Feng Shui Decorating Tips

This post looks at using feng shui for decorating our homes by following the following principles:

1. Yin and Yang

2. The Five Elements

3. Directions

The previous post provided an introduction to feng shui with some practical applications. The next post will look at using feng shui to increase wealth.

1. Yin and Yang

Yin literally means shade, and is associated with quiet, passiveness, femininity. Yang literally means light, associated with activity, brightness, masculinity. Together they represent harmony which derives from balancing the two opposite forces in nature. This balance facilitates the effective flow of chi or energy throughout your home.


Your bedroom, for example, is yin and should be organised in a way that promotes rest. This includes painting the room with cool or dark colours towards the blue end of the spectrum. Ideally, you should not have any yang elements like the TV or computer, which disrupt rest.


Your living room, on the other hand, is yang because the family gathers there, so decorations should promote activity. Suitable decor would be bold or strong colours at the red end of the spectrum. You could increase yang energy here by including living things like plants and fish.

Yin Yang balance

Each room should be balanced in terms of yin and yang features. If the room is full of heavy, dark furniture, balance this with a splash of colour in the form of a bright painting or lamp. If the room’s decor is bold and colourful, balance this with neutral or cool shades in the drapes or chair cushions.

2. The Five Elements

Water refers to anything that flows. You could include a feature like a fountain or aquarium, or hang a painting of the sea.

Fire is an agent of change, and can transform other objects. Candles and electric lamps are good to have here.

Wood is anything that is growing, such as living plants. Your wooden table is considered yin wood, while plants are yang wood.

Metal includes metal and man-made objects like TVs, computers, and other electronic gadgets.

Earth is the basis from which life springs. Rocks, crystals and gem stones represent this element.

Primary Directions of the 5 Elements

To achieve harmony in your home through feng shui decorating, all five elements should be present. Each element ‘lives’ in a different location in your home, represented by the coloured circles below:

feng shui decorating tipsThe creative cycle is shown in the above diagram by the clear boxes. Water helps wood to grow, wood feeds fire, fire produces earth (via ash), earth’s veins give metal, metal leads to water. The box touching each circle suggests the type of features you could introduce in each part of your home to increase the strength of the element that lives there.

For instance, to increase the wood element in the eastern section of your home, you could add some water features like a fountain here. To increase the fire element in the south, you could add some living plants which represent wood.

3. Directions

Directions that you face for a significant amount of time, like the bed in which you sleep or the study table at which you work, play an important role in feng shui.

Science actually supports this view to an extent. Your mitrochondria (magnetic cell structures which give you energy at a cellular level) align in a north-south direction if you sleep in this direction. If you sleep in any other direction, the mitrochondria apparently line up randomly. So our bodies may be influenced by the directions we face for prolonged periods. Fact or superstition? Your guess is as good as mine.

General tips

Your back should never face an opening like a door or window because then you are unsupported. This makes sense because you wouldn’t want to be surprised by an intruder and literally stabbed in the back. Better to have a ‘commanding view’ by facing the door so you’ll know when someone enters.

Position chairs so that people tend to face each other instead of the TV. This increased interaction will increase the yang energy in the room.

Chairs should be at 90- or 45-degree angles rather than a confrontational face-to-face set-up. (This trick is commonly used in negotiating to help people feel more at ease with each other rather than feeling they are on literally opposite sides.)

Try not to face a mirror when you sleep. Seeing your reflection is great in a dance studio or living room, but not when you’re trying to wind down and rest since movements even in the corner of your eye are distracting.

Your feet should not point out the door when you sleep – this is known as the ‘coffin position’. Sounds like bad luck? It is. Also don’t position your bed in the straight line between the door and windows, since chi will then rush past you as you sleep, instead of gently lingering around your bed to energise you.

Does feng shui decorating really work?

I really don’t know. I do seem to have a lot of good things happening to me lately though.

Joyful Days has just been featured by the Blog Review Team on Do You Digg It. I feel so honoured and don’t know what I did for this to happen, so I’ll conveniently attribute it to good feng shui, just to get you to take this post more seriously!

This is Part 2 of a 4-part Feng Shui series: