03 June 2003

DIY Feng Shui

A house resembles a body because it has its own metabolism. Energy must flow evenly throughout, pumping smoothly from hall to room. The occupants, a house's vital organs, are nourished by a healthy flow of energy, not too strong and not too weak.


Entrance hall
A house resembles a body because it has its own metabolism. Energy must flow evenly throughout, pumping smoothly from hall to room. The occupants, a house's vital organs, are nourished by a healthy flow of energy, not too strong and not too weak. The entrance sets the tone, the "vibes" of a house. If you are sensitive enough when you enter a house, you have various feelings – some give you a happy feeling, some make you uncomfortable and depressed.

Traditionally hospitable, the Chinese arrange an entrance, the protection from the outside and the threshold into an inner world, more for the resident's benefit than for the visitor's. Thus light and dark, distance and nearness, solid and space must be complementary (as with colours), a balanced base from which to embark on a successful life course.

How to Feng Shui your entrance hall:

  1. The ideal is to walk into a wide, light room or lobby with an expansive, happy feeling. This will encourage residents' minds, movements and emotions to be expressive, unburdened, and constructive.
  2. Make sure that doors open to the broadest area of an apartment or room for maximum view of the interior.
  3. The solution to confined entrances, whether to a room, a hall, an apartment, or an office, is to hang a mirror on the offending wall, extending the visual area so the wall does not obstruct the movement of energy.
  4. For an oppressive wall parallel to the door, hang an appealing picture or poster of, say, a landscape to draw forward and create more space. A bright light in the hall will draw up and expand energy.
  5. Stagger pictures along the opposite walls of a passage and use a mirror at the end of the passage, if possible, to break the monotony. Wall lights, skylights and area rugs have the same effect.
  6. Chinese sometimes spurn a good view, blocking off windows for Feng Shui reasons. Usually, that window looks to the West, the source of oppressive late afternoon sun glare that can interrupt work and bring on headaches.
  7. Lights, symbolising the sun, are auspicious. Brightness stimulates a person, so used correctly will activate and distribute energy. Light should blend with its surroundings, hung too low or in the way of peoples' actions, however it can be restrictive and irritating.
  8. Mirrors, no matter what their use, should never be hung so that they cut off the top of the head of a person. Similarly, mirrors should not be hung too high. Use mirrors to reflect something attractive or create the illusion of more space.
  9. The presence of water in homes, offices, businesses and restaurants creates a feeling of tranquillity and brings more nature inside. Fish tanks, fountains and even bowls of water with floating flowers and candles can have an effect.

Another aspect of good Feng Shui is colour. To the Chinese one's destiny can be shaded by the colour of one's house, clothes, office and so on (psychology of colour). In the West, colours describe moods; seeing red, painting the town red, green with envy, feeling blue, white knight. Often one dresses in a colour representing one's state of mind and feelings. Advertisers can often manipulate a persons emotional and psychological responses to a product by colour choice. Similarly, colour can affect the energy of a home. Here are some of the meanings and symbolisms of the most common colours:
  • Red, to the Chinese, is the most auspicious colour connoting happiness, fire or warmth and strength. Shrines, clothes, envelopes – given as gifts – are particularly special if they are red. A Chinese bride sports a scarlet cheongsam, the father of a new-born son hands out red eggs. Have you noticed the number of Chinese restaurants painted red?
  • Green emits tranquillity and freshness. It is the colour of spring, growth and a healthy earth.
  • Yellow is the colour of the sun and denotes brightness.
  • The most fearsome colour to the Chinese is white. White is the deepest colour of mourning – what black is to the Western culture. Some say white dulls the senses. Stark, fashionable, white-on-white rooms signify death to the Chinese. In one Hong Kong dental clinic, attendants shunned white uniforms and agreed to work only after its colour was switched to green. Doctors and dentists' surgeries painted white may even create feelings of hostility. If painted softer, muted tones of peach, green or even blue, could help create a home environment. Plants, pictures of landscapes, piped music and soft textures will enhance this.
  • Black seen by some as mysterious, sexy, bold, secure can to others signify bad luck, dark happenings, loss of light. By understanding the symbolism of colour and the effect that it has on our emotions, both internally and externally, we can create and affect our moods in our homes.

Different arrangements of furniture give different impressions – furniture clustered together creates an intimate mood. A geometric array seems formal, other layouts seem homey.

