Q&A Sunday: Laying a Bagua with Unusual Door Placement

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I'm an interior designer just starting to learn about Feng Shui - I just discovered your podcast and I love it! Thank you for sharing your knowledge about this. I popped the floor plan of my apartment into Autocad - It's attached here. I have no idea how you would impose the bagua on this layout, because the entrance is in a strangely shaped corridor in the middle of the space. I would love your opinion on the right way to look at the space. 

Laura K.H., Brooklyn, NY

Hi Laura,

Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your email, and I’m glad you like the podcast! 😃 Hopefully I’ll bring it back one day!

Laying a Bagua with Unusual Door Placement - Floor Plan.png

It's great that you have a nice floor plan drawn of your home. You’ve labeled that the front door of your apartment, the door by the kitchen, is the “main entrance”. I’ve graphically place a big red arrow there for reference. If that is indeed the main entrance, you would lay out your bagua as shown on my sketch here in solid red lines, with the Path in Life/Career area as shown. This arrangement leaves your entire dining room, living room and office outside of the bagua area, as extensions of the bagua areas adjacent. For instance, Career extends to part of the dining room and the sofa area of the living room, as shown with the dashed red lines. The dashed blue area could be considered part of the Career extension creating a boot like shape. 

I would strongly advise that you rethink the “main entrance” to your space and start using the door in the living room, which would place the bathroom, bedroom and office as extensions. In addition to switching up and using the living room door, you can also use the first step when you reach the landing of your hallway as the “yin” door and lay a second bagua. It looks like you may be on the top floor of this building, so you could claim that hall area as part of your bagua. This would give you the most balanced bagua. And it’s slightly better to walk into the living room first than the kitchen and bedroom area.

You can claim the hallway as part of your second bagua layout with energy, or with color or rugs or other visual ways

Let us know what you think! 

by Anjie Cho 

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy


My sister gave me an aromatherapy diffuser from Christmas and I've been obsessed!  My recent favorite essential oil combination is frankincense with sweet orange oil.  My friend Andrea Giordano specializes in essential oils and aromatherapy, so I interviewed her about them!

AC:  What brought you to study essential oils?

AG:  I have always had a great love for plants and their healing properties.  Essential oils are just one area of study for me. While studying feng shui and my background of study in ornamental horticulture I thought it would be SO great to put the two together. And I have! The aromas and energetics of essential oils are very powerful.

Can you tell us about the powers of essential oils?

The energetics of the plant are present in all forms of plant medicine - flower essences, herbal tinctures, dried herbs, essential oils, etc. Depending on what you are treating - physical vs. emotional, internal or external and the potency you want to use, you have all of these different choices of preparation. The human sense of smell is very powerful.   We relate happy, sad, and different periods in our lives with smell. Just think what you could do to change that with different aromas.

What essential oil do you recommend for space clearing, and why?

I find White Sage to be very powerful in clearing all negative forces followed by some Orange to brighten and lighten (uplifting) the area.

What essential oil do you recommend for relaxation and bedrooms, and why?

There are many essential oils to chose from depending on what mood you want to achieve. For relaxation I recommend Lavender mixed with some Sandalwood and a bit of Orange.  For a romantic bedroom, try Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Neroli or Rose mixed with some Sandalwood. Sandalwood grounds the spirit.

What essential oil do you recommend for focus, such as at the desk and workspace, and why?

For me, I love Rosemary, Basil (for getting my brain working) Clary Sage (calms the nerves) and a touch of Peppermint (uplifting) 

What essential oil do you recommend for entertaining, such as at the living room area, and why?

Once again I love Orange (lifts the sprits) refreshes and relaxes.  I call Orange “The happy oil"!

OOh!  I can't wait to try these different combinations throughout my home to create a truly holistic space that supports my needs!  Thanks Andrea.

Are there any special essential oil combinations you want to share with us?

by Anjie Cho


Aroma - The Scent     Thera - The Healing     Chi - The Energy

AromatheraChi was created from a lifetime interest in plants combined with a devotion to natural and organic products.  These interests led AromatheraChi owner, Andrea Giordano, to pursue a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and begin exploring natural applications for health and beauty.  Ten years ago, she began making and selling all-natural soaps.  It is important to her to make sure that she always delivers the highest quality products.

