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 Windows, Color, and Clutter
Do you have to cover living-room windows?
That's up to you. Some people love looking outside and seeing life go by; others feel invaded. But if you have a big window
opposite the front door, the energy can fly right out the window, so it's good to address that: Use drapes or blinds. Or put
something in front of the window, like a plant or a pretty reflective bowl, to bounce energy back into the room.
What if you like uncovered windows but your view is of a brick wall or your neighbor's rusty swing set?
You can use sheers to soften the view and divert attention. I'm not a big doodad person, but for an unpleasant sight line, you could hang a crystal in the window to redirect the energy. Any clear, multifaceted crystal will work.
Please don't say that we can't have a TV in the living room.
In feng shui, there are private (yin) spaces, like bedrooms, and public (yang) spaces, like living rooms. A TV in a public space is OK. A television often becomes the focal point, which is fine if that's what you want. But if the intention of the room is, say, to gather the family, then keep the TV in something closed or in a less-than-central spot on the wall, so it doesn't dominate. For a family space, it's also nice to have a soft ottoman in place of a coffee table, so the kids can be in the center of the action.
What else do you think about when you use feng shui in a living room?
Shedding light on dark corners. Lighting activates energy, so have enough light sources that each area of the living room can be well lit when in use. If areas are in the dark, that represents neglect of certain aspects of your life. [See The Eight-Point System of Feng Shui.]
Anything to know about color?
Rich, saturated colors are great in public spaces; red is particularly invigorating. Deep blue and eggplant are also energizing.
What about the little details?
It's important to surround yourself with beauty and items with meaning.
Doesn't that create clutter?
Not if you pare down to the things you truly love. Weave them into a bookshelf, and let the collection grow with your life, editing before you add anything new.
What's one instant living-room trick?
Move a favorite item to a prominent spot. When you walk into the room and see something that brings you joy, you, in turn, will send joy back into the space.