Much has been written about Feng Shui and using it in your home decor to increase positive energy and create peaceful, harmonious spaces. Over the next few weeks I’ll give you the cliff notes version. As with color, proportion and scale, or many other design elements, the topic can be complex. My intent is to offer readable, usable information distilled from several sources to offer you a beginning point. If the topic is of interest to you, there are lots of resources that will provide more in depth information.
Feng Shui Background
The words Feng Shui stem from Feng (force of the wind) and Shui (flow of water) and generally refers to the theory that the energy from natural forces can be managed and enhanced to create beneficial environments both at work and at home. One of the great things about Feng Shui is that the premise can work with and be applied to any culture, any structure. The use of whatever materials or colors that are representative of your culture can be adapted and improved by using some of the simple-to-follow guidelines of Feng Shui.
Disciplines of Feng Shui
There are multiple schools of thought for Feng Shui; some are fairly obscure. What they have in common, however, is the desire to connect with the positive energy of a place. The two most popular methods of Feng Shui are the Form School and the Compass School.
According to Feng Shui in the Home by Siobhan O’Brien, “The Form School, the oldest school of Feng Shui, focuses on the contours of the physical landscape – shape, size and position – and the relationship between these natural formations and buildings.” Much attention is given to the siting of the home and the direction it faces.
“The Compass School concerns itself with the magnetic effect of the earth’s gravitational fields. It relies on complex calculations, using the symbolic associations of the I Ching and the directions of the compass” (represented by the Bagua).
What is Qi (“chi”)
Simply, Qi is energy. It is the life force or energy found in all animate things. Feng Shui seeks to create a home or room where the energy moves smoothly in the space. Where the energy is managed well, one will feel positive, nurtured, and energized. In a home filled with negative Qi, one might feel oppressive or frustrated.
Yin and Yang
The exploration of the attributes of yin and yang is fascinating. Representing opposing forces, the combination of yin and yang creates energy. The goal of Feng Shui is to provide balance to that energy. The tai chi is the well recognized symbol for yin and yang and is symbolic in it’s design. Comprised of equal sized shapes, each is at it’s largest where the other begins (at its smallest). As one grows, the opposing color diminishes. And, within each is a seed of the opposite.
Yang is the “masculine” side of the equation and is manifested in everything overt, bright, and active. The Yin, or “female” side, is considered the secretive, dark, passive state. Taking that into your home, rooms decorated in the vibrant colors of red, bright blue, yellow or orange would be a yang space. The active rooms of your home – the living or family room, the kitchen, etc. are considered yang spaces. Filling them with items like metal sculptures, mirrors, or hardwood floors increases the yang presence.
On the other hand, the more private, quiet, passive spaces in your home like a bedroom or bathroom are the yin spaces. The colors usually used in those spaces are softer like pale blues and greens or soft whites – all yin colors. Soft furnishings, fluffy rugs or pillows, round shapes, are all yin in nature.
Generally speaking you want a home to be dominantly yang. Too much yin (passivity) can become gloomy or oppressive. By the same token, too much yang leads to sleeplessness and chaotic feelings. Enter….feng shui principles to help you balance the energy.
Yin and Yang Reference Chart
This will be an ongoing series about Feng Shui and how to incorporate its principles into your home decorating to enhance the way you feel in your home. I’ll be covering such topics as the five elements and how to use them effectively, objects and disrupt Qi (chi) and how to repair the flow of energy, practical solutions for common decorating issues using Feng Shui and more. So stay with me and learn lots of simple techniques to improve your home. If there’s a particular question or aspect of Feng Shui that you’d like to see covered, be sure and leave a comment so I can address it within the framework of the articles.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a room or a specific aspect of a room and feel like another opinion will help you move forward, Cindy and I offer consultation services. We send you a questionnaire, you send us some answers, photos, and measurements and we provide a detailed recommendation on how to proceed. Read more details on the various options we offer here.