While there is much to love about the essential oils themselves, the true passion and focus of AromatheraChi is the science behind the oils.  Scientific studies have shown that different scents have positive impacts on well being.

Aromatherachi was born out of the desire to wish for everyone to have access to fantastic essential oils, GC/MS tested, at a fraction of the price typically found elsewhere. 

You can read Andrea's AromatheraChi blog here!

Q&A Sunday: Improving and Starting Careers

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We bought crystals from the Holistic Spaces Store recently to hang one each above main entrance door, study and bedroom (as my bed in line with the door). I want to move up in my career with higher education, and my husband needs to start his training/career/job. I feel like for the seven years we've lived in our current house, things have been stressful, creating anxiety and stagnant. Any feng shui help or suggestions are appreciated!

Arjun S., Muncie, IN

Hi Arjun

I hope the first part of your question that we answered last week was helpful, when you asked about pregnancy losses and feng shui. Thanks for your patience for part two of this question.

Your second question is in regards to improving careers for both you and your husband. You also noted that your last seven years have been stressful, anxiety ridden and you’ve felt stagnant. It sounds like you're seeking insight as to what the next steps are in your career, and you also suggested that you need to continue your education. Sometimes our career is not doing well or is stuck because we need to gain more skills, so going back to school or taking additional courses can be very helpful in kickstarting a positive change. Skillfulness in this case is associated with the Knowledge area of the feng shui bagua. I recommend that you study in this area of your home, and if this space is neglected, direct some attention there. Can you spend time there regularly or move nine items around to stir the energy in this area?

For your husband, you noted that he needs to start his career, so maybe he can also work on this same Knowledge area. If he has trouble getting started, he can also look to activate the New Beginnings area. You can do this by adding a new green plant, for instance. Our recent post on How to Grow Fresh Air suggests several options for welcoming new energy, promoting growth and cleaning the air in your space all at once. If your husband needs more clarity, he can also place a new feng shui crystal ball in this area. 

Overall if you feel that your life has been challenging with stress, anxiety and stagnation, it may help to assess the condition of the trees and greenery around your home. Are they in good shape and healthy? Give some attention to the vitality of the natural landscaping around your house, because it can also affect your health, both physically and mentally.

It sounds like the past few years have been very taxing for you. I recommend trying a few of these feng shui adjustments. Be sure to note your intention when you make these changes and practice patience. Feng shui is not a magic pill, and you must do the mundane work as well!

by Anjie Cho 

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

How To Hack Your Suboptimal Holiday Sleeping Arrangements

featured recently on MindBodyGreen by Lindsay Kellner

image credit: Katarina Radovic via MindBodyGreen

image credit: Katarina Radovic via MindBodyGreen

There's no place like home for the holidays, and yet, if you're like most people, you're traveling. While it can be wonderful to travel, getting out of our regular routines can shock our bodies, making it more difficult to eat healthfully, stay regular, and, perhaps most importantly, to sleep well. We spoke to our experts Anjie Cho, a feng shui specialist, and Ellen Vora, M.D., mbg class instructor who specializes in anxiety and is a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed medical acupuncturist, and certified yoga teacher. Both provided tips on how to ready your space and body to get your best sleep ever no matter where you are. Here are their pro tips:

1. Clear the space.

Whether it's a hotel room, sofa, or your childhood bedroom—a space that's been used by someone else or left dormant for weeks (or months) needs clearing. "There can be residual energies from the people that have stayed there before or just from the people you're staying with," Cho said. The holidays in particular can make you feel more sensitive than usual to "foreign energy," she warned. "By clearing the space, you're just giving the place a little perk to provide a restful and spacious sleeping situation while traveling."

