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 Mirrors, Windows, and Walls
What about the windows?
Dress them, but you don't need anything heavy. You can do sheers. No one wants to feel exposed here.
Where should guests sit?
If you watch people walk into a waiting room or a restaurant, they choose a place where they feel safe—with their backs to the wall. It's nice to let dinner guests sit with a wall behind them, as opposed to an open doorway or windows.
Any magic feng shui props for this spot?
A nice, big mirror reflecting the table is said to double the abundance and bring good fortune.
Mirrors are significant in feng shui. Why?
They can do all kinds of tricks, like recirculate energy and enhance natural light. They draw attention to what they reflect, so if a mirror has an unpleasant view, move it. Hang mirrors high enough that seated guests aren't stuck looking at themselves.
Let's move to the bedroom. Overall tips?
It's best to have an interplay of masculine and feminine details.
What do you mean?
For example, a bed that feels solid but sumptuous, maybe a wood bed frame that has an upholstered headboard. Or gorgeous silk drapes paired with a straight roman shade. This contrast ensures that the room feels balanced: energized yet restful.
Where should the bed go?
Ideally, the head of the bed is on the wall farthest from the door but not directly across from it. Feet pointing directly out the door is known as the coffin position, because it's how the dead are removed in China. A sidewall is also OK—but no matter what, make sure you have a clear view of the door.
What if you're stuck with a layout that demands the coffin position? Yikes!
Put a settee or a high bench at the end of the bed that's slightly taller than the mattress, or place an upholstered screen between the foot of the bed and the entry to shift the energy.
Can one side of the bed be against a wall?
It's OK for kids. But for adults, leave space on both sides. Think about how both people feel in the room. Each should have adequate lighting and easy access to the bed without climbing over the other person. If you're single and looking for a partner, leaving space on both sides of the bed is energetically beneficial.
How do you get that calm, feng shui feel?
It's a combination of safety, with an enveloping bed; coziness, with soft materials; and symmetry, with table lamps and nightstands that create a bookend effect. The bed feels like a little room within a room.
Smoke And Mirrors
A fireplace sends energy out of a home; a mirror above the mantel bounces energy back in. Circles (here, on the mirror's frame), which have no beginning and no end, symbolize the flow of the universe. In feng shui, pairs (such as the vases and the dogs on the mantel) represent love and nurturing.
A feng shui'd bedroom feels comforting and secure. The bed is key: Here, the wings of the headboard "hug" the mattress. When your eye is drawn up, it's said to elevate your mood. So hang an overhead fixture that you love, paint the ceiling a calming color, or mount striking drapes up high.