Feng Shui: 5 Tips for your home & workspace

Feng Shui: 5 Tips for your home & workspace

What do Oprah, Johnny Depp, Richard Branson, George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cher, and Tommy Hillfiger have in common? They all practice the Chinese art of feng shui. Most of us have heard of feng shui, but many of us have no idea what it means. To quite a few of us, it sounds like an esoteric lifestyle philosophy, but once you learn about it, it actually starts to feel like an art form that makes intuitive sense.

Feng shui literally means “wind” (feng) and “water” (shui), the two elemental forces of creation. In Chinese culture, they correspond to happiness and good health, so feng shui is otherwise understood as the art of fostering good fortune. Practically speaking, it is the art of arranging one’s environment in a way that allows for an organic and balanced flow of positive energy, or "qi". Even for those who may be skeptical of the practice, the overall effect of a home or workspace that adheres to feng shui principles is tranquility, if not beauty. 
Here are 5 simple ways to use feng shui in your home:
The Entryway

Your main entryway is the portal by which energy enters, so you want to make sure that it stays clutter-free, bright, and inviting, inside and out. As happens to the best of us, mail, packages, clothing, and shoes start to block entrances. Have hooks for coats and hats and shoe racks for shoes. Switch out dim bulbs to brighter but warm lights.

Add a console table to help keep clutter off the floor. You could even add a mirror to the main entryway to brighten and enlarge the space, though make sure never to have the mirror directly facing the door, and keep it perpendicular to the door instead. Many feng shui practitioners believe that placing a mirror right across from a door repels the good energy that is trying to enter.

Decluttering

We’ve discussed clutter before in previous posts, but in feng shui terms, clutter is an albatross, taking up space, interrupting energy flow, and clouding intellectual and emotional clarity. Most of us have felt the weight of a cluttered home dragging us down in more ways than one.

Given that one of the goals of feng shui is to have positive energy moving organically through a space, unimpeded by unnecessary anchors, aim to remove from your space objects that don’t serve a specific purpose. For those things that do, find useful storage or organizational systems.

Going Up
Symbolism is important in feng shui, and growth is represented by height and verticality. But no worries if you aren’t blessed with high ceilings. Incorporate vertical lines instead, with étagères or tall bookcases. Plants that grow upwards and tall vases are yet more ways to evoke a feeling of height and expansion.
Balancing the Elements
Feng shui recognizes five elements: wood, water, fire, metal, and earth. Each of these elements alone represents multiple characteristics. So, for example, wood represents, among other things, growth; fire represents enthusiasm; earth represents grounding; metal represents mental acuity; and water represents emotion and wisdom. When the elements are balanced in a room, the feeling of harmony prevails. But too much of one element or another can have unwelcome effects.

For instance, too much wood can lead to rigidity, whereas too much water can lead to excessive emotionalism. Too much fire can lead to aggression, while too much metal leads to one being hyper-critical, and too much earth can lead to sluggishness. Adding or subtracting elements in a room helps to ensure that you avoid these negative consequences.

In a living room, for example, a wooden coffee table with metal legs could be set up with something asymmetrical and wavy (water), as well with a greenish or brownish object like a sofa or pottery (earth), and multiple candles (fire). Assess how you feel when you are in any particular room and consider what elements may be lacking or excessively represented. You may feel a positive shift in energy once you’ve experimented with a little addition and subtraction.

Command Position
Finally (though not least or last!), make sure that your most important furniture pieces are positioned in a way that you can see the door but aren’t directly opposite the door. You want to avoid confrontational and unstable energy while being prepared to deal with the energy that does enter the room. Whether it be your sofa, your desk, or your bed, the best “command position” is in a corner diagonal to the door, facing it. This will allow you to feel more secure and — dare we say it? — commanding.
While we haven’t even begun to exhaust the art and science of feng shui here in this post, we hope that you’ve begun to see how this ancient Chinese practice can, if nothing else, create an aesthetically pleasing haven for your home or workspace. And who knows? Maybe with a little redecorating and repositioning, whole new vistas and fortunes will open up for you!

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