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When I told my parents that I started studying feng shui, they laughed! My mom exclaimed, "Feng shui is old fashioned folklore!" But feng shui is making a comeback. In fact, 86% of Chinese Americans think feng shui will play a role in a future home buying decisions, according to a recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate and the Asian Real Estate Association of America. And 49% are more likely than their parents to take feng shui into account when deciding on a home. Maybe I was onto something early on.
I would agree that feng shui suffers from a common misconception involving tacky, Asian-style black and red lacquer furniture, but that's not at all what feng shui is about. That's just a visual style that's associated with feng shui; the concepts rise above the outdated superficial execution. So, what is feng shui really about then? Feng shui is an ancient philosophy that uses environmental psychology that seeks to enhance our lives through our physical spaces.
The short version of my story is that at a turning point in my life, I decided to incorporate holistic wellness into my daily lifestyle. This included yoga and meditation. I needed to find some peace and slow down from my fast-paced life. Sound familiar? I think many of us can relate to this. As a practicing licensed architect, I quickly yearned to include this holistic system into my design practice.
Architects and designers, we love to create beautiful spaces. That's what we're good at, and it's fairly easy. But to design environments that resonate with the inhabitants, or can improve our lives—that's the challenging part. Feng shui gives us tools and guidelines to make that a reality, which goes on to make a difference when it comes to selling and buying the home. In fact, that same study from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate found that 90% of Chinese Americans believe feng shui increases a home's resale value.
With this in mind, here are some easy ways to incorporate feng shui into your home (whether you're just looking for a new aesthetic or staging to attract potential buyers) without doing a complete re-design. You may just find a harmonious balance in your life as a result.
1. Clear the clutter. It's ideal for cabinets to reach the ceiling. If they don't, try placing living plants or items of personal value above.
2. Know where to put mirrors. It's important that mirrors are placed away from the bed in the bedroom. And a full-length mirror in the bathroom is usually key. Plant-life next to the mirrors encourages a better qi flow from water to earth to metal to wood.
3. Keep your color wheel on hand. Colors are a vital part of feng shui design. Consult your color wheel when designing the kitchen, especially as bright colors like red and orange work well there.
4. Free the bed. Feng shui principles dictate that the bed should be accessible from all angles. If it's not, move it to the center of the wall. Make sure the bed is not directly facing the door.
5. Embrace your green thumb. Those who practice feng shui will look for the presence of live plants, particularly in balance with other elements. Because bathrooms are keepers of water energy, placing earthy elements throughout can help create a balance.
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