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 Dining Room Tables, Chandeliers, and More
What are some common feng shui issues?
Having a dinky table in a cavernous space. Or too big a table in a tiny space, so once guests are seated, they feel locked
in. You want plenty of room to pull out chairs with enough space behind for people to pass.
General neglect. Some people's dining rooms are a dumping ground for mail, kids' stuff—just a mess that never gets cleared. And in some homes the room is totally ignored; no one ever sets foot in there. This depletes its energy, which makes it even less appealing. If you don't often use the room for meals, activate it in another way. Put a plant there so you're forced to come in and water it. Or bring your laptop in and use the space as an office.
Let's talk about the decor.
The dining room and the kitchen are where we take in and process nutrition; they're critical to healthy functioning. So the dining room's decor shouldn't be out of left field—way more formal than the rest of the house, say. It should reflect who you are.
Crystals are feng shui–ish, so is a crystal chandelier best?
If a crystal chandelier works with your overall style, it's great. But also consider reflective metals, like nickel, brass, or bronze. If you have a lot of other reflective surfaces already in the room, like mirrors and metal sconces, warm wood or linen can make the space feel calmer.
Anything to avoid?
Fixtures that point straight down, targeting all the light into one spot. They focus all the energy in one place, rather than highlighting the abundance of the entire table. Ambient light is inclusive, whereas spots are exclusive.
Is a dining-room rug a feng shui requirement?
It's an individual choice. In feng shui, rugs are grounding; a rug makes a dining room feel more intimate and encourages conversation. But if you have kids, a rug might not be practical.
Does the "round table" rule apply here?
Rectangular or square tables are OK in the dining room because, even though they have corners, no one will be sitting in front of a point, as they might with a coffee table. But if a circular or oval table fits perfectly, it's an excellent choice. Natural materials, like wood, feel solid and warm. The sound of glass hitting glass can cause tension. And people get overly protective with glass tables—anything too precious brings on nervous energy.
Use It Or Lose It
A neglected dining room is a feng shui no-no. If you don't eat in the dining room often, use it for game night, homework, or crafting.