Literally translated, means “wind and water.” But is it a philosophy, a science or an art? In essence, this ancient Chinese wisdom is all three. The effects of Feng Shui are felt in the mind, body and spirit in ways that enhance or diminish one’s personal “chi.”
Chi (pronounced “chee”) is the Chinese word for energy. Chi flows through everything and is always with us. Personal levels of chi, or inner energy, fluctuate from high to low. Extreme fluctuations in this inner energy can affect your health, mood, work and relationships, so it’s important to maintain balanced chi. Using the art of Feng Shui, you can consciously arrange your exterior (your home) to help balance the chi in your interior (your body).
For example, have you ever visited a home and had a bad feeling that was difficult to describe? The rooms may have been flawlessly decorated, yet felt cold, tense or uncomfortable. Most likely, the longer you stayed, the more uncomfortable you felt. Your body responded to a low level of chi.
Now, think of another house you’ve visited that felt warm, uplifting, and inviting – one where you instantly felt “right at home.” Again, there wasn’t any specific element that made you feel comfortable. You just felt good being there. The home had a more balanced level of chi.
Take a heartfelt look at your own home. When you walk through the door, do you feel the stress of the day wash away? Do you feel self-satisfied, lighter, energetic, and motivated? Or do you feel tired, restless, out of sorts and overwhelmed? Maybe it’s time to do a little balancing act with Feng Shui.
Feng Shui offers added benefits worth testing. Its techniques can be applied directly to specific life situations, such as prosperity, fame, family, relationships and health. Again, it’s balancing your surroundings to bring about more of what you want in life. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. And to be effective, Feng Shui requires its own blueprint called a bagua (pronounced ba-gwa). The bagua is divided into a total of nine areas representing specific life situations.
As you study the bagua, look for items within specific life areas that symbolize your feelings. If you’re stressed about your finances, take a close look at the room that falls in your prosperity area. Is it dark and uninviting? Does the room contain a wilting plant you’ve neglected or an heirloom clock that doesn’t run properly? Little things you take for granted or that go unnoticed can affect your chi in big ways.
One of the greatest benefits of do-it-yourself Feng Shui is self-awareness. In addition to creating home improvements, when you apply Feng Shui principles to your home, you gain a wonderful opportunity to evaluate your life’s situations, state your intentions or goals and move into action.
Intuition, simplicity and good taste are always in tune with Feng Shui. Personalized touches (things that are especially meaningful to you) provide an added punch to your balanced environment.
Think of the bagua as a transparency, which can be placed over the floor plan of an entire house or a single room. To position the bagua correctly, look for the main door used to enter the house or room. (In some cases, the main door could be a garage or back door.) The door’s position should always be located in one of three bagua areas: Skills and Knowledge, Career or Helpful People.
If you know where the areas of your home or rooms fall in place on the bagua, you can apply appropriate Feng Shui techniques to each of those areas.
|Clear the Clutter|
Look at your home’s bagua. Are there areas or rooms that contain more clutter than others? What is the clutter saying about your life situation?
Clutter blocks chi, so it’s time to be brave and clean out everything you no longer want or use:
FENG SHUI TIPS – THE ANATOMY OF A HOUSE
Every area of a house can be viewed uniquely according to Feng Shui theory, with some rooms being more important than others just based on the amount of time spent in those locations. The psychology of color plays an important role in Feng Shui. Each area of the bagua has one or more favorite colors that enhance the life situation it represents. You may choose to devote an entire color scheme to a bagua area, but sometimes just adding a touch of color in the form of rugs, wall decorations, lighting fixtures, plants, flowers or candles can make a difference.
The Elements of Feng Shui
Before delving into their color counterparts, it’s helpful to understand the five elements associated with feng shui and what each stands for. They are:
- Fire: Associated with fame, reputation, prosperity, abundance, love and relationships.
- Earth: Associated with health.
- Water: Associated with skills, knowledge, life path and career.
- Wood: Associated with skills, knowledge, prosperity and abundance.
- Metal: Associated with love, relationships, children, creativity, helpfulness and travel.
The elements correspond directly with life situations.
