Decorating with Feng Shui principles

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Wind and water is the literal meaning of the words 'Feng Shui', but what secrets does this ancient Chinese decorating method hold? We have to go back to ancient times, over 7000 years, when only the privileged class could learn and read based on this Taoist doctrine. Through a study of landscape, nature and its cycles, Feng Shui helped to improve the lives of people, harmonising the places where they lived. Based on the I Ching and the five elements wu xing , Feng Shui believes in the existence of a vital breath, or chi, which moves with the wind, and is modified by the shape and arrangement space. Around the ninth century AD, Master Yang Yung Sun revealed the secrets of this art, leaving a legacy of texts containing his wisdom. From this time, they had two different schools: the Form School and, later, the Compass School.

To understand this subject in terms of furnishing and decoration, we must understand how to circulate chi in our homes. Energy enters a space, and moves through in gentle waves before leaving by a door or window. The tenure of this energy in a room, will make people who live there experience a very pleasant sensation. Therefore, we must arrange entry and exit points of chi accordingly. We must avoid gaps which face the front door, as the chi can quickly escape. Similarly, spaces that only have a single entry point and no exit, cannot transfer the energy appropriately though the space. We have some great examples below about to how implement these principles into your home. Take a look..

The hallway

We begin at the first space of the house, the hallway. Although we don't normally put too much emphasis on decorating the entrance, this is, in fact, a very important place. It is precisely through the front door that the chi, or energy, enters our home, and extends through to the other rooms and spaces. When designing this area, we have to consider several things. First, the door should be able to open 180 ° and, if that is not possible, at least 90 °. It should never be facing a window or another exit door of the house, because then the chi will escape without running through our home. Secondly, it should be a welcoming, warm space and must be well lit, and inviting. Finally, never to place a mirror facing the front door. Like the basic principles of light, it refracts and reflects the energy back out. 

The bedroom

To create the perfect bedroom according to Feng Shui, the bed should be the main object in the space. Any other furniture or objects must be placed around it, keeping appropriate proportions and distances. As for rules, there are only a few: A bed facing south stimulates dreams, however, a north oriented bed enhances our health and energy. Conversely, for those who suffer from stress, the bed should face west, as this direction is said to alleviate tension. 

Given the primary role of a bedroom, we should not include elements that disturb our peace. These are modern interferences such as a computer, a television or even a mirror: they trigger our energy, and as a consequence, disturb the peace and quiet. Plants provide excess energy in our bedroom, so this is not suitable place for them. We return to emphasise the point of order: wardrobes, shelves and drawers. Everything must be in balance. And of course we can not forget: your feet should never be facing the door, and your bed should never be located under a window. 

The study

The first question is, what type of work do you do? If your job is to oversee, and requires an air of authority in the room, the best solution is to place the table on the far side of the door. Behind the desk, there should never be a desk, shelf or door.

If our work requires our complete concentration i.e, solitary work, the best solution is for the desk to be placed with its back to the door, and ideally facing a window. Do not forget that proper lighting is also extremely important in this space.

The bathroom

As explained above, water retains energy, so toilets are places where chi can escape. Chinese tradition advised that the toilets and pipes should be separated from other rooms in the house, but this, however, is something that today would be virtually impossible to conceive. 

In terms of location, the toilet must never be in the centre of the house, as it consumes too much energy. Moreover, it should be well lit and ventilated daily to maintain equilibrium. In the shower, the use of plants, natural or artificial, is recommended. The aim is to create a warm and welcoming space. Above everything, you should ensure you have no leaky taps or pipes—this is a big no-no!

The lounge

The centrepiece of this room is the sofa. The reason for this is that the lounge was created as an area for dialogue and socialising. According to Feng Shui, you should use earthy colours in the space, but no tones that are too dark or bold. We are also told to avoid white or black walls, and try to create a design that emphasises harmony and unity. If a TV unit is in this room, it is suggested that it is hidden from view, and has the capacity to be stored away after use. 

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