6 Simple Steps to Creating Your Own Book Nook

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Shrugging off the busyness and stress of the day is easier when you’ve got a dedicated sanctuary space. Even if you’re not a bibliophile, creating a reading nook can be one way to escape and unwind without leaving your home. Don’t think you have the square footage for a dedicated spot? Think again. With these 6 tips, you’ll be curled up with a good book in no time. 

Find your nook

Think outside the box. A good reading space may be nestled into a sunny corner of your bedroom, tucked into an alcove of your living room or even hidden away in a closet. Select a space that is large enough to fit, at minimum, something to sit on, and is accessible to a light source. The perfect nook will be in a quiet place away from distraction. If possible, and if you'd like to, aim for a nook placed in the Knowledge area of the feng shui bagua map. If you can't, don't worry. It's not required!

Pull up a seat

What’s your ideal chair? Does it engulf you in fluffy comfort? Do you want something you can curl up in or a seat that lets you dangle your legs over the arm? Is a bean bag a good fit or is a hanging chair more your style? This is your space to unwind. Pick the seating that best fits your style and space. 

Add a small table

No need to go big if you’re tight on space. A small end table would suffice. You need a place to hold your cup of tea (or glass of wine!), your book, and reading glasses. If space allows, go ahead and personalize some more by adding your favorite plant or candles.

Set the borders

Your nook should be a clearly marked sanctuary space. A decorative screen delineates the line between your reading nook and the rest of the room, while giving you the flexibility of opening your nook up to the whole room if you need the space. If that’s not your style, experiment with drapes or a sheer canopy hung from the ceiling. Check out my tips on separating small spaces using a curtain.

Light it well

Of course, a good reading nook requires proper lighting. Tap natural light resources when you can. Streaming sunlight brings warmth and comfort to any space. For evening reading or spaces with limited sunlight, add a small side lamp to your table. 

Make it you

This is, after all, your sanctuary. You don’t have to paint the walls of your dedicated space to make it special (although you can!). Add wall art, paper lanterns, book shelves, and other small touches to personalize your nook and make it inviting.

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Gardening Without the Garden: How to Garden When You Don't Have Outdoor Space

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There’s just something about fresh-grown produce that elevates a good dish to a great dish. What’s a home cook to do, however, when there’s no home garden to harvest? Flex your green thumb and get ready! Whether your gardening is on hiatus due to seasonal weather or it’s non-existent because of lack of outdoor space, an indoor garden is just what you’re seeking.

Let’s start with where.

You can dedicate as much or as little space to your indoor garden as you wish. Ideally, your indoor plot will have ready access to natural light. A window sill is a natural fit for this. Consider using brackets up a length of your window frame and boards to add shelving if you’d like more window-fronted planting space. Other alternatives are a table, repurposed dresser, or bookshelf placed in a sunny spot. Heavier plants will be happy in beautiful pot on the floor. 

If your ideal space doesn’t have ready access to sunlight or you’re growing in the dead of winter, consider purchasing a grow light.

Most of your plants like a nice consistent ‘warm’ state. Aim for a range of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. That should be easy enough because it likely falls within the same range a happy human enjoys. Just remember to avoid putting your indoor garden in a drafty space. 

So what will you grow?

Some plants are more readily adaptable to indoor gardening than others. As an example, you can grow tomatoes indoors, but certain varieties will be happier in a pot near a window than others. Smaller fruited plants like cherry, grape and plum will perform better than the larger varieties.

Carrots and other root vegetables require a good amount of room to grow down. If you want to try your hand at some crunchy goodness, look for a window box or pot that’s at least a foot and half deep. Alternatively, grow varieties that tend to be more short and squat than long and lean. One more tip: water your carrots with tepid chamomile tea to help ward off fungus! 

It’s probably no surprise that microgreens are a good indoor option. Look for a shallow pot or tray (no more than 2 inches deep) and use a seed mix containing greens like kale, Swiss chard, beets and mesclun. Mist the soil daily to keep it from drying out. Once the greens have grown 1-2 inches tall and have at least two sets of leaves on them, they’re ready to eat. Other good indoor plants include: lemons, potatoes, herbs, mushrooms, beans, and strawberries. Don’t stop there, either! Do some digging and experimenting to see what works well in your space. 

Your garden is also your décor.

As practical (and yummy!) as an indoor garden might be, it’s also unique and beautiful design choice! Get creative with your planters; empty tins (with drainage holes added), troughs made from reclaimed wood, and old shoe organizers can all make unique and beautiful planting options.

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


How To Give Your Home An Energetic Makeover This Fall, According To Feng Shui

featured on MindBodyGreen

In feng shui philosophy, the season of autumn is related to the metal element. Metal, water, wood, fire, and earth make up the five "phases," or elements, that Taoists and Buddhists observe to relate the cycles of nature with the patterns in our homes, bodies, and lives. Many different ancient cultures have their own five-element system, such as the Native Americans, Tibetans, and Hindus. 

