Feng Shui: How to use this ancient Chinese pseudoscience in your home.
Feng Shui and its principles have been around for thousands of years, it’s an ancient body of knowledge and a method of creating harmony within a space, most prevalently in the home.
What is Feng Shui?
What exactly does ‘Feng Shui’ mean? Pronounced “fung shway,” the words themselves translate as “wind-water.” Feng Shui, also known as Chinese geomancy, is pseudoscience originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonise individuals with their surrounding environment. Feng Shui seeks to promote prosperity, good health, and general wellbeing by examining how energy, qi, pronounced “chee,” flows through a room, house, building, or garden. Some elements of Feng Shui’s foundation and practice date back to around 6,000 years ago.
There are two most common and well-known basic principles of Feng Shui: Yin and Yang, and the Five Elements.
Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang is the belief that a balance of the feminine (yin) and the masculine (yang) is necessary to maintain a good flow of qi and a happy and successful life. It is the principle that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites, for example, female-male, dark-light and old-young. It does not mean that they are against one another, such as good vs. evil, but both need each other to exist. Yin and Yang are opposites that are dependent upon one another and must be in balance. The principle of duality—the idea that all things are balanced and a blend of two things—is at the root of the yin/yang theory.
The five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water are all part of the Feng Shui methodology. For example, each can be represented by certain colours that bring harmony to a particular space.
The five elements can interact in any number of ways, some constructive and some destructive. In the productive cycle, each element supports another, which in turn supports another, until the cycle is complete. For example, wood supports the fire element, fire supports the earth element, earth supports the metal element, and so on in a productive cycle. On the other hand, the elements break each other down in the destructive cycle. For example, wood weakens the earth element, earth weakens the water element, water washes away the fire element, fire melts the metal element and metal cuts the wood element.
Feng Shui Principles in Use
Below are some of the Feng Shui principles and details applied to homes, showcasing how our design teams have utilised these ancient techniques and principles in some of our private client projects.
Black and White Spaces
Utilising the Yin and Yang principles inside our Knightsbridge project SW7 075, with the black and white palette showcasing
difference and similarity. They are seen as complimentary opposites and in turn a balance between light and dark, colour and tone.
Clear of Mess and Disorganisation
In project SW7 075, we ensured that the rooms and spaces were devoid of clutter and unnecessary additional items. However, in Feng Shui there are hidden benefits of disorder, called Wabi sabi: the beauty of imperfection.
Add Curve Elements
The curvature of the staircase inside our project SW3 040, is in keeping with the principle of balancing interiors with curves and round objects. Our strong architectural ethos is softened with more organic shapes.
Use Plants Inside and Outside the Home
Organic elements are often introduced to our designs, such as these wall climbers in one of our special projects in Knightsbridge, Lancelot House. In Feng Shui, plants are seen to:
- help to reduce stress
- induce a good mood
- reduce air pollution
- promote creativity
Tips on how to add more Feng Shui in your home from Rigby & Rigby’s Interior Design team:
- Add uplifting elements, for example up lighting to living rooms and bedrooms.
- Create good energy, try and not cut the energy with sharp edges. Avoid sharp corners and use softer edges instead.
- Add a mix of soft and hard elements to create a good balance between the two.
- Reflective objects, such as mirrors, are good to extend the view. However, these should be avoided opposite beds.
- Incorporate air cleansing plants into the interior to purify the air around you. For the bathroom, plants such as lemon balm work well.
- Ensure screen heights are at a comfortable viewing height.
- Ginkgo Biloba and Birch trees are a good choice for the garden.
- The fish symbol has long been associated with abundance and wealth in Feng Shui, one being the Koi fish, but there is also the Arowana and the Goldfish.
- Use organic paint in the home if you can.
- Entrances to be solid and welcoming, clearly defined.
- Important to remember “we shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us.” – Winston Churchill.