Tag Archives: yin and yang

Feng Shui Tips for Decorating Large or Small Rooms.

Whether you’re decorating a large or small space, to create coziness and appeal the primary design principle to focus on is balance.  A room must exude the right energy to feel balanced.   By its nature, a large room exudes “yang” or expansive energy.  A small space room transmits “yin” or constrictive energy.  It follows that yang energy needs to be balanced with yin energy and yin energy with yang.  The correct furniture, colors, and accessories are the key to creating balance.  If you don’t feel comfort and relaxation in a space it’s because the yin/yang energy is out of balance.  When good Feng Shui is coupled with good design, an environment is naturally cozy, relaxing, and beautiful. 

Small Spaces.  If you’ve got a room that feels cramped or constrictive:

  1. Use the same wall color throughout the space.  A light color is best because it creates an open feeling.  Yellow, warm beige, or white works well.  Yellow is also the best color for illuminating dark areas.  
  2. Paint the ceilings white or the same color as the walls.
  3. Use European furniture which is smaller in proportion than “regular funiture-store” furniture.   (Look at IKEA’s selection for an example).
  4. Add mirrors to create the illusion of space.  A mirror reflects light from outside if placed opposite a window.  A whole wall of mirrors can open up the space in a dramatic way.  
  5. Don’t block natural light.  
  6. Hang drapes a few inches higher than the top of your windows to create a feeling of height.
  7. Avoid clutter, use decorative containers to stay organized and don’t display a lot of chotchkies (aka knickknacks).  A few well-placed items evidencing your style and flair are plenty.
  8. Choose pieces of art that relate to each other.  Use similar frames for each piece (or no frames).  The over-all feeling should be cohesive and light. Art containing fire colors (red, orange, purple-pink) or wavy lines transmits an energetic quality which counteracts feeling constricted in the space.  Landscape scenes and photographs open the space up.
  9. Use monotone, natural fiber, or non-fussy area rugs to add a finished quality to the room and to create separate areas.

Large Spaces.  If you’ve got a room that feels empty or like a mausoleum:

  1. Break the room up into several areas to fill up the space and create visual interest.  When you’re in a large empty space you’ll feel exposed making relaxation difficult.  Create several areas within the room that serve different functions.   For example in a living room the first area can be a conversation area with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and two or three small side tables with table lamps.  The second area can be a reading corner next to a window with an overstuffed chair, an ottoman, a table and good reading lamp.  And a third vignette can be a game area using a round table with chairs on either side and a  floor lamp nearby. 
  2. Use thick, earth and fire color (brown, yellow, beige, red, orange) rugs in each area in the room to further delineate each area.
  3. Use furniture proportionate with to size of the room. Generally, wood is best.  
  4. Hang artwork at eye level or a few inches above, especially if ceilings are high (above about 12 feet).  The art will pull your eye towards it and minimize the length of the wall.
  5. Paint the ceilings the same color as the walls or in a slightly darker shade. 
  6. Hang drapes even with the windows.
  7. If you have built-in bookshelves, arrange them to create visual interest.  Don’t simply line books up in a row.  Add framed photos, ceramics, and accessories.  You’ll create energy and soul.

Have fun and remember that if something intutively feels wrong, it can be corrected by applying principals of balance.  If you don’t know exactly how to remedy the problem experiment and see how changing things affects the way you feel.

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Feng Shui 101- Ten Easy Tips

1.  An altar or meditation area is best placed in the Northeast area of a room as this is the location that corresponds to inner knowledge, reflection, and stillness.

 2.  Don’t use a lot of the colors red and gold in the bedroom.  These are yang colors and they create activity and energy.  A little is fine but too much is bad for relaxation.

 3.  Don’t place the head of your bed on wall shared with a toilet.  You’ll inevitably absorb harmful energy you while you sleep.

 4.  Cleanse the  energy in a room or in your entire home to keep the environment healthy.  Cleanse at least a couple of times a year. You can cleanse in several different ways – with wind, with bells or chimes, with fire as in smudging with incense, and misting with salt water.

