Originating in China over 3,000 years ago, feng shui is an ancient practice of harnessing good fortune, positive energy, and creating harmony in a space. Translating to “wind and water,” feng shui is an unassailable influence on today’s homebuyers, especially those purchasing luxury Silicon Valley homes in Saratoga, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto and in Santa Cruz County.
According to a study conducted in 2015 by Better Homes & Garden Real Estate and the Asian Real Estate Association of America, 86 percent of Chinese-Americans take the principles of feng shui into account when buying a residence. 79 percent of those surveyed stated they would pay more for a property that embraced feng shui philosophies. And even those who don’t take this practice into conscious consideration innately appreciate the appealing design it creates.
The feng shui of a home is influenced by its internal and external environment. A residence that adheres to feng shui principles will have an East-facing entry to welcome the morning light, be set in a welcoming community with clean streets and good neighbors, and the land behind the home will be without a slope. Feng shui also discourages having front and back doors that directly align as this results in the escape of positive energy from the home.
Internally, harmony and positive energy is defined by the overall layout of the home coupled with placement of furnishings and use of finishes. To realize a beautifully balanced home environment, feng shui equalizes the feminine and masculine forces of “yin and yang,” incorporates the five natural elements of fire, water, earth, wind, and metal, and works with these in conjunction with the inhabitants’ birthdates. Whether you are one who believes wholeheartedly in feng shui, a harmonious home attained by applying its ideologies can benefit the inhabitants mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Although feng shui is multifaceted, there are six basic principles that can easily be applied in every home to welcome positive energy, good fortune, and create a harmonious space.
- Find each room’s commanding location
The key to happiness and health, a room’s commanding location is the spot farthest from the doorway. When placing furnishings such as desks, beds, and sofas, it is preferred to have them at a diagonal facing the entrance. This invites a sense of control, enabling occupants to see what’s coming, both literally and figuratively. If the room layout doesn’t allow full visibility of the doorway, strategic placement of a mirror can easily offset this issue.
- Good energy entryway
The first impression of your home, the proper feng shui of the external entry as well as the foyer are key. An inviting, lush pathway leading to an impressive front door that opens into a welcoming, calming entryway harnesses good Qi (pronounced chee), or energy. It is best if there isn’t a staircase or wall immediately inside the home. Serene, beautiful artwork and mirrors that reflect the positive Qi into the home also summon balance and creates a favorable environment. Entryway mirrors shouldn’t face the door, which escorts good energy outward.
- The five elements
Represent nature with the use of material, color, and texture to represent the five natural elements of fire, water, wind, earth, and metal. The balancing of these components throughout the residence is another way in which a harmonious home is accomplished.
Just as attractive landscaping provides desirable curb appeal, the practice of feng shui includes the addition of plants inside the home. Plants clean the air and provide a calming, stress-reducing influence. As with everything, there must be a balance between too much and too little. And, because of their “alive, awakening” energy, plants should not be placed in bedrooms as they are not conducive to healthful sleep.
- Less is more
Clutter is a definite feng shui no-no. It inhibits creativity and productivity, causing an increase in stress for homeowners and their families. Clutter also blocks the free flow of positive energy not to mention hinders the movement within rooms and takes up usable space in closets, on countertops, and other surfaces. To help remove unneeded items, use the Marie Kondo philosophy of only keeping those things that bring joy.
- Focus on people
Throughout your home, seating should be arranged for comfort, connection, and welcoming conversation. Chairs and sofas should be directly across from one another rather than at angles, which place people “at odds.” Furnishing should be away from walls to create open, airy living spaces that provide intimacy as well as suitable current of traffic and energy.
By incorporating some or all of these feng shui basics, your home is well on its way to becoming a place of tranquility, wellbeing, and creativity. To learn more about feng shui in your home as well as how to apply these ageless principles throughout your life, click here.