Believe it or not, your living environment has a direct impact on your overall well-being. For this reason, it is essential to create a home that feels balanced and uplifting. And what better place to start than by embracing some basic feng shui living room tips.
The ancient Chinese practice focuses on Qi, a power of positivity that correlates with the way objects are arranged in a space. There are simple feng shui directions to help your space flow better – and look good too. Scroll down for advice from feng shui experts, designer Anjie Cho, Reiko Gomez of Reiko Design, and Amanda Amato of AMA Designs & Interiors. You’ll appreciate their take on how to turn your living room into a relaxing oasis that improves your mind, body and soul.
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Set the intent for the space
Living rooms are designed for a variety of purposes – some are cozy retreats to relax in after a long day of work, others are designed with relaxation in mind. And while you can match the room’s colors, layout, and decor to the overall intent, keep in mind that the room should be thought of as a meeting place, be it just for your household or guests. “The expression indicates that it is a place to live,” explains Cho. “Often closer to the front door, it’s more of a public space in your home as opposed to the bedroom or office, so the colors and layout should reflect that.”
Amato prefers bold hues if guests often visit your home and soothing hues for those with a more relaxed lifestyle. “If the living room is lively and often used for entertainment, it would be appropriate to add hints of more energetic colors such as yellow and orange. If your living room is mainly used for relaxing at the end of the day, then a soothing and subdued color palette would be more appropriate.”
Bring in the five elements
Feng shui uses the five elements – earth, wood, fire, metal and water – to describe the physical and energetic world around us. “It’s important to balance the five elements to create a harmonious environment,” says Amato. You can achieve this with your decor or “subtly displayed in other ways with intent”. For example, instead of going for the color red, consider using everything from animal prints to triangular shapes to represent the fire element in your living room.
Choose colors, textures and shapes wisely
Although, yes, you should always go for colors that you are naturally attracted to, there are a number of palettes, ranging from warm neutrals to bright grays, which feng shui experts tend to lean towards in a living room. In addition, there are certain shapes and textures to look for when choosing furniture. Here’s what Amato says it’s worth keeping on your radar:
- Soil: low, square or rectangular furniture to ground the space, warm earth tones such as brown, gold, yellow and clay; geometric patterns; pottery and porcelain materials
- Wood: long, vertical lines; shades of green; botanical and floral patterns; live plants; high furniture
- Firework: triangular shapes; leather materials; animal prints; lighting and candles; spiky objects and abstract art
- Metal: round shapes and arches; metallic colors ranging from shades of white to silver or gray; shiny fabrics; and circle patterns
- Water: irregular and round shapes; ocean blues from light to dark; iridescent and reflective materials or fabrics
Let the bank take “command”
If possible, try not to have the back of your sofa facing the entrance to your living room. “An ideal furniture arrangement is one where when you enter the room you can see the sofa ‘greeting’ you,” says Gomez. “This will draw you into the embrace of the room.”
But let’s face it: there are some design schemes that aren’t conducive to this layout. The solution? Add a narrow console table behind your sofa to display decorative table lamps, accessories, an orchid or even a water feature. “This way, the person sitting on the sofa feels more protected from people coming behind them, while those entering the room have a more attractive view,” she adds.
Amato also likes to weave in a mirror when the sofa cannot be put in the “command” position. “Put up a mirror so the owner can see the entrance if it’s not possible to see the door,” she says.
Create a seamless sense of flow
Your home should feel cohesive in the world of feng shui. Power is important. It can be as simple as being able to easily walk through the living room or maintain an attractive, uncluttered space. “If you twist and turn too much to get around furniture pieces, or if you find yourself squeezing between chairs, your setup is too cramped,” says Gomez. “Open things up and possibly remove one or two pieces of furniture to increase the flow of Qi.”
Lighting an interior requires balance. You’d be amazed at how much a dimly lit room can put a damper on your mood. On the other hand, if a room is too bright, it can be distracting. For these reasons, Gomez likes lighting in layers. “The best solution is to use different types of lamps, such as low table lamps for mood lighting, along with recessed ceiling lamps for general lighting. And place lamps on dimmers where possible.”
“Plants bring wood elements into a room,” says Cho. “They bring growth and vitality, but they are very healing.” In other words, they breathe life into a space. Amato recommends plants with rounded leaves — think jade, golden pothos and lucky bamboo plants. But Gomez says you should stay away from cacti. “Select soft, lush plants with feathery leaves rather than anything sharp or pointy,” she says.
Be aware with mirrors and wall art
There are a few guidelines to follow when hanging mirrors and wall art (stick to serene prints such as images of the beach). In feng shui, placing these pieces too low can bring your mood down, so a good rule of thumb is to hang them an inch higher than you normally would. It helps to pull the eye up.
Place seats around your fireplace
A fireplace can certainly be the centerpiece of the living room (the command position). Arrange furniture around it for a warm and welcoming feeling. To dress it up, a mirror or black artwork is ideal.
It is believed that clean windows help to bring more happiness and success in your professional life. “Metaphorically, if your windows are dirty, it’s said that your outlook on life is clouded or that you can’t see the opportunities around you,” says Amato.
Keep clutter to a minimum
Take the time to clear out clutter that has taken up your space. “You may have had some blockages with how you connect with the world and others and that is reflected in feng shui,” says Cho. “Acknowledge and be gentle, try to tackle one thing at a time and ask for help if you need it.”
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