Home should be a place of relaxation. Very few feelings are better than returning to a calming space after braving the hectic whirlwind of school and work demands. Keeping that in mind, it’s only natural that everyone would be attracted to the design elements of Feng Shui. At this point, most of us can recognize the name of this design trend instantly, but what is Feng Shui all about exactly?
What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui is a Chinese belief system that dictates certain design elements of a home or apartment. What does this mean? It gives you some great tips on what kind of apartment to select and how to arrange the furniture in order to increase the flow of chi in your home or apartment. It’s intention is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Though Westerners have recently started adopting some of its most basic rules to design their own homes, it actually requires years of study to fully understand the complexities behind Feng Shui.
But I Don’t Subscribe to Eastern Philosophies…
Though the principles of Feng Shui are largely influenced by certain eastern religious philosophies and the belief in chi, or life energy that works as a force in the universe. The principles of Feng Shui attempt to encourage the ebb and flow of positive energy. In secular terms, all this means is that the room will put you in a good mood and function efficiently.
If you don’t prescribe to the spiritual aspect of Feng Shui, then no problem! Ultimately, these principles are just basic guidelines to designing a home that will elevate your mood and make you feel at ease after a long day. In this busy day and age, these guidelines can be useful to anybody!
Things to Consider During Your Apartment Search
It’s significantly easier to create a harmonious space if you begin considering certain design elements before you even select a home or apartment to rent. During your tours, be on the lookout for the following:
Location You want to find a building in a lovely location, preferably with beautiful garden views or a relaxing city skyline. To get a better view, opt for apartments on the higher floors. The worst views that create stagnant energy are obscured views and other buildings looming around you. If you’re within view of a prison, industrial area, or cemetery, consider looking elsewhere. After all, these areas aren’t exactly the nicest views in the world…or the most uplifting.
Main Entrance A well-lit main entrance will make you feel safe and secure in your home or apartment building. Even if you don’t give a damn about Feng Shui principles, keep this one in mind. It’s just common sense. Plus, in apartment buildings, extinguished lightbulbs left unchanged can warn you of a negligent landlord.
Floor Plan Feng Shui has a lot of complicated suggestions on how a floor plan should look, but most people don’t have the luxury of being too picky. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that your apartment’s floor plan seems to “flow” and make sense to you. Feng Shui discourages against oddly shaped homes that require you to arrange furniture in bizarre, tricky places. Remember, the point is to come home to a relaxing space! It’s also important that you have distinct rooms designated for particular purposes. Having a studio makes that particular Feng Shui rule more difficult to pull off, but setting up your furniture in an intuitive way can counteract the negative vibe that may come from living in such a confined space.
Lighting Windows are extremely important in Feng Shui because they provide a great deal of natural light, the abundance of which helps create an cheerful environment. Humans did life outside before we had houses, after all. We were meant to drink in the sunlight during the day! When you’re taking your tour, be on the lookout for large windows that let the sunlight pour into the room. If finding a place with big windows is too expensive, then find an apartment with great lighting!
Wall Color If you already know that painting your walls or having someone else paint for you just isn’t in your budget or the landlord is strict about changing the current look of the space, then take of note of the wall colors. A bright, pastel colored kitchen – the room that provides you health and energy – is recommended for its vibrancy and uplifting effects. The bedroom should be a more subdued color – like green and blue – to promote restfulness. Any color that reminds you of water is an excellent shade for the bathroom, which is the first place you visit when you wake up and the last place you visit before hitting the hay. If you can paint after moving in, even better! Don’t want to get too specific and just looking for a generalized “zen” atmosphere? The color white is always a great fallback.
The Basics of Furniture Arrangement & Decor
The rules for furniture arrangement and decor are the most popular and commonly used aspects of the Feng Shui aesthetic philosophy in the West. Knowing where to arrange your furniture and what accessories go in what room can help you create the perfect atmosphere in a room and keep everything running smoothly as you navigate a space. Remember, it’s all about conjuring a positive association with each room.
General Rules Each room of the house is treated differently, but there are a few general rules you can follow:
- Furniture size should be conducive to the space they occupy to avoid crowding
- High traffic areas should be left open for ease of movement
- The main piece of furniture in the room should be in the “command position,” a space that seems central to the room
- The best accessory for any calming, zen-styled room is cleanliness
Living Room Feng Shui living rooms revolve around balance and warmth for a group of people. The following elements promote this feeling:
- A tight circular shape is preferable for chairs and couches, so people can face one another while speaking (Note: You don’t always need to place the chairs in a literal circle if this isn’t efficient for the shape of the room. As long as the seating seems to promote a sense of community, then you’re good to go!)
- A central element to gather around, such as a coffee table, ottoman, or fireplace
- Empty fireplaces should be filled with attractive decor – like plants, paper screens, fan, or s decorative sculpture
- Televisions should be hidden in entertainment centers, as they are not aesthetically pleasing and can suck the energy out of a room
- Fresh green plants create a sense of, especially when paired with natural light
- If you have high ceilings, place pleasing pieces of art at eye level to create a focal point and keep the energy from rising to the ceiling
Bedroom Bedrooms are intended to promote both relaxation and sensuality. It is one of the most important room that Feng Shui can be applied to, because it can really boost both your restfulness and love life:
- The bed should be placed in the command position, but never on the same wall as the door because this brings a feeling of insecurity to those sleeping in the bed
- Two bedside tables create balance and a welcoming feel to the room
- Soft fabrics with a luxurious feel will help make your bedroom into an escape
- Color palette should be soothing overall, but hints of red and pinks throughout the room will promote a romantic feel
- Art on the walls should be calming and promote positivity
- Having moody lighting with dimmers allows you to control the feel of the room
- Avoid placing electronics in the room as these can quickly become the focus of your energies instead of the bed
- A desk in the bedroom is a BIG no-no. No one wants to wake up, look at their desk, and immediately be reminded of their hectic lives.
Bathroom This room is commonly ignored by Feng Shui because it has inherently negative energy. However, more recent spins on the Feng Shui aesthetic have begun exploring the possibilities bathrooms offer:
- Brighten up this room as much as possible
- Candles add a fire element that contrasts the overwhelming water elements of the room
- Plants also add a earth element to the room
- Mirrors widen this typically small space and allows you to admire yourself
- Cleanliness is incredibly important, since bathrooms are so often considered dirty places
- Keep the drains plugged and the toilets closed to prevent energy from flowing out of the room
- Get matching towels and washcloths that will help create a cohesive, balanced vibe
Office/Work Space This room is your source of wealth and vitality, but it can also be a place associated with stress. It must always be kept separate from where you live, play, and rest. There are many design elements that can increase the productivity of your work space:
- The desk should always be placed in the “commanding position”
- Symmetry helps add a sense of harmony and order to this room
- Artwork should be inspiring and creative
- Plants add a sense of vibrancy to room and purify the air your working in, allowing your mind to work better
- Adding a small fountain will help add a calming element to this otherwise hectic room
- Cleanliness is vital in this particular room for helping you work more efficiently
Studio Apartments If you have a small studio apartment, applying the principles of Feng Shui can get tricky. Despite your lack of space, dividing your each area strategically is a must:
- Utilize a decorative screen or curtain to create a distinct area between your bedroom and work area, specifically
- Your bed always takes the “command position”
- Make sure the entryway is completely open and distinct from the rest of the apartment
- Every space possible should be used for storage to keep clutter to a minimum
- Shy away from loud artwork that crowds the space aesthetically
- Placing mirrors in the right places will help expand the room
- Furnish the apartment so that there is a balanced amount of furniture on each side of the room
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