Feng Shui Interior Design Guidelines


Our response to the interior design of the room may influence our mood, thinking, energy levels and more. The aim of feng shui is to create a home where each room has the ideal characteristics to succeed in whatever we want to do there, through interior design and positioning the furniture. So follow this Feng Shui interior design guidelines and attract positive energy to your life.

To many people, Feng Shui is something mystical. If something cannot be explained in scientific terms, Feng Shui comes to rescue. To a certain degree, it is synonymous to superstition. Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi. Translated, feng means wind; shui means water. Wind and water are considered opposites, but, in Chinese culture, both are important for good health. Wind and water are both large parts of the natural world, which is critical because the earth is considered to be alive and filled with qi. In traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch'i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates as "air" and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow".

The idea is that we all respond to our environments. We will often feel different in different friends' homes, cafes, shops and places we visit. Research suggests that feng shui for homes influences us as we respond strongly to natural light, views, colours, plants, images, materials such as flooring. Our response to the atmosphere of each room may influence our mood, thinking, energy levels and more. The aim of feng shui is to create a home where each room has the ideal characteristics to succeed in whatever we want to do there. Simply put, feng shui is, in Chinese thought, a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. Breaking that down, we learn that feng shui offers precise and specific recommendations to maximize one’s space, both in look and feel, and to enhance positive energy.

Feng Shui is also known as Chinese geomancy, a pseudoscience originating from China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. Geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomized process that involves recursion, followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations. When it was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages, the figures acquired astrological meanings and new forms of interpretation. The figures bear resemblance to the bagua.

Bagua is the feng shui energy map of your space that shows which areas of your home or office are connected to specific areas of your life. The Bagua or Pa Kua are eight symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Translated from Chinese, bagua literally means "8 areas." These areas correspond to the most important areas of one's life, the areas that matter the most for one's health and happiness: Health & Family, Wealth & Abundance, Fame & Reputation, Love & Marriage, Creativity & Children, Helpful People & Blessings, Career & Path in Life, Spiritual Growth & Cultivation.

Some people desire better health, others wealth, some improved relationships, etc. The list goes on and is as unique as individuals are. This is partly why feng shui is so complex – it addresses all these circumstances of fortune and has rules to enhance each aspect. Feng shui centers around five elements as one of its core and basic principles: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. They are each represented by their own color: wood-green, fire-red, earth-brown, metal-white, and water-blue. These five feng shui elements interact with each other complexly and necessarily. These interactions, or ways of relating to each other, can be divided up into cycles. The two main cycles are the productive cycle and the destructive cycle.

In the productive cycle, each element supports another, which in turn supports another, until the cycle is complete. For example, wood supports the fire element, fire supports the earth element, earth supports the metal element, metal supports the water element, and water supports the wood element…and so it goes, in a cycle of creation that is, essentially, productive.

Conversely, the destructive cycle is one where the elements break each other down. For example, wood weakens the earth element, earth weakens the water element, water weakens the fire element, fire weakens the metal element, and metal weakens the wood element. Knowing these five elements of feng shui, and how they can enhance or weaken each other, is key to being able to incorporate feng shui decorating techniques into any space.

As we've said, every feng shui element is characterized by the certain color. Color is one of the easiest ways to shift the energy in your home in order to create good feng shui. While finding the right feng shui colors for your space is really easy, it might take a bit of work to make a specific color work harmoniously in your space. Color is alive and its good feng shui presence in your home is dependant on many factors, two of the main ones being the quality of light in your home and the surrounding colors in your home. The feng shui color tips here will help you define your main color scheme in order to create good energy, and then be sure to play and experiment until you find that very right color for your home!

While we need to keep all five feng shui elements with their characteristic colors in mind while decorating, ensuring that their relationship is productive and not destructive, we’ll take a look at each of the areas and presenting elements and colors to see how they work in modern interiors.

Health & Family - It is the life area connected to the East bagua area. The feng shui element of the Health and Family bagua area is Wood. Wood feng shui element is represented by green. Green represents balance, growth, and abundance. It can also signify youthfulness. Basic meanings are healing, balanced, expanding, lively, prosperous, fresh. Because of green’s balancing nature, there are few times it should be avoided. For interior design of this bagua area you should consider art with wood element energy, art or images of health and family harmony. Be mindful about the colors in your chosen art. You should avoid strong Fire or Metal feng shui element colors. Consider a potted plant, green area rug, brown throw pillows, or artwork that incorporates forest images.

Wealth & Abundance - This life area is connected to the Southeast Bagua area of your home. The feng shui element of the Money Bagua area is also Wood, so the cures you will bring have to be either of the Wood element or Water that nourishes it. It is recommended to always express the energy of wealth and abundance in all its forms - from material wealth to the wealth of all the numerous blessings in your life. Mirrors are excellent for Wealth area, as they bring more light, expand the area and, of course, also bring the presence of the feng shui Water element. For the Southeast Bagua area, color schemes are the same as in the East bagua area, but it is best to choose a mirror in a square or rectangular shape with wooden or golden frame. Red or purple colors are sometimes brought to the Wealth area to activate it, but only a very small amount is needed.

