With a growing focus on finding comfort at home and turning our living spaces into calming sanctuaries, this year has reignited our interest in Feng Shui.
What is Feng Shui?
The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui is all about creating harmony in a space – but goes far beyond using colour and light to create the right ambience, for instance.
Strategically placing furniture to promote wellness, using artwork and living plants to get the right vibes and keeping rooms clear of clutter all factor.
Based on the belief there’s a continuous flow of ‘chi’ – or energy – between an individual and their surroundings, thinking about how to arrange our objects to promote good work-life balance has additional appeal right now, with so many more of us adapting to life without a commute.
There’s plenty of scope for Feng Shui to feature in gardens and patios too, for an extra boost when you throw open the doors or look out the window.
“The practice of Feng Shui aims to strike a balance between the self and the natural world. It can be applied to any room of the home, particularly outdoor spaces, where there’s already a connection with nature,” says Rosheen Forbes, commercial activity & events leader at IKEA UK & Ireland.
“Adding plants and greenery is an easy place to start, and depending on the ‘bagua’ (centre of energy), the colours you choose can increase the energy in certain areas. Calculating your bagua map is simple but needs approaching differently depending on your home,” Forbes adds.
“If you live in an apartment, align the bottom of the bagua map with the front entrance wall. If you live in a house, use a compass and place the ‘career area’ (bottom middle on the bagua map) where your compass indicates the north.
“So, when planning your garden, think about planting blue and purple flowers in your ‘wealth corner’ (south east), and pink, white and red flowers in the ‘relationship corner’ (south west) to increase the energy around love and partnerships.
“Furthermore, outdoor mirrors can be used to attract abundance. With its curved shape and smooth flowing lines, an oval mirror can be used to reflect the light from the sun, making the space feel bigger and brighter. For smaller spaces, place two mirrors to face each other so the light bounces off, creating beautiful brightness.”
Feng Shui tips for your home
Fancy giving your home some Feng Shui magic? Read on for more tips on how to go about it…
Think about muted tones and textures
“When introducing the tools of Feng Shui into the home you need to think about adding balance and drawing energy into the room,” says Wil Law, home design stylist for John Lewis.
“You can start with colours – using muted tones mixed with natural materials and soft furnishing accessories immediately creates a calming effect. Try a natural wooden armchair (like our Croft Collection Frome Leather Armchair, £899, John Lewis), with muted colours on the walls and textured vases and ornaments with a soft rug or carpet underfoot,” says Law.
Keep colours positive if you’re not into neutral
Of course, colour is subjective, and what’s positive and calming to one person may be undesirable to another. Alex Whitecroft, head of design at I Want Wallpaper, suggests using colours that reflect your personal happiness – but try to avoid darker colours or too much black, as these can sap positive energy flows throughout the home.
“Brighter colours will have an immediately uplifting effect, so this may be the perfect opportunity to create a feature wall. You might even want to go so far as using your ‘commanding position’ (the spot furthest from the door and not in direct line with it) wall as the accent – and earn yourself double Feng-Shui points while you’re at it.”
If you’re not sure where to start, check out I Want Wallpaper’s Erismann Paradiso Tropical Leaves Pattern Wallpaper in Jungle Leaf Forest, £12.99 per roll. In Feng Shui, green is the colour of renewal, fresh energy and new beginnings and is believed to help relieve stress.
If going green with walls isn’t possible, Whitecroft says to look for accessories to enhance good energy. Living plants, brightly coloured cushions or a wall decoration will brighten a room and tie the look together in one fell swoop.
Try to separate work and relaxation
Another key Feng Shui tip is to keep your work space separate from your relaxation area, to help balance your work and home life and enable you to properly ‘switch off’ while working from home. Out of sight, out of mind can only be a positive move on many levels – signalling when it’s time to end those video conferencing calls, light a candle and chill out.
And just in case you’re wondering, candles should be placed in the bagua of your home – as well as releasing daily stress, their glow brings fiery energy and will keep the ‘chi’ harmonious and happy.
But back to the business of a work station: slim, movable tables, deep enough for a laptop and bits and bobs will maximise your desk area, while taking up less room – and they can be rolled away when it’s time to log off. Ikea’s FJÄLLBO Laptop Table, £55, ticks all the right boxes – and can even double up as a drinks trolley in the garden.
Aim for minimal clutter
The starting point for any positive environment is to keep kitchen work surfaces and table tops as clear as possible. This might mean having a good sort-out, and investing in some suitable storage solutions. “Old magazines, dusty ornaments and general bric-a-brac once placed in haste and never removed will not contribute to a positive energy environment,” says Whitecroft.
“If you find it hard to part with sentimental clutter, find a box to neatly pack it away. Do be cautious though – simply moving clutter from one spot to another won’t do much to aide your energy flow. Donate to charity shops or find a way to bid farewell to items in order to clear your space, and ultimately, your mind.”
Bring the outside in
If you’re short on outdoor space, stress not. Think about bringing the outside in with some greenery. “Plants are a brilliant way to bring energy into the room, add colour and cleanse the air. They look great in natural baskets or ceramic vases and succulents are easy to care for,” says Law.
Last but not least, another important Feng Shui tool to build a soothing environment is to consider carved furniture with smooth edges, over angular and sharp designs. Sharp edges and corners, otherwise known as bad energy ‘sha’, could have a negative effect when you’re unwinding – and right now it’s all about maximising the feel-good factor where we can and letting positive vibes flow!