Decorating to De-Stress with Feng Shui

A bedroom with calm colors

Wouldn't it be great to come home to a place where, as soon as you opened the door, you felt completely relaxed? In today's hyper world, a soothing home is ultra-mandatory, as is replenishing the natural energy flow that is insideand outsideall of us.

And what if it was a relaxing home that attracted prosperity and productivity? According to the rules of Feng Shuithe ancient and wildly popular Chinese decorating artall this, and more, is possible. By carefully manipulating your environment with proper placement and balance, you can invite harmony, abundance and good fortune in, and stress and pressure out.

If you were to hire a Feng Shui decorator, he or she would divide your home into an energy grid (to let energy circulate freely), and maintain balance, in each of these steps, by doing the following:

1. In every place but the bathroom, position the largest, most central piece in the core, or center, of the room, i.e., under a fan. Heavy objects placed on the floor, in a key place, ground you. You need to trust your instinct on this placement; walk around and see what feels right. Nothing should be up against a corner or a wall. Let air circulate freely; you will not have anything tucked kitty-corner.

2. Do not allow clutter into your home. Not in the living room, not in the dining room, not in the bedroom - it interferes with romance - and certainly not in the kitchen. You simply can't think clearly with clutter. In order to know what you have to work with, you need to have everything in its proper place, like an artist with a palette.

3. Use light in dramatic ways, i.e., wall sconces that are installed where there is no direct light. Light is usually applied at eye level. Of course, the best light is sunlight. If you don't have much light, use mirrors to reflect the light you do have, and add crystals to reflect additional light.

4. Replace sharp corners. Feng Shui practitioners do like to envision every room as a square or a triangle, but when it comes to furniture, these corners bear the term "poison arrows." So what sort of table do you eat on? You might consider purchasing a round or oval table. In that way, there will be no interruption of the energy flow. (Remember: Feng Shui is about lessening stress, and promoting good vibes. There is, therefore, no lording over of power, or exploiting vulnerability, such as might occur in a rectangular or box-like table, where someone is at the so-called "head" of the table.)

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5. Decorate each room separately. Forego an all-purpose scheme. And look at the area you are decorating from all angles. You want it to be balanced from every entry and exit point. Go in and out of the room a few times. Close the door, if there is one, to give yourself a fresh new perspective, then re-enter.

6. Change the color scheme of every single item in your room. All accessories should match. If you go for a soothing blue-green, don't only do the rugs and couches. Do the artwork, the pillowcases, the knick knacks.

7. Symbolic elements like earth, metal, water and wood are used in the decorating scheme to balance out a personality. If there is a need to balance out toughness, add "feminine" or soft energy, using curtains, plants, wood, and delicate sounds. Music that is kind to your mind, like nature sounds, is good, too. To induce a more "masculine" or busy energy, use metal. To tone down aggression, use a lovely ceramic (natural) bowl filled with water, or a waterfall statuette.

8. With problem areas - say, rooms you find yourself not entering, despite having decorated them very nicely - assess what you have, now, and what you can bring in, from another room. For instance, in a room with bright sunshine, like a sunroom, you've got bright light to work with. This would be a good place to spend weekend mornings, right? Or you might want to bring your laptop in, to finish a report in comfort and leisure.

In that case, a hard-backed chair isn't going to make you feel like doing either of these things! You need to feel comfortably cozy for hours on end. And you won't feel like entering if you're unintentionally blocking your path with, say, plants, or a basket of magazines (which is probably the case in a room that you never go into).

Prune back the plants, move aside the basket and bring in a lounge or an ottoman, or any reclining sofa. Position it so it "feels" right. Check out the sun angle and make sure it's the right one.

Revamping your living quarters according to Feng Shui techniques not only enhances your surroundings; it results in your feeling better. And Feng Shui is practical, too - you actually do relax in a room where furnishing and accessories have been methodically placed in a manner that requires you to 1) consider what your senses are telling you, and 2) allows energy to flow around every item - two of the 5,000 year old art's basic principles.

If you follow these steps, you'll no doubt attract health, happiness and abundanceand, best of all, you'll do it in a stress-free living environment that you love coming home to.