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Feng Shui Decorating: Colors & the Bagua Diagram

Updated on July 29, 2011

By: Jaclyn Popola

Once you've learned the basic principles of feng shui, it is time to start obeying the almighty bagua. The bagua is a diagram divided into nine sections that guides the practices of feng shui placement. Each segment is assigned to at least one aspect of life (career, family, marriage), a natural element (earth, wood, fire, water) and a color. These concepts can be applied to either an individual room, or else the map can also be used on an entire building to determine which rooms should be used for what purposes. Align the bottom edge of the bagua with whichever door (or window) is on the wall of your house facing direction. If there is no opening on that wall, use the room's door as your bottom edge. Aligned with the map, the door will be in the ken, kan or chien lower spaces (called a "gua"), depending on the size and shape of the room.

The Ba'gua Diagram
The Ba'gua Diagram
Now that you have positioned the diagram, you will be able to see which section of the room correlates with which aspect in life. Each particular section must be treated accordingly. Here is a description of each gua, beginning with the rear left.

Prosperity & Wealth -- (rear left) WOOD This area, which represents money, is critical. Following basic principles of physics, feng shui believes that like attracts like. Place an object that symbolizes wealth in this section of the room, something that holds personal significance to you. It could be a photograph of a successful person you admire or the most expensive item you own (your laptop computer, for example). Some people simply store their cash and coins in this area. If money is unimportant to you, use this space to display the people you are grateful for, such as your children or lifelong friends. Prosperity is ruled by the color purple, so try to place something purple in this gua.

Fame & Reputation -- (rear middle) FIRE This area is to be treated with seriousness and respect. Do not place trinkets or gag gifts in this gua. Instead, utilize this space to display your high school diploma or Master's degree or playbills from shows you have starred in. This is also the place for storing successful projects, such as closed accounts or the receipts from artwork you have sold. Fire rules this area, and fire fuels fame so burning candles in this section is a good idea. Barring that, include something that is colored red.

Love, Marriage & Relationships -- (rear right) EARTH This is the place to foster the growth of a current relationship or inspire the consummation of a new one. It is in this area that wedding photos should be proudly displayed or photo albums, love letters, tokens of affection and the like should be stored. Place items that come in pairs in this area: doves, dolphins, hearts, even mandarin ducks (which mate for life). Pinks and whites, the traditional colors of love, govern this area.

Health & Family -- (middle left) WOOD Integrate the elements of wood and water into this section of the room. Green is the best color for enhancing the family gua, so place a bouquet of fresh flowers (which have green stems and leaves) into a vase of fresh water. By doing so, you will be incorporating living elements into your space, which will stimulate your health. Placing photographs of your family in wooden frames is also effective.

The use of wood elements and green tones promote the energy, or chi, flowing through this room
The use of wood elements and green tones promote the energy, or chi, flowing through this room
At the center of the bagua lies the Tai Chi. This is an area of Yin and Yang, a place for achieving wholeness through the harmony of opposites, the place where masculine meets feminine. It is an area of personal healing and awareness of the need for change. This area is the core of the room, and takes away any stress that could potentially be formed through conflicting symbols in the other eight gua. This is a great area for meditating, and it should be decorated with religious symbols or anything else that inspires your spirit.

Creativity & Children -- (middle right) METAL If you work in a creative field such as graphic design, illustrating or advertising, you will benefit from enhancing this section. This gua should be filled with color (particularly whites and pastels), light and other sources of inspiration. A beautiful picture or set of books that inspire your creative juices should be placed in this area. Creativity and children are grouped together in the bagua because we are all at our most imaginative when we are children, before the structure and closed-mindedness of society shuts down our creativity.

Skills & Knowledge -- (front left) EARTH If the room you're decorating is your office, either at work or at home, this is the gua you want to focus on the most. Keep this area well lit to represent your inner illumination and, since it is ruled by the element earth and shades of blue-green keep freshly potted plants around.

Career & Life Path -- (front middle) WATER This is the section to focus on if you are embarking on a new career or life path. Water is representative of the unstoppable flow of life, so aquariums work great in this gua. You can also place pictures of the ocean, sand in a bottle souveniers, or seashells collected from the seashore in this area. Incorporate dark tones, such as black, into this area wherever possible.

Helpful People & Travel -- (front right) METAL When making upcoming travel plans, or when you are in need of a guiding hand to help lead you out of sticky situations, it is a good idea to enhance this area of the room. This section helps you become more synchronized with your life. Because metal is the element of the Helpful People and Travel gua, and grey is the color that rules this space, it helps to put a grey or silver (preferably metal) box in this section. Helpful people are often seen as "guardian angels", so some practitioners of feng shui will place a prayer of thanks or prayer note in the metal box. Using the box to thank the world (or God, Allah, your higher power or higher consciousness) for the blessings you already have helps to attract into your world the blessings you are still in need of. Like attracts like, remember?

Through the practices of feng shui, we can start living in alignment with the universal energies surrounding us at all times.


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    • JJabz profile image


      2 years ago

      Very helpful!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great focus on the bagua. Such an important part of the feng shui design

    • profile image

      Judy Perrone 

      10 years ago

      Very interesting. I am very intrigued by this topic!

    • bonifat profile image


      12 years ago from Jakarta

      Nice article. I like this.


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