...read full article

Q&A Sunday: Pregnancy and Feng Shui

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We bought crystals from the Holistic Spaces Store recently to hang one each above main entrance door, study and bedroom (as my bed in line with the door). My husband and I lost a lot of pregnancies without any medical explanation. Could you please suggest the changes we need to make to our bedroom? Also I want to move up in my career with higher education, and my husband needs to start his training/career/job. I feel like for the seven years we've lived in our current house, things have been stressful, creating anxiety and stagnant in addition to pregnancy losses and the loss of my dad (he doesn't live with us). Any feng shui help or suggestions are appreciated!

Arjun S., Muncie, IN

Hi Arjun,

Thanks so much for shopping with us! It sounds like you have put the feng shui crystal balls to good use, and in appropriate locations (good job!)

I'm also very sorry to hear about your pregnancy difficulties. A couple of general feng shui suggestions for pregnancy are the following: first, be sure to halt any sort of renovations in the home. Any sort of disturbances in your home can affect a pregnancy. Second, refrain from cleaning under your bed. I know this sounds odd, but in BTB feng shui, this is a big no-no. If you want to conceive, it's best to avoid cleaning or dusting under the bed.

And while we're talking about the bed, be sure that you have a sturdy headboard with plenty of space and good air flow under the bed. Many people have platform beds or no bed frames, which can affect health and stability.

Check in next week and we'll respond the the second part of your question 😃

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Let Us Welcome the Winter Solstice

It’s officially winter! Happy (late) Winter Solstice!

Many months after we celebrate the Summer Solstice, our longest day of the year, the Northern Hemisphere observes the Winter Solstice, our shortest day of the year. These celebrations are actually opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, where Winter Solstice brings the longest day of the year.

Our earth is tilted on its axis as it revolves around the sun, which means that the different hemispheres experience seasons and solstices (Latin for “sun stands still”) differently. During the Winter Solstice, the Northern part of our planet reaches the furthest point from the sun we will experience during the year.

Feng shui-wise, the winter is considered a yin season, where we start to move inward physically as well as emotionally. The yin concept is also about slowing down, and emptiness. Winter in feng shui is also associated with the water element. In winter it looks like everything is dead outside on the outside, but below the snow there is life (even if it’s dormant). The water element and winter are similar. Imagine the middle of a vast ocean, where it’s very still but there’s so much activity happening if you look beneath the surface.

My meditation instructor, Joe Mauricio, called me out earlier this month on my “speediness”. I spent all year running around, never stopping to be mindful. I can’t just blame it on the year of the Horse (Chinese astrology)! Meditation can help you find that space that many of us fear. During this winter season, I encourage each of you to accept the slower pace and pause to find emptiness and space. Even five minutes a day is enough! Let yourself slow down and feel…. Bored? Empty? Quiet? Rest. Peace. And love for yourself.

Fun facts about the Winter Solstice:

Usually occurring between December 21st and 23rd, longstanding Winter Solstice activities have been combined with the popular Christmas holidays, but many of our traditions began as ancient celebrations for surviving another year! In earlier times, winter was a welcome break from hard work during the rest of the year, and almost every culture celebrates the Winter Solstice in some way.

Some of our most mysterious world wonders, including the Irish Newgrange tomb and Stonehenge, were constructed in a way that perfectly captures the sun’s light at the moment of Winter Solstice.  The Yule log also originated as a celebratory festival for the Winter Solstice. Romans even celebrated the solstice for an entire week!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Bed Direction and Entry Mirrors

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I've just moved into a new condo. Should my bed face the door? And is a mirror bad to have in an entry way?

Patricia G., Buffalo, NY

Hi Patricia

Congratulations on your new home! Hope you're loving it. 

Question one, should your bed face the door? In BTB feng shui, we use the "commanding position" for important furniture placement, such as a bed. Essentially, this question is about what is a good direction to face when you're spending many hours in one spot. The bed ideally faces the door, meaning that when you are laying in bed, or sitting up in bed, you can clearly see the door. However, it's not about placement right in front of, or in line with, the door. Diagonal from the door is the best position for a bed, so when you're in bed, you can see anyone that may be coming into the room with ease, not having to turn around. We have more posts about the commanding position here, here and here.

