contributed by Joyce Kocinski, Allied Member ASID [designer / Feng Shui consultant / principal of Design In Balance]
Pleasure, harmony, and positive energy — that’s what good design should bring to all interiors. The ancient principles of Feng Shui can be applied to the places where we work, heal, teach, entertain, and live. In this final installment of the three-part series, we explore the significance of lighting, color, and natural elements, expounding upon the nine symbolic “cures” that may be used realign a broken environment with the ultimate goal of restoring balance and promoting serenity.
Before going any further, refer to the exercise introduced in Part 1 and elaborated on in Part 2. The checklist asked you to consider your home, room by room, evaluating traffic flow, organization, textures, and colors. How you function in a space has to do with how you feel about it — your subconscious emotional response to its arrangement, proportion, and rhythm. You may not be able to pinpoint why a space feels wrong, but you instinctively know it does because it zaps your energy, driving you away. The following are some simple ideas to inject some vitality into any space that is leaving you drained.
Lighting is an important aspect of good Feng Shui in the home and is an easy area to make improvements. Good lighting is important in any room in the house and moods can be depressed without it. Natural sunlight is ideal for any room, so windows are good sources of energy.
Burned out bulbs should be replaced as soon as possible, and bright lighting in a home helps lift a person’s spirits. Hallways and entrances should be well lit, and this is also common sense for safety in the home.
Mirrors can be used to reflect the light to brighten up a small, dark room, or as a Feng Shui cure. Mirrors seem to enlarge the space in which they are placed. For example, a mirror placed over a stove is said to increase the homeowner’s wealth. When a desk is facing a wall with the person’s back to the entrance of the room, a mirror can be placed on the wall over the desk. This way it helps the person see who is coming into the room.
A mirror hung on the wall of a L-shaped room helps extend the room symbolically. When a bed cannot be placed diagonally across from the bedroom door, a mirror can be hung on the wall to reflect the entrance.
Gaze Into The Ball
Crystal balls act as a Feng Shui cure because they disperse light (energy) and help slow down the flow of chi. Crystals hung in the corner of an L-shaped room help activate the energy in that area. Crystals hung over the sharp corner of a wall soften the energy from that corner.
Wind chimes act in a similar manner by dispersing energy when hung in a room. They are beneficial when placed in the west and northwest areas of the home.
Color is a strong Feng Shui element because different colors have a psychological effect on an environment. According to the Chinese, red is considered an important color as it denotes fire, strength, and fame, and stimulates energy. Purple symbolizes wealth, and royalty wore it often. Yellow denotes patience and wisdom and represents the earth in the Bagua. Green is the color of plants, a color that inspires hope. Blue can be a calming color, while black is a dual color because it can give a feeling of depression or depth. Gray also has a similar personality of positive or negative emotions, depending on the person. Brown symbolizes wood and depth. Orange gives a happy feeling because it’s a mixture of both red and yellow. Pink is a strong color for romance and love.
Because the color of a room sets the emotional tone of that room, using the right colors is important. That is why earth tones are suggested for living rooms and kitchens and pastels are suggested for bedrooms and bathrooms. Some Feng Shui books suggest pink as a good color for the master bedroom since it is a romantic color. Purple is considered a wealth color and can be used as an accent in the wealth area of the home.
Color suggestions for different rooms are found in the book Living Color by Sarah Rossbach and Lin Yun (1994). These suggestions are based on the colors associated with the Bagua, the diagram mentioned in Parts 1 & 2. This is done by superimposing the diagram over a floor plan and applying the color or shade of it to that area, either in accents, accessories, or wall colors.
The goal of using the right colors in a room can be seen clearly in the book Feng Shui Chic by Sharon Stasney (2000). This book has many color illustrations of different rooms in the home and tells why the colors work for that room. In the psychological effect of color, for example, red and orange are considered active energy colors, so using them increases the amount of energy in the room. Earth colors such as browns and yellows act as stabilizing influences and slow down the energy in the room. White, silver, and gray activate the energy of the mind, while black and dark blue represent calmness and self-knowledge. The color green symbolizes growth and healing. Using at least three out of the five colors (associated with the five elements) will balance the room’s psychological environment.
Living plants bring life into a room and add to the chi of a home. They give us oxygen and clean the air we breathe. They add to a room’s appearance and can be used as a color element. Even though they are not technically alive, silk plants can be used as an alternative for people who don’t have a green thumb. The symbol of life can have some of the same effects. The energy associated with a “healthy” faux plant is better than a dead real one.
Fountains put in the wealth corner of a room are said to bring good luck to the owner of the home. Moving water seems to activate energy, and the resulting sounds tend to be a calming influence in the room. Aquariums, especially when filled with a variety of interesting, colorful living creatures, are believed to absorb bad luck and increase the possibility of money.
Speaking of animals… pets can infuse life into a listless environment, but take great care to keep them healthy and groom them well. The good chi brought about by loving animals can work against you when they contribute to a home’s disorganization and lack of cleanliness. Unpleasant smells resulting from lack of pet hygiene can lead to disharmony and stress.
Ride The Feng Shui Wave
Feng Shui is a design trend that is here to stay, and its popularity is on the increase. Currently, no state certification for it exists, so it is a wise choice to seek out a qualified practitioner with experience and training. Professor Lin Yun started his practice in Berkeley, California, and has trained many people. Asking for references is a good idea, as is asking how long the person has been in practice. There are many web sites on the Internet on Feng Shui, but some are just to promote products. Check the sites that show the background and education of the practitioner.
Feng Shui is a worthwhile design trend that can benefit people where they live and work. Take a chance, give it a try, and ride the wave of positive energy.