 5.  If you have a bathroom adjoining your bedroom, close the door while you sleep.  Actually, it’s best to have any doors leading into your bedroom closed so that you aren’t disturbed by energy flowing at you while you sleep.

6.  If you place your bed against a window, ensure that you have a solid headboard or heavy drapes to block off the window.  Your head needs protection while you sleep.

 7.  The first rule of Feng Shui is to allow chi (energy) to circulate.  Clear clutter and clean often to allow the movement of chi in your home and in your life.

8.  Keep in mind the principles of yin and yang when decorating.  Balance light and dark colors, soft and hard surfaces, and smooth and rough textures in your choice of wall color, furniture, flooring and window treatments.

9.  Use curving paths in your garden and yard to encourage chi to flow in a naturally organic way.

10.  Keep something uplifting on your dining table.  Fresh flowers, a colorful table runner, interesting salt and pepper shakers (kept full), and/or a nice piece of pottery will uplift your spirits when you eat at the table, causing good chi.

Simple Feng Shui

The term “Feng Shui” may sound exotic or difficult to understand. It’s really a very practical study, but many think people dismiss it as another new-age gimmick or “wu-wu”  because of the way its been marketed here in the U.S. 

Originally from Asia, Feng Shui is simply the study of energy flow and balance.  Whether you realize it or not, you’re constantly experiencing the effects of energy.  Just like gravity, you can’t see it but you can feel it.  Every “thing” – i.e. trees, flowers, furniture, colors, and shapes emanates its own unique energy.  The arrangement of these forms in your environment creates energy that translates into positive or negative feelings in your body.  Balancing energy in your environment allows you to feel comfortable and relaxed. Unbalanced energy creates imbalances in your life and discomfort in your body.  That’s the essence of Feng Shui.

 To experience the effects of Feng Shui for yourself, you can try any of these…

  • Look at either side of your desk, whichever is the most cluttered. Now, move the stuff away.  Feel different?  If there is too much clutter in a space, you can feel constricted because energy flow is constricted.
  • Move your chair to the center of the room and sit down.  Now, move it against the wall and do the same.  Do you feel differently sitting with your back against the wall?  If you sit in the center of a room you will likely feel vulnerable and exposed.  A wall behind you allows you to relax and allows energy to flow towards you.
  • Remove a piece of artwork from a wall, or conversely, hang one.  Can you feel the difference?  The colors and design in the art create energy.  When you remove the art, you remove energy.

The study of Feng Shui explains how and why the placement of objects creates balance, energy, and flow.  The universal principles of Yin and Yang and the five elemental energies classified as wood, water, metal, earth, and fire which are derived from Yin and Yang are the essence of Feng Shui.   Feng Shui provides us with a blueprint for quantifying energy and an explanation of why certain spaces affect us they way they do.  Feng Shui principles can explain why a friend’s house doesn’t feel comfortable or why you may need to select a certain table in a restaurant.

All the other Feng Shui enhancements you may have heard about like fountains, wind chimes, and lucky statues are simply icing on the cake.  They are fun and easy to implement.  The real study of Feng Shui however is concerned with landforms, structural forms, energy flow, and balance.   Feng Shui provides an explanation of  how the intangible to becomes tangible.  Energy is constantly flowing around us and it is the harnessing of this energy using Feng Shui principles that is the power of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui 101- Does the Home You’re Buying Have Good Feng Shui?

Take note of the following features when selecting a home.  Of course, no home is perfect, so don’t worry if not all of these conditions are met. 

Interior Features

Interior features like rounded corners on walls, organic shapes, an open floor plan, and lots of natural light contribute to good Feng Shui.  In Feng Shui, energy (qi) flow is vital.  If you’ve ever gone into an attic with no ventilation odds are you didn’t feel like staying long because of the stale air.  It’s important to your well-being to have healthy, flowing energy in your home.  An open floor plan allows for circulation of qi.  Rounded corners allows qi to flow easier than sharp angles.  And abundant natural light alleviates qi from stagnating.  Too much or too little natural light in the home causes discomfort because instinctively people feel that the home is not balanced.

