Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that focuses on finding balance and harmony between elements of wood, metal, earth, water, and fire; between the cardinal directions; and across a Bagua map. Doing so helps chi, or energy, flow around your home in a more positive way, promoting physical and mental health, success, and healthy relationships. The name itself represents the “flowing” elements found in the natural world: “feng” meaning “wind,” and “shui” meaning “water.”
Basically, feng shui puts purpose behind placement. It’s rejuvenating remodeling, if you will. There are two basic schools of feng shui: classical and Black Sect (also known as Black Hat or Western). The former is the traditional method of feng shui practiced in China and places much greater emphasis on astrology and the cardinal directions, creating an ultra-specific energy flow for an individual house. Western feng shui is more generalized -- meaning it’s a lot easier to follow. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on Western feng shui.
Before you start throwing out couches and buying new area rugs, there are a few feng shui basics you’ll need to know to optimize the energy of your home’s living area.
The five elements of feng shui dictate specific areas of our lives and are represented by different types of colors, furniture, and other decorative elements.
A Bagua map shows the flow of energy throughout a specific floor plan. The map is arranged in a 3x3 grid, and each of the nine sections represents an important area of personal life. A Bagua map is read by laying the 3x3 grid over your home’s floor plan (if there are multiple floors, each level has its own Bagua map arrangement). In Western feng shui practice, the map is aligned so the front door is located at the bottom of the grid. The square grid is most easily read over square or rectangular floor plans, but you can still use a Bagua map on irregular or lopsided floor plans.
All nine quadrants are represented by one of the five feng shui elements and can be emphasized (or dampened) by including or avoiding certain furniture, colors, and other decorative elements. The basics of the nine Bagua sections are as follows:
Because feng shui depends on the flow of energy based on your specific Bagua map, every house’s optimal living room arrangement, furniture, and decoration will be different. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow for prime energy flow in your house’s living room regardless of where it’s located on your Bagua map.