Feng shui has been around for millennia among the Chinese, although now it is becoming more and more popular in western culture. While many Asian-inspired pieces of dcor are often labeled fengshui, that is not necessarily the case in other words, just because something is Chinese doesnt make it inherently part of the feng shui thought. So, then, what is feng shui? We will discuss what feng shui is, and what it isnt, in this article. But more than that, well look at how this ancient Chinese directive can, and does, apply beautifully and seamlessly to modern interiors.

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First of all, what, exactly, is feng shui? Translated, feng means wind; shui means water. Wind and water are considered opposites, but, in Chinese culture, both are important for good health. Wind and water are both large parts of the natural world, which is critical because the earth is considered to be alive and filled with energy, known as qi.

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Simply put, feng shui (pronounced fengshway) is, in Chinese thought, a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. Breaking that down, we learn that feng shui offers precise and specific recommendations to maximize ones space, both in look and feel, and to enhance positive energy.

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Another way to look at feng shui is this: it is both an art and a science, developed more than 3,000 years ago in China, and adhered to by many across the globe still today. Feng shui is complex in its teachings of energy balance, but it is simple in its goal, which is to assure good fortune for people inhabiting that space. Of course, good fortune doesnt look the same for everyone, everywhere.

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Some people desire better health, others wealth, some improved relationships, etc. The list goes on and is as unique as individuals are. This is partly why feng shui is so complex it addresses all these circumstances of fortune and has rules to enhance each aspect. Feng shui centers on five elements as one of its core and basic principles.

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The five elements of feng shui are: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each of these elements is represented by a specific color, which is one of the easiest and most common ways to begin to incorporate feng shui into your interior.

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The color of wood element is green.

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The color of fire element is red.

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The color of earth element is brown.

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The color of metal element is white.

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The color of water element is blue.

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Although they each are represented by their own color, these five feng shui elements interact with each other complexly and necessarily. These interactions, or ways of relating to each other, can be divided up into cycles. The two main cycles are the productive cycle and the destructive cycle.

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In the productive cycle, each element supports another, which in turn supports another, until the cycle is complete. For example, wood supports the fire element, fire supports the earth element, earth supports the metal element, metal supports the water element, and water supports the wood elementand so it goes, in a cycle of creation that is, essentially, productive.

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Conversely, the destructive cycle is one where the elements break each other down. (Photo is not indicative of the destructive cycle.) For example, wood weakens the earth element, earth weakens the water element, water weakens (or completely destroys) the fire element, fire weakens/melts the metal element, and metal weakens/cuts the wood element. Bam. No more elements in the destructive cycle. You can see why this would have an adverse effect on a spaces positive qi.

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Knowing these five elements of feng shui, and how they can enhance or weaken each other, is key to being able to incorporate feng shui decorating techniques into any space. This is important, whether you know it or not, in modern interiors as much as it is in Chinese spaces.

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As weve discussed already in this article, decorating with feng shui rules in mind is a powerful technique to maximize the good feeling and aesthetic (well call this energy) in a space. While we need to keep all five feng shui elements in mind while decorating, ensuring that their relationship is productive and not destructive, well take a look at each of the elements alone to see how they work in modern interiors.

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There are specific places to use these elements in true feng shui decorating, although we will not be discussing the elements specific recommended placement here.

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The wood element in feng shui incorporates energy of vitality, expansion, and far-reaching vision. Pause for a minute and reflect on what these concepts mean to you and to your space. What does the energy of life, abundance, growth, steadiness, and survival look like to you?

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The wood element is green, although its brown, too. Wood element is progress, upward, joyful, growing, and grounded all at once. When you consider a healthy plant, youll recognize that its health is a result of deep roots, of the plants stretch in the air toward the sun and sky. Balancing the critical grounding role of the roots with the ever-expanding growth upward creates a really amazing and uplifting energy.

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That is the sort of energy that wood element can bring into your space when used in accordance with the productive feng shui principles.

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Wood feng shui element is an important decorating tool for positive energy when your vision is cloudy or doubtful, when energy is low or nonexistent, when you are feeling stagnant, when youre confused, or when you simply need a boost in health or abundance in life.