The Fame & Reputation - The feng shui element of the Fame and Reputation Bagua area is the South area. The feng shui element of the South bagua area is Fire, so the cures you will bring have to be either of the Fire element or Wood. Fire Element is represented by red which brings passion, romance, sexual desire, boldness and luck. Because of its intensity, is considered a lucky color in feng shui. Use it in doses to redirect energy around the home. Fire is warming, nourishing, and sustaining. It is expressed best in pointy shapes, such as triangles and stars, and by using actual fire-related décor items. Also you can choose images depicting actual trees, plants and forests or art with predominantly Wood element color green. Avoid a strong presence of the Water feng shui element color blue.

Love & Marriage - The feng shui element of the Southwest bagua area is Earth, so the cures you will bring into your home have to be either of the Earth element or of Fire, the element that nourishes earth. Earth is particularly important for spaces that need positive energy in the areas of stability, support, trust, patience, and nourishment. Earth element grounds us. It is nurturing, protective, strong, sustaining, healing, patient, rooted and quiet. Activating the Southwest corner also strengthens the role of the woman, or the yin - feminine energy of the home, providing balance that can promote harmony in marriage and relationships. Since the color of Earth element is brown, for interior design you can choose art with strong Earth element energy or Fire element art. You could incorporate earthy landscapes into your artwork, although remember the focus is on earth and not water or trees.

Creativity & Children - The feng shui element of the West bagua area of your home is Metal, so the cures you will bring have to be either of the Metal element or Earth. Metal element brings with it serenity and peace to a space and enhances that very energy along with it. It depicts efficiency, preciseness, clarity, and discipline just as much as purity. Metal feng shui element is represented with white and grey, metallic. White is all about new beginnings, purity, and innocence. Basic meanings are cleansing, pure, light, free, whole. Avoid white when feeling overwhelmed. Shapes represented well with metal element are round, and many metal décor pieces automatically incorporate metal element into a space to provide a fresh, strong, and cooling energy. Décor might include pieces such as white pillows, grey wall décor, metal objects, white rugs, etc.

Helpful People & Blessings - This life area is connected to the Northwest Bagua area, so it is recommended to always reflect, at least in some of your Northwest feng shui cures. The feng shui element of the Helpful People bagua area is Metal, so the cures you will bring have to be either of the Metal element or Earth. Décor colors of choice should include white, gray, metallic or brown, of the supporting element Earth.

Career & Path in Life - The feng shui element of the North bagua area is Water, so the cures you will bring have to be either of the Water element or Metal. Water is actually one of the most powerful forces of nature, with two opposing outcomes – powerful healing or merciless destruction. With such transformative powers, water element is mysterious and demands respect. Water feng shui element is an important decorating tool when you feel disconnected to life or your surroundings, when you need a flow of ideas or creativity, when you are sick or hurt in some tangible or intangible way, or when you lack direction or purpose. Water feng shui element is represented with blue and black. Blue establishes calm. It’s the color of the sky and ocean and therefore gives a sense of vastness. Basic meanings are truth, communication, peace, calm, spiritually attuned. Avoid blue in cases of depression or when there is a need to feel more social. Décor ideas that incorporate the metal feng shui element include fountains, water images, blue pillows or rugs, etc. Shapes should be wavy and curvy.

Spiritual Growth & Cultivation - In feng shui terms, the energy of Spiritual Growth and Cultivation is connected to the Northeast area of your bagua. The feng shui element of this bagua area is the Earth element. In case of the Northeast bagua area, there are two elements that bring energetic harmony and strength; these elements are Earth and Fire.

If you want to create good feng shui in your house, you should take a look at the main areas and their supporting elements and colors:

8 areas

Bagua areas

Feng Shui element

Feng Shui color

Health & Family

East

Wood

Nourishing element: Water

Green

Blue

Wealth & Abundance

Southeast

Wood

Nourishing element: Water

Green

Blue

Fame & Reputation

South

Fire

Nourishing element: Wood

Red

Green

Love & Marriage

Southwest

Earth

Nourishing element: Fire

Brown

Red

Creativity & Children

West

Metal

Nourishing element: Earth

White

Brown

Helpful People & Blessings

Northwest

Metal

Nourishing element: Earth

White

Brown

Career & Path in Life

North

Water

Nourishing element: Metal

Blue

White

Spiritual Growth & Cultivation

Northeast

Earth

Nourishing element: Fire

Brown

Red

With all that said, If you want to create good feng shui in your house, there are some simple, basic feng shui steps that can help you. Let's look into the main areas that are responsible for good feng shui energy in a house.

Everyone interested in decorating their home by the rools of Feng Shui should start with a good space clearing session, which is always a good way to start creating beneficial energy in your space. You can go for a major space clearing session if you feel your space needs it, or just apply some simple, easy space clearing steps. Space clearing means clearing the space on an energy level. Find your favorite, most enjoyable way of space clearing and use it often. The most common ways of doing so are smudging or using essential oils.