The natural elements are used individually or in conjunction with each other to build Feng Shui’s “Creative Cycles” (increasing chi in certain areas) and “Destructive Cycles” (diminishing high levels of chi in particular areas).
- The Creative Cycle – Fire is associated with “fame” and “reputation” within the bagua and wood is fuel for fire. If you are looking to build your reputation or become famous, place a brick-red fireplace enhanced with decorative items made of wood within the Fame and Reputation area of the bagua. If it’s not practical to have fireplace, use the wood alone to create the desired levels of chi. With Feng Shui we learn to create a positive FLOW of energy in our dwellings. The use of green plants, trees, fountains, mirrors, etc direct the flow.
- The Destructive Cycle – If you feel your reputation needs improving, more water or symbols of water may be needed in your “fame” and “reputation” area. You don’t have to move the fireplace. Just replace wood with actual items or symbols representing water, such as fountains, pictures of lakes or items painted black (the color of water). Water douses fire, so the levels of chi are diminished.
|Knicks and Knacks for Quick Fixes|
Luckily, there are decorative items that can be used to balance chi in every area of the bagua and bring a whole new look to your rooms:
Colors, Feng Shui and Elements
Each element is represented by a specific color, although other colors can also be associated with or correspond with certain elements
The right amount of the fire element can bring warmth, enthusiasm, energy, activity and general good fortune to any area it is placed. While too much fire can be detrimental because it is such a powerful element, a controlled level of the colors that represent it can be extremely beneficial.
Red is the primary representative of fire, but any color in that family – including pink, maroon and orange – are excellent choices. To a degree, any hue that is bright and energetic can be considered a fire representative, but the best choices are warm, vibrant and rich in energy. Add small doses of these colors in the form of floral arrangements or curtain embellishments, and don’t neglect to allow the sunlight to flow into the room. This is by far the best and most natural element of fire energy.
The earth element is responsible for good health, security, safety, patience, honesty and stability. Its presence in the home encourages comfort and relaxation, while increasing confidence and energy. The colors representative of earth are, as one may expect, relatively down-to-earth and relaxed as opposed to vibrant and over-the-top.
Muted hues, such as olive green, brown, burnt orange, mustard, granite, stone and other nature-inspired shades, are ideal for bringing the earth element into the home. They’re easy to work with, too; these shades are easily implemented into furniture schemes, paint colors, carpet designs and other basic items that are relatively abundant in the home.
Consider the water element a source of great strength. Its renewing, purifying properties bring calm, stability and a sense of excitement and positive expectation to the home and the work place. Still water, in particularly, is a most welcome element in any home. Water is also associated with travel and adventure due to its relation to external elements like the ocean and the sky.
Though bright blue might be the typical shade associated with water, the colors feng shui is ruled by are slightly different. The water element is best represented by black, dark gray and deep blue. Too much of any of these colors is discouraged because they can essentially “flood” the room; in small doses, though, they bring tranquility. Try small water fountains on tables, artwork depicting calm water and, in more modern homes use black and white color palettes.
Wood is the element of prosperity and growth, in great part due to a small seed’s ability to transform into a vibrant, healthy tree over time. Some may find it tricky to incorporate wood colors into their homes without falling into the earth element, but it’s helpful to note that the color selection does differ slightly.
In particular, purple, green and brown are outstanding representatives for wood. Though they appear earth-toned, these colors are brighter and more sociable at first glance. In small doses, purple not only encourages mental growth but also spiritual awareness. Leafy green hues are ideal, but any shade of green is a proper representative for wood.
Fans of cool metallic colors will appreciate introducing the metal element into the home. White, gold, gray and silver are excellent choices but avoid using only one of these shades. Alone they are quite harsh, but when balanced by other hues they can easily make any space immensely inviting.
It’s also important to note that these hues are not necessarily neutrals; on the contrary, they exude quite a strong energy, which is another reason they should be used sparingly. In lieu of actual colors, items made from bronze, tin, aluminum, iron and similar materials are strong replacements.
Everyone can probably agree that their life could use a little more balance. Schedules, deadlines, and school activities seem to make life a little hectic sometimes. By paying attention to the elements of Feng Shui, you can achieve a sense of balance in your home and in your life.
Here is an example of a kitchen with all five elements of Feng Shui.
