Feng Shui: Fact or Fabrication?
In English it translates to “wind water”, and is the philosophy of invisible forces creating environments in which we can thrive. In China, there are huge buildings designed with holes straight through the middle in order to reap the benefits of good feng shui – that’s how respected it is.
So how do you separate the facts from the myths? Well, there are no steadfast “facts” about feng shui, but you’d never say that to somebody who practices it in their own home. Here are some of the basic “facts” about feng shui, and how you can use them at home:
1 – The BTB Bagua grid and what it means
Get a piece of paper and draw the outline of your house, with the front of your house at the bottom. Now, draw a 3×3 grid over the top – this is your BTB Bagua grid (the Western version). From left to right, the bottom row has your squares for knowledge & personal growth, career and helpful people & travel. The middle row has your squares for family and for children – the middle square of this row is the heart of your home, and it signifies health & well-being. Finally, the top row has your squares for wealth, reputation and love & marriage. Now you know which areas of your house are attributed to which benefit, you can start applying some feng shui logic to each room.
2 – Colours and what they can do for you
Feng shui, like many other ancient philosophies, has logic based on a few core elements. Each of the feng shui elements have corresponding colours, some of which you might be able to guess.
Wood – green, brown
Accountable for growth, healing and vitality, this element is all about helping you to thrive. Use it when you need to recharge your batteries. The best way to invite these benefits into your space is through the use of rectangular shapes and, of course, plants. Bamboo is highly thought of in Feng Shui, and other plants featuring lots of leafy green foliage are also commonly used.
Fire – red, yellow, orange, purple, pink
This element is responsible for passion and energy, and can subsequently be put to good use in a home office to help focus your career ambitions. Additionally, it can help to fuel love and romance in your home, so perhaps some red candles or cushions could be put to good use in your lounge.
Earth – light yellow, light brown
Nourishment and stability, perhaps predictably, come from the Earth element. Using sandy, beige tones in the heart of your home can protect and nourish your relationships and inner balance. Art featuring natural landscapes are a good encouragement, as are decorative pottery and ceramics, and pale colours in carpets and curtains.
Metal – white, grey
Metal brings productivity, clarity and efficiency – another good element to feature in your home office. Using white and grey to decorate your space is great if you’re lacking motivation or focus, or you need more discipline in your life. It can also be beneficial to feature the metal element in your area dedicated to family & children. Round shapes lend themselves to this element, as do white or grey wall paints, and metal frames around your photos and artwork.
Water – blue, black
Water features have long been associated with relaxation and calm, so it’s no surprise that ease, abundance and freedom are what you can expect from this element. Don’t forget the translation of feng shui (“wind water”) – this is the regard in which water should be held. This element is best used in your wealth and family areas, using mirrors and curved shapes to boost the benefits.
3 – Making the most of what you’ve already got
You don’t need an expensive trip to Ikea to introduce feng shui into your space. Simple rearrangement of furniture and carefully chosen decoration are great ways to get into it, without having to call in the contractors. Don’t forget to cross-reference this with your personal Bagua grid!
Entry hall – this is where all your good energy starts. Use a rug which features colours that correspond to the elements you want to invite into your home. Don’t have any mirrors directly facing your front door, as any energy entering your home will soon bounce back out again.
Lounge – if this room is South facing, use Earth and Wood colours and elements to maximise the good energy in your living rom. This room is all about flow – would water flow freely and peacefully through this room, or would it splash as it came up against obstacle after obstacle?
Kitchen – according to feng shui, this is the most important room in your house as its purpose is to provide nourishment. Avoid having items associated with the fire element in this room, and it’ll clash with your oven. The best tip, however, is often the most difficult to achieve – keep your kitchen clutter-free.
Bathroom – this room, your bedroom and your kitchen are the holy trinity of rooms in your house when it comes to your well-being. That makes sense, even if you’re not into feng shui. Earth colours do well in the bathroom, as they provide you with a calm and light atmosphere. A mirror facing the door will prevent energy entering the room and being lost down the drain.
Office – if possible, keep the room you work in as far from your bedroom as possible, in an effort to keep business and leisure truly separate. If you lack sunlight in this room, invest in some creative and relaxing light fixtures, as well as air-purifying plants. Oh and never, ever have your desk chair facing away from the door.
So, there you have it – 3 ways to introduce feng shui into your home. Whether or not the colours of your walls can directly help you succeed at work… I’m not sure. However, the ideas of keeping your house clean and tidy, with decorations that reflect your taste as well as the mood of the room, are surely good ways to help maintain a happy home – ancient Chinese philosophy, or not.
Article by Caroline Scott