Sofas and synchronicity. They are related. In fact, the easiest coziest way to bring balance into your lopsided life may start with rearranging the settees and side tables and everything else in your living room, bedroom, kitchen, and/or office. So says the ancient Chinese science and art of placement known as Feng (meaning wind) Shui ( meaning water). Feng Shui goes back to the ninth century BC. It’s a branch of Chinese Medicine sharing similarities with acupuncture and Qi Gong since all of them deal with facilitating the movement of energy (called chi).
This is no trivial matter. Blocked chi can lead to depression, fatigue, lethargy, and mood swings. As well as poor appetite and misplaced anger, even pain in the abdominals. And that’s just your mind and body.
Bad chi can also affect your living space, according to the Feng Shui Society of America. For example, did you know that the main door to your living room (called the “mouth of chi”) is thought to be the portal through which energy flows into your home, indeed into your life? When sitting on that sofa (or at that desk), Feng Shui specialists advise having the door in your field of vision without being directly in line with it. You want the sofa to be in the so-called “commanding position” to provide a sense of security and stability for all who sit there.
Feng Shui — in practical terms — is about using color, shapes, spacing, positioning, and lighting to create harmony inside your living space and between you and your overall environment.
Here are the 3 basic principles and the 7 steps to a more holistic living space, whether you’re in a tiny house, a small apartment, or a 12 room home.
When the following principles are put to work (as best you can,) the result is a sense of balance and ease flowing through a room and into each corner of your life (or “bagua”).
- The Commanding Position: this is the place where you spend most of your time when in a room. It should give you a clear line of sight to the door or “portal.” Determine this position in the room, then place your bed, sofa, your desk ( or your treadmill) in diagonal alignment
- The Bagua is the energy map superimposed on the floor plan of your living space. The word “bagua” means “eight areas.” each relating to a different life event, such as family, wealth, or career. Each of these areas has a corresponding shape, color, season, number, and earthly element. At the center of the bagua is you, representing your overall wellness.
- The Five Elements—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire are interrelated phases in life that work together. A home environment with all five elements flowing optimally feels calm and peaceful. Each element used properly can help in balancing your mind, body, and your environment. But every room need not express all five.
- Clean and declutter your living space. This is an always good–if not always easy– step. It sets the stage, creates a fresh launch pad.
- Where do you want to focus your energy? Choose one to three areas of your life you most want to improve. Maybe the bedroom if that’s where you spend most of your time. Or the kitchen, as a family hub. Or it could be your office if your career is at the center of your life. Or whatever area in your home that makes you feel ‘not quite at home.’
- Make sure the five elements are represented and choose the ones that fit the room you are focusing on. Pick the colors and shapes that you feel complete the space, bring flow and energy based on Feng Shui principles. Here’s a quick simplified guide to three main rooms, what each symbolizes, and what deepens its purpose.
- Bedroom Strongly associated with mind/ body wellness and renewal. This is your sanctuary. The bed should be placed away from but facing the door. Think of the Earth element and incorporate earth tones; you might add ceramic or clay pottery, stones, or crystals. The corresponding colors are brown, orange, and yellow which might be represented by throw pillows or comforters. Flat square shapes are called for. Perhaps expressed in night tables and lamps.
- Kitchen: This room represents plenty, nourishment, and health, as it is the heart of the home. The best kitchen colors are white, blue, green, or soft earth tones. A shiny metal surface or mirror behind the stove “doubles” the positive energy. A round dining table aids in digestion and communication. Add fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit on the counter to symbolize prosperity.
- Office: The element of Fire should be incorporated here because it represents passion, action, and ambition. Be careful of overusing red: it can backfire and lead to burnout. Gold and silver tones are associated with focus and clarity so perhaps add a brass lamp, a silver end table, or metallic sculpture. You might also add the Wood element through living plants like the jade or bamboo plant.
A few Living Room dos and don’ts
- Position your couch/sofa against a wall, not unanchored in the middle of the room. . Avoid L- shaped and sectional furniture which creates the so-called “poison arrow” configuration in a room. All three foster bad energy and block flow.
- Sofas and chairs don’t belong under ceiling beams. Ditto placing furniture directly under windows. Considered bad luck and conducive to ill health.
- Your sofa would have a (preferably) diagonal view of the entryway. This creates a sense of safety. If this isn’t possible use a mirror on the opposite wall to create the illusion.
- Comfort, not suffocation: use pillows, throws, and cushions carefully. And watch out for harmony-disturbing clashes of colors, patterns, and textures.
- Avoid sofas that face each other. This creates an air of confrontation. Go for diagonal arrangements or if two sofas must face each other, place a coffee table in between.
- Don’t overcrowd your living room or use furniture that is either too maxi or too mini for the space. The goal is comfort, ease, and flow.
Here’s one super-simple start on the Feng Shui path: place a black, rectangular doormat outside your home to attract good energy. In the words of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” And nothing like Feng Shui to make it even homier.