What is Feng Shui?

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Oct 20, 2022

Feng shui has been practiced in China for thousands of years, and its goal is to create balance and harmony by maximizing the flow of qi, or energy. Some people believe that feng shui can also improve mental health, and there is some scientific evidence to support this claim.

Feng shui practitioners believe that our environment can impact our mood and wellbeing, and that by making small changes in our living spaces, we can encourage the flow of positive energy. This may help to reduce stress levels and promote a sense of calm. While feng shui is not a cure-all, it may be worth considering if you are looking for ways to create a more peaceful and harmonious home.

One study found that feng shui practices increased self-esteem and feelings of control in a group of Chinese women with postpartum depression. Another found that feng shui was ineffective in treating symptoms of ADHD in children, but it did improve their daily functioning.

There are many different feng shui principles, but some common ones include decluttering your space, choosing calming colors, and adding plants. If you're interested in trying feng shui, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started.

5 Elements of Feng Shui

  • Water: Abundance, prosperity, insightfulness, wisdom
  • Wood: Creativity, new life, growth, intuition
  • Earth: Grounding, security, stability, balance
  • Fire: Passion, enthusiasm, boldness, expressiveness
  • Metal: Clarity, focus, logic, critical thinking

Some people believe that a home must have each of these elements and that the elements need to be balanced to promote success and advancement at work and in life.

Feng Shui Tips for the Home

Strategic Placement of Mirrors

According to feng shui experts, mirrors are thought to bounce energy around the bedroom, which may result in restlessness and amplify worries.

“The front door is our connection to the world,” and by hanging a mirror directly opposite the entryway, you risk losing good vibes. The point of a mirror is to reflect positive energy so putting one in this spot will “push away” the nice flow that’s trying to come into your home. Instead, place your mirror off to the side.

It's also important not to hang a mirror on the wall opposite your bed. Feng shui consultants say this can promote the intrusion of a third party into a couple's relationship and possibly encourage infidelity.

Create an Open Space for Entryways

Hang a mirror on the wall to help open smaller spaces, symbolic of opening the space for more opportunities to enter into your life. For darker entryways, install a light that illuminates it so you can see more clearly.

Place the Stoves, Couches and Desks in a Commanding Position

A commanding position is thought to help you feel more secure and in control and involves facing the door to the room, which is where the stove should be. In this position, you can see the door when cooking, with the best position being diagonal from the door versus directly in line with it.

It's not always practical to move a stove, so, if you can't see the door while cooking, consider putting up a mirror that allows you to see the door in the reflection.

Choose Relaxing Paint Colors

According to feng shui, warm colors reminiscent of skin tones—such as cream, peach, beige, yellow, coral, tan, and cocoa—are ideal on bedroom walls because they're thought to be soothing. Light blue, green, and lavender are cooler colors that are also considered restful and conducive to sleep.

Too many cool colors, such as grays or stark whites, are believed to interfere with relaxation. Aim for 50% warm skin tones and 50% cool colors for good balance.

Strategic Bed Placement

The ideal bed placement allows you to see the bedroom door while you're in bed without being directly in front of or in line with it (in the commanding position). Having a view of the door without being too close gives a sense of safety and promotes relaxation and good sleep according to feng shui.

In contrast, some believe that placing a bed near a door—where energy is rushing in and out—negates the vibe you’re trying to create in the bedroom.

The head of the bed should be against a wall, but not under a window which could allow qi to flow outside and cause restless sleep. If there are two people sleeping in the bed, there should be equal space on both sides so each person can get into and out of bed easily. It's also best not to place a bed under a structural or decorative beam or ceiling fan. Bummer - no fans!

Dual/Double Furniture

Duplicating or mirroring furniture is symbolic of balance. For example, two identical nightstands, one on each side of the bed.

Keep The Toilet Seat Down

This one’s pretty straight-forward! The toilet’s opening is like a drain, and exposing it can mean your home’s good fortune might escape.

“Not only will shutting it keep the energy stronger in your bathroom, but it’s also more pleasing to see when you enter the room,” says Dana Claudat, an interior designer and Pyramid School Feng Shui consultant.

Green is Good, But not in the Bedroom

A bunch of potted plants in this space can rob the room of its positive atmosphere, and might even affect your relationship if you’re sharing the space with a partner, according to Feng shui experts. Since plants are actively growing (unlike dead roses in a vase), they aren’t giving off restful energy that’s needed in the bedroom.

Sound, scent, and light are important for good feng shui, so you can add music, chimes, and candles or firelight in the bedroom. But save the plants and greenery for the living room and patio.

Avoid mixed flooring

Choosing a floor design that’s continuous throughout the house is good practice as this gives the place strong, supportive qi, according to Feng shui experts.

When each room has different flooring, the energy is dispersed and weak.


Feng shui is an ancient practice that has modern-day applications. It's used today to help people design spaces that support feelings of comfort and safety. Many designers tout the benefits of using the practice to guide the design of living spaces throughout the world. Happy decorating!

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