You’ve heard of feng shui. You might even be able to distinguish between apartment interiors decorated with feng shui principles in mind and interiors inspired by other decorating styles. But how much do you know about the ancient Chinese philosophical system? Learn more about feng shui’s origins and defining principles in this post.
Origins and History
To the best of our knowledge, feng shui originated as an astronomical device designed to find correlations between humans and the universe. Today, it is best known as a harmonizing design philosophy. The primary goal of feng shui as an art form is to improve the energy of spaces built and designed by humans.
When learning about feng shui, one of the first concepts students encounter is the bagua diagram, or energy map. The bagua connects the eight cardinal directions (N, NW, W, SW, S, SE, E, NE) to important aspects of one’s life, like career, health, intimate relationships, and spiritual growth. Familiarity with the energy map is key to decorating, cleaning, and maintaining an apartment in accordance with feng shui principles.
Chi, Yin, and Yang
Chi is a feng shui term and principle that essentially translates to “universal energy.” The free flow of unifying energy throughout your apartment is essential to cultivating good feng shui. Related is the theory of yin and yang, which emphasizes the importance of balancing opposing, yet interconnected forces in your life (i.e. feminine and masculine, black and white, chaos and calm). Under feng shui philosophy, this balance is essential for living in harmony with the natural world around you.
The feng shui color wheel differs considerably from the basic color wheel used widely in the visual arts. It is not organized according to the relationships between primary and secondary colors, but by association between color and the five elements of feng shui: earth, fire, metal, water, and wind. Using your apartment’s bagua and the feng shui color wheel, you can determine which colors to use in decorating.
Absence of clutter
Feng shui’s efficacy is predicated on the assertion that clutter be absent from your home and life. Most feng shui masters consider removal of clutter the first and most important step in the design process. The assumption is that clutter sucks up mental energy and impedes organization. Ideally, there will be nothing in your apartment that you do not actively love.
Importance of air and light
Good feng shui requires healthy air and quality lighting. Air-purifying plants, essential oil diffusers, and frequently opened windows can help you on the air quality front. Maximizing natural light and installing fixtures with a range of brightness options (i.e. full-spectrum or ambient lighting) can help with the quality of light in your apartment.
Popular feng shui design elements
As a philosophy, feng shui is relatively simple. But since good feng shui is a personal matter, it is accompanied by few hard-and-fast rules. Your home can have good feng shui with just about any art, furnishings, and trimmings you like in it. Placement of these elements and the way they interact with their environment are what really matter. While apartments with good feng shui can look strikingly different from one another, there are a few chi-promoting decorative elements found especially frequently in feng shui inspired design. These feng shui cures include crystals, fountains and other water features, lucky bamboo, mirrors, and representations of Buddha.
Like what you just read? Why not subscribe to the AMLI Blog so you don’t miss another post?