Furniture Arranging with Feng Shui

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to totally transform the energy in a room is to simply move the furniture. Here’s the thing: Far more important than the style and color of your couch and how much you paid for it, how you arrange your furniture is absolutely key to the feel and function of a space. And nowhere is that more important than a living room or family room.

I’ve seen sofas placed like barricades, blocking easy entry (and energy flow) into a room. I’ve seen them backed up against windows so as to prohibit the easy operation of blinds and shades. I’ve seen furniture arrangements so confused, you’d need a GPS to figure out the traffic flow in the room. In all of these situations, the rooms ended up being barely used by the homes’ inhabitants—the furniture placement literally blocked relationships and family togetherness, and did nothing to enhance social gatherings.

But there is one phenomenon that I’ve found more common than all the others. I call it the “Pushing All the Furniture Against the Wall” syndrome.

This happens when people position every sofa and chair in a room around its perimeter, backed up to a wall, or stuck in a corner, leaving a big open space in the middle. I’ve seen the syndrome exhibited in homes large and small, and when I ask people why they have chosen to arrange the furniture this way, I inevitably get the same answer: “It makes the room look bigger.”

I recall one jumbo size suburban house I was asked to consult on. You couldn’t have made the home’s vast double-height living room look small even if you tried, yet all of the furniture was lined up against a wall or set in the corners. It looked like you’d have to shout to have a conversation and would need a pair of binoculars to watch TV. It was no surprise to me when the homeowner disclosed that her family tended not to hang out in the room. But when I suggested we move the furniture, she protested: “But won’t that make the room look smaller?”

Here’s what I say: There is no absolute value in a room looking bigger. The more important thing to consider is: What do you want that space to serve in your life? What are some things you and your family want to do in that room and how do you want to feel when you’re in it?

If you practice ballroom dancing in your living room on a daily basis, or your kid uses the room to train for gymnastics competitions, then, by all means, push that furniture up against the wall and leave that open space in the middle. For you, it serves a function.

But for most of us, that is not the case. Our living rooms and family rooms are primarily places to relax, read, entertain, watch television, and connect with a partner and/or our kids. So, want to enhance your family and social life? Pull that lonely furniture away from those walls and think about arranging it in a convivial “U” shape that promotes conversation and eye contact. Or bring  two armchairs out of the corners (where they bock the flow of energy in the room) and set them side by side to face the couch directly, with a coffee table in between (like the lovely room pictured in the photo above). Just remember that a good distance for easy conversing is no more than about 8 ft.

If it is possible to do so, a good Feng Shui rule of thumb is to place your sofa so that its occupants can see the main entrance into the room.

Of course, pulling the furniture away from the walls means moving side tables and lamps as well, which might mean moving them away from wall outlets. To avoid cords trailing across the room, consider having in-floor electrical outlets installed exactly where you need them.

Remember to plan for traffic flow. Decide on the points where people will exit and enter a room, and how they’ll circulate, and leave about 3 feet of clearance for them to move through those spaces.

And what if your living room is also the location of your TV? That’s a subject for a whole other blog post. But I will say this: Unless it’s specifically a media room, orienting all of the furniture around a giant flat-screen TV can have a way of making TV-watching the dominant activity in a room, energetically blocking its potential for other kinds of activities. If that’s not what you want, consider your options carefully.

Finally, there is a ton of great information and ideas on furniture arranging on the web, including a slideshow with tips from Better Homes & Gardens here, one from Traditional Home magazine here, and another on the Apartment Therapy site, here.

So get moving!

 

Eils Lotozo is a Feng Shui expert, writer, and speaker who loves to help and inspire people to create homes that reflect who they are and support the life they want to live.  Read more about Eils.

 

 

Article/Image Source: Furniture Arranging with Feng Shui

Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go

We don’t have to try very hard to find signs that the holidays are fast approaching. Stores are putting up their decorations, many radio stations are playing holiday music and people are already starting to make their holiday “to-do” lists. Read from Kristi Stangeland, the importance of balance and intention in the holidays.

For many of us, these signs of the season are sure-fire stress triggers. Instead of sugar plums, they conjure up visions of lists dancing in their heads: the baking list, the shopping list, the card list, etc.

