Could proper feng shui in your home or apartment improve everything from your sleep to your bank account? As practitioners of the ancient Chinese art tell it, yes. At its core, feng shui is a practice based on the idea that humans are linked to our environments. So what we choose to bring into our homes and how we decorate can all affect the flow of chi (or energy), which, in turn, can impact our health and our happiness.
Feng shui is a lot more accessible than you might think. All it takes is a few simple steps to “improve your feng,” as master practitioner Jennifer Bonetto of Real Feng Shui SOULutions in Santa Monica, CA, puts it. “A lot of people assume feng shui involves buying a bunch of complicated tchotchkes — bamboo flutes, statues, and other trinkets that are supposed to balance energy,” she explains. “They’ll fill their house with this stuff and say, ‘OK, I’m feng shui-ed!’ But then they don’t get results.”
Whether you’re getting ready to move into that home for sale in Athens, GA, or apartment for rent in Boston, MA, here are some ideas for improving feng shui throughout your space, from the entryway to the bathroom.
1. Maintain a 6-foot clearance. Everything within 6 feet of the front door — inside and outside — needs to be clear and clutter-free to help energy flow. Floor mats are OK, but avoid putting items like shoe racks and other obstructions immediately around the door.
2. Add plants. Potted plants on a balcony, patio, or entryway can help foster vibrant energy in and around the home.
3. Pick your palette thoughtfully. Although red is feng shui’s 2016 color of the year, Bonetto advises against painting walls or doors red (good news if you’re a renter, since you may not be able to paint anyway!). “Depending on the facing direction of the home and what wall you paint red, it can actually be bad luck,” she says. “I would just use accent pieces and accessories like a blanket, pillows, throw rugs, etc.”
4. Add living things. Plants move energy and absorb negative vibes. Pets also are a good thing, because they move energy around in our homes!
5. Consider shape and scale. Contrary to popular belief, feng shui doesn’t exclusively favor furniture with rounded edges. In fact, a variety of shapes are your best bet for achieving a well-balanced room. Bonetto adds that the furniture should be in scale and proportion to the size of the room. “I would avoid oversized furniture in a small place and vice versa: small furniture in a large space,” she says.
6. Shed some light. Light activates energy, while dark corners and areas are thought to signify neglected parts of your life. Make sure you have enough light sources to illuminate the entire space and try a mix of sizes and intensities.
7. Free up counter space. Stow any appliances you don’t use regularly to open up space and inspire more energy and movement. Editing out extraneous items — even that cacophony of magnets on your fridge — is key to achieving a feng shui house.
8. Make it safe. Store knives in a knife block or organized drawer, and if you have the space, arrange pots in cabinets, not dangling on hooks overhead (pro tip: Copper pots and pans attract positive chi). By ridding your space of sharp and heavy objects, it will look and feel lighter, not to mention be safer.
9. Purge a drawer. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by clutter and don’t know where to begin, try starting with a “give to charity” pile. Often, all it takes is this first step to give you the momentum to declutter your entire home.
10. Consider your bed placement. Avoid putting your bed against a wall adjacent to the bathroom or the kitchen; doing so is believed to negatively affect health.
11. Avoid large mirrors. When a mirror reflects the bed or any part of your body, it can cause insomnia. If you’re a renter stuck with wall-to-wall closet-door mirrors, slide the doors open at night, install curtains you can draw before bed, or add contact paper to cover them up.
12. Conceal electronics. If you have a TV in the bedroom, unplug it and throw a towel over it at night. Also, keep laptops and cellphones off the nightstand so they don’t disturb your circadian rhythm; electronic devices are best stowed in another room while you sleep.
13. Close the lid. Feng shui traditionalists believe that an open drain can sap energy (and money) from a space. The toilet is the largest drain in the bathroom, so keep the lid shut.
14. Go off-center. Shopping for a new home? Avoid buying or renting a place with bathrooms that fall dead center in the floor plan. A centrally located bathroom is unlucky and thought to cause money issues, says Bonetto.
15. Try soothing shades. Black and red are activator colors that can ramp up your nervous system. Choose earthy tones in the bathroom to create a calm, rejuvenating atmosphere.
What steps have you taken to achieve feng shui in your home or apartment? Tell us in the comments!