A Beginner's Guide to Feng Shui

You've probably heard the phrase "feng shui." But what does it really mean?
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There are many different opinions about what constitutes good design. In fact, you probably don't have the same exact ideas as your roommate about what looks good. One of the most popular schools of thought is feng shui.

I've heard about it before, but never actually knew what it entailed, which is why I decided to explore the basics in this post. 

What is feng shui?

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese method of organizing a space to maximize harmony and the well-being of the dweller. Feng shui works to make the energy flow properly between all the objects inside a room. It is the study of placement.

In a world that is so large, there are forces coming at you from every angle. While it is impossible to order the entire universe (anyone remember entropy from high school science?), feng shui allows you to take control of your own home. It is important to remember that feng shui is supposed to be a design practice rather than religious or mystical practice.

The Elements

Feng shui attempts to balance the most essential five "elements": wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Ideally, you will have equal amounts of these elements in your space. If you don't, consider balancing them.

Wood represents growth. If you have too much wood, however, you might feel stagnant or trapped. Fire represents innovation and boldness. Too much could be a sign of restlessness or impulsiveness. Earth stands for stability and a sense of grounding. An overabundance of earth could make you feel tired or serious. Metal is a representation of logic and clarity, but in excess you might be too critical or harsh. Lastly, water encompasses lots of emotion and insight. If there is too much water in your home you might feel weighted down and overly emotional. 


Obviously, the biggest part of feng shui is where to place the objects you choose to incorporate. There are many intricate principles that most experienced designers understand (like how some elements undermine others), but as a general overview there are certain large objects that should be arranged a certain way.

Bed. According to feng shui, the bed should always be placed as far from the door as possible. This maximizes your feelings of security, and gives you time to prepare for visitors who walk in.

Couch. Again, if possible, your couch should be placed against a wall that faces the living room. This helps make the space inviting and can allow you to monitor the room when sitting down.

Photographs/Posters. It is recommended that you keep your hanging decorations at about the same height throughout the room. This will create a "second ground" that you can focus on.

Other chairs. Intimacy and relationships are important in feng shui. All of your other seating areas should be no more than 5 feet away from each other to encourage conversation.

What are your thoughts?

Feng shui is an interesting method of design that can help you unclutter and relax. Do you believe in the practices of feng shui? Have you had experience reorganizing like this? Let me know in the comments!

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