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Improve your Life and your Home with Feng Shui Design

Written by: Stephanie Gauthier

Resident Interior Designer at Wisconsin Log Homes

Ancient Asian feng shui design principals emphasize creating a harmonious environment by blending both man-made and natural materials through placement, color, and meaning, making it an ideal design discipline for some rustic home enthusiasts.

Many supporters of feng shui design are convinced that by making deliberate design choices, occupants can experience positive changes in their home, social, work and wealth areas of their life by harnessing positive energies in the home and pushing out negative ones through placement and design.

The word feng shui translates literally into wind water. In classic feng shui design, balance and harmony in the home is achieved by integrating the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Ch’i is a movable positive or negative life force than can be manipulated in and around the home. Of course, one wants to push negative energy out of the home and attract positive energy.

Here are some basic tips you may want to employ when designing a feng shui inspired rustic home:

-Try to select a regular shaped lot without many sharp angles. Water views are ideal; and if your lot is sloping, position your home so that it’s three-quarters the way up the hill so the hill may support your home and provide protection. This makes walkout basements even more appealing!

-A southern exposure for the main entry and core living area of the home is ideal.

-A home should contain only one main, single entry door. Secondary doors should not compete with the main entry nor enter on the same side of the home. Steer clear of busy and cluttered entryways, keep it open and inviting and lead to the entry with a softly curved walkway.

-In a rustic home, the exterior may be stained in a color similar to the roof, stone, etc. You can achieve feng shui balance by staining your trim and/or front door a contrasting color, and also with colorful vegetation and flowers. Too much of any one color is not harmonious.

-To keep positive energy flowing, design an open floor plan with a distinct public family area surrounded by areas used for sleep and rest, children and creativity, and wealth and work.

-Make locations of doors, windows and stairways a priority. A stairway channels ch’i - stairways should not face the entry as it will channel the positive ch’i out the door, like wealth or love. A straight-run stair speeds up the movement of ch’i while a spiral shape can drain energy from the second floor. Do not place a bedroom door directly facing the stair opening. Stairs should be wide and well lit. Stairs should not be centered in the home as this is compared to having a piercing hole in your heart or not having a heart in your home. Keep them away from the front door and on an exterior side wall, or if necessary to have the stairs in the foyer, place the first step on a 90 degree angle from the main entry.

-Incorporate high well-lit ceilings and avoid ceiling beams over beds or seating areas as they can push pressure down on the occupant. An orderly home is a restful and productive home so ample storage is important to managing the ch’i in your home and to prevent overcrowding or excessive clutter. Never design empty or dark corners in a feng shui inspired home as these corners trap and breed negative energy.

-In great rooms, keep seated occupants facing the doorway, never their back to the door. People are thought to be more at rest when they can see what is coming. Furniture should be made of soft, natural materials and stay away from sharp angles.

-In bedrooms, the bed should always be placed with a solid wall behind it, and the door should be visible from the bed, but the foot should not directly face the doorway as that is represented by the death position and the wind could carry negative ch’i over you through the door during sleep.

-In bathrooms, place a natural arrangement on the top of the toilet tank or above it on a shelf so that you do not flush ch’i away. A bathroom placed near the entry is believed to flush the positive ch’i out of the home before it gets a chance to circulate it. Centrally located bathrooms are also said to be damaging to health and prosperity. You can counteract a central bath by painting it red. Screen the toilet from the rest of the bathroom and if possible, design with a window.

-In kitchens, never place a stove or oven across from water sources like a sink as water and fire elements collide and can ignite family discord. Do not place bedrooms directly above a kitchen as kitchens are a source of heat and fire which can travel upward and are believed to be bad luck.

-The exception to the open concept home is the formal dining room, which should be separate from the kitchen to reduce distractions while having intimate meals. Two doors entering and exiting the space is a great way to keep ch’i moving freely. The table should be centered and there should be ample room for each diner to move about. Circular or rounded edge tables are preferred to stimulate appetite and conversation.

-Color is an important factor in feng shui design. Since too much of one color is out of balance, it is important to bring color into the space to achieve harmony in a home with so much wood and neutral browns. Soft colors are used in bedrooms; more saturated colors in different hues should be used throughout. Since green = wood; red = fire; yellow brown and orange = earth; white, silver, gray and gold = metal; and black and blue = water; then many of these colors should be used to balance the ch’i in your home and should be tastefully used throughout.

-Accessorizing in the feng shui style is easy. Mirrors can be used to reflect, attract or deflect ch’i and make a space appear larger and airier. Anything in numbers of nine or multiples of nine are admired. Placing 9 live plants throughout your home is said to bring good health, while numbers of 4 is considered bad luck. Design a water feature like a waterfall or fountain in the home, but have the fall of water face the home, not away towards the door.

Feng shui is a design principle that cannot be mastered overnight. It is a practice that takes many years to perfect and also to find which key elements work best for you. It is, however, a philosophy gaining momentum in western cultures as the trend towards nesting and making the home a private sanctuary after a hard work day and is a key player in rustic home design yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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