Feng shui is more than just a trendy way to clean up and organize your home. It is a meditative experience designed to symbolize the many ways you can invite more joy and good fortune into your home all year round.
Practicing feng shui can be a little confusing for those who are not familiar with its origins or customs. Luckily, this guide is here to help!
What Is Feng Shui?
Feng shui, also known as Chinese geomancy, is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics. It is somewhat similar to meditation in that they are both slow, mindful processes that aim to help you appreciate your everyday surroundings. Typically, this is done through arranging your furniture in specific ways all throughout your house.
Implementing feng shui into your home is believed to better connect you to the world at large, as well as invite more positive energy – known as chi, or qi – into your life.
History and Origins
Feng shui originated in ancient China as a means for orienting important architecture, such as tombs, homes, and other structures – especially those considered spiritual in nature. The final design would be completed in auspicious ways to increase good fortune and wealth. It has roots in Taoist and Buddhist teachings, though elements of this art can be found in other cultures as well.
The most prosperous farms and villages in China were found in strategic mountain areas that were able to shield them from harmful winds, as well as provide them with enough water from nearby streams to sustain valuable crops and engage in trade with nearby villages. Due to this surge of wealth, many social, cultural, and military leaders soon appeared and practically dominated over other, unlucky peoples exposed to harsh winds and dryer lands.
Knowing how to practice feng shui in the home soon became a highly guarded secret of the Chinese Imperial Court. All feng shui masters were forbidden to teach this practice to any outsiders.
It’s clear that these practices did not stay secret for long! Let’s take a look at the feng shui basics below.
Feng Shui Basics
Feng shui roughly translates to “wind water” in English. “Feng”, or wind, represents the air and chi around you, while “shui”, or water, represents the flow of that energy and change. When you improve the feng shui in your home, you are essentially harnessing the energy of the universe to grant you success in all your endeavors.
Reducing the clutter in your living space is a crucial component of feng shui, because it improves the flow of chi around your home. To understand how chi flows, it is best to picture it as if it were water. You will know if your home has good feng shui when water could theoretically flow from your entryway to all the rooms in your home without much of an issue.
By sleeping, sitting, or even working in spaces while facing your lucky directions, you will be blessed – specifically, with good luck, wealth, and success in your career, health, and personal relationships and development.
To find out what your lucky directions are, you first need to find out your Kua number, which can be calculated from your birthday and your gender. You can find more detailed instructions on how to calculate this number here.
Once you’ve determined your lucky directions, you will then need to consult the Bagua (or energy map). This map will help you connect the different rooms of your house to the nine areas of life: creativity, health, relationships, travel, self, career, prosperity, wisdom, and fame, respectively. You can then attract more chi to those areas in your life.
Elements of Feng Shui
You can also incorporate the five elements of feng shui — wood, fire, metal, earth, and water — into your home. Each of these elements is represented by specific colors, directions, and materials, which you can use to promote peace and harmony throughout your house.
- The fire element can be expressed through vivid oranges and reds, and will bring power and happiness into your home.
- The earth element uses more muted yellow and brown tones, and can help to improve relationships and one’s health.
- The wood element utilizes strong greens and browns, and can be used to attract wealth and stronger familial ties.
- The water element uses blue and black tones, and can help further your career.
- The metal element is represented through more neutral whites and grays, which can help to boost your creativity and prompt you to travel more often.
How to Feng Shui Your Home
The energy of the universe, or chi, interconnects everyone and everything that is alive. This creates harmony between man and nature, or, in this case, people and their home. Feng shui allows you to utilize that flow of energy to ensure you live your best life.
There are three main rooms in the home that you need to focus on when practicing feng shui: your entryway, your kitchen, and your master bedroom. However, there are an additional two rooms which play a strong role in feng shui. We’ll cover all this below.
Your bedroom represents a safe space where you can recharge your body, your mind, and nourish your relationships with others. The items inside your bedroom should be arranged in the commanding position, which is symbolic of both how you carry yourself in life and places where you can receive good fortune.
Your bed and your desk should be placed in this position. Essentially, your bed represents you, while your desk represents your career. In order to receive positive energy and the best opportunities for you and your family, you must place both of these items in a space where you can see your bedroom door without being directly in line with it.
