Originating from China, feng shui is the ancient “art of placement” that helps individuals find balance with their surroundings. The basic goal of feng shui is to harmonize chi (also spelled qi) energy that is composed of the female (yin) and male (yang) principle, as the life source of all living matter. This energy flows through the world by wind (feng) and water (shui). When interrupted, it can bring problems in every area of your life. That’s why the main goal of feng shui is to attract chi energy into your space and ensure its constant flow, through your exterior and interior without natural or manmade obstacles.
A practitioner will try to attract the chi energy, by activating five elements (wood, earth, metal, fire, and water) in different areas of your home. To decipher which room needs which element, feng shui practitioners create bagua maps. There are two types of bagua maps – classical and western.
Classical Bagua Map
Classical or traditional bauga map requires a special compass (named Luo Pan) for an accurate reading. After complex calculations that take into account the direction of the building, the day you moved in, renovations of space, etc. feng shui practitioner will create a bagua map of your home with sectors representing different family members, life areas, elements, colors, body parts and numbers.
Number 2, abdomen, pink, relationship sector, and element earth represent the mother, middle daughter is awarded with the element fire, color red, number 9, fame and eyes and heart, etc. By following the map you will be able to organize the space to avoid abdominal issues, improve mental clearness, romantic relationships and so on. Classical Chinese feng shui is highly personalized, and an arrangement that works for the youngest person in the family, might not work for another family member, which is why every room has to be adapted to the person inside.
Western Bagua map
Since times and family relationships have changed, modern readings of the bagua map (also known as Western or BTB), has replaced the complex calculations with a simple 3×3 square map. The Western bagua map brought another simplification. Instead of using the compass, the arrangement is made by laying out a square bagua map over the blueprint of your home. The three bottom squares represent knowledge, career, and helpful people, and travel. Wealth, fame, and relationships are located at the top. In the middle squares, the family is on the right, and creativity and children on the left. In the center, lays the ninth square that signifies health and vitality.
Every area of the map is controlled by one of 5 feng shui elements. For instance, water represents the career sector and wood controls family and wealth. Fire influences fame, while metal controls the areas of travel and helpful people as well as children and creativity area. By overlaying the map with the blueprint of your home, you will know in which area to activate the water, wood, fire, etc.
5 Elements of Feng Shui
Now that you know which area needs which element, it’s time to get down to decorating. Here’s how you can activate every one of the 5 elements in your living or working space.
Metal symbolizes intelligence and logic and has positive effects on people’s creativity and mood. Use metal furniture, bedroom metal frames, or decorative bowls to add this element to your space. If you want to make your home artsier, consider getting metal sculptures or statues. Just make sure they are well scaled and placed away from the walking paths in the house.
The element of love, and romance fire, will bring the energy of the sun into your home. Having a fireplace will definitely activate the most passionate element of feng shui, but there are many other ways you can activate fire in your home. First, you can use candles to purify and calm the space. Second, you can evoke fire through color and experiment with red furniture, textiles, pillows, and bold red statement art pieces. Keep in mind that you should keep the fire elements moderate, as it is believed that too much fire can burn down the house.
The earth element brings stability and peace. It will help you reduce the stress of everyday life. You can activate the earth element with rocks, crystals, and landscape imagery. Add rocks to your bowls or plant pots. Purchase crystal chandeliers, crystal lamps, or other light fixtures. You can also use terracotta, rugs made from natural fibers, or color your walls into warm sandy shades.
Adding items that represent wood into your living space, will entice your health, vitality, and personal growth. It can be anything from wooden floors, wooden furniture to plants. House plants are very important in feng shui, as they symbolize vitality and freshness. Adding more plants to your home will radiate harmonious energy and bring joy. Place plants next to your computer to filter electromagnetic energy, or keep jasmine near the south-facing window to improve romantic relationships. Adding bamboo will help you stay flexible and open, to the uninterrupted flow of chi.
In feng shui water symbolizes wisdom, clarity, and wealth. Positioning a fountain near your entrance can help you attract chi energy and money into your life. If getting a fountain seems a bit excessive, you can always turn to mirrors and other reflective surfaces for the representation of the element. Mirrors are considered a remedy in feng shui, and if used right they can completely change the flow of energy. Color blue and black can also activate the water element, so picking furniture or painting walls in these colors should help. Black and white photographs or images of water can serve the same purpose.
Feng Shui Interior Design: Extra Tips
Apart from activating the energy of five elements, there are plenty of other tricks you can use to harmonize your space. For starters, you should unclutter your house to keep the chi flowing. That particularly goes for your entrance. Since it is believed that this is where the energy enters your home, it’s important to make the area inviting. Then make sure to remove obstacles from the pathways you often use in your house. Think about the paths you use on a daily basis, for example, the one from the bedroom to the bathroom or from the kitchen to the dining room.