Do you have a laundry list of things you think you need to do in order to make the holidays “perfect?” For those of us who are guilty of list-overload, I suggest we rethink our holidays.

What would happen if we didn’t:

  • Send holiday cards to people we haven’t seen in 20 years…
  • Try to replicate the picture-perfect centerpiece from that glossy home magazine…
  • Bake 10 different kinds of holiday cookies…
  • Wrap every gift with shiny paper and bows…
  • Host a holiday open house a week before Christmas…

This year I suggest we adopt a Feng Shui approach to the holidays. In an effort to find more serenity in our lives we can do more than de-clutter and re-organize our physical environments. We can also re-evaluate how we manage our time.

Here is a specific technique to help de-clutter our holiday “to-do” lists so we can focus on the things that actually bring us the greatest joy at this time of year.

  • Set aside 30 minutes of time when you will not be interrupted.
  • Take nine minutes to write down all the items on your holiday “to-do” list. You know what I’m talking about: cooking, shopping, wrapping, baking, hosting, etc.
  • Take three deep breaths to clear your mind.  Then set a timer for six minutes and sit in silence, with your eyes downcast or closed. Let your thoughts come and go.
  • When the six minutes are up, review your list with “fresh eyes.” Ask yourself: Does anyone care if this happens? How could I do this differently and with less effort? Can someone else take on this task?
  • Then make a commitment to cross off the items that feel heavy and no longer serve you. Focus instead on those tasks that you truly enjoy.

This kind of mental organizing and decluttering can be very energizing. When we allow ourselves to let go of unrealistic or stressful obligations, we’re apt to discover that those “to dos” that we actually do undertake will be more enjoyable, because we can focus more time on them.

So if you’d rather tap into your inner artist and make your cookies your canvas, then pass on hosting the holiday dinner for 20. Chances are your cookies will be a bigger hit than the green bean casserole anyway.

Here’s to a clutter free holiday. Cheers!

 

Kristi Stangeland is the founder of Feng Shui Consulting Service.  She holds a certificate from the BTB Feng Shui™ Masters Training Program, begun by Professor Thomas Lin Yun. Read more about Kristi.

 

The Perfectly Imperfect Feng Shui Life

As I headed outside this morning to try to get the mowing done before impending weekend storms hampered any outdoor clean up, I mentally was going through my long checklist of things to get done.  Emails to send, contacts to make, updates and web pages…phew, you get the gist.  I was actually kind of cursing having to mow. “I have too much to do!”

Then, I rounded the corner to the front of the house where part of our career gua is outside in the yard.  [GASP, I know.  But some of us bought our house decades ago, before we even had a glint of what Feng Shui is all about.]

Checking that mental “work-to-do list,” I looked over and noticed the weeds first.

In. My. Career. Flower bed.

And then, the bird bath.  Crap; empty and dirty.

Was good career Feng Shui going to happen by leaving that and dashing inside for those all-important-emails?  Or was it better to take the time to “tend my own garden” so to speak.

 

It got me thinking of a conversation from a few days ago, with a dear friend who is also a practitioner and lover of Feng Shui…she felt one of the troubles of our industry, is that none of us want to share our own spaces.  It’s not personal enough; we don’t share enough of ourselves for fear of competition. [Duh, it’s Feng Shui people; stop that!]  Many popular bloggers or instagramers are sharing everything they do in their own house and that’s what makes them so relatable and sharable and watchable [I’m not even sure those are all words, but you get what I am talking about].  How many of us in Feng Shui do that?  Not many.

We seem to be all about: watching the other person, the client, imparting wisdom, and the dang perfect photo or quote to share – the perfect Instagram shot that’s been filtered and lightened and juiced up.  But we aren’t about ourselves.

Afraid to show that you might have something wrong in your space and need to fix it, that sometimes your own Feng Shui eyes get clouded and you need a fresh look…does that mean a potential client might not hire you. Gosh, I hope not. I believe there is an abundance of clients and we all resonate with those who are meant to find us.  [That being said, this is still a business, so get yourself out there and get cracking on your business goals.  It doesn’t happen by sitting on your bum simply loving the magic of Feng Shui.] 

