarce, there are miniature fountain sculptures; even a small fish bowl could work!
● Wind-Sensitive Objects like wind chimes, mobiles, banners, flags, and weather vanes help to draw good qi into the space.
● Mirrors and Crystals are especially useful when a space has structural flaws that interfere with seamless mapping with the Magua or where space would otherwise limited to an element that would correct blocked energy.
Lastly, Feng Shui is built on the foundation of the Yin and Yang nature attributed to everything in the universe, and understanding this nature is key to proper application of Feng Shui principles to your space. Your goal is not just to generate positive energy but to harness and balance it with negative or dark energy.
Feng Shui celebrates that the universe is made up of opposite forces of energy, which cannot exist without each other. They are finely balanced opposites and inherently attractive, like the poles of a magnet. Yin rooms are the places you want the energy to calm down to support rest and rejuvenation. Yin rooms would be the busier areas of the house, especially places where family and guests gather together.
Following the Bagua, and respecting each room’s Yin or Yang nature, the tools you use to control dissonant energy will vary from room to room with the purpose of each room in mind. For example, in activity hotspots around the home such as a child’s playroom or family room, you may opt for a decorative and securely installed aquarium over an expensive fountain.
In a space like a study or home office, however, the tranquil sound of a fountain would be quite pleasing and relaxing. In rooms that are already quite busy and filled with necessary objects (such as a kitchen), avoid clutter and instead integrate items of deep personal value into the design elements of the space. Think small sculptures mingled with the cookbooks on your shelf or a memento from a friend in the windowsill.
Naturally, the bedroom is a haven of rest, and the minimalist approach to balancing its energy with the tools reflects that. Do your best to “unplug” this room, especially keeping phones and laptops away from the bed. In our increasingly connected and device-addicted world, this may seem like a daunting task. However, the benefits of limiting screen time before immersing yourself in well-deserved rest are absolutely worth it.
The wonderful feeling that comes from balancing the elements of a space is reflective and renewable; the more joy you get from your space, the more positive energy you release back into the area. With this simple approach, you not only reorganize your environment, you reinvigorate your whole life. Begin the joyful practice of balancing your space’s energy with Feng Shui today, and tomorrow, experience the benefits.