Feng Shui Made Simple!

I have clients who enjoy doing design research and they come up with ideas gathered from here or there, which is great! One of my clients brought in a Feng Shui practitioner. Fascinating! That compelled me to look into the Chinese geomancy of Feng Shui. Feng meaning wind and Shui meaning water. The practice is related to Taoism and simply put, Feng Shui means designing and arranging living spaces to promote balance and comfort. We probably all want that, right? Although more complex than I am describing, I will distill Feng Shui down to basic and simple principles. And then we can apply them to design!


Feng Shui principle #1- Declutter

A decluttered space allows for the flow of good energy (chi). Decluttering must be thorough. Hiding stuff under the bed won’t do it. Clutter under the furniture, on flat services, in closets and broken items all affect chi flow. As I meet with clients across the Philadelphia metro area, I find that decluttering is their (and my) biggest challenge.


Feng Shui principle #2 – Get air and light flowing

To ensure the constant flow of good energy throughout the home, air and light must move in the space. Open the windows to increase air flow. Maximize light movement by keeping all glass, mirrors and windows clean. Add a lamp to illuminate dark spots or place a mirror to reflect light from a different spot.


Feng Shui principle #3 - Add plants

Plants filter the air and create a healthy, clean environment. They attract chi energy from their life force. As long as the plants are kept healthy, you’re attracting good energy. Some plants are better for Feng Shui than others. In fact, some plants, like cactus, are considered bad Feng Shui because they lack the need for water (water is like wealth). Here are some good Feng Shui plants--ficus, rubber plant, palm, Boston fern or philodendron.


Feng Shui principle #4 - Add color to activate energy.

Use art, decorative objects or paint to achieve color.


Feng Shui principle #6 – Go for Ying and Yang

Followers believe that everything is composed of two opposing but connected forces: Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine). The balance of these forces is necessary for coexistence. When decorating, use the concept of opposites.

Room by room.

Now, let’s apply our principles!

Living Room

Incorporate art, photos and pleasant, positive images that that point toward the room.

The door to the home should open inward. Be sure to not block any doorways.

Balance the public spaces to support gathering and conversation. Good views should be accentuated. A natural view enhances the positive energy of a space. Maybe hang a mirror to reflect a pleasing view.

Avoid harsh angles. Use round tables and coffee table made of wood, not glass.

Maintain flow and pathways for energy.

Cover the TV when not in use to avoid reflection.

In the south side of the room, use red, pink, orange and green hues, wood pieces, candles and/or a fireplace.

On the west and northwest side, place metal for good luck.

Use double duty furniture.


Hang natural fabric curtains to let it light and air in.

Place the bed diagonal to door.

Consider a solid wood headboard and two bed stands to add stability.

Clean space under the bed to allow for energy flow.

Arrange books by color to reflect order and purpose. Arrange items on shelves with plenty of negative space.

Consider an inspirational quote.

Close laptop to decrease electromagnetic energy.

Use warm colors to create a soothing environment


This is the heart of the home offering nourishing and life.

Generally the floor is dark and the ceiling is light.

Stove should not be place opposite the door. The stove, refrigerator and sink should form a triangle.

Employ a variety of light both artificial and natural and illuminate dark corners.

To suggest gathering, surround the island with seating.

Be sure the counters are free of clutter and appliances and conceal the garbage.

Put happy things on the refrigerator, not “to-do” lists.

Bowls of fruit or fresh flowers suggest nourishment and life.


There you are, the quick guide to Feng Shui decorating! And here’s an interesting tidbit. Feng Shui first came into existence from early farming people for determining the best burial sites for relatives. It has been used in the Chinese culture to site palaces, government buildings and other public monuments. Even whole cities have been designed and built according to Feng Shui principles.So…whatever your purpose, happy Feng Shui decorating!


For more tips, visit



Nelly Arnold