By Arwa Lodhi
Feng Shui, literally meaning “wind and water,” is a traditional Chinese concept linking we humans to our environment. It’s based on several complex, ancient notions, but in a nutshell, it aims to ensure that people live in harmony with their surroundings. The Chinese have a deep belief in Ch’i, the animating life force that flows everywhere; it “permeates your home, physical surroundings, the rivers roads, trees, and all people” . This hidden force permeates our home and may be divided into sha (negative) Ch’i or yun (positive) Ch’i. The purpose of Feng Shui, the “art of placement,” is to enable you to tap the beneficial Ch’i energy to its maximum, in order to disperse, disrupt, or remove obstructions to free the flow of Ch’i. Both wind and water convey a sense of invisible energy which flows in certain directions.
Pictures of animals and symbols connected with feng shui have been found which date back to prehistory, and it has connections to many beliefs, including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Vashtu Shastri.
In practical terms, Feng Shui is a useful way to create a home that is inspiring, safe, and has a better energy overall. Good Feng Shui can help you sleep better, be more creative, content, and eve more successful.
You could hire a Feng Shui expert to come into your home and redesign it to maximise its potential, but there are actually simple changes you can make yourself. Here are our top Feng Shui Tips for your home.
1. Attract good energy with your entrance
The doorway is considered the entrance point of all energy, or ‘chi’. This is where positive opportunities can come in. Make it beautiful and inspiring with pots of plants or flowers, welcome mats, and bright, clear lights. Ensure it’s just as clean and tidy as the inside of your home. This is the first impression that others will have of your home when they visit–make sure it’s a good one.
2. Arrange all main pieces of furniture into an empowering position
First, you have to understand what is meant by ’empowering position’. Basically, a piece of furniture is in an empowered position when you can see the entrance to the room from where you are sitting, but are not in direct alignment with it. Your bed, desk, and place where you spend the most time reading or watching television should always be in this position. If not, you will be spending most of your time feeling slightly weak: you will never feel truly comfortable if you can’t see what is going on in the room, and who is coming and going.
3. Replace or fix anything that is broken or needs repair
Mold is highly toxic, so all black spots should be cleaned and treated with an anti-mold paint. But beware also of cracked glass, broken mirrors, chipped furnitures, scratched walls, etc–our homes are a reflection of ourselves, and if we let our homes go, the next logical step is to stop caring about our physical bodies, too!
4. Clear clutter
Are you a bit of a pack rat? Having too many things at home means you have your attentions scattered over a range of too many objects. This sucks out our energy and can make us feel scattered and even depressed. Learn to downsize, throw out anything that is not immediately useful, and see how much lighter you’ll feel!
5. Stay clear of irritating movements
The blades of ceiling fans, drippy faucets, loose window frames that bang in the breeze…all these small movements are registered in our subconscious mind and whether you know it or not, they are interfering with the stillness of your mind. Fix them.
6. Don’t love it? Ditch it!
Hanging on to dear Aunt Millie’s china because she left it to you when she died? Kept all the hideous throw cushions your in-laws gave you because you want to show them you’ve kept them when they come over? Unless you love it, this could be dragging you down. Your home should reflect the person you are, and should hold objects you consider to be an extension of yourself–not other people. And certainly, anything that you dislike but hang on to will pester you like a sore tooth. Get rid of it.
7. Create the right amount of activity & rest depending in a room
8. Remove hazards in the home
Do you always catch your sleeve on a certain door knob? Stub your toe on a certain table? Ditch it! Anything that can physically hurt you tells your subconscious mind that your home is not a safe place to be. Replace sharp-edged furniture with those that have rounded edges and remove from sight anything that suggests violence, such as knives.
9. Bring the outside in!
The Five Elements theory behind Feng Shui states that we should have little bits of nature in our homes, including: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Having plants in the home offers earth, especially if they are in a terracotta pot; a small fishbowl allows some water into the home; metal and wood are easily incorporated into furniture, and fire can be represented by the lighting of an organic candle or incense every now and then. This reaffirms our links to nature–something that we all subconsciously need.
10. Update your colour scheme
Colour has a huge impact on our emotions, and also represents the five elements. For example, Wood is reflected in green and brown; fire in red, yellow and orange; earth in sandy hues and browns; metal in grey and white, and water in blue. You may have a preference for one of the colours mentioned above; if so, use it in your decorative scheme.
All images unless otherwise stated: Abaton Architects