Because most people spend a third of their lives in bed, the bed position is important. Place beds away from windows and drafts and preferably where you can see the door from the head of the bed. Beds should face into the centre of the room as well as rest against a wall to create a feeling of space and stability. Preferably, they should also be across from a window (view) or attractive piece of furniture.

Living rooms should be less complicated, they should be light and devoid of heavy beams, oddly shaped corners and angles or three windows or doors in a row. Your favourite chair should face the entrance. Living rooms should contain certain shapes, pictures and doodads such as rugs, small tables, personal ornaments to enhance your space.

Feng Shui staples include mirrors, lighting, symbolism, wind chimes and plants. "The most beautiful thing about the mysterious is the mystery. It is the basis of art and science."

Choosing a place to live
We all have a wish of where we would live "if we only could." Many people wish they could live where they grew up because they fondly remember the landscape of their youth. They long for the feelings, sights, sounds, textures and fragrances of the flora and fauna in the areas of the earth where they grew up because they were more sensitive to their natural surroundings during childhood.

On the other hand, other people, with perhaps more disturbed, difficult childhood's, prefer to relocate in an entirely different climate and lanscape. They find new horizons more conducive to making a fresh start.

Our preference of where to live is directly related to our energy field configuration of what we call "normal". We are comfortable with a particular set of different types of energy from our environment – the sea, the woods or the mountains. And we choose places we live accordingly.

We are also used to a range of energy and power running through us. What is normal for one person can be very low or very high energy for another. We are used to a specific degree of "openness", with a particular way we hold our boundaries.

We also choose our living places to help us feel normal. "Normal", you will recall, is actually a particular habitual imbalance that we carry in our field. We tend to like environments that support the status quo. Usually we don't like too much change in our lives. We don't like anyone or anything to rock the boat on our normal energy levels. A lot of time, we choose our living environments accordingly if possible.

Some good questions to ask yourself about where you live:

  • Which type of landscape do you choose?
  • If you do not live in the kind of landscape you wish, what can you do to get to spend some more time there on occasion?
  • Which area of the country offers you the type of boundaries you prefer, with the population density you prefer?
  • Where do the kinds of people you like to interact with live?
  • Have you always wanted to move somewhere, and never have?
  • What unfulfilled need do you think a move will fill?
  • Can you fill this need where you live now?
  • Is the need really something else?
  • Is staying where you are now avoiding something you are afraid to face?
  • If so, find out what that is, so that you can consciously choose to stay or move if you wish.

"A place to dream…to realise our spirit…"

Good chi

  1. Bed faces entranceway. Wherever you sleep, you should be able to see the door and windows.
  2. Bedroom "feels good" – the world of energy – "like attracts like." The feeling of your room will be picked up and absorbed by your energy while you are sleeping. This, in turn, will help shape your personal chi, drawing to it the same type of energy and things that mirror the type of energy that you are sending out.
  3. The best direction for the bedroom to face is North, North-East (the Nien Yen sector, which means "longevity with descendants") or East.
  4. If possible, sleep with your head facing East or North.
  5. Has diverse yin lighting ie. candles, lamps (lampshades diffuse the harshness of electric light).
  6. Furniture should have round edges. Sharp corners should not face the bed.
  7. Use natural fibres as much as possible. Avoid synthetics.
  8. Beautiful Relationship corner. Make sure that the corner is clutter free and decorated with mindfulness and clear intentions.
  9. Flowers, plants (round-leafed), crystals, pairs of items, pink.
  10. Use: soft colours, emotive artwork, white or pale linen, wood, sound and scent.

Bad Chi

  1. Beams above the bed.
  2. The bed with a direct view of the toilet, or you sleep with your head against the wall that connects the two rooms.
  3. Using your bedroom as an office.
  4. Clutter/clothes/papers/books/overcrowding
  5. Missing relationship corner.
  6. Electric blankets and clocks, underfloor heating, computers, TVs, videos – too close to the bed. (You are sleeping in a magnetic field).
  7. Mirrors should be placed where they cannot be seen from the bed.
  8. Avoid reflective yang surfaces, such as too much glass, marble, metal etc.

Remember the ultimate goal in Feng Shui is balance.

[This article was written by Margaret Tanner of Margaret Tanner Interiors. She is a certified Feng Shui practitioner and interior decorator. For a personalised assessment of your home or office, contact Margaret on (021) 709 4678 or e-mail her:]


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