For years, we’ve looked to influencers from Marie Kondo to Joanna Gaines to help us organize and beautify our homes. Whether we are trying to remodel or just create a space that “sparks joy,” we love getting expert advice on how to make our houses (or apartments, condos, or townhomes) a comforting, welcoming oasis.
As the Coronavirus pandemic swept the globe and turned our lives upside down, we have needed our homes to be our sanctuary like never before. I wear a lot of hats as a wife, new mother, and executive, and travel a lot for what I do. For the first time in a long time, all my worlds are colliding in one space, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and I have not traveled anywhere by plane in months. For me, and for all of us, this transition has not been easy!
Being at home 24/7 has certainly increased my interest in the Feng Shui Method. I am intrigued by this ancient Chinese geomancy system, which uses energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The literal translation for Feng Shui is “wind and water” which the Chinese associate with good health and fortune. I don’t know about you, but I can use all the good health, good fortune, and good vibes I can get right now!
I love the idea of looking at our living and working environment and striking a balance with the natural world. The Feng Shui Method and its basic principles are derived from the concept of human life being connected and flowing with the environment around it. The idea is to add the 5 elements; water, wood, fire, earth, and metal to help achieve a more relaxing space.
The good news is that you may have some of these elements in your space already, and can add other elements to your space over time. Take it in bite-sized pieces so you don’t get overwhelmed with the process. If there is a room or area of your home that you want to feel more relaxing, start there.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Flex Your Green Thumb
If you don’t have live plants or greenery around your home, this is a small investment that can make a big difference in the way your environment looks and feels. A simple house plant or bamboo arrangement can truly transform your space. Studies show house plants can boost your concentration, creativity, and productivity, as well as reduce stress and fatigue. Another wonderful benefit is that they clean the air in your home by absorbing toxins and producing more oxygen.
Focus on Fragrance
Aromatherapy is a powerful way to improve your mental and physical well being. Burn your favorite candle to fill your home with your favorite soothing scent. Get an essential oil diffuser and let mood-boosting, disinfecting aromas fill the air. You’ll keep your home feeling fresh and clean, while also helping you feel more relaxed and refreshed.
Let There Be Light
Good lighting is essential to creating a positive living and working environment. Open the curtains and blinds and use natural light whenever you can. Install dimmers switches so you can set the lighting to your desired level of ambiance throughout the day. Invest in lamps and fixtures that you love and that compliment your decor. Avoid harsh fluorescent or canned incandescent lighting whenever you can, as they can leave you feeling drained and inhibit the airy, positive atmosphere you’re trying to create.
Set the Tone with Good Tunes
Have you ever noticed how quickly music can make or break your mood? Whether you like pop, R&B, or bluegrass, a great tune can brighten your whole day, motivating you to be a happier, healthier, and more productive person. In my house, we love opera music! We always have the inspiring sounds of the opera greats like Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti echoing throughout our home as we work, eat, and even rock our baby girl to sleep.
Cut the Clutter
This tip speaks for itself, as clutter truly is the enemy of Feng Shui! Clutter brings stagnant, low, and confusing energy that drains you. Depending on the area of your home where your clutter is located, it can also negatively influence or completely block the flow of energy in many areas of your life. Eliminating clutter creates a space that’s easier to manage and keep organized. If this decluttering step feels a bit overwhelming, just start small. Begin with a desk drawer, a nightstand, one shelf in the pantry, or one section of the kitchen counter. In this case, less really does mean more!
Be Intentional with Colors
There is extensive research on how colors impact our mood and energy. Be intentional with the palettes you select for your most sacred space. If you want to feel more strong and powerful, red may be the way to go. Perhaps you want to be calmed by more soothing blue and green tones. Or maybe you want to go with a soft yellow to spark happiness and creativity. There are so many helpful websites and Pinterest boards to advise and inspire you in the area of color selection. Take your time and make a thoughtful choice for this place where you spend the majority of your time.
Get the Water Flowing
Don’t you love the sight of a magnificent waterfall or the soothing sound of waves crashing on the beach? You may not be able to create the sound of a babbling brook or rain on a tin roof in your home, but you can add a water element such as a small fountain or aquarium to create a more serene environment. The sound of flowing water can help you feel more peaceful and unwind after a long and stressful day.
In my experience, great design comes down to two things, aesthetics and function. You have to love not only how your space looks, but also how it makes you feel. And all this means nothing if the space does not work for your lifestyle or needs.
We all know what it’s like to walk into a room and just feel like something feels off, missing, or out of place. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt this way when I enter a hotel room or a friend’s house and wish I could reorganize the whole place. In the same way, we all know what it’s like to walk into an exquisitely-designed space only to realize it’s not practical or comfortable. The best spaces can do it all, and that’s where good Feng Shui can be the game-changer!
There’s a lot more that goes into this method, and I personally intend to incorporate more of the principles throughout my home in the months ahead.
Do you rely on Feng Shui to make your living and workspace beautiful, relaxing, and functional? Share your tips in the comments below so the GiaMel community can benefit from your experience!