Image: Janis Nicolay
If different areas of your life — from your relationships to your job to your own peace of mind — aren't quite where you'd like them to be, it might be time to look to your home design for help — no, really.
So what is Feng Shui, anyway?
While many of us may feel we have a grasp on the basic concept of Feng Shui, we thought we'd check in with a real expert. Toronto-based Feng Shui consultant and author of Creating Change: 27 Feng Shui Design Projects to Boost the Energy in Your Home, Laura Morris says one way to think of Feng Shui is like a big cleansing breath for your home. "The foundation of practicing Feng Shui is a connection with, and a sensitivity to, the world around you," she says. "The name Feng (wind) Shui (water) embodies the influence of nature on our well-being," and its purpose is to "bring people and their environment into harmony."
It’s all about the chi!
So what exactly are the basic principles of Feng Shui? Laura says there are many systems, concepts, and complex principles in the practice of Feng Shui. “The single most important concept in Feng Shui is chi (qi) pronounced chee,” she says. “Chi (qi) is an energetic force, a life force that powers all living organisms. Improving the quality, characteristic and amount of positive chi in your space (and in your life) is fundamental. Vital flowing chi makes you more productive, better rested, and generally happier.”
How to Feng Shui your home
If you’ve always wanted to try the art of placement in your own home but aren’t sure where to begin, Laura says that her two favourite places to start making Feng Shui changes are the entryway and the bedroom. “The entryway is a great place to enhance if you want to increase opportunities or support a new initiative in your life,” she says. “For the entryway, sweep it out, add a new welcome mat, and consider applying a fresh coat of paint to the front door.”
The bedroom is also one of the most effective places to create an impact in all areas of your life, as it is the place that is closest to you. “It is your sanctuary and most personal space. For the bedroom: declutter and try to downsize your furniture if you have more than two nightstands (and maybe one dresser). Too many large pieces of furniture can block the flow of energy and create stagnant slow moving chi.”
And while the placement of your belongings is a big part of the process, don’t forget that your intentions are equally as important. “As you work away redesigning and cleaning either of these spaces, make sure to set an intention to welcome in new opportunities,” Laura advises.
Why does Feng Shui work?
“Your home is a reflection of you,” says Laura. “The practice of Feng Shui helps to reveal patterns, ruts, and blocks in our life. It is about aligning your energy with the chi that circulates in your spaces, homes and in nature. When you correct misalignments, remove blocks and enhance your space, this creates harmony in your home and life.” Not sure if Feng Shui is for you? Laura assures us it’s for everyone; you don’t have to be an expert! “The beauty of Feng Shui is that you can start small,” she says. “Take on a mini-project and start to notice how it affects your energy or the energy of the space. The key is to be open to possibility when inviting in new and beneficial energy into your life.”
Laura’s top 5 Feng Shui dos and don’ts
- Do declutter: Try removing three unwanted and unused items every day for nine days.
- Do replace burned out light bulbs: this is creating low energy pockets in your home.
- Do redesign your front hall or entryway: Keep it open, inspiring and eye-catching.
- Do a space-clearing to reset the energy: try smudging (burning sage) or ringing tingsha bells throughout the home.
- Do add some life to your space: healthy plants, a splash of colour, open the blinds and let in the sunlight.
- Don’t worry about doing it wrong. Start small and keep it simple.
- Don’t keep dead or dying plants and flowers around.
- Don’t overstuff your bedroom with large, heavy furniture.
- Don’t block doorways. Make sure doors can swing open fully.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a well-designed, soothing bedroom.