Feng Shui refers to the ancient Chinese principles of spatial arrangement. The phrase comes from the Chinese words for wind (feng) and water (shui). It originated in the belief that both good and evil spiritual influences live in all spaces, From that belief, a system developed for arranging spaces, both public and private, to maximize those forces. Decorating according to Feng Shui principles can be complicated at first, and seeking the help of a guidebook is a good idea. There is no rule, however, that says all decorating choices must adhere to Feng Shui rules, and small touches can be added wherever appropriate.
An essential element of Feng Shui is chi, the omnipresent energy that permeates everything around us. In Feng Shui decorating, the essential goal is to create and maintain a good flow of chi through a living space so that the flow of chi through the body is maximized. Feng Shui decorating seeks to avoid the blockage of chi through a space, which would then negatively impact the flow of chi to the body. Examples of blocked chi would include a doorway that opens to a wall or closet, and rooms overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization. Chi can also be lost through misaligned spaces. In a home where there is a direct line between the entrance door and an exit door, chi would be said to be lost.
Another essential element of Feng Shui decorating is the principle of Yin and Yang. The Yin and Yang theory holds that the universe is composed of two complimentary forces, the Yin, or feminine, and the Yang, or masculine. These forces permeate everything around us, work together, and cannot exist without each other. In a basic sense Yin as a female energy is expressed in black, and Yang as male energy is expressed in white. As energy, Yin is soft, slow, passive and silent, while Yang is aggressive, unyielding, and active. A home decorated according to the principles of Feng Shui will have a healthy balance of these two energies.
An easy way to apply Feng Shui in decorating a home is through the interaction of color. A guide called the Bagua offers direction as to color arrangement in a Feng Shui home. Each color is associated with a different directional area of the home, such as the south or north area. The five elements of Feng Shui color are wood, represented by brown and green; fire, represented by red, orange, purple, pink and strong yellows; earth, represented by light yellows, beige or skin colors, and earth or sandy colors; metal, represented by gray and white colors; water, represented by blue and black colors.
Basic Feng Shui decorating begins with identifying a purpose for each room, how it will be used and who will be using it, and then choosing a focal piece for each room. In addition to maximizing chi, the overall goal in Feng Shui decoration is to create a safe and comfortable space in your own home.