Cover Your Television
If you have a television in your bedroom, then be sure you cover it up with a cloth when not in use. The active electronic energy that televisions emit may disrupt the calming, quiet energy your bedroom is supposed to have.
Keep It Spacious
Your bedroom should also be spacious, allowing for more chi to settle in. Creating more space in your room involves cleaning up after yourself, as well as letting go of objects that are no longer useful. As a result, you invite new, fresh opportunities your way.
This can mean storing unnecessary things in an unused drawer, room, or your desk, or even getting rid of them altogether.
Do not worry if this space eventually becomes filled. Everyday clutter does not mean that your mind will become cluttered as well. It is just symbolic of how the universe works.
Life is all about impermanence. Hardly anything is ever static or solid forever. Allow your open spaces to fill up, empty, then fill again. So long as you are always open to a fresh start, your bedroom will still remain a space of rest and positive energies.
If you are worried about your designated spaces becoming too full, simply find a new area for storing things. Then, try your best to clear that one space occasionally.
Since energy first enters through the main portal of your home (or your front door), you need to let that energy linger in your entryway. As a result, all the rooms in your home will have a better flow of chi – not just your bedroom.
To slow this energy input down, you can add a stair runner or an interesting piece of artwork near your doorway. This causes both guests and chi alike to pause and reflect on how it affects the feng shui in your home. You can also set a heavy object at the top of the stairs to ground the chi and force it to slow down.
Balancing the Living Room
Next, you can coordinate the five feng shui elements with the furniture, paint colors, decor, and artwork. These should be arranged in your living room to balance out the flow of chi in this area.
The coffee table is one of the most important aspects of the living room; it’s often placed in the center and is, thus, the room’s main focus. Look for round or oval-shaped coffee tables made of either wood or metal, as opposed to tables with sharp or pointy edges.
Furniture with sharp corners can obstruct the flow of chi in the room due to their biting, cutting energy. You should instead have circular tables or rounded ottomans to keep this flow going. If you already own furniture with sharp edges, then you can mask the negative energy it emits by covering these edges with potted plants.
According to the feng shui principles, the kitchen is believed to be directly tied to your health and ability to attract money. Some dining rooms are, in turn, directly connected to the kitchen, so this logic can be extended to this room as well.
Get Rid of Broken Appliances (or Repair Them)
First things first, you should remove anything broken or repair appliances that need to be fixed as soon as possible. Poorly-functioning appliances and tools can deplete the positive energy of the room, leading to poor health and less money along the way.
Keep Appliances Spaced Out
Once you’re sure the appliances are in working order, put enough space between all of them, so that they are not directly touching one another. A common feng shui configuration is to place the stove and sink diagonally across from one another, so their opposing elements (fire and water respectively) do not disrupt the flow of chi around the room. You should also ensure that other opposing appliances do not sit near each other either.
Throw Out Old Food
You should throw away any expired food items left in your pantry and fridge as well. If the food in your home cannot nurture your body, in essence, it cannot provide your home with any positive energy, either.
Display Fruit or Flowers
One of the basic feng shui principles is to clear out the old clutter before you bring in something new. Without this practice, you risk muddying up the energy in your home.
Once you have done that, your home will be deemed ready to receive new, positive energy. You can place bowls of fresh fruit or display vases full of freshly-cut flowers to invite lively, healthy energy into this space. Be sure to regularly eat the fruit before it spoils and to replace the flowers before they die; this ensures the positive flow keeps coming in.
Some people say that leaving clutter in your home will also clutter up in your mind. Indeed, it is difficult to concentrate when your workspace is unorganized and messy. As such, it’s best to clear up this important space, so you can feel at peace while you work.
First, clear your desk of any items you do not love or have need for, such as old reminders, pens that no longer work, or even crumpled pieces of paper. Clearing away all that unnecessary clutter can feel very therapeutic and may even inspire you to work harder than before.
The bathroom has been a point of concern for those who practice feng shui. After all, water is closely related to wealth and the bathroom is a place where water frequently goes down the drain. As such, it may seem like you are consistently washing your money prospects away.
Of course, you can only reduce these effects, not prevent them from happening entirely. Be sure to keep your toilet seat cover down and the bathroom door closed even when not in use. This will counteract this negative energy as best as possible.
Feng shui is a thoughtful practice meant to promote harmony and peace in your home (and, thus, your life). Not only can it help you spruce up your home, but it can also invite some good fortune and success your way!