As we enter the second half of 2020, it’s safe to say it’s been a year for the books. With everything going on in the world today, many of us are looking for more positivity and balance in our lives. Believe it or not, your living space can have a direct impact on your level of stress, so why not start at home?
This article will teach you the ins and outs of the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui. We’ll go over the benefits of organizing your home this way and provide you with some pro tips for decorating your home and backyard according to these principles.
Chances are, you’ve heard of Feng Shui before. Many interior decorators and even landscapers use it at the core of their design practices, and for a good reason. Feng Shui was developed in China as long ago as 4000 B.C. Practitioners believe that how you arrange your home can affect how energy (known as chi) flows through your home and life.
Feng Shui means "wind-water.” It deals primarily with energy flow and use of space, treating your home as a whole being in which every part is intricately connected. By arranging furniture and household items appropriately, like the placement of your bed, doors, mirrors and even the colours you use in your home, Feng Shui can be easily applied to any area of your home.
The Bagua Map is a fundamental aspect of Feng Shui, using nine grids that correspond to important areas of your life and have their own energy field within your dwelling. This may sound like a lot to take in at first, but it’s actually quite simple to align your Bagua Map with your home’s floor plan. Each of the nine sections of the map has their own prescribed objects, colours and shapes which you can use to enhance your home’s energy. The nine sections of the Bagua Map are as follows:
Simply sketch out an approximate floor plan of your home, making sure to note where the front door is located. When you lay out your Bagua Map over your home’s floor plan, the front door is where the “bottom edge” of the Bagua Map will be located. Your Bagua map can be either a square or a rectangle, depending on which is closer to the shape of your home. All that matters is that each section of the grid is evenly spaced.
Your entryway is the first and last thing you and your house guests encounter upon entering or leaving your home, so naturally, it’s important that this space leaves a lasting impression. It can be all too easy for this area to appear cramped and cluttered, especially if there are no windows to let sunlight in.
If your entryway has no windows, try hanging a dramatic lighting fixture that will not only make a stylish statement but also flood the space with light to make it appear larger. We recommend LED bulbs with as little blue light as possible – these are brighter, use less energy and can even be made to simulate real sunlight.
Another trick to making your entryway appear larger is to remove clutter. If you do not have a closet to store shoes, hats, jackets and other objects, try investing in a storage cabinet rather than leaving these items out in the open.
A little-known Feng Shui fact is that we often unknowingly reinforce the challenges in our lives by subconsciously incorporating their symbols into our personal spaces. Our lives are guided by symbolism, and they can have a serious impact on our perception of ourselves and our lives – whether we’re aware of it or not. This is a guiding principle of Feng Shui.
For example, someone who has confidence issues may find themselves hanging their mirrors too high, so they can never measure up. Someone who has trouble clearing their head or finding inner peace may notice that the surfaces in their home are often covered in clutter. Having trouble finding love? Look around your home and see if you’ve loaded it up with “single” imagery, such as a single vase alone on a table, a singular chair or a single person in a photo.
Broken objects can also attract negative energy by symbolizing everything that is broken in your life. Plus, these objects contribute to clutter and mess. Instead, fill your home with objects that symbolize the things you want to attract – such as confidence, abundance, love and prosperity.
Many of us neglect our bedrooms because usually, we don’t spend a lot of time here, other than to sleep. Likewise, house guests often don’t see the bedroom. We tend to stick to the common areas of our home. But don’t forget – in Feng Shui, everything is connected. Neglecting certain areas will result in negative energy that accumulates, eventually spreading to the rest of your home. So, don’t forget to give your bedroom or sleeping area some regular TLC!
We know, this seems like a given. However, according to Feng Shui, accumulating clutter can become more than just an eyesore. Clutter can be an energetic anchor that blocks positive energy from flowing freely into your home and your life. It can also trap lingering negative energy, weighing you down emotionally and keeping you from thinking clearly.
Therefore, it’s so important when practicing Feng Shui to frequently purge items that don't play a specific function in your home. Don’t get us wrong - Feng Shui is less about having a perfectly styled “minimalist” home, and more about creating a happy and healthy environment.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to ensure that everything in your home serves a purpose. You should have organizational systems in place for everything in your life, from recycling to paying bills and even having a designated spot to put your keys.
Plants are quite literally the gifts that keep on giving. Not only do they look great both indoors and outside, but they also purify the air in your home and provide a living medium that helps energy flow throughout your home. We recommend plants with soft edges and rounded leaves, as they promote a gentle and nourishing chi. Some examples include Areca Palms, Jade, Golden Pothos or Boston Ferns.
It’s important to note, however, that plants will only enhance the Feng Shui in your home if they are well taken care of. Wilting or dead plants will have the opposite of the intended effect, trapping negative chi in your home. If you’re one of those people with a “black thumb,” try opting for some succulents instead, or even fake plants to bring a pop of greenery to your space without the upkeep.
When it comes to Feng Shui, a few well-placed mirrors can be your best friends. Mirrors serve a multitude of purposes, from helping to maximize natural light to opening up the space to appear larger. Mirrors are also a medium for “slowing down” the flow of energy through your home, so the good vibes don’t pass through too quickly.
The trick is to place your mirrors strategically so that they reflect the natural light coming in through your windows, or so that they reflect an expansive part of the room or a serene view. Feng Shui experts recommend placing a mirror near your entryway to invite positive chi into the home, but not directly across from it. Instead, hang your mirror on a wall perpendicular to the front door.
In Feng Shui, water represents wealth. Adding a water feature is not only a beautiful and relaxing addition to your outdoor space, but it also symbolizes abundance and prosperity flowing into your life. Position your water feature so that the water is flowing toward the centre of your home to create the best energy flow. Compliment your new water feature with some natural-looking plants and rocks to create a peaceful oasis where you’ll be able to while away the summer days.
For Feng Shui to be effective, the positive chi must be able to flow freely and slowly through your home, and that includes the outdoor spaces as well. Many landscapers prefer curving, meandering garden paths for this purpose. Your outdoor paths should flow gently toward the center of the space for maximum chi. Gently curving pathways will also enhance creativity and clarity of thought by providing a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Avoid jagged, rough paving stones with sharp edges and instead opt for smooth and light or colourful stones.
Working with colour is a great way to boost the Feng Shui rhythms in your garden. In Feng Shui, colour is used according to the five elements theory – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. You can bring healing harmony and joy to your outdoor space by choosing plants, pavers and other decorative elements in colours that correspond to these elements to emphasize specific energies. For example, you can represent the fire energy in the southern area of your garden with red or purple flower colours, or earth energy in the southwest with light yellow.
If you have a space in your yard (or even inside your home!) that is lying vacant and unused, one of the best ways to bring some energy flow into that area is to hang a hammock there. Unused rooms and areas, both indoor and outdoor, are bad for Feng Shui and can create “pockets” of stagnant energy. We guarantee that you’ll get much more use out of a particular area by hanging a hammock.
There are many creative ways you can incorporate a hammock into your space. Not only is it a peaceful and healthy way to relax, but a hammock will give your backyard or room that chic “boho” touch you may have been missing.
Incorporating Feng Shui into your indoor and outdoor spaces is a great way to rejuvenate your space and invite relaxing energies into your life. By following these simple tips, we promise you'll feel lighter and more efficient in no time!