How to Design Your Home with Feng Shui

The Art and Science of House Design

Pink flowers of bougainvillea growing around a staircase in Rhodes, Greece.
The pathway to your door should not form a straight line. Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images News Collection/Getty Images

The ancient principles of Feng Shui involve many complicated rules about colors, forms, and spacial design. However, you can incorporate positive "ch'i" (energy) into your home by following some simple guidelines.

Architectural Design and Feng Shui Principles:

  1. Select a square or rectangular lot which is level. Water views are especially desirable, but don't get too close.
  2. Place your front door so that it is easily accessible from the road. However, the pathway to your door should not form a straight line.
  1. Build only one front door. Never build double doors or two front entryways.
  2. Avoid rock gardens or obstructions near the entryway. Keep hedges trimmed back.
  3. Consult a ba-gua chart to select the most harmonious placement of rooms.
  4. Strive for high, well-lit ceilings.
  5. Pay special attention to the placement of doors, windows, and stairways. Avoid long corridors and awkward or cramped floor plans.
  6. Consider the relationship between light, color, and mood. Avoid strong overhead lighting and dark, monotone color schemes. Shift the energy of your home with color.
  7. Always seek clean lines and open spaces. Try to keep your new home free of clutter and debris.

More Design Tips for your Home:

  1. Listen closely to your instincts. What room arrangements make you feel most comfortable?
  2. If your architect does not embrace feng shui ideas, consider hiring a feng shui consultant to assist during the design process.
  3. Fill your new home with love and light. Honor it with a celebration.

    A Case Study: Feng Shui Gone Wrong

    Feng Shui aspires to create harmony in your home. What happens when designers deliberately break the rules? The set for the splash TV series Big Brother is a lesson in bad feng shui.

    Big Brother Television:

    When it aired in Europe and then Great Britain back in 2000, the television show Big Brother became the world's most widely viewed docudrama—a chance for voyeurs to watch real people living inside a camera-filled house during prime time, five nights a week.

    Now, the Big Brother reality series franchise has spread to the United States, bringing with it a new way of thinking about home design.

    The concept for the Big Brother show is Orwellian: Ten strangers spend three months under 24-hour surveillance in a bare-basics, 1,800 square foot house. There are two bedrooms furnished with six twin beds and two bunk beds. The bathroom has one toilet, one shower, a washboard and a washtub. The house is equipped with twenty-eight cameras, sixty microphones and sixty-nine camera windows and two-way mirrors. Nine windows face the yard.

    Bad Feng Shui?

    These factors alone are enough to make most people uneasy. But, to add to the general unrest, designers who created the house for the American version of the show have admitted to using feng shui ideas—to purposely create disharmony!  Follow the rules, and you will have harmony in your home, say feng shui believers. Break the rules, and.... Well, just look inside the Big Brother house to see the impact of disharmonious design.

    The Front Door

    The front door to your home should always be protected, say feng shui designers. Curving pathways to the entrance protect the home from angular energy. However, the long path that leads to the Big Brother house is like an arrow, pointing accusingly at the front door.

    Definitely bad feng shui.

    The Living Room

    The heart of family life, the living room is where you should be able to relax and enjoy companionship. Feng Shui experts strive to facilitate a positive flow of energy through this area. But in the Big Brother living room, designers worked to do just the opposite. Windows and doors are located on the north wall. There is no exit on the south side. Since energy must enter and exit through the same path, there is constant confusion and conflict. The presence of cameras and two-way mirrors add to this dynamic. Feng Shui designers often use mirrors to direct energy, and in the Big Brother living room, mirrors are placed directly across from the large windows on the north-facing wall. By reflecting and intensifying energy waves, these mirrors create perpetual disturbance.

    The Bedroom

    Your bedroom is a place of rest, privacy, intimacy and refuge. If this room is not a place of harmony, the negative energy will harm your marriage, your home life and your physical well-being, say feng shui pros. In the Big Brother house, the men's bedroom is in a secure location beyond the living area. Although it is not protected from the gaze of Big Brother, its positioning does offer some security. However, the women's bedroom is deliberately placed to create a sense of exposure and vulnerability. It is located directly across from the front door.

    The Red Room

    One of the most important, and most turbulent, spaces in the Big Brother house is the Red Room. Here the occupants communicate with Big Brother, seek counsel from a doctor or psychologist, or speak privately with the TV producers. Designers drew upon feng shui principles to create dissonance. First of all, the color scheme is disharmonious. The dark reds and wine shades emphasize the power of Big Brother. Moreover, the small room has only one chair. Visitors must sit with their backs to the door, facing a mirror, where they are certain to feel vulnerable.

    Colors

    Color sends strong messages. Change the shade of your walls and doors and your life is transformed, say feng shui believers. For the Big Brother house, designers used color to influence the emotional tone. In stark contrast to the disharmonious Red Room, many other areas of the house are painted soft yellow and muted gray. According to feng shui, the color yellow corresponds to the Five Energies—Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood.

    Yellow is considered appropriate for kitchens, but confusing and unrestful for living areas. The color gray is said to promote introspection. By painting the bathroom mostly gray, the Big Brother designers gave the house occupants a much-needed relief from the overall atmosphere of discord.

    Lighting

    Light is energy, and feng shui designers pay attention to its effects. Harsh overhead lights are to be avoided at all costs. Even when the lights are turned off, energy will stream through the electrical circuitry, creating dissonance. The Big Brother house has diffused lighting which softly glows from a border around each room. This ensures crisp video images, and also helps create a calm, comfortable environment. So it happens that the lighting is perhaps the only aspect of the the Big Brother house that truly expresses "good feng shui."

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