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Feng Shui literally means wind and water. In Chinese mythology these are the elements associated with good health and wellbeing. Feng Shui as a whole is applying these to interior design to maximise the positive energy and utility of the home environment for a positive life.
For us as interior designers Feng Shui lets us put a different perspective on a home. It is the flow of energy that is the natural part of interior design – to maximise the benefit of the occupants through aesthetic beauty and practical functionality. Here I want to look at some of the traditional Feng Shui practices and how we integrate these into our home designs.
Feng Shui uses 9 core sectors that we can apply to any room of a house or to different rooms to elicit different physical and emotional responses. These form a Bagua Map and are:
In terms of applying this to a single room we use a 9 by 9 grid. Centre and health is the focal point of the room – it draws together all the positive Chi (energy) of the room. When we apply it to a home as a whole each room can have a specific focus but should still bring together all of the elements of the Bagua Map to some degree.
The most important two areas to begin considering are the centre of the house (the self) and the entrance.
The entrance to your home is considered the “Mouth of Chi” in Feng Shui. If you think about this you’ll understand that it is the first place you see when you get home. So it should have positive connotations. Simple choices like plants, light and colour can have a huge impact on your relationship with your home.
The centre of the house conversely ties together everything in the house. Depending on your home’s layout this can either be a hallway or it can be a reception room. This room should tie together everything about you and your own energies. In Feng Shui this is where you put your personality and style at its most prominent – where you draw together everything that you feel is you.
The other areas all are designed to highlight each aspect of your life. They create areas of focus and utility that helps compartmentalise your life without detracting from any part. This separation helps keep us organised and let’s our energy flow more fluidly.
Knowledge- This area of your home should reflect your own pursuit of knowledge. It can be characterised by books, art, antiques, and anything that reminds you of intelligent pursuits.
Career – This area reflects your own career development and aspirations. It can be characterised by certificates, business books, your work space and aspirational objects that appeal to you.
Travel and Helpful People – A reflection of the people that contribute to your life in positive ways; whether it is friends, family or heroes. Mementos, travel souvenirs and photos help personalise this area.
Family and Health – Energy here is characterised by all the special memories of your family whether this is photos, purchases or art. This area should be a real focus of family life designed with family time and sharing firmly in mind.
Child – This is the creative area of the home. It can be characterised by art, poetry and creative relaxation. This can be a reading area with comfy chairs or just an area that enhances your creativity. Design wise we like lots of light and colour in this space to promote positive creative thought.
Wealth – Wealth is signified by money but also by organisation. This should be an area dedicated to personal finance – receipt books, ledgers, banking information and other important information is kept here. In traditional Feng Shui this area can use money, savings banks and other items related to money to promote good fortune.
Reputation and Fame – Reputation and fame refers to your relationships with others and your progressive attitude to life. In terms of design light is incredibly important here as is showcasing your achievements. This area should reflect self and be somewhere you can think positively about your personal journey.
Relationships and Marriage – This area reflects your own relationships and love. It should reflect the warm side of the soul with rich colours and aesthetic beauty.
Whether or not you believe in the energy powers of Feng Shui the Bagua Map process is a fantastic template to divide focus in your interior design – to understand the many threads tying our lives together and trying to reflect all aspects of your personality in one space.