April 8, 2020 | Updated: November 8, 2021
With our greater appreciation of how design influences mental health and wellbeing the study of feng shui has become increasingly popular. But what exactly is feng shui?
Having originated in China some 3,500 years ago, feng shui aims to harmonise individuals with their surroundings by harnessing nature’s energy forces. There exist other similar philosophies around the world such as Kanso, Japanese feng shui. Or even minimalism could be understood as a variation on feng shui. The Japandi style is also related, mixing Japanese minimalism with Scandinavian sensibility.
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Many of its tenets are simply good design practice, the search for harmony in the home. And in practice feng shui is an intuitive awareness, at its core, it’s about how to make a happy home. The feng shui home is one where we instantly feel calm and at peace but perhaps cannot put these feelings into words.
Traditionally, feng shui relied upon astronomical charts, magnetic polarity and location with respect to local landmarks for deciding where to construct graveyards and other structures. Feng shui basics for the home, however, are mostly concerned with internal layout and lines of force. Here the notion of qi (pronounced chee) meaning life force is determinant. For instance, the placement of the bed with respect to the door is important (it should be located in view, diagonally).
►Note: The proper bed placement according to Feng Shui is the last one, in which the bed is diagonal to the door.
The feng shui home plan recommends that the front door opens inwards, that the back of the house is higher than the front, etc. Avoid locations at intersections or at the end of cul-de-sacs. Using feng shui for achieving harmony in the home is a matter of understanding the principles. Below we provide a series of feng shui tips for making a start.
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Knowing how to feng shui your home is not as complicated as you might think. With some de-cluttering, furniture re-arrangement and selection of house plants your home’s feng shui coefficient can improve greatly. Feng shui home decorating items should include greenery. The best feng shui plants for the home will depend on daylight availability and how green fingered you are. The best bathroom plants will thrive in humid conditions, while plants that love light work better in the living room. The crucial point is to keep the plants alive. A home cactus plant is a good choice for feng shui as its almost indestructible.
Mostly it’s a question of common sense. What intuitively feels right in terms of organising the home probably also satisfies the principles of feng shui.
Layout and composition are all important. Good feng shui can be summarised by the flow of positive energy. So start with the entrance hall and work through the home from public to private areas.
Most people will already have inherited a house layout but things like optimising the windows and the right furniture positions can attract good vibes. The location of the bed, the desk and the stove are critical for feng shui. Rather like Zen Japanese interior design feng shui is as much about what not to do as what to do for attracting good vibes.
The way the home is perceived from the outside is critical to feng shui. Ensure that lawns, plant holders and the garden are generally well maintained. Think about how someone else would perceive your home on first sight. Fix any loose guttering and repaint window frames or front doors if they look shabby.