Updated: Jan 9
By Alexander Powers
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making now the perfect time to step back and assess whether your environment is conducive to your mental well-being.
A great way to promote positive mental health at home is through Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese practice developed over 3,000 years ago that works to achieve harmony and balance in a space through décor and furniture arrangement. It is rooted in the concept of controlling the direction and flow of "chi," or the energy that runs through all living things.
Here are a few easy ways to achieve Feng Shui in your home's interior design.
Declutter Your Space
Have you ever felt a sense of calm and clarity after cleaning up a messy space?
According to the principles of Feng Shui, this is largely because chi is able to flow freely through your living space without becoming bogged down, stagnant, and stale.
From a practical standpoint, spending every day looking for items and becoming increasingly overwhelmed by mess and lack of organization can lead to a buildup of negative thoughts and feelings that spill into your everyday life. Look into organizers and alternative storage methods to remove clutter and let your space breathe. Also, consider donating clothing and other items to local charities and thrift shops.
Place Your Bed in a Commanding Position
When assessing your bedroom, take into account the placement of your bed. According to Feng Shui, it should be in the Commanding Position, meaning placed diagonally from the bedroom door with the headboard against a solid wall, as opposed to a window. When lying in bed, you should be able to easily see your room's entrance/exit without being in line with it.
This position is considered ideal for promoting feelings of safety, control, and security while allowing you to receive positive energy and opportunities. Also, since the chi flowing into the room is not hitting you directly, the position is also thought to promote restful sleep.
If the layout of your room makes it difficult or impossible to rearrange your furniture in such a way, consider placing a nightstand or plant next to your bed to help redirect chi and allow you to sleep with ease. You can also position a freestanding mirror in a way that lets you see your bedroom door from your bed.
Incorporate the Five Elements
Derived from the Taoist philosophy, the five elements of Feng Shui—earth, water, wood, fire, and metal— work together to create balance. According to BHS Palm Beach Agent and Feng Shui enthusiast, Ashley Copeland, utilizing all five elements in your interior design can give a space a sense of harmony.
“It is very important that a room has balance and harmony to be pleasing to the eye. Balance is achieved using color and form to give proportion and a sense of rhythm throughout the room. Harmony is equally important in that all the elements used should fit together in style and mood. Balancing color, shapes, and materials will pull the look together.” — Ashley Copeland
Earth energy helps ground us and generate a feeling of stability. Too much of it, and you can feel sluggish and weighed down. Too little of it, and you risk feeling a sense of chaos and disorganization.
Ways you can incorporate Earth energy into home design include pottery; earth tones like brown, tan, or orange; square or rectangular frames and mirrors; furniture with low, flat surfaces; and landscape art and photography.
According to Feng Shui, balanced water energy provides wisdom, emotional stability, and promotes connection with those around us. It can be brought out by designs with dark hues of blue and black, as well as wavy and whimsical shapes
Ashley Copeland brought the element of water into her own home by incorporating blue pops of color throughout her living room. The blues are anchored by neutrals and earth tones, helping achieve balance.
Also note the whimsical, swirled design of the accent pillows on her couch.
Be careful not to incorporate too much water energy. Doing so can lead to a sense of imbalance and a surplus of emotion. Too little, and you can end up feeling stressed, irritable, and antisocial.
Wood is related to growth, creativity, and vitality. In terms of design, it closely overlaps with is earth energy and is represented by green, blue, and teal, as well as furniture and decor with tall, columnar shapes.
Along with wood furniture and decor, green houseplants are an easy way to introduce the wood element into your home.
Without enough wood energy in a space, you risk feeling depressed and stunted. An overabundance of wood can make you feel overwhelmed, rigid, and stubborn.
Fire represents passion, inspiration, and leadership. It is related to vibrant colors like red, purple, and orange, as well as triangular shapes.
An overabundance of fire can promote feelings of anger and aggression, while too little can lead to insensitivity and low self-esteem.
Light is also connected to the fire element. Candles, like this brass 8-wick mindfulness candle from Pottery Barn, are a great way to add the fire element to your home.
Metal involves precision, promoting mental clarity, accuracy, and focus. Per Feng Shui, too much metal in a space can lead to mindless chatter and disorganized thought. Too little can cause a lack of focus and depleted conversation skills.
Incorporating colors like white and gray can bring the beneficial qualities of the metal element into your space.
Metal light fixtures are also a great place to start, as electronics of any kind are also considered proponents of the element. Additionally, you can display metal picture frames, wind chimes, and dishes and flatware.
Establish Welcoming, Open Entryways
In Feng Shui, doors are seen as the main entry and exit points for opportunities and abundance. Your home’s entryways should be free of any obstacles. Accent materials that help define entryways, such as welcome mats and colorful rugs , can also create a welcoming space that attracts and promotes -positivity.
If your front door is aligned with the back door, make sure one of them is closed when the other is opened. This prevents positive energy entering your home from escaping out of the back door, also known as "runaway chi."
Add Greenery Wherever Possible
Along with inspiring wood energy in a space, houseplants can counteract and filter negative chi while purifying the air you breathe. They can also enhance our connection to nature and foster health, prosperity, and nourishment.
Plants are great for any space, but they are especially ideal for bathrooms and offices, as they promote feelings of zen while promoting creativity and vitality.
Keep in mind that, according to Feng Shui principles, plants are alive and thus emit yang (active) rather than yin (calm) energy, so consider limiting how many plants you keep in your bedroom.