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When decorating with feng shui elements, such as wood element, in your modern interior, youll want to consider color, shape, and specific dcor. Wood element is incorporated beautifully via green and brown colors, rectangles, and healthy plant life. Consider a potted plant, green area rug, brown throw pillows, or artwork that incorporates forest-y images.

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While literal fire is part of the fire element in feng shui, it is not the only component. Realistically, the energy of the fire element actually stems from the energy of the bright sun. Does that change this element in your mind? Think happy sunshine, warm celebrations, and exhilarating achievements.

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Along with those celebratory, energetic moments, strong fire element also brings with it passion, romance, and sexual desire. Fire is warming, nourishing, and sustaining.

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Just as the sun makes it possible for life to exist on this earth, fire element makes it possible for positive energy to exist in a space. Without fire element, the bright, happy feng shui energy would simply not exist. Sit for a moment and reflect on what fire element means to you and your space.

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The success of incorporating this element depends on your ability to identify when and where to use it boldly, when and where to use it sparingly, and when and where to completely avoid it. Fire element is the warmth and cozy glow of a candle or a fire in the hearth. Yet it is also the heart-pumping siren of danger or stop.

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Fire feng shui element is an important decorating tool for positive energy when you need a creative or motivational boost, when you feel cold and/or alone, or when you crave attention and recognition. Basically, if youre feeling weak in certain areas, the fire element will surround you with strength to help you through.

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Fire feng shui element is represented by deep and bold colors red, orange, yellow, purple, magenta, pink. It is expressed best in pointy shapes, such as triangles and stars, and by using actual fire-related dcor items. Surprise, surprise. You might consider magenta candles, yellow lamps, artwork incorporating actual fire, red rugs or carpet, etc.

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Earth feng shui is critical in interior design. Of course, all five elements are important because they support each other and would tumble like dominoes if one were removed. But earth is particularly important for spaces that need positive energy in the areas of stability, support, trust, patience, and nourishment.

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Our lives and even the world as we know it have a tendency to pick up the pace, either instantaneously or gradually, and become a hectic whirlwind of lists and tasks and responsibilities and needs. In online efforts to connect, we can find ourselves becoming more and more disconnected and isolated. Earth element in feng shui is a very real decorating tool that combats this artificial life.

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Earth element, no pun intended, grounds us. We come back to ourselves in a calm and reassuring way. Our efforts, in all areas of life, are stabilized and supported within the scope of earth element. It is nurturing, protective, strong, sustaining, healing, and patient.

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Note: In feng shui, the earth element is supported (or produced) by the fire element. The connection between these two elements is strong, which means that where earth element is present in your home, fire element should be present as well, at least a little bit. What does earth element feel like to you, in your life and in your space? If you feel it deadening your outlook, you might need less earth element and more fire or water element.

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Earth feng shui element is an important decorating tool for when you need to feel centered and at peace, when you need support and steadiness in your creativity and responsibilities, and anyplace where steadiness and consistency will enhance your outlook. This could be in relationships, your work, or your health, which are important areas to identify so you can coordinate earth elements usage in appropriate spaces in your home.

Earth feng shui element is represented by brown, taupe, sand, and cream (and all the colors in between). Shapes are balanced, such as a square, or wavy, and objects that incorporate earth element include crystals, stones, and pottery. You could incorporate earthy landscapes into your artwork, although remember the focus is on earth and not water or trees. Earth element dcor could include pottery, taupe furniture, landscape art, and/or sandy area rugs.

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While the love of color in dcor is a very real (and necessary) thing, there is something about the color white that infuses a space with unmatchable calm, lightness, purity, freshness, and crispness. Metal element brings with it serenity and peace to a space and enhances that very energy along with it.

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But its not all touchy-feely, this metal feng shui element. It depicts efficiency, preciseness, clarity, and discipline just as much as purity. Ironically, despite its discipline, metal element is often misused in dcor. Either it is used too abundantly to create a cold, sterile (albeit pretty) space, or it is used too sparsely to create an energetic space that lacks structure or necessary visual white space.

