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Feng Shui Tips

Stack of rocks on a rocky beach

by Jennie Stewart

Home Decor Specialist

Most of us could use a little more balance in our lives. Trying to keep work, family, friends, finances, and our own needs in check can be overwhelming. Feng shui was created to help people organize their belongings in a certain way to bring calmness to their homes. Organize your home using feng shui to find more balance and a sense of harmony.

Your home is a representation of you. If a home is cluttered or in disrepair, it may be a sign that the person who lives there is stressed or overwhelmed. On the other hand, a clean and organized home can indicate a calm and collected resident.

What is Feng Shui?

Imagine not having to stress about where things are or wondering how you're going to make time to clean up this mess or that room. Clearing clutter and having items put neatly away can help streamline processes and cut out wasted time searching for things. Feng shui gives an overall picture of ways you can organize your home to bring balance to your life.

While reading this guide, it is important to note that feng shui is not a set of definite rules; it is meant to be challenged and changed. It is only after we ponder how our home feels to us — not how a book or person tells us it should feel — that we are free to challenge those ideas. If any of these suggestions are counterproductive to your lifestyle, or if something "feels off," don't force yourself to stick to the rules.

In this guide, we will focus on the modern approach to feng shui, although both modern and traditional feng shui schools have their benefits. Western housing and development seem to align better with the “magic square bagua” from modern feng shui.

Gnarled knot of wood

Wood

Wood represents growth and strength. Furniture, indoor trees, and other plants are great ways to pull this component into your design. Wood and column-shaped decor in earth tones can help to inspire creativity.

Fire pit

Fire

Bring on the heat! Use candles, fireplaces, and plenty of lights to fill your space with warmth and expressiveness. Diamond shapes and triangles also help to invoke a sense of decisiveness.

Waves in a lake

Water

Address the emotions in your space with a splash of water. The water element embodies the spirituality and emotional side of feng shui. Small fountains, photos of oceans and rivers, and aquariums can help channel these things.

Varying sizes of metal sheets welded together with rivet accents

Metal

Metal represents clarity and organization in feng shui. Use copper, gold, silver, brass, and stainless steel to bring focus and logic to your life. Round, metallic bowls and other shiny accessories are perfect for bringing this detail to your feng shui design.

Pathway through forest

Earth

Earth is the ultimate in stability and balance as well as strength. Earth tones, squares, and low-to-the-ground furniture are right at home in areas that need grounding.

Image of someone dancing with fire

Cycles

There are multiple cycles to help balance these elements. There tend to be many spaces in a home where it just isn't feasible to tear down walls or move appliances just to make chi flow properly. By utilizing the cycles mentioned below, you'll soon be on your way to incorporating feng shui.

How Do These Five Elements Affect Each Other?

Chi, universal energy or life force, is a crucial part of feng shui. Use feng shui to open your space, which will allow chi to move freely within your home and clear the way for positivity and good health. The “productive cycle” of the five elements increases sheng chi or “helpful chi.” The productive cycle explains how each element feeds, creates, or holds another of the five elements: water feeds wood, wood feeds fire, fire creates earth, earth creates metal, metal holds water. If you find that one of the areas of your home has too much metal (blame all those kitchen appliances), you can use the “controlling cycle” to balance the space by incorporating the fire element. The controlling cycle is as follows: fire melts metal, metal chops wood, wood breaks up earth, earth muddies water, water douses fire.

Introduction to the Bagua

The bagua is a nine-section map of the different “gua,” or areas, of a home or room. Each gua is represented by specific colors, shapes, elements, and numbers. This ancient Chinese map is your guide to helping chi flow easily in your home. You can put the bagua to work for your entire home all at once or room-by-room.

Bagua Color Chart

The simplest way to use the bagua is to print it out and lay it over a simple drawing of your home’s floor plan. If you find that there is a certain gua you would like to focus on, you can make a map of the room or area that is associated with that particular gua and lay the Bagua over that room or space.

