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The Principles of Feng Shui Design

Let’s start with, what is Feng Shui? Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that seeks to find balance and harmony between elements. The practice of looking at our living spaces, working environments and striking a balance with the natural world. This design concept goes beyond western design ideas of comfort and aesthetic. But instead places the emphasis on physical and mental health, success and healthy relationships, which is brought on through positive energy flow.

Deborah von Donop - Feng Shui For Your Living Room: Top 5 Tips For A Peaceful Home

Deborah von Donop - Feng Shui For Your Living Room

The simplest explanation of Feng Shui is about the positioning different elements to optimize the ‘Chi’ or energy. The word Feng = Wind and Shui = water. These two elements are essential and imperative to human existence, but they also move and flow around the world.

Credit - Mark Scott

Credit - Mark Scott 

Although many of the elements of Feng Shui apply to our daily lives, they are more commonly practiced in interior design due to the tools used in Feng Shui analysis can be used the easiest within context of a home.

Feng Shui Bathroom

Feng Shui Elements

 The five elements that make up Feng Shui are Water, Wood, Metal, Earth and fire.

5 Elements of Feng Shui

Credit - own photo

Water – symbolizes wisdom and serenity. This helps with relaxation and clarity. Try incorporating reflective surfaces, mirrors and aquariums to add the water element to your space.

Wood – Symbolizes growth and vitality. By placing wood items in your space encourages personal growth. Plants and wooden furniture are real easy ways to add this element in to your design.

Metal – Symbolizes logic and intelligence. It supports knowledge and mental sharpness. You can add this to your home through metal frames and sculptures. You can get really creative with this one and add your own personal touches.

Earth – Symbolizes stability and balance. It helps to ground and stabilize us. You can incorporate the earth element into your space through landscape imagery, rocks and crystals.

Fire – Symbolizes passion and energy. It represents transformations, volatility and expansion. Try incorporating Candles (look for your favourite sense) and red objects to enhance your space with fire.

The Bagua Map

You will find the most common tool in Feng Shui home design is the Bagua map. The idea of the Bagua map is that it helps analyse the energy in a given space and indicates what elements to bring into the space to enhance the flow. Each of the nine squares on the Bagua map has an element and colour associated with it, this can help inform your décor. The nine squares are made up of love, wealth, family, fame, children, wisdom, health, career and helpful people.

How to use the Western Bagua Map

If you are beginner to Feng Shui, the easiest way to apply the Bagua map is to overlay it on your floorplan. All you need to do is draw your floorplan and place the nine square Bagua map on top of it. Although remember the doorway should face south and align with one of the bottom three squares. It is possible to use it on a large scale for a whole house or even a flat.

Bagua Map Decorating Tips

In order to promote the correct energy flow in each square, it is important that you decorate with the correct objects and avoid objects that inhibit proper energy flow. By placing the correct objects within each field, you enhance the chi. Chi is a life-giving energy that unites both the body and mind. Apply these décor suggestions to amplify the energy in each square.

Wealth = Wood

  • This area should contain items that represent abundance and remind you to grateful for what you have.
  • You could decorate with; live plants, valuable items that are personal to you and artwork of places or people.
  • Try and avoid; bathrooms and toilets, rubbish bins and bills.
Wealth | Wood
1. Credit- HartandLockDesign , 2. Credit - Classic Blue - Rockett St George3.Credit - Arlo Hudson SquareNew York

    Fame = Fire

    • This area should highlight who you are as a person and who you aspire to become.
    • Try decorating with red objects such as candles, tall or vertical items like a mirror or a lamp and you could display any awards or qualifications you have achieved.
    • Try not to use water items, dark colours or heavy objects.
    Fame| Fire
    1. Design by Tyoma Atsone , 2. Manor House by Venn Architects and photography by Derek Swalwell, 3. Bathroom design with colour - Elephant Ava

    Love = Earth

    • This area invites love and sensuality whilst encouraging romantic relationships.
    • To create this, you can decorate with; pairs of objects, candles and photos of you and your partner.
    • Although do try and avoid family photos and sharp or broken objects.
    Love| Earth
    1.Illume Medium Geo Pillar Shaped Candle | Urban Outfitters , 2. Designs
    ​'Reed by Foggy Lake - Desenio, 3. Game meeting chair in pure solid orange colour against dark wood and pale grey room surfaces designed by spaciest

      Family = Wood

      • This area is all about the reflection of happiness, growth and transformation’s that come into our lives.
      • Decorate with; lights, family heirlooms which will a real personal and homely feel to the environment and floral prints.
      • Do avoid single items and metal items.
      Family| Wood
      1. Photography by Hildegard Haave , 2. Credit- Dreamy Wall via Etsy , 3. Credit -  Bamboo Pendant Lighting

        Health = Earth

        • This is the central area, which all other areas are based around. It should be balanced and clean.
        • Consider decorating with yellows and golds, square items and earthenware.
        • Try and avoid clutter, wood items and greens.
        Health| Earth
        1. Credit - Linen decor: an elegant timeless, 2. Credit - First Light Ceramic Tea Bowl designed by the Future Kept , 3. Credit - Erin Gates design

        Children = Metal

        • This area is all about reconnecting with your inner child and to help you build a relationship with your children.
        • You can decorate with earth items, games and toys, circular items.
        • When designing try and avoid items that block walkways, fire items and sharp objects.
        Children| Metal
        1.Credit - Danielle Moss, Children's Play room, 2. an interior project for a home in Macau,Max Lam Designs, 3. Credit, IngredientsLDN

          Wisdom = Earth

          • This particular area encourages the cultivation of knowledge and strategic decision making.
          • To embrace this area try decorating with; meditation items, books and imagery of mountains.
          • When designing avoid distractions from moving objects and alcohol.
          Wisdom| Earth

            Career = Water

            • This area supports the evolution and flow of your career and life journey.
            • You can implement this by decorating with; dark colours, mirrors and crystals
            • Try and avoid piles of paper, bright colours and earth items.
            Career| Water

              Helpful People = Metal

              • This area is all about recognizing and valuing the support of others and learning to let go of those who aren’t there for you.
              • To create this try decorating with monochrome tones, round objects and tools for sorting.
              • Avoid items that cause clutter, storage and items representing compromise.
              Helpful People | metal

                 Join us next week where we will be talking about how to incorporate Feng Shui into your interior design and design tips for each room of the house.