Similar to meditation, the practice of feng shui is deeply steeped in mindfulness, in slowing down and noticing the details in your life so that you can truly experience the present moment. The words "feng shui" are Chinese and translate to "wind" and "water." Wind is our breath, and humans are almost 60 percent water. Wind and water are vital elements for life, as is feng shui! Historically, feng shui has roots in Taoism and Buddhism. However, elements of feng shui are palpable in every culture across time. For instance, these days we can all feel the difference between a New York City apartment and a quiet hidden cabin in the forest, and we understand that our surroundings greatly affect our energy.
By connecting with the spaces around us, we can begin to further relate to and celebrate our outer and inner worlds. Feng shui says that we are interconnected with everyone and everything is alive, that there can be magic in making your bed every morning, gazing out the window, or walking through a doorway.
These design tweaks promote good feng shui in every room of the house:
1. Place your bed, desk, and stove in a command position.
One of the most effective and fundamental principles in feng shui is called the "commanding position," and it basically means that certain objects should be facing the entry door. The most important objects to place in the command position are the bed, desk, and stove.
The main door to the room or space is called the "mouth of chi," and it's thought to be the portal through which energy comes into your home and life. When you are cooking at the stove (or sleeping in bed, or sitting at your desk), it’s best if you can see the door but not be directly in line with it. It's best to be diagonal from the door, while still facing it. Understandably, this is not always possible, so you can make adjustments like placing a mirror such that you can see the door in the reflection while cooking at the stove (or sleeping in bed, or sitting at your desk). If that’s still not doable, you can use a faceted feng shui crystal ball and hang it between the door and the object.
2. Pay special attention to your entryway.
The entry and front door to your home represent the way you face the outside. It’s how the world sees you, like a first impression. Be sure to keep the area clean and clutter-free. This does not mean the entry must be completely empty; rather it’s about keeping only what you need there. So if it’s winter, it makes sense to hang your scarf, hat, and coat there. The interior and exterior entry should also be well lit (get some bright bulbs on a dimmer!). Lastly, be sure your door number is clean, hung straight, and easily visible. Auspicious opportunities need clear signage to find you! In addition, I often recommend a nice black rectangular welcome mat to attract good energy.
3. "Activate" your front door.
While we’re in the entry area, let’s activate your front door. The front door is literally and metaphorically how energy walks into your home. On an auspicious day like your birthday or a new moon, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (the most yang hours of the day), write a list of nine wishes for yourself using a newly purchased black pen on a sheet of red paper. Read your list out loud, and then with respect, mindfully sign the list. Carefully fold the sheet and place it in a red envelope. Securely position your intentions and aspirations above the front door, on the inside of your home. Now, every time you walk through your front door, you are invoking the energy of these wishes so they may manifest in your life. (Note: You can also use this for your bedroom door if you live with roommates.)
4. Balance out your bedroom.
In feng shui philosophy, your bedroom symbolizes you and affects you the most. We spend many hours sleeping in our beds, so the feng shui of our bedrooms is of the utmost importance. Once you get the bed in the commanding position, it’s also important to have space available on both sides of the bed. This means that you’ve made space for your partner (or future partner). Believe me: Nobody likes to sleep on the wall side! This also allows for a nightstand on each side of the bed. The nightstands do not have to match; however, it’s better if they are similar in size. If possible, there should be at least 2 feet of walking space on the left and right side of the bed, with the headboard against the wall. Yes, you do need a headboard! A solid headboard without bars or holes, fastened securely to the bed, creates stability and harmony. Finally, take some time to make your bed every morning and thank it for supporting you every night. It’s a beautiful way to start your day with a little bit of order and peace. That energy resonates throughout the whole day until your bed welcomes you back to sleep at night.
5. Be mindful of color choice.
The use of color in feng shui relates to the five elements of earth, metal, water, wood, and fire. The five elements are found in nature and are used to bring in energy to create balance. So if there’s an elemental energy that you require a bit more of, you can add that color to your space with paint, accessories, or even clothing.
If you're lacking self-care and stability, add more of the earth element. The colors for earth include earthy tones of yellow, orange, and brown. A dark-brown wood headboard can be used to ground your relationship. The metal element (grays, whites, off-whites, and metallic tones) can provide more clarity and precision, and a silver metal frame for your vision board can help direct and expedite your goals. If you'd like to invite more flow or wisdom into your spaces, accents of black call upon the element of water. Try sitting in a black or dark blue chair when you study. Wood energy can help to kick-start new beginnings and bring life energy into a space, and teal pillows on your sofa can bring life to the party when you entertain. Finally, the red color of fire energy is magnetizing and can illuminate you when you need more passion or recognition. My favorite way to bring in fire energy is with fresh red flowers.
In feng shui, these things are best avoided:
1. Blocked doors.
As previously mentioned, doors are super important in feng shui as they are portals for energy. Take a close look at each door in your home to see if there are any that cannot open a minimum of 90 degrees due to surrounding clutter or furniture. When doors cannot open, it means that the positive energy coming into your life is being compressed and your full potential is not available to you. It also affects how you experience your life path (literally and metaphorically) and can leave you crammed and pinched rather than expansive and spacious. Finally, doors also represent your voice in the world, so a blocked door can mean that your voice cannot fully be heard or communicated.
2. Broken objects.
Broken objects at home can become obstacles in your life and cause stress that holds you back. That broken doorbell that you keep meaning to repair may block you from receiving a visit from something or someone amazing.
3. Overstuffed closets.
Many of us have those "I’ll fit into them someday" jeans from high school, but letting go of the clothing that we don’t need will give our brains a cue to also let go of other unnecessary things (like weight or harmful people or anxiety). When we have a full closet, we give the universe the message that our lives are complete and we don’t need anything else. It’s astounding what a little space in your closet can do to invite magic into your life.
4. Dusty objects and corners.
If there are areas or objects in your home that are collecting dust, it may symbolize areas of your life that are stagnant and ignored. If you don’t need that object, maybe it’s time to donate it. And if there’s a room you haven’t stepped foot in, maybe it’s time to peek inside. It can be as simple as taking the time to move things around to stir up some good energy.
5. Dirty windows.
In feng shui, windows represent the eyes of the inhabitants in the home. When we have dirty windows, we can’t see the world around us clearly and can get caught up in our perceptions. Take some time to clean them regularly and then see how much light and joy come into your life.
6. Artwork that is crooked or hung too low.
If someone has issues with depression and low energy, I often notice that their artwork, photographs, and mirrors are hung low on the walls. The low artwork can bring down your chi. (Note: Even a bed that’s very low to the ground can bring down your mood). It’s also good to fasten frames in two places so the art isn’t crooked.
7. Under-the-bed storage.
I know many of us could use extra storage, but under the bed is not the place for it! In feng shui, it’s best to have the air flow all around you while you’re sleeping, so it’s a big no-no to have objects under the bed—especially sharp, dangerous items. Other items to watch out for are shoes, books, or anything associated with very active energy. If you have mementos from past relationships stored under there, it may mean that relationship is holding you back. If you must store something under the bed, make it something soft, like extra linens and pillows.