Are you searching for inspiration for your interior design? If the idea of creating a harmonious and balanced living space appeals to you, then you might have heard of the term “feng shui”. Some people follow this religiously while others are just inspired by its theories and ideas.
What is feng shui?
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice of organising your living space to promote harmony and balance. Feng shui seeks to create a harmonious environment that promotes your well-being and goals. Feng shui has been practised for over 3,000 years in China. It began as a way to align buildings with the natural environment and natural forces.
The words “feng” and “shui” mean wind and water, respectively, and feng shui is based on the belief that the flow of wind and water has a powerful influence on one’s surroundings. According to feng shui practitioners, the arrangement of your home can affect the flow of energy, or “qi”, in your living space.
Feng shui, while originating in Chinese culture and philosophy, is not a religion in and of itself. Many people who practise feng shui have religious beliefs but following feng shui principles does not require you to be religious or to have any specific religious beliefs.
Feng shui isn’t just for houses and offices. It’s also used to describe gardens, cities, and even entire countries.
What is qi?
Qi (also spelled chi) is the vital energy or life force believed to flow through all living things in traditional Chinese philosophy. It is regarded as the source of life and is believed to have an impact on a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Qi is thought to flow through the environment and can be influenced by the arrangement of objects and the layout of a space in the practice of feng shui.
Belief in qi is purely subjective, and there is no scientific evidence to support its existence. Some people believe in qi and consider it to be an important aspect of their health and well-being while others do not.
Top tips to create more space at home with feng shui
Whatever your take on qi, there are some useful organising ideas in feng shui that can enhance any space.
Use multi-purpose furniture
Invest in furniture that serves multiple purposes, such as a sofa that turns into a bed or a bed with built-in drawers. By reducing the number of pieces in a room, multi-functional furniture helps to reduce clutter. Some multi-functional, space-saving furniture includes storage space, allowing you to keep clutter at bay and your space tidy, making the space feel more inviting.
One way to use feng shui to declutter is to follow the “less is more” principle. This means getting rid of excess items and keeping only those that are necessary or bring joy. One good example for this is how Marie Kondo sees things in her home and that if it doesn’t give her happiness she lets it go.
Her famous line is something to remember when decluttering your home or space.
“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful.”
Do not attempt to declutter your entire space at once. Instead, concentrate on one room or even one section of a room at a time.
Mirrors are frequently used in feng shui to improve the flow of energy, or qi. in a room. Mirrors can be used in feng shui in the following ways:
- A mirror can be used to reflect an appealing view or an intriguing feature in a room. This can add visual interest as well as depth.
- A mirror can be used to reflect the energy of an entire room, hang a large mirror on a wall. This can enhance a sense of balance and harmony.
- Reflect an entryway or doorway with a mirror. This can give the impression of a more open, welcoming space and draw the eye to the entrance.
- Avoid placing a mirror opposite a bed or in such a way that it reflects the toilet or bathroom doors. In feng shui, this is considered unlucky. This is due to the belief that it reflects the energy of the bed and disrupts the flow of energy.
If you have a mirror that must face the bed, there are a few options based on feng shui principles:
- Use a screen or other barrier: To prevent the direct reflection of the bed in the mirror, use a screen or other barrier. This can help to mitigate the mirror’s potentially negative effects.
- Use a small mirror with a softer edge: Mirrors with softer, rounder edges are thought to be less disruptive to the flow of energy than sharp-edged mirrors.
- Hang the mirror higher: Hanging the mirror higher, such as on the wall above the bed, can help reduce the direct reflection of the bed.
Create distinct areas within a larger space:
Using screens or room dividers can help create distinct areas within a larger space, making it feel more cohesive and organised. This can be particularly useful when you are renting your home, or you have a limited budget.
Here are ways on how to divide a room without putting up a wall:
- Screen dividers can be used to divide a room without completely closing it off. If you only need privacy for a few hours, you can get a foldable screen.
- Arrange furniture or plants to create distinct areas within a room: Arranging furniture to create distinct areas within a room can be an effective way to divide the space. You could, for example, use a large bookcase or shelving unit to divide different areas.
- Hanging curtains or drapes from the ceiling can provide a sense of separation and privacy within a room. One interesting concept is to use strip curtains. These can be obtained in the colours of your choice, and also have the benefit of helping maintain the room at a pleasant temperature.
- Use rugs or carpets to define different areas of a room: Using rugs or carpets to define different areas of a room can be an effective way to divide the space while also adding visual interest.
Use light colours and integrate natural light:
Light colours make a room feel more open and airier, so consider painting your walls a light colour like pale blue and pale green or using light-coloured furniture and linens. It’s important to remember that the best colour will depend on the space and your personal preferences. It may be beneficial to experiment with various colours to determine which ones work best for you.
Natural light has the ability to make a space feel more open and welcoming, try to maximise the amount of natural light in your home. It is considered very important in feng shui for creating a harmonious and positive environment.
The colours red and green are thought to bring good luck in feng shui. Green is associated with the element of wood and is thought to bring growth and abundance, whereas red is associated with the element of fire and is thought to bring joy and prosperity.
While dark colours can be used in moderation, using too many dark colours in a space is generally discouraged. Dark colours can evoke feelings of heaviness and negativity.
Use Vertical Space
Furniture that is vertical or has a vertical component is generally recommended in feng shui. Vertical elements are associated with the element of wood, which is associated with growth, expansion, and stability.
These are some good furniture ideas that help you use the space well:
- Wall-mounted cabinets and shelves can be used to store linens, dishes, and other household items, freeing up space in closets and on the floor.
- Towels, toys, and other small items can be stored in hanging baskets or bins, freeing up space in drawers and on shelves.
Wall hooks: Use these to hang jackets, bags, and other items, freeing up space in your closet and on the floor.
Should I follow the feng shui principles?
It’s important to remember that feng shui is only one approach to space design and layout. There are lots of factors to consider when creating a comfortable and functional environment. The decision to use feng shui principles in your home is a personal one that is influenced by your beliefs and values. If you want to create a harmonious and balanced living space, feng shui may be a good fit for you. It’s important to remember, however, that feng shui is based on traditional Chinese beliefs and may not reflect your own cultural or spiritual values.
You should not follow feng shui principles simply because you feel obligated to or because you believe it is the “right thing to do.” Feng shui is a personal practice, and you should consider what works best for you and your specific needs and preferences. You can even follow it without even mentioning it to other people and just separate the design theories to the superstitious beliefs. The choice is yours!