Balance in one’s life is important – a balanced diet, work/life balance, the bank balance! It’s also pretty important in your home, a space which should be comfortable, functional and harmonious. The one place you can be yourself.
This is where the traditional Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui can help. Feng Shui is all about harmony and balance, in particular harnessing the qualities of wind and water to create chi, a balanced energy flow, in our environment. It can teach us how to create healthy, harmonious environments and is being integrated into many design and building projects across the world.
We are by no means experts in this field draped with historic depth and significance, but there are many basic Feng Shui principles that can be applied to everyday architecture. New builds allow Feng Shui to be integrated into the design while remodelling allows the creative placement of objects, colours or reflective materials using the basic principles.
We are becoming more and more in tune to the basic principles after working closely with Feng Shui consultants on a number of projects. I, personally, find the philosophy fascinating and have great respect for the principles and the balance they can bring. This blog, merely scratches the surface of how 'good' Feng Shui can be achieved from an architectural perspective.
The key when it comes to designing a home with good Feng Shui is the entrance. There should only be one front door that is clean, unencumbered and well maintained, ideally facing the street to invite energy flow into house. A curved path leading to the door discourages an “arrow” of negative energy while an inwards opening door is inviting, allowing positive chi to enter. However, consideration to internal wall and window placement must be given to ensure energy flow isn’t blocked or lost. For example, internal walls opposite the front door can block chi while large windows or doors will see positive energy leave almost immediately. There are many rules that need to be considered from a Feng Shui perspective but these can be easily incorporated in the design process of a new build while a number of decorative techniques can be used to deflect negative energy and improve overall Feng Shui.
A home with good Feng Shui must flow, allowing unrestricted movement of energy throughout the house. High ceilings and open plan designs are ideal. Good kitchen design is particularly important as this room is the hub or heart of the home and is essential to good health and well-being. Natural ventilation and an abundance of natural daylight is vitally important to promoting positive chi so large windows are key to design. Workspaces should be distinct from living and rest areas to encourage the right energy flow. Bedrooms need to provide a peaceful energy so should be located in a quiet part of the house to enable occupants to recharge. However, there are rules associated with door and window placement as well as orientation of the bed, so care with the design must be taken. The Bagua Chart is a key tool for floor plan design so that the right Feng Shui can be achieved.
The design system of Feng Shui says your surroundings have a powerful effect on your life and if the energy around you is blocked, your environment can negatively impact your prosperity, health and relationships. And clutter is one of the biggest culprits! Clutter represents postponed decisions and the inability to move forward. De-cluttering is a relatively simple way to improve the chi in your home and there are many straightforward methods that can be utilised to achieve this. However, this is an area where we can help from an architectural design perspective. For example, suitable storage can be incorporated into new designs to help avoid clutter occurring in the first instance while bespoke storage systems using Feng Shui principles can be incorporated into existing spaces. Considering the values of Feng Shui during the design phase, regardless of whether it is a new build or renovation, can help ensure positive chi in the home is achieved.
It’s no secret that colour impacts wellbeing. Think about it – a bright, blue sky on a sunny day can make you feel alive while a dull, grey day really does seem to get you down. In Feng Shui, colour is considered extremely powerful and can alter the energy that flows in and around your home. It is vital to use the correct colours in the right areas to ensure you build positive energy, clarity and happiness. For example, orange represents fire and is active, stimulating and social, great for kitchens, living areas, dining rooms and other entertaining spaces. Orange is linked to fame or reputation and can impact prosperity, relationships or love. Blue on the other hand, is calming, healing, soothing and relaxing, best used in the bathroom. It is linked to knowledge and skills and can impact prosperity in your career or life journey. Every colour is linked with energies that can be harnessed positively to improve your life.
Feng Shui colours do get a little more complex though. Since ancient times, with the change of every lunar year, the Chinese Zodiac animal changes (2018 is the Year of the Dog) along with the energies associated with colours. According to one Feng Shui Master, 2018 is the year of consolidation and for each Chinese Zodiac sign, colour charts have been developed to boost luck and energy levels particularly in the areas of love & relationships, wealth & career enhancement, nobleman & helper achievement, and academic achievement. Basically, if you are Feng Shui inspired, be prepared to get the paint brushes out and update your colour schemes every year. Check out just one Feng Shui 2018 colour chart here.
Feng Shui can also be effectively used in gardens and outdoor spaces. Not surprisingly, each direction is associated with different energies and impacts on well being. The use and placement of water features, plant species, colour, raked stones or sand, rocks, trees and garden furniture should be considered and strategic based on how you want to enhance your life. The link between the house and natural environment is vitally important and should be comfortable and harmonious. Involving your architect in the landscape design process can help ensure good Feng Shui is achieved.
The art of Feng Shui is complex and involved but there are many ways to draw on the principles to create a home with a positive energy and feel. As I said, we are certainly not experts in this field but we love to create spaces that flow, are comfortable, functional and harmonious with the environment. And homes that work in harmony with you.