Sections of the Feng Shui Bagua


Picture of a woman with an umbrella jumping against a bright yellow background

Health

This may be the most critical space of them all, because if you have good health, it's easier to improve chi in other areas. First things first, clean up! Remove any and all clutter and clear out dust and dirt. Incorporate shades of yellow and fresh flowers as well as low, square furniture pieces. Use organic materials like clay pots and bowls of fruit. However, don't use wooden bowls in this space.

Avoid wood in any form and the color green.

Picture of a person hiding in a patch of sunflowers

Creativity/Children

This is another space that benefits from using yellow. If you're struggling to have children, or if you want to get your creative juices flowing, focus your energies here. Start by incorporating small plants in circular pots, then find art that inspires creativity. Metal wall art is particularly useful in this area. Feel free to sprinkle in bits of copper and gold as well.

Avoid red-colored items and pointy or triangular objects.

Book on lap

Skills/Knowledge/Self-Development

This is YOUR space, the place where you go to meditate, ponder, grow, and learn. Dark blue and all shades of purple should be a part of the color palette. Keep books in this area as a reminder to always be learning.

Avoid bright colors, overflowing boxes and bins, and junk.

Laptop, lamp, and a potted succulent on a decluttered table

Career

Do you feel lost at work? Find some direction with items that remind you of water. Water is an element that always finds its way. Water features and aquariums are perfect for this space. Black and white accessories, mirrors, and glass tables are great additions too. To help represent the water, look for pieces of furniture and decor that feature undulating shapes that resemble waves and clouds.

Avoid dirt, squares, earth tones, and images of things you would never do.

Bright orange sandstone cave

Travel/Helpful People

If you want to travel more, or if you need the helpful people in your life to step up, concentrate on this space. Metal tones — like silver, gold, bronze, and copper — are a must. Earthy colors like terracotta and sandy yellow are good to mix in. Also, hang photos of places you want to visit.

Avoid black, blue, and too much red. This area is not the place to use water features or display art that emphasizes water, unless it's a picture of a beach you want to see or a foreign waterfall that you wish to visit. Just be sure it speaks to you in a significant way.

Purple flower

Wealth/Prosperity

This space is for the finer things in life, not the necessities. If you want to be more financially comfortable or have a bit more luck, bring in purple and green. Anything from amethyst and lilac to mint green and grass green will help. Kinetic sculptures and other interesting moving objects also invite wealth and prosperity into your home.

Avoid metal, broken items, and dead or dying plants. These things are not conducive to a prosperous life.

Three red and white candles that are lit

Fame/Reputation

Contrary to its name, this is not the space to focus on if you want to be the next YouTube star. Focusing on this area will help your family, friends, and co-workers think more highly of you. Improve your reputation with fiery reds and utilize candles or images of candles.

Avoid water features, mirrors, and uninspiring photos.

Black and white picture of two people kissing while holding coffee mugs

Relationships/Love

Relationships in every form — lovers, business partners, family members, friends, co-workers, partners, and spouses — can benefit from some attention to this space. Pick furniture and decor in pairs such as a couple of chairs, a pair of picture frames, or an even number of candles. Pull in round mirrors, fresh flowers, and anything that may inspire you to think positively about people.

Avoid hanging images of empty landscapes and barren places, single items, and using this room for storage.

Large fiddle leaf tree against a plain background

Ancestors/Family

Family relationships can cause strain and anxiety, so smooth out this area of your life by giving it some attention. Healthy, greenhouse plants like ivies, mosses, ferns, and trees can be reminders of your roots. Growing plants can also invite chi to calm the stress of this area of life.

Avoid metal, too much white, and round shapes to ensure healthy family ties.

Assortment of succulents

Tips

Don’t try to do all of this in one weekend or even a single month. Feng shui is a long-term change, so take time to ensure you get it right. Try tackling one room a week or every other week. It's also important to note that you don’t necessarily need to buy things to create feng shui. As you move through your space, you can shift decor around or swap accessories between rooms to encourage the flow of chi.



Jennie Stewart

by Jennie Stewart

Home Decor Expert

Jennie strives to live a life filled with positive chi and moments of nirvana even though her house is generally in some state of cluttered nonsense. She likes researching and writing about home organization and decor in the hope that someday her home will be a feng shui-ed, positive chi-producing powerhouse.