Metal: is represented by using metallics, circular shapes, and the color white
Water: is represented by wavy and curvy lines, and the colors blue and black
Fire: is represented in bright orange, red, and yellow colors, and sharp angled points
Wood: is represented by using actual wood, plants, and the colors brown and green
Earth: is represented by square shapes, and earthy tones such as beige and light yellow
A home or room that is well balanced, according to Feng Shui has at least one of each of the five elements within it.
The Tao teaches you that out of the inter-play of Yin and Yang all things come. Yin is the blackness which absorbs all colors and Yang the whiteness which reflects them. Ying and Yang give rise to the Five Elements and their associated colors, from which arise the whole spectrum of colors. Color is vibration, and we each respond to it on many levels, both consciously and unconsciously. And with color it is worth remembering that our conscious awareness of it is minuscule compared with its unconscious counterpart.
Color influences how comfortable we are in different environments. It affects our moods. Our use of color also affects how others perceive us. Color can be used to cure physical ailments. It can be used symbolically to enhance shapes. Also, it can make spaces appear larger or smaller according to both actual color and that color’s intensity. Yes -color wields enormous power in our lives.
When we use color, we are working with light, since light contains all colors. Each color covers a particular frequency range. So every situation is different- each home and each room within it. The light quality depends on the aspect, the size of the windows and how they are decorated, artificial light sources and, of course, the size of the rooms in relation to the light sources.
The Materials and Feng Shui decorating colors
The materials we use on floors, furnishings, and decorations have the ability to both reflect light and to absorb it. We can use color to create illusions- of size (dark colors absorb more light than lighter ones) of depth (natural pigments draw light in or reflect it according to the time of day and the season) and of the movement (spots of color around the room create movement and energy there).
Light and Feng Shui decorating colors
Light quality varies around the world. In Africa, pigments, fabrics and skins in browns, beige’s and terracotta, are used where the sun beats down out of a bright blue sky. In Britain, where the climate suggests an indoor life, and the light is much less vibrant, the same colors signify “closing in” and, used to excess, can lead to withdrawal and depression.
Similarly, the intense colors of Indian silks and the warm colors of the Mediterranean palette, have to be used with care when introduced in countries where light quality differs. However, these intense colors can play a useful role in moving the energy and, with aforethought, can be very effective.
The Five Elements and Feng Shui decorating colors
The Five Colors, along with their Five Elements, evoke the quality of the energy of each. We use them to highlight areas of our lives we wish to change, and the Bagua Diagram gives us the associated colors to be used in each geographic direction.
In Feng Shui decorating colors, balance and harmony are essential. However, we should decorate our homes accordingly to our tastes or we will never be comfortable there. We should also remember the purpose of the room, and the Element associated with the “direction” it is in, then we can achieve true balance and harmony. It would be treating the subject superficially to simply ensure that the room has, say, a cushion in each of the Five Element colors. But a single green-stemmed, red artificial Tulip in a glass vase in the south of an all-white room would bring in the Wood element in the green stem, and the Fire element in the red flower. The Metal element is represented by the white room, the Water element by the light moving through the glass and as the medium which gave rise to the flower.
Some Important Tips
- Avoid heavy doses of pastels or rich shades like red and black. Their respective energies can easily overwhelm any space and promote chaos instead of calmness.
- Follow the percentage plan if you’re new to feng shui color planning: Lend most rooms anywhere between 50 to 90 percent of safe color (or those hues that are quite natural) and between 10 to 50 percent of risky color. You may choose to use the more adventurous shades as accents, instead.
Keep in mind that color is doubly important in designing a room. While the element it represents is important, it is also an aesthetic detail that should make sense in the general outline of the room. Use color judiciously and wisely, but don’t be afraid to mix it up with objects (such as mirrors, candles and plants) to create the perfect balance of all elements.
Feng Shui- Carpets and Floors
Floors should be level so as not to cause equilibrium problems for the occupants. It is less important if the flooring is wood, stone, or carpet, but the color of the carpet can change the energy of a room. As an example, a green carpet is the wood element and a gray carpet is the metal element. A carpet should blend with all the elements of the room, but the ruling element (ie: wood if the room is in the north) should help you choose the color and pattern. A rug can activate healthy energy flow into and through your living space by highlighting specific parts of a room.
