Combining the functionality of our living environment with the principles of the natural world is the root of feng shui.
The words themselves translate to wind and water, which comes from an ancient Chinese poem that reflects on how life would be most ideal if we connect with the environment around us throughout our daily lives.
The basic principles of feng shui – the commanding position, the five elements, and the Bagua– all center around the observance of nature and how to arrange your surroundings to reflect nature for a more soothing home environment.
The Commanding Position
The commanding position is probably the most widely known element of feng shui. This principal deals with the position of yourself and the items within your environment. When decorating your home, the commanding position will govern where you place furniture within the room to have the best and most relaxing experience while you’re in the space.
The commanding position is most important when placing furniture items, like the bed, desk and stove within their respective rooms. That’s because in feng shui, your bed represents you, your desk represents your career, and your stove is how you nourish your body each day.
When using the commanding position to decorate a space, consider these basic principles:
- When you’re in your bedroom, office or kitchen, you should be facing the door without being directly in line with the door. That means your bed, desk, and stove should always be diagonal from a door for the best feng shui in a room.
- The placement of your bed or desk should also have good backing. Avoid placing the most important piece of furniture with a window at your back, for example, to ensure you have a strong protective energy at your back as you’re working or sleeping.
The Five Elements
Part of the Taoist tradition of feng shui, the five elements (or five phases) help divide life into five basic categories. All these categories are interdependent and related, creating a robust system that works together at all times. The purpose of feng shui is to balance all five elements in harmony.
Each of the five elements has its own distinct qualities that work together to create harmony in an environment:
- Earth. The earth element is grounded and stable. It is often flat or square and features colors in shades of brown, orange, and yellow. Earth transitions between the seasons, not sticking to one season in particular.
- Metal. The metal element is efficient and precise. It features circular or spherical shapes in whites and metallics. The season of metal is autumn.
- Water. The water element is constantly flowing and shifting. That means its shape is wavy and curvy. The color associated with water is black and the season of water is winter.
- Wood. The wood element is expansive and vital. Wood elements are often columnar or rectangular in shape and feature green and blues. The season of wood is spring.
- Fire. The fire element represents passion and brilliance. Its shape is represented in triangles and pointy figures. The color of fire is red and the season is summer.
Each of the areas of the Bagua (see below) is associated with an element. Using the features of each element within the corresponding Bagua can help improve the overall feng shui of a space, creating a connected harmony between your home and the natural element associated with it.
In addition to the commanding position, applying the Bagua or energy map, to your home is another way to improve the feng shui in your home. The Bagua consists of eight different areas surrounding a center of overall health and wellness.
The eight areas of the Bagua include:
- Zhen (family)
- Xun (wealth)
- Tai Qi (health)
- Qian (helpful people)
- Dui (children)
- Gen (knowledge)
- Li (Fame)
- Kan (Career)
- Kun (partnerships)
To apply the bagua to your home, it’s often recommended to choose between one and three areas of your life that you hope to improve and focus on those areas, using the color and shape of that area to activate the energy throughout the space.
To improve different Bagua areas in your home, consider implementing these concepts in different spaces throughout your home:
- Zhen: columns or rectangular shapes, greens, blues, teal, yang wood, and the number 4
- Xun: columns or rectangular shapes, purple, yin wood, and the number 5
- Tai Qi: Flat or oval shapes, brown, orange, yellow, Earth elements, and the number 5
- Qian: Circular or spherical shapes, grays and metallics, yang metal, and the number 6
- Dui: Circular or spherical shapes, whites and metallics, yin metal, and the number 7
- Gen: Flat or square shapes, dark blues, earth elements, and the number 8
- Li: Triangles and pointy shapes, red, fire elements, and the number 9
- Kan: Wavy or curvy shapes, black, water elements, and the number 1
- Kun: Flat or square shapes, pink, earth elements and the number 2