Dec 18 2008 By Anne Hatton
Feng Shui (pronounced "fung schway") has its roots in China from over 4,000 years ago, with its basic premise of an electromagnetic energy found in all nature, including humans. This energy is also known as "chi."
The words Feng Shui mean "wind and water" which symbolise air circulation and the fundamental element of water, essential to life. Together, these two things represent the flow of energy or life force that is part of everything around us and links all things within the universe. The crucial principle of Feng Shui is that to achieve perfect harmony, the currents of energy around us should flow freely and easily, with a balance of Yin and Yang in our lives.
The underlying theory when considering interior design is that we are influenced by everything that surrounds us; if we use strategies from this Chinese philosophy, we will create an environment in harmony with the flow of chi in our homes and work places.
By harnessing the principles of Feng Shui in our homes, we can use these forces of nature to work for us and enhance the chi energy. Here are some basic ideas on how to utilise these ideas when it comes to our own homes.
VISUALISE A PLACE
One of the first things is to think about why you feel different depending on where you are? Why a particular room will make you feel calm or energised? Or even emotionally drained (think about a shopping mall where there is no natural light or a hospital with florescent lighting.)
Now try and visualise a place you've visited that feels good to you. When remembering this meaningful, pleasant room and comparing it to your home, try to identify the characteristics of the space, taking into account the following nine guidelines.
No. 1 - CLEAR THE CLUTTER
Just as blockages in arteries and veins, clutter is thought to raise stress levels and raise blood pressure. By eliminating clutter from countertops, drawers and cupboards, you will enhance the flow of chi in any space. DonÕt be overwhelmed and attempt the whole house at once; instead, do one room at a time (and enlist the help of family or friends!)
No. 2 - CHECK ENTRANCES AND DOORWAYS
The entrances to your home and rooms are not just ways of entry into the space Ð they are also the entryways of chi. Make sure that doors close properly, that doorknobs arenÕt loose and check the hinges of doors, particularly the squeaky ones. This will also help the flow of energy throughout the home.
No. 3 - CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS
Windows represent a perspective on the world outside. Dirty or improperly fitted windows can indicate depression, stagnation and frustration. By cleaning your windows inside and out, you will immediately brighten up your interiors and enhance the positive energy in the room.
No. 4 - FIX ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
Just as the nervous system functions in our bodies, the electrical wiring in our homes is crucial to a regular flow of energy in and out of every room. Just as any blockage to our nervous system hinders optimum activity, electrical problems can indicate depression and anxiety disorders. Ensure that all fixtures, plugs, wiring and lights are working properly.
No. 5 - CREATE GOOD LIGHTING
Dark spots in a room indicate negative or blocked energy, whereas good lighting cultivates positive energy. Replace burnt out bulbs immediately and ensure that all doorways, entrances and workplaces have brightly illuminated lamps.
No. 6 - ELIMINATE ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS
EMF'S (electromagnetic fields) are generated by electrical equipment, from mobiles to computers. Unfortunately, they have a negative impact upon our lives. EMF leaks can potentially weaken our immune system and increase the likelihood of illnesses. Try to eliminate EMFÕs particularly at night, such as sleeping in a metal bed or in a bed placed near phones, wires and clock radios. Avoid having a computer or TV in your bedroom and try to ensure they are as far away from your head as possible.
No. 7 - EXAMINE YOUR PLUMBING
Plumbing leaks are no less than a drain of chi from your home. Moving water symbolises prosperity in Feng Shui, thus the plumbing in your home represents the flow of prosperity and love in your life. Eliminate all leaks or problems with the flow of water to and from your home.
No. 8 - POSITION YOUR FURNITURE
The position of furniture is key the desk, bed and couch should face the main door of the room. In the bedroom, it's important to pair furniture, such as bedside tables, pairs of lamps, etc. This creates balance in relationships or partnerships, as well as harmony within oneself.
No. 9 - ADD COLOUR
This is one of the most important items to consider within our homes. By considering the bagua (a map describing colours and the places associated with them) you can tap into the Feng Shui energy centres associated with the various areas of life. Each area on the map corresponds to a colour and its related aspects in life. Place the map on the floor of each room with the black (or "career") area on the side of the front door to the house or the door to the room. If you have an area within your life that you wish to work on or enhance, incorporate the corresponding colour into the room (either by painting the walls or incorporating accessories in this colour.)
LEARN MORE ABOUT FENG SHUI
This is a whistlestop overview of this ancient philosophy; there are many, many more guiding principles when considering Feng Shui, taking into account the Five Elements and the Eight Directions. For further reading, some excellent resources are Feng Shui for Today's Living, by Mary Lambert or Feng Shui Your Life, by Jayme Barrett.
Anne Hatton teaches interior design through Bucks Adult Learning, as well as running her own interior design practice, Embellishments Ltd. She is an Associate member of the BIDA. Please visit her website at www.embellishmentsltd.com; alternatively she can be contacted on 01753-882425 or 07776-171-328.