Whether or not you subscribe to the ancient Chinese belief that the way you arrange your house can affect your success, health and happiness, it is a popular theory and some of the rules make practical sense.
It’s a practice based on the idea that our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us, say advocates. The purpose of feng shui is to get your environment in alignment with who you are and where you want to go – to harmonise your energy with your home’s energy.
Consider carefully what you bring in, how you arrange your rooms, and how you maintain your space. Everything has energy, even inanimate objects. Feng shui helps guide that energy and let it flow freely through your home.
Clear out clutter
If you don’t use it, lose it. As well as restricting space it collects stagnant energy. If you have no storage space, try to live minimally. It’s important to surround yourself with beauty and items with meaning.
Utilise as much natural light as possible. Keep windows clear and sills empty. Use lighting to shed a light on dark corners. Lighting activates energy, so have enough light sources so each area of a room can be well lit when in use.
Red is the colour of the feng shui fire element, the colour of warmth, excitement and passion. Just like your body needs warmth in any season, the same applies to your home: it needs warmth, and that means it needs at least a bit of red.
It does not have to be bright fire engine red but a touch of this colour perhaps with a vase or cushions will bring a happy vibrant feeling. Deep blue and aubergine are also energising.
Put the sofa against a solid wall – ideally, the wall farthest from the entry – with a clear view of the door. Leave a few inches of breathing room between the sofa and the wall. If you don’t have an suitable wall put a console table behind it and add a mirror opposite the sofa so you can see behind you. That makes you feel protected.
A good seating arrangement is important to encourage conversation and an informal arrangement that invites people in. Furniture should be close but not jammed together. And each seat needs a surface on which to rest a drink or a book: this makes it more welcoming.
In general, you shouldn’t hit any furniture as you go across the space, you shouldn’t walk into the back of a sofa as you enter the room. And if there’s passage into another room, it has to be clear.
Mirrors are significant in feng shui. They can do all kinds of tricks, such as recirculate energy and enhance natural light. They draw attention to what they reflect, so if a mirror has an unpleasant view, move it. Hang mirrors high enough that seated guests aren’t stuck looking at themselves.
For tables, a mix of shapes is important. Squares represent earth; rectangles, wood; triangles, fire. Round and oval items represent metal. A room will feel most balanced if it includes all of them.
Move a favourite item to a prominent spot. When you walk into the room and see something that makes you smile you will bring joy in with you.
It’s hard to rest with too much active energy around you. You have to be aware, for example, of what electricity is running behind your bed. This is difficult to avoid especially if you have bedside lighting, but keep lighting soft, unless you read in bed, in which case have good, focused lights. Try to minimize it with a battery-operated alarm clock instead of an electric one. Turn off your phone at night and keep it out of the room. No laptop or computer near the bed. An hour before you go to sleep, stop looking at it.
It is best not to store anything under your bed as it sends out energy. The bedroom is a private space, and it’s important to respect that. The bedroom should not be used for any other activity other than sleeping or sex.
Does it work?
There are plenty of myths surrounding the oriental practice, but in essence the tips are based on allowing light and space to make your home comfortable and easy to relax in. Clutter and muddle add to disorder and impede clear thinking. And it is always easier to find those lost keys or missing scissors when your life is tidy.