Feng Shui Basics for a Happy Home

Bobby Hanson

March 29
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Our homes are our havens, and with a little thought and effort they can help us keep a clear mind and a calm outlook. The new year is nearly upon us, so if you are looking to get it off to a positive start, you may benefit from a few easy-to-implement mind-cleansing projects for the holidays. Apply a few of these simple feng shui principles to your home — good chi (energy) may very well flow.

Feng shui, literally translated as "wind and water," is a 5,000-year-old Chinese system and theory based on a set of universal principles and laws of nature, applied to our living environment. These principles are believed by many to help us attain happiness, health, prosperity and freedom. While feng shui has no detailed scientifically proven studies to back up its principles, hundreds of feng shui masters stand by their results.

In feng shui speak, your front door is called the "mouth of chi." Help bring good energy into your home by keeping it clean and well lit. Remove all clutter from inside your front door so you don't block that good energy.

Painting your front door green is said to bring growth; red can bring wealth; blue, relaxation; and brown, stability. And as even those who don't practice feng shui know, the relatively simple project of painting your front door a new color can change your mood.

Clutter is the archnemesis of feng shui. Air and energy should always be moving, and clutter is like a stop sign to energy, trapping it and keeping you stuck in the past.

In some Asian cultures, spring cleaning is done three days before the Asian New Year's Day, symbolizing the sweeping out of any misfortune or traces of bad luck. People in the cultures don't sweep again until after the new year, so they can collect the good-luck dust into a corner of their home.

Throw out any broken objects, replace blown lightbulbs and be ruthless with items that you haven't used or worn in the last 12 months. When you have finished cleaning, wash your hands under running water for at least three minutes. This washes away all the bad energy that got on your hands in the process.

Paperweights are not just beautiful decorations; they can also help promote growth and strength in feng shui. Circular paperweights conjure the stability of earth.

Put one in your study or office and help increase your creativity and encourage new ideas. Try sitting a crystal paperweight on any invoices you are owed to increase prosperity. Don't put a paperweight on any bills you have yet to pay, as it may increase your expenditure.

Collect your favorite paperweights and display them together for added luck.

Plants bring vibrant chi into a home or working environment. Home offices require as much good energy as you can muster, so why not get it from vibrant and vigorous plants? Large plants like lily, bamboo and jade varieties are top on the list for good energy.

If you are short on space, one small house plant is better than none at all. Keep your plants healthy and well fed and they will reply in kind.

This soothing, minimalist study space shows us how happy indoor plants can make us if they are looked after, and these plants look happy in return. Maybe it's because they get to enjoy an occasional jam session.

Mops and brooms are used to remove clutter and dirt from the house. Feng shui believes they carry part of the negative energy that comes into the home. Keeping them outside would be ideal but is not necessarily practical. Keep them in a cupboard in an upside-down position to help to block the negative energy.

Try to make sure that the cupboard you store a mop and broom in is not in the room you eat in, as the dining room represents food and prosperity, and you don't want that swept away. Also, a broom or mop should not live in the front room of your home, as you don't want the positive energy that arrives to be swept away.

A well-organized laundry or mudroom like this one will help keep your mind full of positive energy.

Screens are extremely popular with the Chinese, as they are a practical and beautiful way to block energy that is moving too fast. Ideally, energy should curve and flow gently throughout your home.

If your front door faces your back door, the energy will race from one through to the other and won't benefit you at all. Try placing a small screen somewhere in between to redirect the energy.

If you don't have a dedicated room for your home office or study, use a screen to divide it from the rest of the space. This will contain the work energy as much as possible.

A busy workspace could happily exist behind this modern fretwork screen.

Music is a positive and soothing element in feng shui. If your home is too quiet, you may have an abundance of yin, or passive energy — which could affect your whole family, even making you unwell.

A perfect opportunity to get the yang, or good energy, flowing is when you are cleaning or decluttering your home. So open all your windows, turn up the music and get moving. And as a regular resolution, play gentle music for 10 minutes once a week for a few months, and you should see a permanent improvement in your energy levels.

Keep all your equipment behind closed doors, as with this stunning custom-made television and stereo cabinet, to avoid negative energy.

Electronic devices are said to produce negative energy via electromagnetic fields. Ideally, you should minimize your exposure to the myriad devices our homes now seem to have.

The bedroom is a haven for rest, and uninterrupted sleep is paramount to achieving a successful and productive life. Try a couple of easy ideas to help reduce the flow of negative energy. Keep your alarm clock at least 3 feet away from your bed. If you are not going to banish your television from your bedroom, enclose it inside a cabinet and shut the doors when you are sleeping.

The blue-gray used with abundance in this luxurious bedroom strongly encourages relaxation.

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