We all want our spaces to have balance and comfort. As it turns out, there are real rules you can follow that date back to the Asian Tao philosophy of the way of nature. Here is your guide to understanding Feng Shui and how to implement it in your own home.
Feng Shui might be a phrase you’ve heard people toss around in reference to interior design but something you’ve never really understood. In order to understand how to Feng Shui, it’s important to understand what it means and where it comes from.
“Feng” is the Chinese word for wind, and “shui” is the Chinese word for water. The namesake originates from a poem about the human-environment connection working together to reach harmony.
According to The Spruce, Feng Shui is “a practice of arranging the pieces in living spaces to create balance with the natural world…The goal is to harness energy forces and establish harmony between an individual and their environment.”
Feng Shui comes from Tao philosophy, or Taoism, which means “the way.” Taoism is based around the belief in “chi”, which is the life force that inhabits everything. Chi is made of yin and yang, which symbolizes balancing elements that compliment each other. In short, Feng Shui is about improving the flow of chi within your home in order to achieve a balanced yin and yang.
In order to achieve Feng Shui, you must consider the commanding position, the bagua, and the five elements (earth, metal, water, wood, and fire).
According to The Spruce, “the Commanding Position in a room is the spot in a room that is farthest from the door and not in direct line with it.” Meaning, this must be a spot diagonal from the door but with a clear line of sight to it. This is also where you will be spending most of your time in the room.
The easiest way to think of this is in terms of the dominant pieces of furniture within a room. For example, the bed is usually the dominant piece within the bedroom. You don’t want a direct line from your door to your bed, but it’s best if you can see the door directly from bed.
It’s important to keep in mind what different pieces of furniture represent about you. Your bed represents your Self, your desk is your career or livelihood, and your kitchen represents your nourishments. Respecting the chi within those pieces allows you to position them within a room that protects the energy you give to them.
“Bagua” is the Chinese word for “eight areas.” Bagua is built into the way your home was built, or the floor plan of your space. Each of the eight areas of Bagua correspond to a different life circumstance, shape, color, season, number, and more. It is important to remember that at the center of Bagua is the ninth space: you!
The best way to use Bagua in your space is to identify one to three areas you want to improve. Attempting to work on all areas at once is detrimental to your wellbeing, as well as the overall Feng Shui of your space. As with most things, it is best to concentrate on what you can realistically improve in order to make an impactful change.
The Bagua Areas are: Family (Zhen), Wealth (Xun), Health (Tai Qi), Helpful People (Qian), Children (Dui), Knowledge (Gen), Fame (Li), Career (Kan), and Partnerships (Kun). In order to implement change in these areas, analyze your home. As an example, some schools arrange their bagua so that Knowledge, Career, and Helpful People areas align with the front door of the space. The Spruce is a great resource for the details pertaining to each of these areas, such as color, shape, season, number, and element.
The five elements of Feng Shui are slightly different than the four natural elements we usually consider. The Feng Shui elements–earth, metal, water, wood, and fire–are more interrelated to real life than the four natural elements. Remember, Feng Shui is all about harmony between nature and life.
Feng Shui recommends incorporating all of these five elements in your home in some way. In order to balance them, you need to identify where you want to focus the energy of your space. Like Bagua, choose three areas of your life you want to improve. Remember the chi of your furniture pieces, and find the ones that represent these aspects you want to improve. Then, add the suggested colors of these Bagua areas and incorporate them into your home.
Below are the attributes to each of the five elements. Use these attributes to help you identify how to improve the Feng Shui of your home’s space:
All this information may seem overwhelming as you’re first learning to implement it, but it’s best to remember that this is all about balance. Harmony can be found when you take the time to be mindful about your space, where you put your energy, and how to improve your wellbeing. Remember to ask yourself questions like “how do I feel in my environment?”, “what areas in my life should I work harder to balance?”, and “what can I let go of?”.
Once you’ve taken the time to self-reflect, you can take a deeper dive into your Bagua map and the five elements of your space. It is important to balance implementation and observation, and to remember that this is a process! Your space needs to work for you, and your chi will reflect that when you get it right.