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Bobby Breaks It Down: What Is Feng Shui? (And How Can You Incorporate It In Your Space)

Photo: Sean Fennessy
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Design: Chelsea Hing

There are countless ways to improve your home. From a few new pillows, to a full on makeover, we’ve seen (and done) them all. But have you ever thought about how you can improve the energy and harmony of your home? Look no further than Feng Shui. 

You may have heard the term before, or have some idea of what it entails, but what exactly is Feng Shui? It’s a centuries old practice originating in China that is all about how energy flows through a space, and how to be in harmony with the principles of the natural world. (Feng means “wind” and Shui “water” in Chinese- the 2 natural elements that circulate everywhere on earth.) The orientation of a space, whether it’s the location of a building, a floor plan, or furniture placement, determines how energy (called chi) moves through it, with some arrangements being more favorable, and others blocking the natural energy movement.

All the elements of nature earth, fire, metal, water, and wood — are also important components of Feng Shui. Each element has a color, texture and set of characteristics that make it more conducive to certain areas of the home. Between all these principles —  energy flow, placement, and the elements of nature — it’s really about creating spaces that are optional for living your life in unity with the world, and bringing positive energy to your interiors. 

Now that we’ve gotten the history lesson out of the way, you’re now ready to put this info into practice. Keep scrolling to see 5 easy ways to make Feng Shui work for you, and our tips on how you can easily incorporate these principles into every space. Before you know it, you’ll have a more harmonious home that’s got the positive energy flowing!

Want even more info on how to make your space look and feel better? Check out our post 5 Ways Your Home Can Make You Feel Better Right Now

Engage With Your Entryways

In order to attract energy into your home, it’s important to have a welcoming front door. It’s also believed to be where new opportunities will enter, so making your door look good can also benefit you personally. Here are a few easy ways to upgrade your entry and welcome in good energy.

  • If your door squeaks, gets stuck or doesn’t open easily, fix it. Energy doesn’t want to deal with that annoyance!
  • Place plants with rounded leaves (fiddle leaf fig or jade) in your entryway. Plants with pointy leaves are thought to feel uninviting and less welcoming to good energy.
  • Don’t place a mirror on the wall directly opposite your front door. This will cause energy to bounce off it and go right back outside. A mirror opposite the entryway will instead direct energy into your home.
  • Keep your entryway organized and uncluttered. If you enter into a messy and disorganized space your mind will immediately takes on that negative energy.

 

If you’d like even more entryway ideas, check out our post Mixing It Up: 7 Entryway Pairings.

Find The Perfect Position 

The placement of things within your home is definitely the most important aspect of Feng Shui. It determines how energy will flow through a space, and thus how your home will function and feel. Of particular importance is the Command Position, which refers to placement that allows you to be in command of the energy (and anything) that enters a room. Here’s how (and where) to implement.

  • This position works best in your bedroom, office and living spaces (beds, desks and sofas)
  • Furniture should be facing the door, without being directly in line with the door.
  • There should be open space on both sides of a piece of furniture, to allow good energy to flow all around you.
  • You want to be supported from the back, so furniture should be placed against a wall. A wall is a solid feature and allows protective energy to have your back

(While we realize it’s not always possible to implement all of these principles in a room, you can always try one or two to improve energy flow.)

Photo: William Laird
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Design: Anna Karlin

Embrace The Elements

As we mentioned earlier, the elements of nature also play a significant role in Feng Shui. Each element has specific properties,  that make it more ideal for certain rooms that use for specific purposes, whether it’s to be relaxed, inspired or focused. Here is our breakdown of all five, including the characteristics, colors, shapes and objects that you can incorporate into a space to bring in each element.

Earth

  • Characteristics: grounding, balance, stability
  • Colors: brown, beige, deep orange
  • Shape: Square
  • Objects: ceramic vases, stone top tables

Fire

  • Characteristics: expressiveness, boldness, inspiration
  • Colors: red, pink, purple
  • Shape: triangle
  • Objects: flowers, candles, leather accessories

Metal

  • Characteristics: clarity, focus, attentiveness
  • Colors: silver, gold, white
  • Shape: Circle
  • Objects: metal hardware, trays, candlesticks

Water

  • Characteristics: spirituality, wisdom, insightfulness
  • Colors: black, dark grey, navy
  • Shape: wavy
  • Objects: mirrors, glass tables, vases

Wood

  • Characteristics: creativity, growth and strength
  • Colors: green, blue, dark brown
  • Shape: rectangle
  • Objects: wooden furniture, plants, books, woven baskets

 

Photo: Amy Bartlam
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Be Reflective

If you really want to get the energy moving through your home, it’s time to get reflective. Mirrors, and any surface that reflects and bounces light, will get chi flowing. In addition to moving energy, it will also help bring in more natural light- which is always a good thing. Here a few tips on how to make the best use of a mirror.

 

  • A properly located mirror can reflect an object that is seen through a window into a room. Placing a mirror so that you can see the reflection of a tree, water, or sky will bring in a positive natural element.
  • Avoid a mirror that is in multiple pieces ( like a mosaic style) cloudy, or distressed. These versions are believed to not reflect energy as well.
  • Adding a round mirror over your bed helps creates a smooth and continuous energy flow, and is especially beneficial for partners sleeping in the same bed. The round shape also has no harsh edges and can soften your feelings towards each other.
Photo: Sean Fennessy
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Design: Chelsea Hing

Seek A Balance

You’ve probably seen a Yin and Yang symbol before (most likely during its heyday in the 90s). If you didn’t know, yin and yang is all about balance and the contrast created between equal, but opposing elements. Yin represents feminine, soft and nurturing , while Yang is masculine, hard and aggressive. When it comes to Feng Shui, incorporating both sides and creating balance is an important part of every home. Here are a few easy ways to bring the dual elements into your space.

 

  • Bring in Yin energy with soft textiles and pillows, curvy ceramics, soothing colors, and objects with natural textures.
    • A bookcase with hard lines can get balanced by using plants and woven baskets to soften things up.
  • Bring in Yang energy through leather accessories, metal furniture, dark wood accents, and deep colors.
    • A light colored bedroom and upholstered headboard will be balanced by a graphic pillows, wooden nightstands and metal lamps

  1. Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

  2. Wow! While reading your article I looked around my home and I’m Feng Shui without realizing it. Makes sense now that when I have friends and my teens have friends over they all are so comfortable.

    1. That’s the power of Feng Shui! Thanks for reading. -B

  3. Any chance that lamp in the dresser in the last picture by Chelsea Hing is available for purchase? I love it!