Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art and science of using life force energy, or "chi," to create an effect on a building or a room. It is believed that by arranging and orienting furniture and objects in different ways, you can achieve harmony (or disharmony) in an environment. Various arrangements can bring about outcomes such as attracting good fortune, boosting productivity or evoking a happy feeling in the home. We've taken some cues from the masters themselves and share the basics in how to design a happy home.
Pay attention to the flow
First, take a wander through all the rooms of your home and think about which rooms feel like they're working well and give you a positive feeling as soon as you walk through the door. Also think about which spaces don't feel quite right yet. This, according to feng shui, is life force energy at work. Your ultimate aim is to encourage a smooth flow of this energy throughout your entire house.
Go through each room and remove all items you don't need or want. Donate them to a local charity, sell them to a second-hand store or hold a garage sale. The basic idea behind this step is that by removing all the unecessary clutter from your home, you'll remove the clutter from your life. (You feel lighter already, don't you?!)
Fix all that is broken
Replace broken light bulbs, fix broken furniture and clean dirty spaces so that your entire home is in good working order. Dirty windows and broken items are believed to have a negative effect on the energy in your home, so unblock the flow -- and get the kids and hubby to help!
Welcome in light and air
Allow the chi to flow through your home by keeping all entrances clear and unblocked, and rearrange any furniture that's blocking a doorway. Ensure that fresh air and light can enter your home, which will help to create harmony in your living environment and put you in a better frame of mind.
Obey the bagua
The bagua is one of the main tools used in feng shui. Put simply, a Western bagua divides a home or space into distinct areas, in which each serves a distinct purpose. To achieve harmony in the home, each area must adhere to certain principles and stick to set colour palettes. For example, the area designed for children, creativity and entertainment suits white, bright and pastel colours, whereas the area dedicated to wisdom and rest is associated with a blue-green palette.
- Bedroom: Avoid bright over-the-top colours and keep electronic devices to a minimum. Avoid putting your bed in line with any doors.
- Living room: The lounge furniture should encourage communication and socialising, and objects in the room must be organised.
- Kitchen: You should be able to see the doorway while fulfilling the key cooking duties, which suggests an island bench may be ideal in the kitchen. This room shouldn't isolate the cook, but instead encourage mingling as couples or families prepare meals together.