Monday, July 18, 2011

Decorating with Feng Sui

I am dedicating this blog post to my good friend, Lauren.  Today I asked her, "if you were to go on a design blog, what would you be looking for?"  She answered, "furniture layout - how to make the best use of a space, and promote positive energy."  This leads to the discussion of Feng Shui (pronounced Fung-Shway), and we both decided we need to Feng Shui our homes... and our lives...for that matter.

Most people are vaguely familiar with this ancient Chinese study.  But I wanted a dummied-down version, without all the technical jargon.  I went to Barnes & Noble and purchased Feng Shui for Dummies, so I could brush up on my principles, and share with everyone the basic guidelines for decorating with Feng Shui.  It doesn't get much simpler than this, folks!

Before I get to decorating tips, I have to touch on the the fundamental concepts of Feng Shui: yin and yang, and the Three Realms of Influence.  The ancient Chinese determined that the universe was composed of complementary energy principles - yin and yang.  You probably recognize the yin-yang symbol - it looks like two fishes - one black and one white, that interconnect to form a circle.

The yang is the white fish, and it represents the active side of nature - characteristics such as bright, hard, loud.  In contrast, the black fish or yin, represents passivity, silence, receptiveness, darkness and inwardness.  All things contain relative amounts of yin and yang energy.  The ultimate goal is to achieve a balance of yin and yang energy resulting in peace and harmony.

Chinese philosophers assigned three categories into which the yin and yang flowed - heaven, Earth and Human. These are recognized as the Three Realms of Influence. The philosophers studied many generations to discover how the categories could be manipulated to improve fortune, destiny and personal relationships.

These principles are the essence of Feng Shui.  You can achieve a harmonious environment by considering these principles when selecting the layout, color scheme and furniture for you home.
Many facets of interior decorating implore the ancient philosophy of Feng Shui.  You have to know the rules before you can break them!

Here are some basic tips for enhancing your home with Feng Shui principles.

  • In the interior of your home, the position of the bed is the most important aspect.  Create a commanding position in your bedroom by facing the bed as far away from the door as possible.  This asserts control over your space and your life.
  • The position of your master bed should allow the sleeper the largest view possible, as a diminished line of sight can reduce the sleeper's purpose and life vision.
  • You should be able to clearly see the bedroom door from your sleeping position; if you are lying on your back, you should be able to open your eyes, and immediately see the door without repositioning you body. Blocking the view to the door can leave the sleeper on edge.
  • Give careful thought to the quality of your bed, as it is the single most important piece of furniture in your home.  A new bed supports positive energy and vitality.  A used bed (from a previous owner), can create a lack of energy or lead to illness.
  • Seating positions in areas that are primarily used for socializing, such as the living room, should be conducive to conversation.  Try to create seating arrangements that allow groups of two to five people to converse in one area.
  • Avoid placing a major piece of furniture with the back facing the doorway.  Allowing guests a clear view of the doorway will make everyone feel safe and comfortable.  
  • In a home office, the position of the desk is critical.  Create a commanding position with your desk by making sure it is as far from the door as possible.  This gives you more control over your space, and conveys confidence.
  • Do not place the desk in the direct path of the doorway, and do not to have your back against a wall of windows if possible.  This can create some vulnerability, but is still acceptable.
  • Throughout your home, avoid furniture that dominates the space.  This can make less room for you and your energy to flow; it can hold you down and can be depressing.  Downsize large, heavy furniture for space saving solutions.
  • And lastly, cleanliness is next to godliness - a clean home provides you with clean energy to stay happy and healthy.
If you have a challenging floor plan, there are many remedies to the Feng Shui principles listed that can help reverse the negative energy in your home.  I recommend bringing Feng Shui principles to every room you inhabit.  The result is a home that feels as good as it looks. 

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