A Little Feng Shui Goes A Long Way When Listing Your Home
I first heard the term Feng Shui shortly after I moved to San Francisco 20 years ago, from my neighbor.
“That’s terrible feng shui! You can’t have babies sleeping in a room with two doors! And the cribs have to be against a wall! You have to move the cribs!” Anyone who has put a crib together knows it’s not easy. But when Peter came home, despite the fact he thought I was drinking the California Kool Aid, he took the cribs apart and moved them to the back bedroom next to ours. And I have to say, there was a wall for each crib, a window in the middle and a sense of symmetry. It just felt right. I’ve been back on the North Shore for 18 years now - we didn’t last long in SF. I have learned other feng shui principles from stagers and designers I work with, but mostly I trust myself when I walk into a home and it “feels right.”
The principles of feng shui are common sense. Literally translated, it means ‘wind and water’, movement and energy. For your home, think flow and balance. You want energy to move harmoniously through your home. Incorporating feng shui principles in your home will make it balanced and feel good. If you are looking to sell, the home will be more desirable to buyers, because they will feel it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in homes with buyers and they say “something doesn’t feel right.” Let’s make sure no buyer says that about your home! Here are 8 ways you can use the feng shui principles. (BTW, 8 is the number of infinity, abundance and success!)
One of the principals of feng shui is that we are linked to our environment. When possible, open windows and let the air flow through the home. The addition of green plants brings color and nature into a room, and represents growth and new beginnings. Also, many plants can act to freshen the indoor air. Try the Lady Palm, the Bamboo Palm and rubber plants. These plants are also easy to care for which is good since dead plants are a feng shui no-no.
You want good ‘chi’ or energy to flow in your home. In the entry, you don’t want the chi to flow too fast in or out of the home. If your staircase leads straight out to the front door, you need to slow the chi down - a mirror by the entrance is good for bouncing around and slowing down chi. And who doesn’t want to grab a glance of themselves upon entering or exiting. A mirror is welcoming. Make sure your entry is clear of obstacles like shoes and bags, and don’t have anything hanging from door knobs.
Fix broken items in your home. Small repairs left unchecked will wear you down over time. The broken electric plate you mean to fix, the chipped tile in the bathroom - all the little things pile up and will weigh on you. Change burned out or flickering light bulbs. Oil squeaky doors. Repair tears in screens. Fix chipped paint. Harmony!
Get rid of items that you have a bad association with. Do you have items you hang on to that you have never liked, but feel you have to because you paid a lot of money for them? Get rid of them! Also get rid of an item you don’t like but feel obligated to keep because it was a gift. Everytime you look at these things you will get a bad feeling, and who needs bad feelings!
In the bedroom, place the bed as far away from the door as possible, but where you can still see the door and place the headboard against the wall. To encourage balance and symmetry, put a nightstand and lamp on each side of the bed. The bedroom should be a place of relaxation and romance. Art work should be sensual and calming and often works well in pairs. Remove electronics and work related items from bedrooms and bring in beauty and relaxation with fresh flowers.
In each room, don’t let any one element dominate. (Imagine all wood furniture on all wood floors.) Strive for balance using dark and light, round and square, soft and hard. Experiment with different textures. Bring in one black element to ground the space. Have fun with this - you’ll know when something feels right to you.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where you prepare and enjoy the food that sustains you, that gives you energy. It should be light and airy (maybe why so many are attracted to white kitchens) and clutter free. Rethink all of the gadgets - are they necessary - if not, get rid of them. Don’t hang pots on overhead hooks - heavy pots hanging overhead isn’t safe and will weigh down the space. Enjoy fresh flowers in your kitchen and grow herbs - the earthy soil is a good balance to the water flow in the kitchen. And turn the television off while eating - it is bad for digestion and doesn’t ‘honor’ the chef!
If there is a piece of furniture you are always bumping into - move it. That is common sense AND good feng shui. Keep your windows clean for a clear connection to the outside.
What feels good to you in your home? For me, I have to have books in a room. It makes me feel connected to people, to stories. My bookshelves aren’t cluttered and I balance the colors. I have a friend who’s happy place is the ocean. She has ocean bleached shells in her home and a blue color scheme reminiscent of water. I always feel calm in her home. My mom has always loved elements of red in her kitchen. Turns out that in feng shui, red is hot, nourishing and high energy - something her kitchen always is and why it people love to be there. What rooms do you feel peaceful in? You may be practicing feng shui without realizing it! I would love to hear how you practice harmony in your home. Let me know!