feng shui

ˈfəNG ˈSHwē,-SHwā/


1. (in Chinese thought) a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

When you look around your living space, does it fill you with a sense of calm? Or does staring too long give you anxiety?

If the latter is true (as it is for the author of this article), you might get offended by the old phrase “cluttered house, cluttered mind.” But according to the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, there’s some truth to that trope.

The originators of feng shui believed our homes to be a reflection of what’s going on inside us and a key to happiness is getting our physical space and mental states in harmony.

Of course, this is one of those things that’s easier said than done.

In fact, even feng shui practitioners believe some rooms, due to construction details like window placement or building materials, are imbued with bad vibes from the start. But you can improve any room, and how you feel when you’re there, by incorporating some basic feng shui tips.

1. Clear the clutter. You know that stack of old mail doesn’t feel good to look at it. Neither does the shelf with too many old, dusty knickknacks. You can fill your home with more positive energy by controlling what’s in it – or at least what your eye hits first. Get rid of anything you don’t need or don’t love. (Sorry, ugly decorative plate that your aunt gave you 10 years ago.)

2. Create good flow. Energy will flow more freely around your house if you let it. Help conversations flow with comfortable seating areas – chairs that face one another, and no seats placed too far apart. Use a variety of shapes in your space, but choose round tables so no one ends up on a harsh corner or pushed against a wall.

3. Bring in natural elements. Water, air and plants are all important in feng shui. Open your windows whenever you can to keep fresh air circulating. Houseplants help purify that air and bring a vibrant life into your space. A fountain could invite prosperity, along with providing a calming effect.