If you’re not quite sure where to start, Chow has a few general pointers: yellow (earth) can aid digestion and, being associated with gold, it’s great to have in the kitchen or at your dining table to signify abundance. Living rooms in soothing tones like beige (also earth) and brown (wood) can help create a relaxed atmosphere which can in turn promote good health. Bedrooms should have a “fiery” touch or two for a good sex life (red, purple, orange and pink). For your office corner go for white and gray (metal) to enhance focus, blue (water) for calm and green (wood) for new beginnings.
“Decluttering is key to positive feng shui,” Chow says. “It opens up room for yourself.” To have good qi, she explains, it’s essential to release any stagnant energy by regularly purging and keeping things tidy—starting with your entryway.
“The entryway is the first space you step in, and sets the tone for the rest of the apartment,” Chow says. “If you’re tripping over socks or shoes, the qi is going to be compromised from the get-go.” She suggests investing in a shoe rack, coat hanger, and storage units for your umbrellas, but also a plant or two (with round leaves, not pointy, as those are considered uninviting to good energy), to make the whole area more welcoming.
If your front door opens straight into the living room or a hallway, try to create a faux foyer. Make sure the furniture and accessories around the area point to a clear path into the rest of your apartment and buffer the outside energy by placing a rug, a chair or artwork by the entrance. “The space should give you and your guests the chance to pause and collect yourselves before coming in,” Chow says.
Additionally, clean up your workspace and clear out under your bed to let the qi circulate more freely and nourish you as you sleep. If, like me, you deem your under-bed storage space pretty essential, try to stock it with things that are energetically neutral: soft pillows and bed linens, seasonal clothing and blankets.
Rearrange and assess your command positions
If you always bump into a chair or the corner of your sofa, those items are likely hindering the house energy flow. “Imagine a river flowing through your apartment,” says Chow. “If it’s getting obstructed, something has to change.”
Chow also suggests checking your command positions—essentially, the anchor points of each room, which best enable you to “control your energy and feel in charge of the space,” she says. Command positions are always farthest from the door, not in a direct line with it (though they should have a clear view of it), and with strong backing behind them—a wall, a cabinet, a bookshelf. Your bed, sofa, and desk should ideally be in a command position, so move them around, even just a little, if the layout allows.
Lastly, and especially if you live in a small or open-plan apartment, add separations between spaces, so as to create clear energy pathways. I placed a second-hand IKEA Kallax between my tiny kitchen and living room, then filled it with books and storage baskets. Tall plants, rugs, and screens work, too.
Hide your knives but show off your food
The kitchen is a feng shui symbol of wealth and prosperity. For optimal qi, stow away anything that’s sharp—including your kitchen knives and utensils. “Having anything sharp on display is considered bad luck,” Chow says. Food, on other hand, should always be on display. Keep colorful fresh fruit in a bowl, store your rice, grains, and pasta in clear glass jars, reorganize your spice rack, and make it a focal point of your space.
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