Feng Shui Decorating Tips
Feng shui master and interior designer Catherine Brophy shares her best tips for making every room in your house feel calm and happy. By Nicole Sforza
Expert advice to smooth the way, from San Francisco interior designer Kimberly Ayres and New York City wallpaper master Al Hoxha.
On Seating, Shapes, and Spatial Relations
Where should the sofa be?
Against a solid wall—ideally, the wall farthest from the entry—with a clear view of the door. Leave a few inches of breathing
room between the sofa and the wall.
If you don't have a wall to put the sofa against, how can a floating sofa work?
Put a console behind it, topped with tall, sturdy lamps, so you feel more secure. Add a mirror opposite the sofa so you can see behind you. That makes you feel protected.
What's the biggest feng shui mistake you see in living rooms?
An awkward seating plan that's not conducive to conversation, like if the couch is 10 feet from the nearest chair or all the seating is pushed up against different walls.
How close should seating be?
There's no formula, but you want an intimate arrangement that invites people in. Furniture should be close but not jammed together. And each seat needs a surface on which to rest a drink or a book. That makes it more welcoming.
What about flow?
In general, you shouldn't hit any furniture as you go across the space. For example, it's not great to walk into the back of a sofa as you enter the room. And if there's a walkway into another room, it has to be clear.
Tell us about coffee tables.
A square or rectangular table may not feel as good as a circular or oval one, which lets energy move around more easily. You don't want harsh angles pointing at people.
So circles are good?
For a coffee table, yes. But, overall, a mix of shapes is important. Squares represent earth; rectangles, wood; triangles, fire. Round and oval items represent metal. The living room will feel most balanced if it includes all of them.