Have you ever walked into a room and sensed your energy drain away because it felt dark or cluttered? Have you described the opposite kind of room as light and airy? Indoor and outdoor spaces vibrate mood and atmosphere. The Chinese call it feng shui, which literally means “wind and water.” Feng shui is the ancient art of arranging furniture to achieve a positive, harmonious energy flow in a home.
Feng shui has been practiced in China for thousands of years but it has only become a fascination of the Western world in the last decade or two. More and more of Soft Surroundings’ customers are telling us they are using the décor principles of feng shui with our collection of furnishings and accents to create a lighter, more affirmative environment for themselves. And doesn’t that sound like a perfect antidote to stressful modern life?
This Eastern philosophy doesn’t require a massive room makeover. Sometimes, it’s as simple as moving things around a bit. Here are a few ideas to inspire you and give you the feng shui thinking behind them.
Making an Entrance
It all starts here. The entryway is perhaps the most important place to focus on because this is where the flow of energy greets you and your guests several times a day. Plus, isn’t it true that the entry is first place things get cluttered and bottled up? That’s the opposite of feng shui.
“Chi” is the name the Chinese give the electro-magnetic currents that move through spaces. If the pathway toward a home is slightly curved or meandering, the chi comes into the house in a relaxed, positive manner—not too quickly or at sharp angles.
Sharp lines and edges are called “poison arrows” in feng shui thinking and although you couldn’t easily rid a room of all right angles, you can soften them with the addition of oval or round rugs, flowing drapery, or graceful demilune furnishings like our sumptuous, tufted Louis Curve Bench.
Another simple way to create a calming entrance is to hang our stunning St. Honoré Candle Sconce on the wall perpendicular to the door. The St. Honoré supports a 3” pillar on an elegant iron arm. It also has a dazzling sunburst mirror, gilt-finished. The details of this sconce—its round shape, emanating rays, and the flickering light of the candle check all of the boxes for a feng shui sensibility.
But, a caution: don’t put the St. Honoré Sconce directly opposite your front door, because mirrors bounce energy around a room and you don’t want the chi leaving the house as soon as it enters!
One more inspired idea for your feng shui entrance is our shapely St. Kitts Table. The base features a deeply grooved, hand-carved pineapple: the “welcome” symbol in many cultures. The hand-finished circular top and platform base are the perfect size and shape to keep the positive chi flowing through the foyer and into your home.
What’s Your Living Room’s Mood?
Depending on whether you chiefly use your living room to entertain guests or to snuggle in for family movie night, the tenets of feng shui can help cue the mood.
If lively conversation and spicy debate are what you’re trying to achieve, consider adding splashes of red and hints of gold to the room décor. These are elements of strength, good luck and good fortune to the Chinese.
If you’d like to slow down the energy in the main living room to create a tranquil space, try adding earth and water elements like plants, an aquarium or small fountain. Even pieces that imitate nature can do the trick, like our Mignon Tripod Table with faux branches as legs. They’re finished in gold leaf and the round tempered glass top is the ideal compliment to the flashier crisscrosses below.
Bamboo is also a natural in the feng shui philosophy and our Tallis Tray Table unites faux bamboo with mirrored glass, iron and aluminum. The tray itself is removable from the legs when you want to carry and serve. It makes a beautiful addition to living or dining room.
Optimal Energy in the Dining Room
Dining rooms are a little tricky when it comes to feng shui. Most homes have a rectangular dining table and a set of chairs with corners and edges that can disrupt or disconnect the energy flow.
One easy way to take the edge off is to use glasses, dishware and serving pieces made by artisans. Handmade ceramics, hand-blown glass, and carved or bone-handled serving sets are instantly earthy, as are large wooden bowls filled with fruit, spices or walnuts and pecans. Things like this soften the edges and bring the chi back in balance.
Our incredible Heirloom Console is a great example of furniture built with feng shui in mind. Lush, hand-carved laurel swags and medallions break up the flat plane of the apron and gallery. The top is hewn of solid elm with a curved, sweeping edge. The turned legs and claw feet complete the picture—all crafted by the hands of skilled artisans. Place a few of our etched and gilded mercury glass Bastia Apothecary Jars on top of the Heirloom Console and feel the chi circulate.
The Inner Sanctum—The Bedroom
We want our bedrooms to be places of peace and harmony. We yearn for them to be little havens of calm in our chaotic lives. The Chinese couldn’t agree more. Step one in arranging the feng shui bedroom is to position your bed properly. When you lie in bed your feet shouldn’t be pointing out the door. Mirrors should never face the bed. Electronics disrupt chi, so they should be left out of the bedroom and your work area or home office should be located elsewhere too.
Soft, natural colors on the walls, floor and furnishings of your bedroom will also help you slip into slumber more easily. As we all know your sleeping hours are vital to your health.
Sleep, heavenly sleep is guaranteed when the bedding is as soft as ours. The Santorini Collection is a magnificent example. It’s exquisitely quilted and 100% cotton. We adore the sweep of the double-layered skirt with rosettes in the corners.
Our trapunto quilted French Market bedding ensemble is also a feng shui masterpiece and we especially like it paired with our gorgeous Burgundy Headboard.
Two Final Tips….
The essence of feng shui is balance and harmony. In certain rooms, like the bedroom or bath, you might want to slow down the flow of energy to create a serene space. And in the dining room you might want to open up the chi and have it circulate more freely to stimulate appetite and conversation.
Here are two final Soft Surroundings pieces that work toward these ends. For the bedroom or bath, our adorable sleeping angel. Can’t you just feel yourself become calmer while looking at it? And to shift the balance to more energy in a dining or activity room, try our Vintage Panthera Rug. The subdued animal print sets a wild but natural tone.
We can’t wait to hear the ways you’ve created feng shui at home. Please drop us a line in the comment section below.