Feng Shui is an ancient Taoist philosophy of balancing the qi, or elemental energy, of your surroundings. Some might say that it is superstition, and indeed Feng Shui is definitely not something that can be vetted by modern science. But remarkably, Feng Shui has been in continuous practice in China since 4000 BCE–that is, very early Bronze Age–and its most basic principles make a lot of sense. Whether you call it apartment therapy or Feng Shui, the effect of living in a colorful, well-organized home is incredibly visceral and uplifting. Here is the break down of what I think are the most applicable aspects of Feng Shui.
1. De-clutter your home.
Ever flick through channels and stop at Hoarding, and wonder how anyone could possibly live in that? Our home is in a lot of ways a direct reflection of our inner states. Clean, organized home will keep you healthy and positive, mind and body. Rid your home of dust, mold, and unnecessary baggage, and you’ll be clearing bad qi and bringing good fortune in no time.
2. Bring in more light.
Feng Shui emphasizes good light in all areas of the house, and I happen to think that much is very reasonable. Our biochemistry reflects our nature as daytime creatures, and our health and emotions are directly impacted by the amount of light we get. Look for houses or apartments with windows that let in plenty of natural light. Put inviting lamps around the house and place mirrors in north-facing rooms to reflect more light.
3. Get fresh air.
It’s easy for your indoor air to become oxygen-poor or even just plain dirty. Make sure to open your windows to let in fresh air. Keeping a house plant or two will also help filter some of it.
4. Use visuals to attract what you want.
Visualizing your goals is a powerful tool to keep yourself focused and motivated; Feng Shui emphasizes placing appropriate art or photographs in each area of the house to promote harmony. You can also create vision boards for each room. If you have a fitness and health goal, make a vision board for the nurturing east; if you have a bucket list of travel destinations, hang posters or maps in the northwest.
According to Taoism, the universe is governed by five elements: Water, Earth, Wood, Fire, and Metal. These elements are each represented by cardinal directions, shapes, and colors, sort of like how each of your chakra is represented by different symbols and colors. The basic idea is to encourage the principal element of the direction by populating that area with its colors and symbols. For instance, placing house plants in the east and southeast, both governed by the element of Wood, will promote health and attract wealth, respectively.
North: Water / Career / Blue, Black
Encourage presence of water in north part of your house with pictures of water, and with a cool, blue-dominated color scheme. Water is also encouraged by the presence of a mirror. (My apartment conveniently has the bathroom at its north end–that running water/mirror will work!) This area will also be suitable for a home office. North side of the house tends to not get as much natural light, so be sure to add plenty of tasteful lighting to bring in positive energy.
Northeast: Earth / Spiritual Growth, Self Improvement / Sandy Yellow, Beige
Ground yourself with strong images of the earth (landscape photographs or paintings will do) in this corner of your home.
East: Wood / Health & Family / Greens and Browns
Southeast: Wood / Money / Greens and Browns
Place house plants in the east and southeast (the directions that naturally get the most sunlight). This has the added bonus of cleaning the indoor air, which is an important Feng Shui move.
South: Fire / Fame & Prestige / Reds, Oranges, Bright Yellow, Purple
If you’re building your own house, go ahead and put that fireplace on the south wall. If not, make sure to decorate it using plenty of warm colors and candles to reinforce the fiery energy of the south. This will also be a great location for your kitchen (what with the oven and all) or the dining room.
Southwest: Earth / Love & Marriage / Sandy Yellow, Beige
Again, earthy neutrals make a good choice here. You can also put photos of you and your spouse to really solidify your union. See if it works.
West: Metal / Creativity & Children / Whites, Greys
Northwest: Metal / Travel, Blessings, Helpful People / Whites, Greys
If you need a space to meditate or be creative (say, an artist’s studio or a yoga room), here’s where to do it. Place some metallic accents in this area, like a vase, metal fixtures, or even brocade cushions.
After doing this research, I’m thinking about adding a few landscapes and vision boards to my apartment (and doing a thorough cleaning, beforehand). What do you think, Peaceful Dumplings?
More in Holistic: Using Crystals for Daily Inspiration
Photo: Gloriana Sandoval; Peaceful Dumpling