Onto the second question, is a mirror bad to have in an entry way? It's definitely not bad! It actually depends on they layout of your entry and your home, where exactly you want to place the mirror, etc., etc. But mirrors can expand a space, so if you have a small foyer, a mirror can be very helpful from a feng shui perspective. It can also be very functional. 

As you likely know from reading the blog and listening in on podcasts, feng shui can be a great way to get started in a new space. I'm excited for your new adventure and happy to hear that feng shui is a concern for you. Good luck in your condo, and please reach out with any additional questions!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

This loft-like UES studio needs work, but the price is right

featured this month on Brick Underground by Leah Rosner

image credit: Brick Underground

image credit: Brick Underground

Priced at just $345,000, this Upper East Side studio at 223 East 78th St. is definitely affordable considering the location. But the loft-like unit will certainly need some renovating to make it habitable, according to architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho.

“It’s a good price for a starter apartment,” she says.

Cho thinks the place is worth fixing, but she isn’t a fan of many features, especially what’s underfoot.

“Those floors are bad,” she says of the black-and-white checkerboard tiles. “[They're] so in your face that you can’t ignore them.”

For this week’s Reno Ready, we asked Cho to tell us how she’d renovate the space to render it livable. Here are her recommendations:

Kitchen (pictured at top)

How this room is updated will depend entirely on the new occupant’s cooking habits. If he or she is a recipe addict who loves whipping up a meal at a moment’s notice, then Cho would advise putting in a full-sized refrigerator and adding in an island. If, however, he or she is more likely to order a pizza than make one, Cho says she’d probably hang onto the mini-fridge.

...read full article

Q&A Sunday: Inviting Plants Into Your Home

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What plants can I invite to my home to eliminate stagnation? My rooms seem to be so cluttered. No matter how much I clean and clean and clean, there is still so much stuff.

Lauren A. 

Hi Lauren, 

Thanks so much for your question! It looks like there are really two parts to the question here. First, what plants can you invite into your home to eliminate stagnation? The second part is about clutter and feeling a bit stuck. This is interesting, because they seem to be connected. You feel a bit stuck, which, in turn, is manifesting in your home as clutter, and you'd like to invite plants to eliminate this clutter. 

We do have some blog posts about different types of plants. You can check those out here. First, though, if your space is really cluttered, it might not be a great idea to add anything. Even bringing in plants is adding more things to your home, and caring for a plant is not easy! You have to take care of plants, prune them, there is upkeep and they need attention! So, you may actually add more clutter and stress to your life by including plants in your space. I do understand the sentiment, since, in general, plants invite growth and help eliminate the feeling of stagnation. In this situation however, this may not be the best move for you. 

You say you "clean and clean and clean"... it sounds like you may feel a bit overwhelmed! May I suggest a few different options? First, you can eliminate nine things each day. If this seems like too much, you can reduce it to nine items per week. This will help get the energy moving and help with your feelings of being stuck. If you do want to add something, you can add fresh flowers. Fresh flowers can lift and open things up, especially if you're feeling stuck and overwhelmed. I love the idea of fresh-cut flowers, because they represent nowness, are cheerful and have a short lifespan. They uplift your space, but the upkeep is minimal, since you'll just need to change the water. And when they expire, you can let them go.

Another way to break up this stagnation is to ask for help. It's great that you've asked me for help, but is there someone in your space that can help out as well? Are there others in the home that can help you clean? You could even hire a cleaning person to help reduce the overwhelm. If you're having trouble thinking of someone to ask for help, try activating the Benefactors area of your home or bedroom. This might actually be a good place for the fresh flowers!

Finally, you can also cut through some of the clutter and stagnation using sounds, like a gong or tingsha. You can even sing! Go around your home, starting at the front door and moving clockwise, and circumambulate the space. I really recommend the metal bells, since that will welcome Metal energy to cut through the sluggishness and get things moving. I suggest using this in combination with activating the Benefactors area and adding fresh flowers. Let us know how it goes!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!