Living Smart: Some ways to feel at home with feng shui decorating

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feng shui, meaning "wind and water," is based on traditional Chinese philosophy that links man’s destiny to his immediate environment. You can decorate your home with feng shui by tapping positive "chi" energy from wind and water and creating balance through the art of placement. This involves arranging your living space in such a way that evokes feelings of comfort and safety, thereby enhancing happiness, health and prosperity.

Whatever your own philosophy, here are some ideas for feng shui decorating:

Main entrance. The main entrance is the part of the house that you immediately enter into as you open the main door. Based on feng shui beliefs, the main door should not be aligned with the back door of the house. If this is so, it is best to put a partition or curtain to block the alignment to prevent positive energy from leaving through the back door. The space at the main door should be free and clear of clutter to allow positive energy to fill the space.

Living Room. The living room is where much decoration using feng shui beliefs can be put to good use. The living room should be bright and decorated with vibrant pictures that evoke positive feelings, such as nature, food and abstract art. Allow as much light as possible. Combining round and square geometrical shapes in your decoration such as placing a round mirror on a square wall or positioning a round coffee table on a square carpet will create balance and harmony in the environment. The best position for a mirror using feng shui philosophy is to ensure that it reflects a beautiful view from the window.

Bedroom. Although the bedroom needs to be airy and bright, it is not advisable to have more than three windows. If the bedroom has too many windows, the energy drawn will not accumulate well, affecting the family’s well being. Avoid placing big mirrors in the bedroom as this will affect the energy present, causing sleep disturbances and relationship issues. Should you need to place a mirror in the bedroom, avoid positioning it opposite the bed as it will reflect energy back at you when you are sleeping, causing sleep disruptions.

Kitchen. The kitchen should be clear of clutter and free from bad smells to prevent negative energy from accumulating. Just as in other rooms, the kitchen has to be bright and well ventilated to attract good energy for wellness. Any furniture placed in the middle of the kitchen will disrupt the energy flow. Be mindful that sharp corners may cause bad energy to flow towards the direction they point at. Hence, it is advisable to have a round kitchen table instead of a rectangular or square one. Your stove is an energy source as it is connected to the passion within you.

A well-functioning stove enhances good energy, including one that encourages good health. The stove should face the doorway, otherwise negative energy resulting in stress, anxiety and financial challenges will be drawn towards the area. If the stove is positioned away from the doorway, a mirror should be placed near the stove to reflect the burners and the doorway. The double burner illusion reflected from the mirror will attract positive energy to enter the kitchen, resulting in improved financial status.

How to Hire a Feng Shui Consultant

When hiring an interior designer, look for one who is also trained in feng shui. Nowadays, more and more interior designers incorporate feng shui in their practice to cater to a sizable number of people who believe in feng shui philosophy. Interior designers have a huge network of people in their industry, and it shouldn’t take you long before you get recommended to one who is also a feng shui expert. In this respect, ensure that your interior designer possess a Feng Shui Society Accredited Consultants logo, giving you the assurance of professional feng shui service and high standards.

Fees include a fixed flat rate or hourly based on the number of rooms in the property, materials used, travel cost and a report. Work is done either on-site or off-site.

Decorating your home with feng shui is one method you can tap into using ancient Chinese beliefs to promote overall wellness, harmonious relationships and good financial health. Remember to ask questions relating to feng shui style and recommendations to overcome any concerns based on existing room layout before you decide to engage the services of a professional consultant.