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Feng Shui: The Living Room

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For many of us the living room is the true heart of the home, so it’s important to get the sheng chi (beneficial energy) flowing. Samantha Wong reports

One of the reasons minimalist design schemes appeal to so many of us is that they radiate sheng chi (beneficial energy). A pared back, clutter-free room is harmonious and well-balanced; it’s calming without being dull and it has a sense of flow – all essentials for good feng shui.

So, if you are reworking your living room to improve the feng shui, start by decluttering it. Throw out what you can (that pile of old magazines on the coffee table) and find storage solutions for things you use on a regular basis. It’s worth investing in a few simple pieces that will free up space – perhaps you need a bookcase or a couple of side tables with in-built storage.

You’re aiming to fill your room with only the (attractive) necessities, and this goes for larger pieces too – get rid of the chair you never sit in and the painting you no longer look at.

The basic elements
Paring down will immediately up the feel of any living room, as will giving some thought to furniture placement. Work with scale and proportion to create harmony between pieces of furniture, and make sure there’s enough space for chi to flow. Group chairs to promote conversation and togetherness, and put the TV in a cabinet so that you can really switch off from it every now and then.

A word here about tech – televisions, stereos, computers and phones are all associated with yang (male energy), so you need to go big on ying (female) energy elsewhere in the living room. This is easy enough to achieve – avoid painting the walls stark white opting instead for cream or earth tones, and swap out any overpowering paintings or oversized pieces of furniture. Minimalist design schemes rely on clean lines and angular shapes but be sure to introduce a few ying boosting curves. A circular coffee table will immediately soften things up, as will curvy design motifs on your soft furnishings.

Another thing you need to ensure in the living room, as in every room in the home, is that each of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) is well represented.

We’ve talked, in previous issues, about how you can up the presence of a particular element in a room through colour use. For instance, you can invite more wood energy
into a room by introducing some green-coloured or real-wood furnishings. But note that the shapes you choose to decorate with are also important, since each shape represents a specific element. Triangles and stars are associated with fire, squares with earth, round shapes with metal, curvy shapes with water, and rectangles with wood.

Chi can’t flow in a room filled with stagnant air, so be mindful about that and open your windows regularly. You can also freshen a room by burning incense sticks or, better, using an aromatherapy diffuser. The healing power of essential oils works on many levels, making a room smell good, while purifying its energy.

Good lighting is another must. Don’t limit your living room to a single ceiling lamp because si chi (bad feng-shui energy) breeds in both harshly- and dimly-lit spaces. Layered lighting works best, meaning you have a number of fixtures – ceiling, standing and table – placed liberally around the room. Fire up some candles too.

Minimalist design relies on angular shapes but you also need a few ying-boosting curves

Playing with fire
Mirrors are another great way to bounce light around a living room, while also making the space look bigger. They introduce a calm, fresh energy but they possess a lot of magic, so you need to be a little bit cautious with them.

Mirrors literally and metaphorically double what they reflect, which means they need to reflect something positive, like a beautiful view or favourite piece of furniture. A mirror above the sofa might look stylish but if it’s reflecting a neglected corner, that feeling is likely being doubled in your life.

Mirrors are also linked to self-esteem, so stick to full-length ones in which you can see yourself completely. If your body is ‘cut’ in your reflection, your energy is cut, and you’re telling yourself that you don’t measure up.

Lastly, it’s time to throw caution to the wind and play with fire.

You can brighten any space with a splash of red and in so doing you introduce the fire element of joy, warmth, love and excitement. Good feng shui is all about balance, so you’ll want a good mix of colours in your living room but pick up a rug or throw in a warm and nurturing shade of red and you’ll feel the benefit.

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