Feng Shui Principles – TRUE or FOOHY?

Feng Shui Principles – TRUE or FOOHY?

We’ve all heard of the Chinese practice of Feng Shui in helping us have more harmonious homes, but do we believe in it?

According to Wikipedia, less than a third of China’s population still believes in the practice of Feng Shui for their everyday lives. It has become more of a superstitious set of rules that don’t seem to gel well with modern day environments. But is it something worth paying attention to?

Home-Staging-Feng-Shui-6

Feng Shui is a philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment, with the words Feng Shui literally translating to “wind-water” in English. The concept is to arrange your life, house, business & family around the principles to ensure good luck & prosperity. The Western purposes of Feng Shui tend to centre around the home & Interior Decorating to make our living spaces more relaxing.

So the question becomes, true or false, do I believe in the benefits of Feng Shui?….   TRUE!

Now before you think I’m a lunatic that is adopting a new religion, I want to state that many of the (albeit very simplified) principles of Feng Shui do make sense. I find that they can help to create a more functional home, & in my time as an Interior Designer I have used many of the ideas to help my clients achieve a nicer looking &, more importantly, nicer feeling home.

Feng Shui is centred around the idea of good ‘Chi’. Chi is otherwise known as energy. They talk about it as if it were the wind that flows through life. Now even scientists will tell you that all elements in our world are made up of energy, including air or wind. This energy can affect us physically & mentally just by being surrounded in it. Feng Shui is about utilising good Chi & minimising bad or stagnant Chi to make a more harmonious environment for us to live in. So what are these principles or ideas that may help you achieve more peace & prosperity at home, I hear you ask? Well some of the many simplified ideas are as follows, courtesy of ChicTip.com.

Help my home Feng Shui!

JE Lounge

Front of the House – This is where it starts as this is the area in which Chi enters the home. If you house is positioned directly at the end of a street with cars facing your front door, this fast-pased energy can hurtle through your entryway & rush into the home. A sweeping garden bed, or a tree to block or disperse the intense energy is best. You want a relaxed, free-flowing feel for the entry of your home as this sets the stage for the rest of the Chi. So keep front door clutter to minimum, keep your plants neat & not too spikey & make it easy to enter, not having to step over items or duck under a beam.

 

De-clutter Every Room – Clutter is where energy cannot flow properly. This is how it becomes stagnant & damaging to our thinking. Most of the time if we have clutter it is because the items don’t belong & because we haven’t done something. This means that every area of clutter is a big troubled ‘to do list’ which just adds more stress & less time to relax. It’s okay to have ‘stuff’ in our lives, but our ‘stuff’ needs an organised home, not just piles of unfinished projects. (See, I told you some of this makes perfect sense!)

 

Furniture Positioning – This also makes sense but furniture is to be placed in a room so that you can move freely in the space while still using the pieces. However I have been amazed by how many people get this one wrong! I have been to plenty of beautiful homes where the furniture is blocking the walkways & you can’t open sideboards or cupboards as many other things are in the way. Think about how you use your space, where do you walk, what do you want to look at (television), can I still reach what I need to (coffee table, lamp) or if I had the windows open would the air be able to flow all the way around the furniture? After all of these are answered, then you can arrange the furniture.

 

Keep Work & Rest Areas Separate – It is best if you have a home office to have a closing door. We all know that a home based business can steal many more hours out of your day than planned, so make sure you can close the door & walk away at the end of your working day. This will allow your head to relax. Also try not to do work on the laptop or notebook in front of the tv in the lounge room. This doesn’t do favours to either the work or the relaxation. For those tired mothers out there, try to find a room in the house where children aren’t allowed to go. One of my clients has the ‘Good Room’ in her house that children aren’t allowed in. This room has the lovely white carpet, nicer white upholstered furniture & the fancy liquor cabinet. This is her piece of heaven & time away from her job as a mother, but still with glass doors to look out over the kids in the family room.

