You have most likely heard the term “feng shui,” but may not have a clear idea of what it is or how to apply its principles. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a philosopher to benefit from it. If you’re ready to embrace feng shui, you’ll find that it not only improves the space where you live, it will also enhance the life you live in that space.
First of all, the basics: Feng shui is a set of ideas that comes from China. Its roots and practice date back more than 6,000 years and are ultimately founded in Taoist beliefs about how we, as humans, can harmonize ourselves with the universe that surrounds us. In Taoism, the yin and the yang (the feminine and the masculine, respectively) need to be in balance to bring about good energy. This notion of balance is also essential to feng shui, as is the idea that all things are composed of five elements, namely, wood, fire, earth, metal, and water that all interact in a multitude of ways.
As intriguing as these philosophical beliefs are, you may still be wondering how to bring this ancient wisdom forward and enjoy its positive benefits here in the 21st century. One of the most effective ways to do this is to consider how best to balance all of the elements in any given place where you spend a significant amount of time. This could be your home, your office, or possibly your garden. Skeptical about the flow of universal energy and the interconnectedness of inanimate objects? That’s okay—you’ll still benefit from the good feng shui that results from a well-planned, aesthetically-pleasing interior design setup.
It’s true. Even if you feel that you’re too busy to devote yourself to pondering the ineffable nature of the universe, you can nonetheless make some basic feng shui-inspired changes to your home that will enable you to better enjoy the time you spend there. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make your living space more livable:
- Reduce the clutter: The enormous popularity and influence of Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method of tidying—removing objects from your life that no longer inspire joy—shows that Americans have a real appetite for simplifying their lives and getting rid of things that merely take up space but add little value. In feng shui, removing clutter allows positive energy to flow more freely through your home and life. If you clear out unwanted stuff, you’ll have more space to actually live in. And your home will be more inviting not just to energy, but also to guests. Besides, what is that bulky, outdated college biology textbook adding to your life these days anyway?
- Shed some light on things: Abundant light means good energy. And natural light is best. When you set up a room, think about how you can properly take advantage of sunlight to illuminate it. Of course, you’ll need to enhance this with artificial light as well. When trying to decide what type of light fixture to install, consider getting one that lets as much light as possible out into the room rather than focusing it all down on one spot. Embrace the whole room. Don’t be afraid to brighten the corners.
- Rearrange the furniture: There are many complex feng shui ideas about the interplay of shapes and colors relating to furniture, but there are also some straightforward approaches you can take to improve the flow of any room. Most importantly, ask yourself whether or not your furniture is properly sized for its placement and purpose. If you’re pressed tightly against the wall while eating meals, then maybe your dining table is too big for its space. And keep in mind that you don’t always have to go out and buy new things to help improve the flow in any room. If one partner has to climb over the other in order to get into that master bed, see if you can’t center it in the room rather than having it pushed up against the wall.
You don’t have to be a philosopher to believe that everyone deserves to live a more positive life in a more inviting space. Fortunately, feng shui isn’t just for the ancients or the New Age mystics. It’s for everyone.