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.
30 replies on “Feng Shui Decorating Tips”
If my head should point West during sleep (headboard up against a wall for support) but my feet will point towards the door (coffin effect/bad luck) then, how should I do?
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My husband helped me clean our entire bedroom yesterday. We know have the foot of the bed pointing towards the door. I couldn’t do it in my other home. We do have a phone in there and a CD player. Is that OK?
I love my new clean bedroom. We left no corner unturned! Thanks so the inspiration.
That’s why good things are happening for you. You’re good. Own it!
What a sweet husband you have! Does he have a single brother? 😉
A newly cleaned out room just feels wonderful doesn’t it? Great to know you left no corner unturned. What thoroughness… that explains why you’ve been so successful in your life and business.
Just to clarify – the foot of the bed should NOT point toward the door, or at least your feet while sleeping should not point out the door. Hope I didn’t confuse you with the way I worded the post. Phone and CD player are ok in modern times I guess, when most bedrooms even have a TV. If you want you can place these ‘metal elements’ in the north part of the room, since water is the element of north and metal produces water in feng shui. I wouldn’t worry too much about it though. As long as the room feels cosy and relaxing and conducive for rest, that’s most important. Feng shui should assist, and not enslave us, in my understanding.
I learned a fair bit from your tips, like the “coffin” one for instance! I have never quite studied the finer points of Feng Shui. So thanks for making things simple for me to understand!! I doubt I have the time to read a book on it at this point and appreciate the practical tips in your short posts!
I had to make simple enough for myself to understand. Feng shui can be so confusing, especially when there are different schools of thought. I’m trying to summarise the key points that most people seem to agree on. Glad you find the short points helpful.
Yay! Thank you for these. As I mentioned in the first post, my fiance and I are at this stage right now, so these tips are invaluable. There are quite a few of them we can incorporate, but some of them … well, sometimes the shape and build of a house make a few of them difficult. But … we’ll do what we can.
Thank you, Daphne. 🙂
Hey Chania Girl,
It’s so nice to know that someone is actually implementing these tips and not just reading about them. I am going through the decorating process too, and these help to give some ideas. Yes usually we inherit the lay-out and other features of a home. I wouldn’t worry too much about things not falling perfectly into place. Some people recommend feng shui cures for those areas without naturally good fengg shui. I guess we just do the best we can. After all, WE (and not feng shui) are masters of our fate.
I’m a fan of balance and I like the elements (except when I get too close to fire and get burned.)
It’s funny how simply facing a door can help reduce the extra work your body does to keep checking (hey, what’s going on back there.) It’s a simple way to reduce anxiety and reduce surprise.
Great point about the simple physical relaxation that facing a door provides. It’s true that when we have to keep looking over our shoulders literally, that leaves a lot less energy to focus on what we’re doing. Thanks for reminding how sensible some feng shui principles are.
Hi Daphne .. great 2nd post and I went across to Digg It .. well done – and their article was really well presented – summed you up I’d say?! Great .. once I’m up and running with Digg .. I’ll come back and make a comment.
I’ve not done anything really re Feng Shui .. but by default seem to apply some of the principals .. the house faces north south – so that’s a starter! I love Persian rugs .. rich red and they’re in the sitting room, together with red sofas .. I like to know what’s going on .. so will sit with my back to a wall ..
again – I like the diagram – that’s really helpful ..
Thanks – interesting ideas ..
Thanks for checking out the Digg It post. They summed up Joyful Days pretty well, I would say. Not sure if that counts as summing me up as a person though. “I am not my blog” or some such mantra comes to mind 🙂 You’re right that it was a very nicely-done write-up though.
I love those rich Persian rugs. If not for my dog who scratches all my rugs to pieces, I’d think seriously about getting one of those. Maybe someday. And red sofas… I’ve always wanted one! Or a red rug… may get that soon. I’m glad we share the same tastes. And having your back to the wall so you can what’s going on… I always knew you were a smart lady. Well said.
Surely it was the Feng Shui that got you featured on Do You Digg It… wouldn’t you think? I’m sure it didn’t hurt any! I’d better get busy Feng Shuing my house!
Hope you’re having fun feng-shui-ing your house… I’m sure that will get you featured in Home and Design or some such decor magazine! Such is the power of feng shui 😉
I have heard about feng shui numerous times, but never really understood the details and principles of it, so I am enjoying what I learn here : )
I’m no expert, just trying to understand feng shui myself so I can apply some basics. Glad you’re enjoying learning along with me.
Congratulations Daphne! That is awesome 🙂 I would say the feng-shui is working great for you.
Some of my family members know about feng-shui, I however don’t know too much for this. So, I found this post very helpful.
Thanks for sharing.
Imperfect Action is better than No Action
Feng shui is EVERYTHING in China, if you have family that still lives there. In more developed parts of the world, it is either unheard of or taken with a huge pinch of salt.
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Thank you for the information about Feng Shui. I like the color principles – they make sense to me.
“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 since movements even in the corner of your eye are distracting.”
LOL…our bedroom has a series of built in closets along one wall. Each closet has a mirror door from floor to ceiling. The result is I have a wall of mirrors. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep sometimes. 🙂
I had the same as you – floor to ceiling wardrobe with full mirror doors. I thought it would make my small bedroom look bigger and brighter. When I found out it was a feng shui no-no, I bought window stencils, the kind that lets light through, in a lovely pattern and covered up all the mirror doors. I’ve slept better ever since, cross my heart.
I have a friend who designs residential properties. She’s been getting more and more requests to follow Feng Shui principles.
Interesting that feng shui seems to be catching on where you live. I’m guessing it’s still a minority that believes in feng shui because it doesn’t make sense to the rational mind.
Thanks for these ideas. I remember as a kid I would get concerned about sleeping with my feet pointed toward the door for fear that monsters would come into the room and bite them, and I guess this explains my intuition. 🙂
Your monster story made me laugh. There’s some truth, I suppose. And not just monsters but lots of things could get your feet!
Congratulations on the “Do You Digg It”! Yay! 🙂
So many Buddhist monks that I have studied with and have known have always emphasized the importance of putting the direction of your bed to the North. I have never found out why it is so important but I have found that when the bed is pointed North, I have a more relaxing sleep.
So many Buddhist monks can’t be wrong! 🙂 Maybe North is your personal best direction, since not everyone should face north when they sleep. How wonderful to have practising monks to tell you this. Great to hear that it works.
Wonderful post! Thank you for this. I’ve done a little bit of feng shui in my apartment, but the ideas and tips in this post are great and have given me some good ideas for my place. Thank you! I love the illustration too — very helpful!
Hey Positively Present,
I’m glad someone intends to use these tips, which makes the post worth writing. That illustration was done by myself because I was trying to make sense of the whole elements thing and that’s the best way I found. Thank goodness you could understand it. Have fun decorating your apartment!