The New Year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start for you and your space. Everything in your home—the thoughtfully selected patterned rug, those cool pendant lamps—is a reflection of yourself, so it’s no wonder that a calm home reflects, and reinforces a calm self. And who couldn’t use a bit more calm in the New Year? To that end, we put together a beginner’s guide to feng shui (pronounced fung shway) to help you head into 2016 with maximum harmony—and style—in the home.
An entranceway with proper feng shui will always feel welcoming: The front door will be clean, free of obstacles like packages or pairs of shoes, and open easily. The first thing you see when you open the door sets the tone for the entire home. Place a beautiful piece of art, furniture, or any other object that feels pleasing to you at this all-important focal point, and you’ll want to stick around.
The cardinal rule of feng shui is no clutter. Energy, or chi, must be able to flow freely throughout your space. Clutter disrupts the flow creating negative energy. Decluttering, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. Start by prioritizing the areas that bother you the most and devote a set time—as little as 10 to 15 minutes each day—to tossing out what you do not love or need.
Plants purify the air by absorbing toxins and electrical pollutants admitted by appliances. Smaller plants can feel like clutter, so bigger is better and fortunately, some of the best options are also the lowest maintenance. The areca palm is pet-friendly, grows up to 7 feet tall, is famous for its air-purifying benefits—even receiving the NASA stamp of approval—and is also one of the easiest palm trees to grow indoors. Perfect for those who have been known to kill every plant to ever cross their doorstep.
A feng shui concept known as the Command Position suggests placing your bed where you will have a clear vision of the entryway. The headboard should be against a wall, and the foot of the bed should never be in line with the door. (The sweet spot is often diagonally across from the door or the furthest point away.) This strategic placement lends a sense of security as you avoid being startled when others enter the room.
Drawers that stick drains that clog, and even clothes with holes are just a few examples of impediments to vitality in the home. They reflect a sense of “brokenness.” Try putting a red dot on everything that needs fixing as a way to represent the way you want your space to be. As objects are repaired, and you peel the stickers off, it becomes symbolic of a positive change in energy.
Hanging your art in a straight line creates what in feng shui is referred to as a “poison arrow.” These are sharp edges that shoot out aggressively and make the space feel uncomfortable. Opt for a gallery wall to soften the effect and create a natural flow of energy in a more visually appealing way.
Fountains are a popular feng shui cure because water is associated with wealth, and therefore a flowing fountain helps with the cash flow. Fountains are also natural ionizers, meaning they diffuse negative ions in the air when used indoors. Place your fountain facing the front door to signify wealth flowing in but avoid the bedroom where it will represent worry and sorrow.
The feng shui philosophy is flush with perils relating to the toilet. Literally. Each time you flush, water, and therefore energy, escapes. Keep drains covered and lids shut to minimize the loss of both energy and prosperity. In other words, don’t flush your money down the toilet.