Location

Neighborhoods with well-maintained homes, meandering street traffic, and varied topography are desirable because they indicate good energy in the area.   Look for a home that’s situated on the lot in the form of an armchair. It’s best to have the front yard open and without obstructions so you can receive qi; and a hill, fence or trees in back of the house to gather qi;  and support on the left and right side of the house – usually in the form of neighboring homes.

Street Traffic

Streets that are straight carrying fast traffic are not good for residential areas.  In short, people don’t like to live on highways.  Feng Shui principles explain why.  Too much noise and rushing qi outside create an imbalance inside and negate relaxation.  Winding streets are best because qi moves slowly and accumulates in front of the home, then gently flows into the home.   When the street traffic is too fast qi rushes by and can’t enter your home and the chaotic qi from the street beats against the home.

Proportion

Proportion is also important in Feng Shui. A hill behind your home is a desirable feature, but if it’s only six feet from the back door it’s not. Instead of gathering qi, the hill can make you feel claustrophobic and can constrict your opportunities in life. A home should also be well-situated on a symmetrical lot.  When a home is too close to the street or when it is situated on an unevenly shaped lot the balance of qi will be uneven and can affect relaxation as well as prosperity.

Floor Plan

Fundamentally, the goal of Feng Shui is balancing yin and yang energies. Yang corresponds to movement and light.  Yin corresponds to the opposite – quietness and dark.  Correctly balancing yin and yang creates comfort.  Quiet rooms, like bedrooms, should be located in the quieter, yin areas of a home.  Most of the time, the quieter area is the back of the house.   Active areas like the kitchen and family room should be together.  Does it feel odd to you when a bedroom is located next to the kitchen?  Or when a bedroom is adjacent to a garage?  This is because of the nature of the rooms – the kitchen and garage are active areas and the bedroom is quiet area.  When the floor plan seems awkward or impractical it’s because rooms aren’t arranged according to their function.

Avoid these Features

Features in opposition to Feng Shui principles include stairways facing the front door, low ceilings, irregularly shaped rooms, rooms over garages, and spiral staircases.  These features tend to cause negative circulation of qi.  Of course, remember that no home is perfect and all homes have some negative Feng Shui aspects.  Trust the feeling you get when you’re inside  the home.  If you feel at ease and comfortable, you’re most likely experiencing good Feng Shui.

Feng Shui 101- The Five Elements

Orange Chair

Can you spot the Five Elements in this photo? Scroll down for answers.

Feng Shui is based upon the principles of Yin and Yang.  Yin and Yang are the parents of “the five elements”.  The five elements — fire, earth, metal, water, and wood are used in Feng Shui to create balance and harmony.   The elements describe different types of energy (qi) and can be thought of as “five phases” because energy is constantly moving and transforming.  Everything in the world is created from a combination of the five phases.  They are the building blocks which create the quality of energy present in a certain space. 

Why is this important?  Because when energy is balanced, you’ll feel relaxed and comfortable in a space producing a higher level of satisfaction with life.

The Five Elements and their Characteristics

Element Quality Color Shape
Water Flows, falls Black, Blue Wavy
Earth Compacts Yellow, Brown Square, Cubic
Wood Grows upward Green, Turqouise Rectangular
Metal Contracts White, Gold, Silver Round, Spherical
Fire Radiates Red, Orange, Purple Triangular

The goal of Feng Shui is to balance the elements in an environment so that they don’t conflict with each other.  Using color, shape, furniture arrangement and space planning, a Feng Shui practitioner arranges the elements a harmonious way and makes the unseen, seen.  The qualities of each element is manifested in its color, material, and shape.  However, you’ll rarely find an element that’s just a single element – most things consist of a combination of elements.  For example, when we use the term wood qi, it means that it has a preponderance of wood qi, not that it is only wood qi.  

How to Balance the Elements

The correct use of elements will create the productive cycle.  The productive cycle means the elements are not overpowering one another.  The space will feel comfortable and look appealing.   The productive cycle works like this: 

five elementsWater nurtures -> Wood nurtures -> Fire nurtures -> Earth nurtures -> Metal nurtures -> Water. 