I have thought about this conversation with my friend for a few days, and I actually take it one step further.  And maybe I will shoot myself in the foot and you will all think, “wow, she’s a mess.”  But, here’s where my mind goes…

Maybe it’s also about sharing our vulnerabilities. 

That we are good at what we do BECAUSE of [not in spite of] the things we have going (or not going) in our own “proverbial house.”  So………here’s me:

I tend to think of Feng Shui as not having a lot of shoulds – EXCEPT THE TOILET.  CLOSE THE LID FOR GOODNESS SAKE.  That’s a should. My training at the Western School of Feng Shui taught me a concept that works for me – there aren’t really any bad spaces; just less-than-excellent spaces.  So, I use that phrase a lot.

Yep, my career gua is partially in the yard.  I’ve got a flower bed with bird bath, flowers and evergreens, and a wind chime.  We have plans for some other enhancements in the future.

My wealth gua contains a bathroom.  [Don’t email me.  I know.  Less-than-excellent.  But as a Feng Shui practitioner, I know there are things I can do; and moving this bathroom would be a huge pain and maybe even stupid. And I am not going to move over it.]

Are there beautiful things I would love to have in my house?  Had my eye on a natural crystal or two?  Yes. But I also live with small clumsy people [cough cough kids] so sometimes practicality has to factor in.  How else can I do it?  You gotta be creative sometimes.

I have networking friends who have talked about meditation being really great first thing in the morning.  But with a feisty 6th grader who needs to get on the bus, that’s probably not going to happen at this stage of my life.  But sometime.

Would I love to have a rectangular house to make the bagua that much easier?  You bet.  But I don’t. I can still embrace where I live.

Do I wish the projects in my house were all done. Oh yeah.  But they aren’t…Yet.  It’s a work in progress.

For me, I love my 2 acres.  I love the nature that comes to my door such as deer (my spirit animal), birds, rabbits and squirrels; and just recently, I saw a bald eagle on the lake as I was driving down the block from my house out of the neighborhood.  Swoon. These things make me happy. 

So, today, I’m doing Feng Shui my way.

I am taking a few minutes [after mowing – sigh – and before the emails begin] to clean out that bird bath and weed my career.  I am going to fill the bird feeders that sit outside my Fame and Reputation that I see from my desk; wildlife and animals are terrific fire element enhancements.    And that’s ok.  I will do what I can and what is best for ME and my career, right now, today.

That is good Feng Shui. To me and for me.

Different than yours?  Maybe.

But that’s ok.  It really is.

 

 

 Change happens. Embrace it or move with it finding ways to adapt.

Weeds do grow (faster than should be allowed). Pull them out.

Things break. Fix them.

Being vulnerable and messy is ok.

It’s not a one and done…remind your clients of this too! Feng Shui is a living, breathing love of our lives.  You gotta keep working it.

Above all…

Give yourself grace.  Showing your scars demonstrates that you know what you are talking about.  You’ve lived it.  You live it.  You love it.  Tell your story.

 

Deb Dermyer Lamb is a wife, mother, feng shui practitioner, and still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.  She’s been the office administrator for the IFSG since 2007 and loves, loves, loves that part of her life.  IFSG members are everything to her.  She’s also the current IFSG CEO, since 2017, and previously served on the Board of Directors from 2006 through 2011.

Give her a shout if you have questions about the IFSG, or want to share your messes.

6 Bedroom Feng Shui Tips for Sleep and Support

Why is the bedroom important?
Your bedroom is where you spend a significant amount of time – 1/3 of your life in fact! It’s the space that rejuvenates you and where you rest. This is also the room that is closest to your body and the most intimate. It is closely connected to your health and also to your Partnerships, no matter where it is located within the home. The bedroom is intended for two things only… Rest and Romance! Anything not related to these two things should be placed elsewhere in your home. 

Tip #1 Make your bed daily
You would not come into a luxury hotel and appreciate or expect to see an unmade bed. Making your bed signals a fresh start to the day and welcomes you at the end of the day with a sense of peacefulness.

Tip #2 Ensure you have a solid headboard and foot board
Solid headboards provide support and backing for you in your life, within your business and with your health. They also help couples feel supported by one another.

If you have a headboard that is slatted, remedy this by weaving scarves or material through the headboard slats or placing material behind it. One of my clients hung a cherished quilt over her slatted headboard and immediately felt more supported and slept better!

