How to Make Home and Garden Feng Shui Friendly

A growing number of homeowners, including celebrities like Oprah,1 go so far as to bring in highly paid feng shui experts as consultants for designing and decorating their homes according to its principles.

Here are some basic beliefs and rules of feng shui, along with suggestions for how to apply them in your own home, with or without hiring a celebrity designer.

What Is It?

Feng shui is, generally speaking, the term for a Chinese philosophy that explains the interaction between people and the spaces they occupy.2 It is believed that positioning spaces and objects, from whole rooms to garden accents, directly affects the flow of energy or chi.

“Chi” or “ch’i” is the Chinese term for a vital life force or energy that is part of all things, and a balanced flow of chi is essential to good health, success, and a happy life. A relatively new influence in Western lifestyle, feng shui has gained acceptance among a significant percentage of Americans as a guide to home interior design.

Feng Shui – Wind and Water

The two words, feng shui, literally mean wind and water. Many Asian homes are designed and built to maintain an “auspicious” flow of energy carried in wind and water, according to basic principles. There are multiple schools of thought that practice differing approaches to feng shui.

Contemporary American use leans toward a simplified version based on the eight directions found in the “bagua”-trigrams pulled from Taoist philosophy. The current Compass School of practice follows these eight directions, but most current feng shui experts blend multiple traditions.3

Living in Harmony

Use feng shui in your own home to increase harmony by creating the best possible flow of energy and, ultimately, a harmonious balance among elements.1

Where you place your home in relation to the points of the compass and the elements of sun, wind, and water, is thought to be a foundation for how and when chi enters your home, and how well your home retains the positive energy.

In turn, where you place furnishings and leave doors and windows open-or closed-will help to direct the energy flow and support your own personal life force.4

Just as chi is a life force or energy connecting all things, look at your home in a holistic way, as a unified space in which you live a harmonious life. Take a walk through your home and imagine the flow of energy, starting with the front door. Does it welcome energy into your home?

Power Colors

In feng shui, fundamental guidelines are found in the five elements, namely wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each of these elements carries a certain strength or influence into your home. The elements are represented by different colors, which can be used in combinations that create greater harmony. It helps to know a bit more about some key colors.

  • Use the colors red and orange to keep fire energy strong, for added joy and excitement, and good luck. Consider a bright red front door to welcome luck and joy into your home, or use red accents in specific rooms, like lamp shades or accent pillows.
  • Blue and black colors represent water, which overcomes fire energy. Use an outdoor water feature in the garden to attract abundance and health.
  • White and gray represent metal, and pure white is thought to support creative activity.
  • Earth is represented by light yellow and brown colors.
  • Green and brown colors represent wood, and are considered healthy and calming. Add multiple shades of green in lamps, accessories, accents, or furniture cushions to maintain a healthy inner peace.
  • A special note-gardens should reflect nature by using curves rather than straight lines in styles of outdoor furniture or shapes of pathways. These flowing shapes encourage energy flow into your home. Explore the landscape school of feng shui for more ideas about garden decor. Consider adding one of the four friendly guardian animals, like a whimsical metal dragon.5

Your furniture choices bring plenty of earth and brown colors into the home. Make the most of their power by learning more about feng shui guides for placement in certain rooms, depending on directional position and other principles.