In contrast, using too much or too little of an element causes conflict between the different energies which causes unbalanced qi.   This is known as the destructive cycle.  The destructive cycle works like this:  

Water weakens -> Fire weakens –> Metal weakens -> Wood weakens –> Earth weakens –> Water.  

destructive cycle

Applying the Principles to a Room

At the most basic level, if you have a room with a pitched ceiling, painted red, with white furniture and white drapes containing circular-shaped pattern, the room will have a lot of fire and metal qi.  Why?  Because red is a fire color, and the pitched ceiling is a fire element (triangular), white is metal color and circles are metal shapes.  Fire is destructive to metal.  The elements are following the destructive cycle. This is undesirable and the unseen conflict between fire and metal can cause you discomfort in the room. 

How to move into the Productive Cycle?

Add rounded-leaf plants in square-shaped pots to add earth, wood, and water energy.   Earth energy is found in the dirt and the square-shaped pot.  Wood energy manifests from the color green and from the very nature of the plant.   Water energy is found in the curved shape of the leaves.   Adding the missing elements buffers the conflict between metal and fire and creates the productive cycle.

Going Deeper

A Feng Shui practitioner would go deeper and do more a thorough analysis before making recommendations by asking these questions:

  • First, what type of inherent energy is found in the room?  This is based on the compass reading of the room and charting of the natal chart or flying-star chart.  (“Star” meaning energy) 
  • Second, what is the room used for?  Recommendations for a bedroom will be different than for the dining room.  You need to determine the quality of energy needed  in the room based on its usage.  For example, earth energy in a bedroom is desirable because it is grounding and can help you relax.  In an office, too much earth can make you lethargic and not wanting to work.
  • Third, what is the birth-year energy (or ming-gua) of the people who will be using the room?  If you are a water element the best elements for your bedroom are water energy and metal energy (metal creates water).   Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to add these elements if they are already inherently in the room.

The goal of Feng Shui is to create balance and harmony through correct energy balancing. When a room is balanced energetically odds are you’ll feel it as you walk in.  If you get the feeling of peace and feel like relaxing your shoulders look around and see if you can spot how the five elements are used in the room.  Intuitively, we all can feel when a space is balanced.

 

Orange Chair

Can you spot the Five Elements in this photo?

Water – the curved arms of the chair; the color of the floor (black).

Wood – the inherent material used in constructing the chair; the shape of the chair legs.

Fire – the color of the upholstery (orange).

Earth – the square-shape of the squares on the wall; the shape of the bottom chair cushion.

Metal – the color the chair was painted (white); the circular back of the chair; the color of the wall (grey).

 

Feng Shui 101 – Why is it best to have your bedroom in back of your home?

Feng Shui involves more than most people realize.  Traditional Feng Shui examines different aspects of your home and one of the most important details is your floor plan.

So why is it best to have your bedroom at the back of your home?  It’s because it follows the most basic of Feng Shui Principles – the principal of Yin and Yang. (See Yin/Yang Page for more info).  Yin and yang are the two opposing universal forces which balance each other.  This is an important aspect of Feng Shui and here’s why.

Ying corresponds to stillness and tranquil energy.  Yang corresponds to activity and moving energy.  In your home, rooms that should be more yin are the rooms you want to relax in -bedrooms, reading, and mediation areas.  Usually, the back of the house is quieter because it is shielded from the street activity and it will naturally be more yin.   Wherever the quietest, least active areas are in your home will have yin energy.

What if your bedroom faces the street?  That’s okay.  In Feng Shui, there are lots of ways to make a space work better.  When you can’t change the floorplan, do what you can do — decorate to create more yin energy.  That includes:

  • Installing light-blocking cellular shades
  • Hanging heavy-weight curtains (velvet is a good choice)
  • Using subdued patterns on bedding and in artwork
  • Adding an area rug to ground the energy
  • Keeping fire colors to a minimum.  Fire colors are red, orange, pink and purple.
  • Adding “white noise” to quiet the space

When you walk into your bedroom or meditation area, you want to be able to drop the stress in your shoulders and feel relaxed.  The more yin energy the room exudes, the easier you’ll be able to do so.