If you do not have a headboard/foot board, purchase one or for a temporary fix, you can paint a headboard on the wall or paint the wall behind the bed a different color than the rest of the room. Another quick fix I used in a temporary living space was to hang a sari or scarf behind the bed to act as a headboard.

Tip # 3 Clean out under your bed
Make sure there is nothing under your bed as things and clutter under the bed relate to emotional baggage or communication breakdown. The items under your bed can also cause sleep issues. I had one couple storing some things under their bed. She was sleeping fine and he was not. Under his side of the bed, they were storing a relative’s relic gun! If you must store other things under the bed, make sure they are soft things like blankets or clothing.

Tip #4 Revamp your vision wall
You vision wall is at the foot of your bed. This is the last thing you see before you go to sleep at night and the first thing you see in the morning. One of my clients had her work task list posted on that wall! Can you imagine the stress you would feel if this is the first and last thing you saw before you went to sleep? Instead, place a painting or artwork on that wall that inspires you (and your partner). Ideally this would be a restful piece of artwork to bring you to a place of peace at night and in the morning.

Tip # 5 Remove bookshelves
Bookshelves or piles of books in your bedroom is not only very heavy energy, it’s a lot to think about – consider all of the words in those books swirling around in your head while you sleep! Having a book or two on your nightstand is fine. However, move the rest of your books out of the bedroom. One great idea is to place a bookshelf in your closet. That way, you have quick access to your books from the bedroom and their energy is contained.

Tip #6 Remove TVs and electronics
TVs and other electronics and electrical wires present several energetic issues. TVs are a “black hole” that suck energy; and TVs, electrical wires and other electronics also generate electromagnetic smog, which can be harmful to your health.

I recommend either removing the TV from the bedroom (preferred) or covering it while you sleep (a beautiful fabric throw can be used for this purpose.) Electronics (such as electrical wires, cell phones or Ipads) should be kept at least 18” from the bed.

Create an oasis in your bedroom and this will soon become your favorite room. You’ll feel more relaxed, calmer and more rested every day which positively impacts every other area of your life!

  

Kim JulenArticle contributed by Kim Julen, IFSG Membership Director

Kim Julen, founder of Finding Your Fiji, is a dynamic thought leader, writer, entrepreneur, speaker and shift master. She provides unique tools, guidance and courses to bring harmony to your head, heart and home. Read more about Kim.

www.FindingYourFiji.com

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design: a strange term. Hmmmm, just like feng shui!

So What is Biophilic Design?

And they are related in another way, too. They both are about connecting humanity to the natural world.

First, the word biophilia was a term coined by psychologist Erich Fromm in the 1960’s (and later explored by biologist E.O. Wilson in the 1980’s). It refers to our love of life.

We feel good in nature and many architects and designers started taking note that growing mental illness in modern society may be linked somehow to our soulless modern buildings and environments.

But rather than studying the ancient principles of feng shui, they created a new discipline.

But that’s okay, I’m not that frustrated (smile).

As long as the end goal is the same: that we create environments that not only look good, but feel good!

Biophilic design is backed up by environmental psychology, which studies the impact buildings have on human behavior.

It has been found that healthy human development (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is contingent upon access to the natural world.

Now, many buildings and communities are being built with biophilic design principles. Hotels, healthcare facilities, even corporate offices and housing developments have incorporated elements of nature into the design of their spaces.

So even if they don’t call it “feng shui”, that’s okay, as long as we are being nourished in our spaces and respect Mother Earth!

Since I’ve been studying biophilic design, I’ve created my own list of principles connected to each of the Five Elements of nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. I wrote about this in my book, Creating Luminous Spaces.

 

Additional reads if you want to learn more:

  • Biophilia Hypothesis, by E.O. Wilson
  • Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, by Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, Martin Mador

Photo credits: Pixabay.com, WikiImages – Yale University’s Kroon Hall, built with biophilic design and LEED

 

Maureen Calamia is author of Creating Luminous Spaces: Use the Five Elements for Balance and Harmony in Your Home and in Your Life (Conari Press). She is also founder of the Re-Nature philosophy based on the premise that we need to restore nature back into our lives, our homes, and spirits.

 

 

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