Feng shui decorating involves three fundamental principles:
1. Yin and Yang
2. The Five Elements
1. Yin and Yang
Yin means shade, and is associated with quiet, passiveness, femininity. Yang means light, associated with activity, brightness, masculinity. Together they represent harmony from balancing the two opposite forces in nature. This balance facilitates the effective flow of chi or energy throughout your home.
Your bedroom, for example, is yin and should be organised in a way that promotes rest. For example you can paint the room with cool or dark colours towards the blue end of the spectrum. Ideally, you should not have any yang elements like the TV or computer, which disrupt rest. You can include feng shui symbols of love in your bedroom if you want to attract or strengthen a relationship.
Your living room, on the other hand, is yang because the family gathers there, so decorations should promote activity. Suitable decor would be bold or strong colours at the red end of the spectrum. Increase yang energy here by including living things like plants and fish.
Yin Yang balance
Each room should be balanced in terms of yin and yang features. If the room is full of heavy, dark furniture, balance this with a splash of colour in the form of a bright painting or lamp. If the room’s decor is bold and colourful, balance this with neutral or cool shades in the drapes or chair cushions.
2. The Five Elements
Water refers to anything that flows. You could include a feature like a fountain or aquarium, or hang a painting of the sea.
Fire is an agent of change, and can transform other objects. Candles and electric lamps are good to have here.
Wood is anything that is growing, such as living plants. Your wooden table is considered yin wood, while plants are yang wood.
Metal includes metal and man-made objects like TVs, computers, and other electronic gadgets.
Earth is the basis from which life springs. Rocks, crystals and gem stones represent this element.
Primary Directions of the 5 Elements
To achieve harmony in your home through feng shui decorating, all five elements should be present. Each element ‘lives’ in a different location in your home, represented by the coloured circles below:
The creative cycle is shown in the diagram. Water helps wood to grow, wood feeds fire, fire produces earth (via ash), earth’s veins give metal, metal leads to water.
For instance, to increase the wood element in the eastern section of your home, you could add some water features like a feng shui fountain here. To increase the fire element in the south, you could add some living plants which represent wood.
Directions that you face for a significant amount of time, like the bed in which you sleep or the study table at which you work, play an important role in feng shui.
Science actually supports this view to an extent. Your mitrochondria (magnetic cell structures which give you energy at a cellular level) align in a north-south direction if you sleep in this direction. If you sleep in any other direction, the mitrochondria apparently line up randomly. So our bodies may be influenced by the directions we face for prolonged periods. Fact or superstition? Your guess is as good as mine.
Your back should never face an opening like a door or window because then you are unsupported. This makes sense because you wouldn’t want to be surprised by an intruder and literally stabbed in the back. Better to have a ‘commanding view’ by facing the door so you’ll know when someone enters.
Position chairs so that people tend to face each other instead of the TV. This increased interaction will increase the yang energy in the room.
Chairs should be at 90- or 45-degree angles rather than a confrontational face-to-face set-up. This trick is commonly used in negotiating to help people feel more at ease with each other rather than feeling they are on literally opposite sides.
Try not to face a mirror when you sleep. Seeing your reflection is great in a dance studio or living room, but not when you’re trying to wind down and rest.
Your feet should not point out the door when you sleep – this is known as the ‘coffin position’. Sounds like bad luck? It is. Also don’t position your bed in the straight line between the door and windows, since chi will then rush past you as you sleep, instead of gently lingering around your bed to energise you.
Does feng shui decorating really work?
I really don’t know. I do seem to have a lot of good things happening to me lately though.