A few years ago, I somehow got to talking with one of Auckland’s top restauranteurs at a party. I asked him what his secret to having successful restaurants/bars was since his places always seemed packed full of people whilst so many others were struggling to keep afloat or disappearing after a year. He proceeded to tell me about his management style, his great team etc. but then at the end of our talk he smiled and added ‘oh and we also Feng Shui all of our spaces, so that might have something to do with our success too‘. At the time I kind of laughed it off but somehow the conversation stuck with me.
I started reading about Feng Shui and quickly became fascinated by it so when Mark and I moved to Melbourne last year I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to start applying a few of its principles to our new house. I didn’t want to go over the top and to start buying gold coins or smiling buddhas (although there’s nothing wrong with either of these things, in fact I could do with more gold coins in my life : ) so I focused on little changes that I knew would be manageable but still beneficial. I think they’ve definitely helped us improve our space and so I thought I’d share a few tips with you in case you wished to give Feng Shui a try!
Here are the ten Feng Shui principles I found most useful and easiest to apply:
Clutter is probably the biggest No-No when it comes to Feng Shui. Holding onto too much stuff (especially if things are scattered all over the place) blocks positive energy from flowing freely within your house. It also drains your energy levels and can make you feel overwhelmed. Finally clutter doesn’t allow for growth or for new things to come into your life. Make sure you always keep your space as tidy and organized as possible (I know – easier said than done!) and get rid of any items you no longer need/love or that are broken beyond repair.
2. Create a welcoming entrance way
The front door is very important in Feng Shui because this is where the Chi (energy) most strongly enters your house. Your front door should be inviting, not only to warmly welcome your friends and family, but also to attract positive energy and opportunities. Make sure you don’t block your entrance way with anything (inside and out) and keep your garden and front porch looking as tidy as possible (again – no clutter!) .
If you want to go one step further you could add a bright welcome mat on your porch, place a tall plant on either side of your door or even hang a wind chime outside your front door!
3. Keep the toilet lid down
Now this is one rule that my husband (or is it all men?) is definitely struggling with. However, Feng Shui experts believe that leaving your drains exposed basically equates to letting all of your positive energy go straight down the drain. It’s also a good idea to always put a plug in your kitchen and bathroom sinks (when you are not using them) for the same reason.
4. Don’t work in bed
Now this is the one I struggle with the most as I love to write in bed. However, this is pretty much a deal breaker in Feng Shui. In fact, electronics in general (tv, computers, cellphones etc.) should be banned from the bedroom as they suck up your energy and prevent you from having a restful sleep. They’re also bad for your relationship as they distract you and prevent you from ‘connecting’ with your partner. If you really need to have a TV or a computer desk in your room then consider putting them in a cabinet that you can close up at night or placing them behind a screen.
5. Avoid hanging mirrors in the bedroom
Mirrors create a strong energy whereas your bedroom should be a peaceful space. Some people also believe that having a mirror near your bed may invite a third person to interfere in your relationship. If you have a mirror in your bedroom try to cover it with fabric at night if you can.
6. Have a few plants
Plants are a great tool in Feng Shui as they represent nature and bring happy, healthy energy into your home. They also help purify the air (especially if you pick top air-purifying plants such as palms and ferns). Flowers are also a lovely addition and will instantly brighten your space. Make sure that your plants are well watered and healthy though as dead plants will have the reverse effect.
7. Place your main furniture in the ‘commanding position’
Your couch, bed and office desk should ideally be placed in a position that allows you to see the door when seated (without being directly aligned with it if possible). This stems from the idea that you should always be able to see people entering your home and that you should welcome the positive energy that flows in through the door. This also applies to the kitchen; if you can’t see people entering the room when cooking then consider adding a mirror on top of your back splash to reflect the rest of the room.
8. Keep your home bright and airy
As you’ve probably gathered ‘air and light’ are two important principles in Feng Shui. Make sure that you ventilate your space frequently and open your curtains as often as possible to let the light in. Also make sure you replace any broken light bulbs with new ones.
9. Get a shoe rack
Shoes should never be left piling in your entrance way but rather neatly placed on a shoe rack nearby (or in a cupboard). Shoes should also all be facing the same way, towards you, to welcome new opportunities. Avoid placing shoes above head level if you can.
10 Add touches of color
When designing a space most Feng shui experts use what is called a ‘Bagua map’. In a nutshell, a bagua map divides up your floor plan into 9 equal squares (see below). Each square represents an area of your life which can be stimulated/improved by bringing in certain elements and colors. You can easily draw up your own simple Bagua map and use it as a guide to add touches of color in your house.
I’ve also included a link to a video with more in depth instructions at the bottom of this post.
I hope you found these tips useful. Obviously this is a very basic introduction to Feng Shui based on my own personal experiences but I think it’s still a good place to start. If you’d like to take things to the next level and get some expert tips here are a few links you might find useful:
Feng shui doctrine (opening image via feng shui doctrine)