Contemporary home décor in a lot of households seem to be greatly influenced by the age-old philosophy and art of Feng Shui. The success of the philosophy of Feng Shui lies in its ability to make a home more conducive to the flow of positive energy. The Chinese art of Feng Shui, which literally translates as “wind and water”, has evolved over all these years with belief in the concept of the interconnectivity of life force. Ancient oriental Feng Shui philosophers used to believe that every human being, every form and substance of this planet is interconnected, very much like musical instruments interlinked in the vast orchestra of existence. The basic life force, according to this philosophy, constitutes of three entities: the influencing ‘chi’ or life force, the religious, cultural or social stimuli which influence our growth and personality, the personal ‘chi’ or life force, or the life force of the body and soul which we carry throughout our lifetime, and the atmospheric ‘chi’ or life force or the accumulation of life force in the atmosphere, which creates a level of vibration and impacts the life force of our body and soul. From this concept of the quintessential atmospheric life force, today’s art of Feng Shui has evolved to give a new meaning to home décor and its influence on the state of mind. Today lots of homeowners are consulting Feng Shui exponents to learn subtle facts about arranging their living space to harness the life energy that is all around us.
The use of Feng Shui and its impact on our bedrooms, kitchens, closets and bathrooms and even in offices is discussed today to achieve harmony and spiritual balance through our everyday surroundings. A humble discipline that originated in Ancient China by farmers who sought to survive by discovering harmony with nature has evolved and entered the mainstream of the modern design world. Internationally renowned interior designers, architects, and landscapers are adopting Feng Shui precepts in their work, and stories abound of the remarkable positive impact this particular art has had on people’s lives. Today’s Feng Shui practitioners and experts are there to assist with both classic and modern examples of Feng Shui in practice, offering inspiration and ideas of this age-old art for home, garden or office decor.
The external environment: what Feng Shui says:
The art of Feng Shui focuses on channelling and balancing energies in our living environment in ways that reduce stress and strengthen our sense of well-being. According to Feng Huang Consulting Principal Jane Dempster Smith, our external environment that constitutes the mountains, valleys, rivers, creeks, roads, or other buildings in our vicinity, consist of energies that have either positive or negative effects on our property. While elaborating on this factor, Feng Shui consultants like Smith and others have suggested that the main door of our home should never be obstructed by negative energies of any kind. These may include trees, lamp posts and corners of other buildings. On the other hand, they emphasize on harnessing positive energies within our environment to achieve harmony, health and mental balance in our lives. The Sun, for that matter, represents the purest and most pristine source of positive energy in the Feng Shui philosophy. Constant sunlight, providing light and warmth to coax life, energy and vitality into living organisms, is energy which should have full access to all parts of our homes, especially to the part where our day begins. Similarly, it is vital for us humans to align ourselves with the Earth’s positive energies. The ancient Chinese considered Chi as an invisible flow of energy, swirling throughout the earth and sky and in the process, bringing the life force with it. According to ancient Feng Shui masters, this was named “the cosmic dragon’s breath of the universe”. In other words, it can be explained as an adequate supply of smoothly flowing energies that help humans establish harmony with the natural surroundings. According to ancient oriental philosophy, every atom in our bodies, every molecule of the air we inhale and every drop of food or water we eat or drink comes directly from the earth. Hence it is particularly important to know how to bring our external environment into a wholesome balance with the earth and its positive energies. It’s true that we may not be able to revive the pristine, natural quality of lives as the ancient times when people drank water out of rivers, gathered food by picking plants and hunting, had the utmost close relationship with nature. But even today, we can choose and optimize our external environment in a way that has the correct energy flow to it.
Room settings and placement of objects:
Feng Shui consultants worldwide have unanimously said that our homes and offices can be thought of as a metaphor of our lives. This Chinese art emphasizes correct placement not only as an integral part of our home design but as a significant step towards enhancing the mental and spiritual quality of our lives. Practitioners in the philosophy believe that by arranging our furnishings and decor in a way that aligns with nature, we ensure uninhibited harmony, peace and health into our lives. On the whole, Feng Shui is about adding an element of mysticism to our home settings and interiors, the purpose of which is to eliminate negative energies and opening up our environment to healthy energy (Chi).
Feng Shui consultants have also given interesting anecdotes of people who, after living in their homes for several months, discovered for themselves something uncomfortable and negative in particular rooms. The problems have been either with the placement of bookcases, the heating elements or the location of the bed; but with making necessary transformations in the room settings, changes in colour and furniture placement, Feng Shui experts have been able to deliver positive effects in the lives of the individuals. Solutions have usually been found in changing furniture, removing dead plants and clutter, and placing symbols like green plants, fountains, and goldfish tanks. As the philosophy of Feng Shui is based on the explanation of five essential elements—Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, practitioners want to ensure there is proper placement of these elements in our homes and properties. For example, the Metal element stands for the health of children, their well-being and family life, while the Earth element represents the colour gold, the marriage corner, and family happiness. The Water element, on the other hand, rules the career, and the Fire element represents one’s ability to gain fame and prosperity in life. Finally, the Wood element stands for the overall quality of our lives, including our health. An important part of ensuring good Feng Shui is striking an optimum balance between these five elements within any physical surrounding.
The role of colour in home decor:
What do we feel when we walk into a room for the first time? Don’t we notice the colours, objects, and their placement that evoke sensations in us? Many of us, if attentive enough, manage to get steady vibes that tell us if a particular room is comfortable, soothing, invigorating, or if there is something negative to it. It is very natural for us to get sensitive to the psychological influences of colour, placement and design. It is especially true about colours, which have immensely strong and distinguishing effects on our minds. Different shades of the same colour have radically different results on the behaviour and mental make-up of individuals. While it is said that dark colours can either be relaxing or depressing, light colours can be uplifting or annoying. On the other hand, some extreme colours can be particularly exhilarating or aggravating. It is very natural that the colours and shades of the homes and spaces we live in or visit profoundly affect us, either in a positive or negative way. Moreover, colours and shades of living space have the ability to affect the nature of interactions between people present in a particular space. For instance, if there is a particular room where people tend to get into arguments, there is every reason Feng Shui practitioners will suggest reassessing the colours in that room. Feng Shui believes that extreme colours can irritate people’s eyes and increase their metabolism, making them more likely to fight. Paying attention to these details, one will eventually understand the subtle influence colours, shades and room settings have on the mental balance, health and wellness of individuals.
In the final analysis, each one of us is endowed with a sense of inner perception, which reflects our feelings while decorating a room. It is this inner perception that prompts one to understand the subtle spiritual and emotional nuances of himself with his room. This inner perception can in time, develop a highly personalized design for an individual’s home that is a true expression of his own, unique personality. It is important to note here that Feng Shui is a system that has evolved over thousands of years, and is way beyond a mere ancient mathematical formula for laying out the design or setting of space. The success of ‘Good Feng Shui’ is proved only in cases where the basic principals of the philosophy, incorporated within the design of a space, have elicited positive responses in individuals and enhanced the spiritual quality of their lives. As long as one is endowed with ‘Good Feng Shui’, there is nothing that can prevent a harmonious flow of nourishment and energy flowing within one’s being.