After you've done your best to clear the energy in your space, the next step is to define the bagua or the feng shui energy map of your space. This will help create a harmonious quality of energy and actually improve specific areas of your life. The feng shui energy map will help you with best color suggestions, selection of art, and various feng shui cures. So, divide your home into 8 bagua areas and determine which part of your home is connected to which element, and therefore, which color should be dominant.

For most of us, who are not looking to build a home from scratch and by the feng shui rules, but to decorate our already built homes, it is sometimes quite hard to match the exiting room layout with bagua areas and recommended colors for certain rooms. So, it is important to chose the most important bagua areas and focus on activating those parts of our lives that we find most dear. With that said, we should take a look at the decorating recommendations for each room in our homes:

Basic Feng Shui for the Entryway - Most homes have some sort of transitional space between the exterior and the interior of the home, called the entryway, mudroom, or foyer. This space is important for two main reasons: (1) it forms one’s first impression of the rest of the home, and (2) it facilitates, hopefully with care, a critical shift from outdoors to indoors. In feng shui spaces, safety equals comfort and relaxation. This is true of the entryway, which serves as a buffer against the hard world and our private “happy place.” Because of this, the ideal entryway for feng shui is one that is clearly defined and somewhat encased, such as with walls. Feng shui entryways are often painted in light colors to feel more spacious and inviting. A note on mirrors in the entryway: They are better placed on the walls of the entryway rather than directly opposite the front door, as it is unnerving for someone entering the home to feel like “someone” is walking toward them.

Basic Feng Shui for the Living Room - While feng shui does have specific guidelines for furniture placement, ultimately the goal is to achieve a comfortable surroundings, and this may look different in specific homes. A good rule is to place seating arrangements within eight feet of each other, to facilitate comfort and good conversation. Although it’s best to avoid placing two identically sized pieces of furniture (e.g., sofas and/or loveseats) directly across from each other, as it makes people feel exposed and vulnerable, which is bad feng shui. The height of the living room ceilings (as is the case for the rest of the house as well) must be proportionate to the room’s size – width and depth. If the ceilings are very tall in a living room that’s smaller, the proportions feel uncomfortable and, thus, bad feng shui. One rule for feng shui ceiling heights is that you should be able to comfortably see where the ceiling and wall come together without raising your head. If you need to visually lower your ceilings, consider painting them a darker tone than the wall color, which makes them feel lower.

Basic Feng Shui for the Kitchen - The color palette of the kitchen can vary, depending on your preferences as a homeowner. Red and orange tend to stimulate appetites; blue suppresses appetite. Black is not considered to be a healthy choice for the kitchen in feng shui because it is cold and not particularly nurturing. Earth tones are good feng shui kitchen colors, while the recently popular all-white kitchen is not in harmony with good feng shui - too sterile. A sunny, cheerful kitchen is more preferable for most people. This can be achieved with windows and skylights, where possible.

Basic Feng Shui for the Dining Room - In feng shui, a round dining table is better than a rectangular dining table, because it equalizes everyone. The color scheme of a dining room that adheres to feng shui decorating tends to be warmer rather than cooler, because warm colors are more inviting and friendly. As mentioned, red and orange even stimulate the appetite, which is a good thing in the dining room. However, these colors are quite bold and can stimulate aggression as much as an appetite, so it’s a good idea to use them strategically and somewhat sparingly. Where possible, dimmer switches to provide lighting variations help to enhance the atmosphere of the dining experience.

Basic Feng Shui for the Bedroom - Often, a master bedroom will be located near the front of the house, which means it is closest to the street and the outside world. Most of us want to escape that when we enter our bedroom, which means that the location of the optimal bedroom is critical in feng shui. Also, the size of the room is critical. If your bedroom is too big, scale down the size by creating a seating area with some comfortable furniture, installing luxurious window treatments to make the space feel more cozy. A huge bed that takes up most of the bedroom’s floor space will make the bedroom feel cramped and uncomfortable. Similarly, a small bed in a huge bedroom will feel dwarfed and inconsequential, which is also uncomfortable.

Basic Feng Shui for the Bathroom - Because the bathroom tends to be full of hard, shiny surfaces (think porcelain, tile, chrome, etc.), it’s important in feng shui to balance this out with some décor with warmth. Nurturing earth tones and other soft warm colors create a positive qi in the bathroom, whether through paint, artwork, towels, curtains, or other means. You can incorporate pieces of nature artwork in the bathroom to really enhance its calming effects. This is true not only for the feng shui bathroom, of course, but also for rooms throughout the house.

The success of incorporating all these element guidelines depends on your ability to identify when and where to use certain elements and colors boldly, when and where to use them sparingly, and when and where to completely avoid them.

Feng Shui can be identified as the wisdom of ancient Chinese, harmonizing the built and natural environment. It is complex in its teachings of energy balance, but it is simple in its goal, which is to assure good fortune for people inhabiting that space. Of course, good fortune doesn’t look the same for everyone, everywhere. So, everyone should take a moment to identify those parts of their lives that they find most dear in order to find the optimal interior design.