Have you ever walked into someone’s home and just felt inexplicably elated? The space isn’t necessarily bigger, brighter or better than your own home, but for some perplexing reason the atmosphere fills you with instant joy. No, it’s not a carbon monoxide leak… it’s the feng shui — an ancient Chinese practice of strategically arranging your surroundings to attract health, wealth and happiness. We’ve got some handy tips on how to harness the good vibrations in your own home.
For many of us, when we think of feng shui, we picture jolly laughing buddha statues, lucky bamboo and those golden maneki-neko money cats with the frantically waving arms. But feng shui actually runs way deeper. It’s a natural science that is thousands of years old. In essence, it’s about orienting your surroundings in such a way that the chi (energy) can flow freely, without obstruction. The aim of the practice is to arrange your external environment — like furniture — so that it works in harmony with the natural flow of energy, hence flushing out the bad vibes and drawing in the good feels.
Feng shui aficionado Maria Kondo said it best: “Does it spark joy?” If not, get rid of it. Clutter creates stagnation that makes us feel tired and depressed. So go through every room, every cupboard, every drawer of your home to get rid of clutter, organise and clean. If it’s broken, fix it or throw it away. If you don’t use it, donate it. This is the essential first step in creating a feng-shui-friendly home, as chi loves to stagnate in dust bunnies, “floordrobes” and junk drawers. Open the doors and windows to let in some fresh air as you declutter to increase the energy flow, and crank up some calming tunes as music is known to elevate the vibrational frequency.
Now that you’ve got all that delicious fresh energy swirling around your home, you want to ensure you don’t have any blockages in the flow. Corners, for instance, can halt the current and trap energy. An easy way to counter this is to have a few round or curved pieces of furniture and place plants, ornaments, baskets or ottomans in the corners to keep the chi twirling around your interiors. Soft furnishings like cushions and throws also work to buffer the flow-blockers.
Mirrors are magic makers when it comes to interior design. Not only do they look good and give the illusion of increased space, in terms of feng shui, they also bounce the good energy all over the room, lighting up dark corners and stagnant spaces. Mirrors are said to have the property of reflecting — hence, multiplying — things in your home. But positioning them correctly is imperative, as some feng shui experts say they can also multiply the bad, such as a stack of bill. Never hang a mirror directly opposite the front door or it will deflect all the fresh new chi trying to flow into your home, whereas placing it on a wall perpendicular will expand opportunities in your life. The best place to hang a mirror in your home is the dining room, as this space symbolises wealth — not to mention the happiness and health of dining with friends and family.
The five elements of feng shui are earth, metal, water, wood and fire. Each element is essential for life, interlinking to create harmony. If your room doesn’t feel right, it could be that your elements are out of balance. But there’s an easy fix. Add earth to your interior for “stability” with some brown items or a clay bowl. Bring some bling and “mental clarity” into your space with a metallic ornament or brass plant stand. Elevate your “intuition” with a water feature, such as an aquarium, or get a fountain, as flowing water is said to attract financial prosperity. Crack open more “creativity” with wood, such as a piece of timber furniture. And spark up your “enthusiasm” with an open fire or simply light some candles when you’re feeling flat.
Day, night… light, dark… male, female. Yin and yang symbolise the two halves that make a whole. In terms of interior design, certain elements are more masculine than feminine and visa versa, but the goal is to create the perfect balance. Dark colours, timber and stone, for instance, anchor a space, yet too much can feel heavy and oppressive. Light colours, soft furnishings and mirrors are more relaxed, but too much can feel flighty. So take both into consideration. Soften a leather sofa with some cushions and throws, and moor listless spaces with a timber coffee table or bold rug.
Introduce plenty of plants to oxygenate your interiors and suck up the carbon dioxide in the air. Anchor your luscious leaves in bold plant stands, like terrazzo, baskets and brass. Hang them from ceiling hooks and intersperse them with a few artificial plants in areas that don’t get enough natural light.
Finally, top it all off with some laughing buddha statues, lucky bamboo and a waving money cat… or not! We’ll leave that part up to you.