As an interior designer and real estate developer, I spend the majority of my time analyzing spaces—dilapidated fixers, construction sites, and beautifully finished homes. Being Chinese, Feng Shui was spoken of casually in my family, but I never took it seriously until I began working in this field. I observed how within myself, my clients, and my friends, our physical environments affect our behavior. I now incorporate Feng Shui into my designs—my goal is to create happiness within the homes I create.
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of designing our home and work environments to optimize our inner harmony. It can be seen as intimidating or “woo woo,” something that only the superstitious, or the wealthy, practice. It can be complicated and mathematical, but our mood and behavior can be altered through very simple changes in our home. Everything we absorb through our senses has a psychological effect on us, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Caring for your home is an opportunity to care for yourself and treat yourself like royalty. When you love your home, you are loving yourself, because your home is an extension of yourself, and it can nourish or deplete you. Putting care into it has nothing to do with how much money you spend; I’ve spent many happy hours in tiny studios furnished with thrift store items—I’ve also been in lavish, multi-million dollar homes that are the last place I would want to lay my head down at night.
Below are six easy Feng Shui tips to refresh your home—sustainably!—and encourage positive chi flow. Walk into a hoarder’s home, you’ll feel the stagnant, negative, chi. Take a walk in a garden, feel the positive chi. Chi is our life force, our energy. Plants have it, humans have it, spaces have it. It’s the breath of the universe.
What’s in your mirror?
Observe the mirrors in your home. If they are reflecting something unpleasant (like the garbage), move the mirror elsewhere; you will have “double” of anything that’s in the mirror reflection. A beautiful painting, for example, may be something you’d like to have double of. The mirrors should be clean and clear. When you stand in front of your mirror, you want to feel celebrated.
Introduce new life.
If possible, have greenery visible from every seated area. Ever notice how happy pets and children are when they are in a park (or how happy you are)? Humans are animals and nature soothes us. No need to go to a plant nursery—you can snip a clipping from a friend’s plant and propagate it. You then have something lovely to share, and your new houseplant has even more meaning.
If you haven’t used something in years, put it aside for donating, or consider having a swap with friends when it’s safe again. In particular, rid your home of items that “nag” you- those pants that are too tight, the vase your aunt gave you that you keep out of guilt. You do not need emotional clutter.
Simplify, and put your skincare to use.
Take a look at your shower and medicine cabinet. Are there multiple products that serve the same use? Streamline your products and be mindful to finish one bottle of shampoo before purchasing the next. That face cream you bought that doesn’t work for you? Use it on your body. The bathroom is where you cleanse yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Keep it simple and clean.
Freshen up naturally.
Incorporate lemon juice into your home cleaning regimen—lemons are known in Feng Shui for clearing bad energy, and citrus brings abundance. A lemon cleaner can be made with vinegar and baking soda. Lemon juice is an excellent natural cleaner; it’s antibacterial and its smell will lift your mood. (Note that it’s an antibacterial, not a disinfectant.)
Know where you are headed.
Make sure your shoes are all pointed the same way, whether they are in the hallway or your closet. Visually, this creates a more clear direction; you will have less confusion about where you are going in life.Learn more about Joanna Lily Wong’s work here and here.
Written by Joanna Lily Wong for Youth To The People