Feng shui is the ancient Chinese philosophy of using energy forces, known as qi (pronounced and often written chi), to achieve balance and harmony between a person and their environment. While I’m in no way an expert on the practice as it involves scientific formulas based on studies of time and space, and form and function, I did learn a few things from certified feng shui master, Teresa Min Yee Hwang, when I spoke with her several years ago as editor of a Western Canadian interior design and architecture magazine.
Here are some simple ways to promote good feng shui in your home and improve the positivity of your living space.
1. If there is a direct line of sight between your front and back door, add area rugs to the path to slow down the flow of chi. Otherwise, the energy will pass through your house too quickly.
2. Keep the path to your front door clear as it’s the main portal through which energy enters your home.
3. Opt for furniture with rounded corners; sharp ones create ‘poison arrows’ that can cut through good energy. Think circular ottomans and nightstands. If existing furniture like your dining room table is rectangular, drape a tablecloth over top to soften the edges. Adding objects like potted plants to a space is another great way to counteract sharp angles and mask negative energy.
4. Place your living room sofa against a wall to evoke the feeling of safety. Avoid situating it in front of windows as this obstructs positive chi from entering the room and your view of the outside.
5. TVs aren’t bad but they don’t belong in the bedroom. Same for computers. If they have to be there, make sure to cover the screen or monitor when not in use or place them inside an armoire or console and close the doors. This will eliminate a negative mirror effect like the reflection of clutter, which can promote bad chi.
6. Add mirrors to expand the look and feel of a space and maximize natural light, but be mindful of placement. Mirrors should never directly face the front door or your bed. As well, don’t hang them where they’re going to reflect clutter; choose a beautiful view instead.
7. Keep interior doors open during the day to avoid trapping any positive energy, with the exception of the bathroom. These doors should be closed to prevent that energy from getting washed away. (Same goes for the toilet seat.)
8. Add plants, as long as you’re able to care for them. Not only will they freshen up your home but plants’ life energy will invigorate it, too. Those with soft and rounded leaves are typically best like aloe vera, jasmine, philodendron and banana leaf. Try to stay clear of pointy and spiky plants like cactus. Using fake plants to promote feng shui can be tricky. Avoid them, if possible. At the very least, they should be high-quality and look so real that you have to touch them to confirm they’re fake.
9. Open windows at least once a week to let in fresh air. This brings the good chi in and allows it to circulate throughout the space.
10. Feng shui divides the world into five main elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each has a unique quality of energy and is represented by a specific hue. If a space feels off-kilter, it might benefit from the injection of another element and the energy associated with its colour.
Wood represents growth and vitality and is generally associated with the colour green, ranging from cerulean blue to forest green.
Fire represents passion and high energy, and is associated with the colour red, ranging from orange to purple.
Earth represents nourishment and stability, and is associated with the colours yellow and brown, encompassing a variety of earth tones from taupe to dark chocolate.
Water represents calmness and abundance, and is associated with the colours blue, ranging from navy to dark blue, and black.