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Sit with that thought for a minute. What does metal element look and feel like to you? What does it mean for your space? Are you inadvertently misusing the element, swinging too far to one side of the balance spectrum?

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Metal feng shui element is an important decorating tool for when you need crisp, dynamic energy or clarity of purpose and vision, when you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, or frustrated, when you find yourself battling lethargy and apathy, or when you need clarity of direction.

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Metal feng shui element is represented with white and grey, in a variety of finishes from matte to metallic. Shapes represented well with metal element are round, and many metal dcor pieces automatically incorporate metal element into a space to provide a fresh, strong, and cooling energy. Dcor might include pieces such as white pillows, grey wall dcor, metal objects, white rugs, etc.

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It is no surprise that water, along with its naturally gentle and graceful state, can be incredibly powerful. Water is actually one of the most powerful forces of nature, with two opposing outcomes powerful healing or merciless destruction and this is evident when the water element is integrated into a space.

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It is interesting to note that water is the only one out of feng shuis five elements that can (and does) exist in different states, whether liquid or solid (ice) or gas (vapor/steam). Not only that, but water can be present in a variety of places falling from the sky as rain, running or resting on the earth as rivers or lakes, and penetrating the depths of the globe as underground water sources. With such transformative powers, water element is mysterious and demands respect.

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Consider this for a moment. Feng shui (wind and water) requires this element just as life as we know it requires it. What does water element feel like to you? What does it feel like in your space?

Water feng shui element is an important decorating tool when you feel disconnected to life or your surroundings, when you need a flow of ideas or creativity, when you are sick or hurt in some tangible or intangible way, or when you lack direction or purpose.

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Water feng shui element is represented with blues of every hue and black. Shapes are wavy and curvy, which is no shocker because that mimics the movement of water itself. Mirrors and artwork that depict water bring in the water element to a space. Dcor ideas that incorporate the metal feng shui element include fountains, water images, blue pillows or rugs, etc.

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Most homes have some sort of transitional space between the exterior and the interior of the home, called the entryway, mudroom, or foyer. This space is important for two main reasons: (1) it forms ones first impression of the rest of the home, and (2) it facilitates, hopefully with care, a critical shift from outdoors to indoors. (Much of the information in the following section is based off of Cathleen McCandless book, Feng Shui that Makes Sense.)

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In feng shui spaces, safety equals comfort and relaxation. This is true of the entryway, which serves as a buffer against the hard world and our private happy place. Because of this, the ideal entryway for feng shui is one that is clearly defined and somewhat encased, such as with walls.

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To help define an entryway where one isnt defined, consider adding an area rug right inside the door and some sort of vertical features on either sides of the door, such as a bookshelf or plant or even a chair. Feng shui entryways are often painted in light colors to feel more spacious and inviting.

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Feng shui is practical if nothing else, and the entryway traditionally becomes a dumping ground of sorts if youre not careful. Be sure to make available organizational objects to help combat this a bench for storing shoes, for example, and hooks for hanging outdoor clothing or hats. Even a decorative box to hold keys, sunglasses, wallets, mail, etc. will do wonders for a more relaxed entryway.

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A note on mirrors in the entryway: They are better placed on the walls of the entryway rather than directly opposite the front door, as it is unnerving for someone entering the home to feel like someone is walking toward them.

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The living room, family room, and even great room all serve one universal purpose (although they may be divided up in different homes, depending on the space constraints), which is to be a room for gathering.

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While feng shui does have specific guidelines for furniture placement, ultimately the goal is to achieve a comfortable surrounding (which those guidelines tend to do), and this may look different in specific homes. A good rule of thumb is to place seating arrangements within eight feet of each other, to facilitate comfort and good conversation. Although its best to avoid placing two identically sized pieces of furniture (e.g., sofas and/or loveseats) directly across from each other, as it makes people feel exposed and vulnerable, which is bad feng shui.

Link:
Feng Shui: What it is, its Five Elements, and Basic ...

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September 10, 2018 at 8:42 pm by admin
Category: Feng Shui