 

3Maintenance is Key – A broken item has broken Chi. Its functionality is limited & it becomes a source of angst. A leaking tap is said to represent your money going down the drain, a broken door handle can muddle the Chi for the whole room. Fix it. It makes sense. Write a list & every month pick an item or two that you will complete to keep your home up to scratch. Also avoid sharp corners or edges. Try to round corners or place circular items in modern houses to take the sharpness off the minimalist interiors. Consider rounded arms on chairs or cone shaped pendant lights rather than the boxy alternatives to give a softer flow.

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – This is my favourite. Mirrors are very powerful in Feng Shui. They are said to double what is reflected in them. In China, older feuding neighbours place mirrors along the boundaries of their homes to reflect back any negative energy from next door. However in Australia, we just build bigger fences. Mirrors are a powerful tool as they can accentuate what is reflected in them. A dinner table can look twice as big with twice as many guests, or a small room can look bigger with mirrors. If there is a dark room, a mirror can reflect light creating a better glow. However be careful with not reflecting light straight back out the window or making a glare spot in the room. Also don’t hang mirrors in a way that ‘cuts’ a persons’ head off when looking into it or shattered or tiled mirrors that can make the reflected image disjointed. And be careful not to accentuate cluttered or messy areas by doubling it with a badly positioned mirror.

Dogs

Living with Plants & Pets – Life is important. I even prefer having a spider of two around the house because it means that the house is liveable, not toxic. Indoor plants help to filter the air to make it clean for us to breathe. You don’t need to add an entire conservatory, but maybe just one or two small potted varieties. There are even plenty like succulents that may not need much light or water. They are also a lovely visual addition to bring a pop of colour, or to bring the outdoors inside. Another pop of colour is bowls of fruit especially citrus. This is meant to promote good luck. Pets are also great Feng Shui. Their loving, fun energy filters through the home, as long as their toys don’t clutter up the walkways & they don’t leave ‘puddles’ in the corners. A relaxed, happy pet brings happiness to the whole home & those in it. Fish, especially goldfish, also symbolise prosperity & the water they are in promotes harmony.

 

Water Features – There was a big push a decade back to have a water feature in your home. All those people out there with curious pets have realised it may not be practical & floating cat hair isn’t attractive either. However the premise was that flowing water promotes harmony & relaxation. That may be true but in my experience, it also encourages the need to go to the toilet.

 

Colour – Colour can make all the difference to an interior & each colour has it’s own meaning & history. Red is a lucky colour in China & yellow shows power. However to keep a more Zen attitude, relaxing neutral tones are preferred. So a warm neutral colour palette with accents of greens tend to give the best serene presence. Whites can be fresh & clean but be sure not to have a stark, clinical look for the home. Soften them with yellow or soft brown undertones.

 

Not too Sharp – Modern houses can be quite rigid. Lots of straight lines & sharp edges. It’s best to soften a home with rounded corners & circular objects. Even if this is just choosing a new sofa with a slight curve on the arms rather than a block edge, it’s amazing the difference it makes. If you already have your furniture & still need to soften, add decorator items with rounded edges or a throw over blocky pieces. A curved vase, with soft peace lilies in it, or a statue, mortar & pestle in the kitchen, a pillar candle or circular cushions. There are plenty of options.

Flowers

Make it work for you!!

So when you are decorating or buying a new piece for the home, consider the impact of what it will do to the room more than just looking good. Think about what areas of your home you don’t like & is it because they are cluttered or there are too many sharp edges in that area?

There are reasons for why these spaces do or don’t work, & you don’t have to go barefoot & sprout eastern philosophy to make your point. I find that Feng Shui is just a different way to look at the issue. And this may be the way that you find the resolution so you are happy & content in your own home.

 

 

Images by Mysteree Designs & the following sites:

http://blog.bhhssnyder.com/u/staticpages/2012/06/Home-Staging-Feng-Shui-6.jpg

 

For other great free Interior Design tips –

The Top Interior Design Elements – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/the-top-interior-design-elements/

How to get the Industrial Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-get-the-industrial-style/

Environmental Design – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/environmental-design/

Sheen Levels with Paint or Cabinetry –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/low-sheen-gloss-satin-what-does-it-all-mean/

What is Contemporary Design? – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/what-is-contemporary-design/

Heating your home this winter –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-heat-your-home-this-winter/

How to get the Scandinavian Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/scandi-style/

 

 

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