Back in the early 2000s, I began to realize that my purpose was to help others decorate and design their spaces to help them feel good. I call this design concept, feel good spaces. I chronicled this philosophy in my first book, Feel Good Spaces (2012). During this time, it was suggested that I study the ancient Chinese art of placement, Feng Shui. Feng Shui literally means “wind” and “water” and it is over 6,000 years old. I soon discovered that there are several schools of Feng Shui and I set out to study all of them. To this day, I combine techniques from several schools of Feng Shui to energize my own space as well as my clients, with amazing results. Feng Shui is about balancing the energy, or chi, of a living space to increase well-being in all aspects, such as health, wealth, relationships, and career. The goal of Feng Shui is to create constant interaction between your personal energy and your interior environment. Each continually affects and shapes the other. By arranging objects a certain way in your home, you can create a path that will bring positive energy flow into your life and space. To achieve balance in any space, incorporate each of the five elements of Feng Shui: Earth, Fire, Metal, Water and Wood. These can be represented through textures, shapes, and colors. Each of the five elements should be represented in a balance in order to bring harmony into your life and space. These five elements are all connected within a cycle, where each one is related to the other. The first element is Fire which signifies warmth and things that bring you happiness. It also invokes passion and humor. To use this element successfully in your space, choose objects that are symbols of warmth, such as candles. When choosing shapes to represent fire also look for items that are triangular in shape. Colors should be in soft red hues. The second Element is wood which symbolizes enthusiasm, growth, and creativity. Add this element to your home by the use of living plants. You can also choose items for your décor that reflect the natural color green. Select pictures or artwork featuring nature for your walls. Earth is the third element, which represents wisdom, grounding, and patience. You want to incorporate earth tones adding ceramic pottery, accessories, or wall colors. The fourth element of Feng Shui is Metal. Metal represents independence and communication. Place items such as wall art or candleholders made of metal to accessorize your living space. Water is the final element and it symbolizes who you are inside. Using water Chi creates energy for the social you. It can bring soothing results, such as peace and calmness. Objects used to represent water include fish tanks, mirrors and photos of water. Using the five elements can help you create positive energy in your life and in your home. Done correctly, you can experience an energy that flows and produces the good happenings that you want to create your feel good space. While typically women are drivers of décor decisions- always ALWAYS involve your partner in making the decisions. While he may say oh go ahead and decorate, believe me he has an opinion too and it should be honored. Keep asking questions about likes and dislikes between the two of you. Here is a case study of a Feng Shui Design I did for a couple: Feng shui is about creating positive energy, the right chi, within a space. “It was my idea,” the wife, who didn’t want to be named, said. “I had done some research but wanted someone to help us with the layout and flow of the house.” I began by guiding the couple through an intention ceremony. This process meant entering each room and stating the intention and purpose for the space. They burned sage and chanted — the wife said her husband, a Navy officer, was skeptical at first. “My husband has been a good sport,” she said. “The ceremony got us all on the same page.” The primary intent was to create a home that feels inviting to friends and serves as an oasis to the couple. I removed walls on the main floor to open the space and then quadrupled the number of windows, inviting in more sunlight. The color scheme was based on personal feng shui readings performed by me. The husband, a Yin Wood type, needed more water, which was represented by blue to enhance his energy. Wood is stimulated by water. The wife possessed a large fire element and benefited from the water cooling her down. “If left up to me, all the walls would have been red or orange,” the wife acknowledged. “These colors really bring a sense of calm and balance.” Each of the chosen colors was painted on a wall in the home. They are repeated in tiny rectangular tiles arranged in a geometric pattern and mounted around the fireplace. The result was a reflective, shimmering work of art. Usually feng shui requires window coverings. But part of feng shui is about bringing elements of nature into the house, and the windows certainly do that. Circles, which represent unity, infinity and completion in feng shui, appear in various forms throughout the home. The light fixture above the dining table is an assortment of rings grouped in a mirror bowl chandelier with brass detailing. Wooden accent tables and lamp shades replicate the circular pattern. All the furniture has rounded edges, alleviating any “poison arrows” that interfere with positive chi. A transitional sofa in taupe chenille-like fabric with a micro-maze pattern is flanked by two sets of chairs. On one side are comfy accent chairs in micro-suede, complemented by dainty round satin teal pillows. On the other are two chairs with Indonesian-inspired carved mahogany frames. The entire project, which included designing a nursery and master bedroom, took only six weeks to finish. I contribute part of the speedy completion to hiring a contractor who also studied feng shui and the fact that the couple who had a firm understanding and intention to design the space as they wanted. “My biggest concern with feng shui was whether we could find the types of things, such as furniture, we liked in a style that fit,” the wife said. “I love the flow of the house and [my husband’s] very happy with the outcome. We want people to come into the house and feel relaxed. We want the focus to be on the person and not the furniture. If you want to learn to integrate Feng shui into your home, learn about it, specifically the main concepts. In doing so, you will find yourself naturally acquiring a sense of stability and well-being both inside yourself and throughout your living space.
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