Feng Shui Decorating with Color
Psychologically, color is powerful and can be used to enhance Ch’i. While many colors have common associations between the Chinese and Western worlds there are some notable departures, such as blue and white. This does not mean that a color with negative associations to the Chinese can not be used in a positive sense in the Western world, as Feng Shui is about making one’s environment balance, not completely recreating it, otherwise one risks creating an environment unsuited to those who must live and work in it.
Blue is cool and calming but due to its associations as the secondary mourning color to the Chinese it is seldom used as a primary color. Conversely, in the Western world, blue is generally perceived as a healing color and therefore a popular choice when a relaxing environment is desired. Blue’s positive associations are trust, faithfulness and stability. Negatives are suspicion and melancholia. Blue is peaceful and soothing and is linked with spirituality, contemplation, mystery and patience.
Blue can be used in meditation rooms, bedrooms, therapy rooms, and as a means of enlarging space, but not in family rooms, dining rooms and studies.
Purple, through its perception as simply a deep form of red, is generally grouped with red as an auspicious color, and like red, a color to use sparingly. Purple encourages vitality, purple is impressive, dignified and spiritual. Positive associations are excitement, passion and motivation. Negatives are mournfulness and force. Use in bedrooms and meditation rooms, but not bathrooms or kitchens.
Red is an auspicious Yang color, associated with celebrations, good luck and an ability to banish negative Ch’i. Best used in small amounts as it can increase aggressiveness and hyperactivity. The color is associated with warmth, prosperity and stimulation, but also anger, shame and hatred. Ideal for those who are perhaps a little under-aggressive to improve response rates. Red is stimulating and dominant. It reduces the size of rooms and increases the size of objects. Red is useful as an accent color. It is not suitable for dining rooms, children’s bedrooms, kitchens or workshops.
Black is mysterious and independent. It carries with it associations of money but needs to be used sparingly to avoid a depressive effect. Black’s positive qualities are intrigue, strength and allure, while its negatives are death, darkness and evil. Often used in teenagers’ rooms and bedrooms, it should NOT be used in young childrens rooms, therapy rooms, studies or living rooms.
Pink represents love, happiness and romance – the ideal color to use in the master bedroom if more romance is desired. Pink is linked with purity of thought and has the positive associations of happiness and romance with no negatives. Suitable for bedrooms, but not kitchens or bathrooms.
White is perceived by the Chinese to be the major mourning color, whereas the Western world perceives white to be a celebratory color, cleansing and pure. White symbolizes new beginnings, purity and innocence. White’s positive qualities are cleanliness and freshness, its negatives: cold, lifelessness and starkness. Use for bathrooms and kitchens, not suitable for children’s rooms and dining rooms.
Green symbolizes hope, growth and fresh energy, a positive color for the digestive system that can be cleverly represented by the use of plants in wood or fire element dominated kitchens and dining rooms. A symbol of growth, it is an auspicious color to include on the stationery and livery of new businesses. Green symbolizes growth, fertility and harmony. It is restful and refreshing. Green’s positive associations are optimism, freedom and balance. Its negatives are envy and deceit. Good in therapy rooms, conservatories and bathrooms, but not in family rooms, playrooms or studies.
Yellow is associated with enlightenment and intellect. It stimulates the brain and aids digestion. Yellow’s positive qualities are optimism, reason and decisiveness, while its negatives are craftiness, exaggeration and rigidity. Yellow denotes power, intelligence and longevity bringing with it wisdom, tolerance and patience; ideal for areas such as libraries, where one wishes to improve one’s wisdom and understanding.. Suitable for hallways and kitchens, but not for meditation rooms or bathrooms.
Orange is a powerful and cheerful color, orange encourages communication. Its positive qualities are happiness, concentration and intellect, and its negative is rebelliousness. Use in living or dining rooms and hallways, but not in small rooms or bedrooms.
Brown suggests stability and weight. Its positives are safety and elegance, while its negatives are dinginess, depression and aging. Good for studies, but not for bedrooms.
Learn More About Feng Shui-
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