We all know that our environment can affect us positively or negatively. We recognize it on the most mundane and obvious levels, such as feeling bad-even frightened-if we’re subjected to a dark, damp, dilapidated building. We also know how exhilarating it can feel to be in a sunny, sweet smelling room with breathtaking views. But this could be seen as just a temporary, emotional reaction. Does our environment influence our lives and well-being, even our financial potential or chance for marriage, in a long term and predictable way? The answer is yes, according to the ancient Chinese natural earth science, popularly referred to as “feng shui.” Feng Shui literally means “wind-water,” and these words are a catch phrase or consolidation of a whole concept: energy which dissipates in the wind, gathers at the location of water.
The basic principles of feng shui maintain that:
• We are affected by our immediate interior and exterior surroundings in predictable ways
• Unseen forces (called ch’i) or air currents can be manipulated by our choice of furnishings, the color scheme of a room, its architecture, as well as landscaping
• Those forces can alter events and circumstances in our lives
• We can even have a unique relationship with a home or office, distinct from someone else sharing that same space, based on our birth date.
This is the most important room in any home because we spend a majority of our lives in this one spot. The only other room that can compete with the bedroom is an office that someone might literally sit in for eight hours per day. Here are some basic feng shui guidelines for the bedroom:
1. The shape of the room should be a stable square or rectangular shape. If the room has an odd shape, then try to position furnishings in a way to help square-out the shape.
2. The room should not be overly large because that can undermine feelings of coziness and protection that are desirable for sleeping.
3. The ceilings should be flat for the smoothest flow of energy in the room.
4. If the ceilings are sloped, then there is a greater chance for sleep disturbances.
5. False ceilings and canopy beds are one way to resolve the sloped ceiling dilemma.
6. Sleeping under exposed beams should be avoided at all cost because the beams create a chaotic boomerang effect that can undermine health. The exact health problem can even be predicted based on where the beam hovers over your body. For example, if you sleep with a large exposed beam hovering over your abdominal region, this could affect your digestion and even your fertility.
7. Avoid sleeping with your head too close to a low, drafty window. This will consistently drain you.
8. Arrange the bed to be out of direct alignment with the room’s door. Sleeping directly aligned with the door can cause health problems eventually.
9. Cover up or remove large mirrors in the bedroom. This is a challenging recommendation for many people because mirrored closet doors are so very common. The only way to test out if your mirrors are causing sleeping problems for you is to cover them up for a week or two and see if you feel more rested and calm. Most people do report feeling better.
10. By referring to traditional feng shui books, you can even find out what your best personal sleeping directions are, based on your birth year.
11. Advanced, traditional feng shui can also determine the best colors for a room. It’s unique to your specific home and floor plan arrangement.
Whether this is a home office or an office within a commercial space, you can also micro-manage this environment to suit your needs and enhance your productivity. Some people use their office to concentrate, while others use their office to hold meetings with business partners, employees, patients or clients. In a commercial work space, you should:
1. Avoid sitting at your desk with your back to the entrance door of the room. Psychologically you will feel very vulnerable and on edge, knowing that people could come into your office from behind you.
2. Avoid sitting with your back to any protruding interior columns or file cabinets that would be pointing towards your back as this can cause back pain.
3. If you have any disturbing views out of your window, mask the bad view with window treatments, partition screens or tall plants.
4. For a windowless office, get yourself some full-spectrum lighting because it will be less tiring than working all day under fluorescent lighting.
5. Put up pictures of landscapes or large mirrors to give the room a feeling of depth or the illusion of more space.
6. Don’t go for extreme colors in your carpet, such as hunter green or maroon, unless you have had a traditional feng shui consultation to find out if your individual office needs that much of a certain color (which vibrates a certain element.)
The main door to your home is referred to as the “mouth” or “ch’i-gate” in feng shui terminology. You pass through this area potentially many times per day and this is one of the main ways that the energies of the outside world enter into your private space.
The main door that you use the most should be:
1. Free of clutter or congestion. It should not be hard to get through this area.
2. There should be plenty of light because dark entry ways can trigger depression and contribute to lethargy. Use artificial light if you cannot bring in enough natural light through a window or skylight.
3. Air currents will move in a straight line unless diverted. If you have a back door or window aligned directly with your entrance door, the house will leak its vital ch’i. The end result is that it is hard for occupants to save their hard earned money. Corrections for this floor plan flaw can vary depending on how much area there is to work with between the entrance and exit points. Pieces of furniture, live plants, water fountains, and partition screens can sometimes be used to help slow down this direct path of ch’i.
4. Likewise, if a main door is aligned directly with a set of stairs, occupants may also have a hard time saving money or their health will be drained.
5. The most challenging entrances are the ones which are congestive because there is a wall too close to the entrance. People who have this kind of entrance will feel halted and stifled in their lives. Covering this wall with a floor to ceiling mirror will help give the illusion that you have more space. This is also a design trick that is used al the time in narrow retail spaces, where one whole wall is mirrored. Health clubs mirror walls, not just so you can see what you look like, but also so they can get away with putting exercise equipment very close to walls without their gym members feeling cramped up in corners.
Although we have outlined some very important basics regarding your bedroom, office, and entrance, the vast body of knowledge which comes from this ancient predictive art can be personalized to your own specific home and work environment. What may be appropriate for one person or business, will not be for another. You can find out more advanced feng shui secrets and solutions when an experienced consultant factors in the age of your home and what compass direction the structure faces. In a way, it is like “astrology for architecture.”