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What is Feng Shui? Décor to Give Harmony

Updated on June 21, 2015
TessSchlesinger profile image

Tessa has worked as an interior designer, designed clothing, make up artist,and decorator. She has various qualifications in the field.

What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is a way of arranging the space and items around you so that they have a positive impact on your inner well being. It also takes into account the general climate around which the home or office building is built. For instance, in ancient China where this evolved, it might be considered good Feng Shui to build a habitat against a hill in order to provide additional protection against the elements.

Yin and Yang play an important part. If the Chi (Qi or life energy) acts in a negative way towards someone, then that energy is 'stopped' by using its opposite.

A Major Principle of Feng Shui is Qi or the Life Force

In China, it is recognized that there is a life force that permeates everything. This life force has an emotional component and if we arrange things in a certain way, it impacts on our emotions. For different people with different types of Qi, items will be placed in differing positions. For some other principles, they will remain the same, regardless of place and personal type of Qi.

In order to promote familiarity, the words Qi, chi, life energy, and life force are used interchangeably as they all denote the same thing. Chi is part of Chinese medicine and it is this that is accessed through acupuncture. It is also part of the Chinese Zodiac in which the type of life energy people inbibe when they are born is recognized.

Qi or Chi
Qi or Chi

Common Factors in Feng Shui

In all of Feng Shui, emptiness plays a key role as does tidiness, cleanliness, and good organization. The decorating school of thought that advances a lot of clutter as homely is in exact contradiction of Feng Shui. European decorating styles are more in line with good Feng Shui than American ones in this respect. The reason there is a need for a lot of empty space in Feng Shui is so that the Qi has a clear path to follow.

Another common attribute that runs right through Feng Shui is tidiness. In a way, this can be linked to organization. Well, not quite, but we'll cover them in the same breadth. Tidiness generally means that everything has a place and remains there. This means that one always knows where a particular item is and where to store it when it has been in use. It is in this respect that organization links through to tidiness.

Cleanliness is vital because it impacts on hygiene. As Feng Shui is the 'science' of ensuring well being in the home (and office), this makes sense.

Click the picture on your right to find out when Feng Shui feels right.

Feng Shui is Different for Each Person

Each person is born at a different time and a different place. The degree of this difference is the degree to which their life energy differs. For instance, someone born in 1961 will have different life energy to someone born in 1962, and someone born at 11 am in the morning will have different energy to someone born at 7 pm in the evening. In addition to that, the place where one lives will have its own energy and the people with whom one interacts on a daily basis will have their life energy intermix with yours. All of this will mean that in order to create the kind of 'life field' that creates a positive environment for you, you must have your home in a certain place, facing a certain direction, using certain colors, arranged in a particular way, and focusing on certain items.

The second most expense house in the world is empty because it has the wrong Feng Shui!


Feng Shui Fact or Fiction?

Some people accept everything that Feng Shui teaches, e.g.three legged toads bring good luck, that Bagua mirrors reflect bad luck, that pictures of water will substitute for the real thing, and that silk plants will substitute for real plants.

Others stick to the principles that correspond to western science, that the architecture and dcor around us affect our mood, and our mood affects our ability to function in a positive way.

Some of the myths are myths and always will be myths. Three legged toads do not exist and cannot possibly be lucky. Mirrors on the other hand can be used to enhance space and, therefore, creates a positive ambience. The human brain does not differentiate between a picture of the sea or a plant and the real thing. However, the plant absorbs all the carbon dioxide in the air and the sea provides extra ozone in one’s surroundings. So it’s a bit of both.

Feng Shui Books and the Chinese Zodiac

It's best to use two Feng Shui books - one for the practical businses of space arrangement and décor, and the other for the more subtle life force info. Knowing your Chinese Zodiac information will help you make choices that are compatible with Feng Shui

Remember that Feng Shui is not so much about placing lucky ornaments but about arranging the space in a way that creates a peaceful ambience.

Feng Shui that Makes Sense - Easy Ways to Create a Home that FEELS as Good as it Looks
Feng Shui that Makes Sense - Easy Ways to Create a Home that FEELS as Good as it Looks

This Feng Shui book is much easier to follow for the most. That's because it doesn't have any of the 'myths' which I spoke about above. It uses good, practical Feng Shui Rules to make you feel comfortable and happin in your home.


Different Schools of Feng Shui

Compass, Flying Star, Eight Mansions?

There are several different schools of Feng Shui – the Compass and Non-compass school. Essentially the compass school uses a compass to determine where items must be placed while the non-compass school doesn’t. Then there’s the Form school which looks at the surroundings and tries to see the shape of the different zodiac animals in trees, clouds, mud, land, buildings, etc. They then use this information to determine where items are going to be placed so that the Qi can have a good path to follow. The Three-gate school was developed in the 70s in New York and it uses the front door to determine how everything else will be placed. For the sake of brevity, I’m just going to mention some of the other schools – Eight Mansions school, Eight Directions school. And the Flying Star school.

Generally when there’s this kind of contradiction, you can be pretty sure that it’s more myth than fact.

Can Feng Shui in Your Life - Bill Gates, Donald Trump, etc.

If one takes the central principle of Feng Shui - optimal arrangement of space and items so that Qi (your life energy) is optimized, then Feng Shui is a good thing. It's no accident that people like Bill Gates and Donald Trump have utilized the concepts of Feng Shui in their homes and offices.

Indeed, India's richest man, and the ninth richest man in the world, billionaire Mukesh Ambani will not live in Antililia in Mumbai because it doesn't obey the Hindu version of Feng Shui.

It's probably going over the top to say that Feng Shui will change your life, but it will make your home a nicer place to live, and that will have an optimal effect over the medium to longer term.

© 2013 Tessa Schlesinger

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