What if rejuvenating your life was as simple as moving a few things around? According to the ancient Chinese art of feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”), it is. Based on the idea that your living space reflects your life, feng shui strives to achieve balance in both. Feng shui holds that all objects possess an energy called chi, and that you can use this chi to bring luck, wealth, and opportunity into your home. “With feng shui, you don’t have to spend 20 years on the couch [with a therapist] to change your life – you just have to move the couch,” says Ellen Whitehurst, author of Make This Your Lucky Day: Fun and Easy Secrets and Shortcuts to Success, Romance, Health, and Harmony (Random House, January 2008). Try these ten tips to get that energy flowing.
Open the Front Door
Energy flows through the front door. An open and inviting pathway allows positive energy to flow into your home, whereas energy can stagnate if the entryway is closed off. Want opportunity to come knocking? Place a red-flowering plant outside or put some red accent colors on or around your front door. Red attracts energy, fortune, and luck.
Clear the Clutter
In feng shui, a cluttered house equals a cluttered mind. Even worse, clutter literally sucks up the energy in a space. “You may think you’re hiding your clutter, but the closet has as much of an effect on energy flow as anything else wofs.com,” says Whitehurst. If there’s clutter somewhere in your home — even tucked away in an attic — then it’s also cluttering your head, as well as the rest of your body.
Make sure you have something representing the five elements — wood, earth, metal, fire, and water — in every room. The goal is to stay grounded, centered, and balanced in your life and your environment. For example, place a wooden bowl filled with stone pebbles alongside a candle and a vase of flowers. Or try to incorporate colors that symbolize the five elements:
Black = water
Green = wood
Red = fire
Yellow, tan, and brown = earth
White = metal
Nature creates a sense of peace. In fact, research shows that viewing nature reduces anger and anxiety and enhances feelings of pleasure. So flood your home with natural light, open windows and doors to let fresh air inside, and bring plants indoors. Decorate with bamboo, wood, or wicker, and use stones and rocks to add texture. You can also adorn the walls with paintings of nature and its serenity.
Use Mirrors Wisely
Mirrors reflect energy, so position them in places where you want to increase energy flow. Also, make sure that mirrors reflect something beautiful. “You don’t want mirrors to reflect anything low energy or negative, like kitchen trash cans,” says Linda Varone, RN, MA, founder of Nurturing Spaces Consulting. Finally, think twice before adding mirrors to your bedroom decor. They can energize the room, which, though it may be great for hot sex, is not so great for getting enough sleep.
Stop Runaway Chi
You can’t benefit from the positive energies (or opportunities) that flow through your front door if they zip right out the back door. If you open the front door and there’s a direct line to the back door or a window, that’s runaway chi. “You want chi to run in a meandering pattern so it can deposit good energy throughout your home,” says Varone. You can stop runaway chi by placing furniture or some other decorative object in or near the questionable path and by using rugs to impede energy flow. Hanging a room separator or a faceted crystal near one of the doors will help, too.
Make Your Bedroom Restful
The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the home, according to feng shui, because it’s where we seek restoration, balance, and peace. It’s also the place of dreams. In feng shui, the items you place between your mattresses have an energetic association with your intentions. So yes, you can make money (or find true love) in your sleep. Use sensual fabrics and fluffy pillows to promote relaxation and don’t store things under your bed — shoes, suitcases, books, pictures, and files are too energizing for restful slumber.
Place Family Photos Wisely
“Family pictures don’t belong in the bedroom,” says Whitehurst. “It’s the most intimate room in the house and should be reserved for you and your partner.” Pictures of children, relatives, and friends may cause you to think about your obligations — and that doesn’t allow the mind (or body) to rest. So keep only pictures of you and your spouse or partner in the bedroom, and put other pictures in the dining or family rooms.
Place Living Plants
Live plants have their own chi and will draw chi to them. Don’t have a green thumb? “The next best thing is to showcase high-quality silk plants and flowers — not plastic,” says Varone. The best places for plants are in the kitchen (between hot and cold appliances to create balance), in the dining room (to draw abundance), and in the family room (to promote health, life, and connection).