So what's "metal" about autumn? It's the feeling of the cool, crisp air on your skin, the poignant sadness that summer is ending, the leaves on the trees begin to die and fall away, and the sense of contraction—a hibernation of sorts.

Conceptually, metal is about precision, beauty, and completion. Metal can be wielded into a mighty sword or exquisite shiny jewelry. As a sword, it can swiftly cut through confusion and chaos with intelligence and compassion. A beautiful gold necklace can magnify the radiance embodied by the wearer. Metal and autumn is connected to the time when we work hard to harvest the fruits of our labor as well as celebrate our successes. The mouth and right speech are also connected to the element of metal.

…read full article

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Small Spaces

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I am trying to use more basic Feng Shui tips to make my medium-sized bedroom into a sort of mini convertible studio. During the day I would fold my bed up into a mini couch and have much more open space to do yoga and other activities. Then during the night I would unfold my bed and use ceiling curtains to separate my office area from the bed area (with balanced elements on both sides of the bed). Oh and the bed lays on the ground, which I personally find most comforting. What do you think about this setup in terms of Feng Shui? I really need to have a sanctuary at home from all the intense things going on in my life.

Tenzin C., Easthampton, MA

Hi Tenzin,

Thank you for sending in your question! Your description is careful and thorough, so I can only imagine that your bedroom is laid out with as much attention. 

I’m guessing that you live in a roommate situation, so your bedroom is where you find your personal space. It sounds like your daily ritual of transforming your bed into a sofa is beneficial. Not only do you have more space for your daily activities, but you have also created a separate “daytime” space for more active applications that goes hand in hand with daytime. The visual separation with curtains of your bed from the office is also wonderful, so that active yang energy will transition into the yin sleepy time when it’s appropriate. Plus you don’t have a bed in the daytime - which can prove difficult in a studio apartment setting. Seeing the bed while working can affect your attention and motivation. Also, good job on the balanced bed elements, probably nightstands and lights

The only thing I may comment on is the bed on the ground. In feng shui, it’s ideal to have the bed off the ground, on a stable bed frame with headboard so that the air and qi can flow around you while you’re sleeping. This is good for your health. Also, if you’re prone to depression, the proximity to the floor may correspond to the low mood. However, you have described you find the bed on the ground “comforting”, so pay attention that that. If it feels correct for you, then it’s okay. Especially if you don’t have a tendency towards depression.

You mentioned that there are intense things going on in your life. I don’t know the details, but I can suggest a feng shui adjustment to lighten things up! It can be very simple, but I’ll offer two suggestions. First, bringing fresh cut flowers into the bedroom. You can collect them yourself, or get some from the store. But fresh flowers uplift the qi and bring joy. Second, purchasing a new lamp where the light shines up. A Torchiere like this one works wonderfully. Again, this lifts the energy and can balance the low bed.  

Overall, I think that you’ve done a wonderful job of creating a feng shui studio sanctuary in your bedroom. All the attention to the details and the ritual aspect provide a lot of positive energy in the space. 

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design feng shui cerfication program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-do business boosters for soulpreneurs and wellness practitioners”  coming up, too! check us out at www.mindfuldesignschool.com

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


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!


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Brighten Your Apartment: 6 Simple Tricks

Not everyone has the luxury of having big windows that let in ample sunlight. Most apartments have at least one room or space that is continually dark. A dark room can cause accidents, eye-strain, and even a sour disposition. If you’d like to illuminate your space – without taking a sledgehammer to your walls – try a few of these apartment-brightening tricks. A brighter space will lead to a brighter mood!

Paint your walls a light color

Dark walls actually soak up the light, making the room seem darker – even when you put the lights on. But lighter colors have a higher LRV, or “light reflectance value.” LRV tells you how much useable light is reflected by a surface. Wall colors with a higher LRV help to spread light deep into a space. 

Use eggshell or semi-gloss paint

Flat finishes absorb light, while glossier paints reflect the light back into the room. One warning, though: Because of the light reflection, a glossy finish does call attention to any flaws in the wall.

Keep your ceiling white 

It’s amazing the difference that a white ceiling makes on a room. Even if you have dark walls, a white ceiling will help keep the darkness from overwhelming the space. My go-to color is Benjamin Moore Super White in a flat finish -- it's the most reflective for ceilings.

Add more lamps

Yes, this seems obvious. But many apartment dwellers rely solely on overhead lights to illuminate the rooms. Light needs to come from various levels – low, middle, and high. Combining uplights on the floor and lamps on tables around the room with overhead lighting will create a brighter, more comfortable space. In feng shui, uplighting can also lift your mood and energy.

Hang large mirrors

Large mirrors can act like windows, reflecting the light back into the room. 

Choose reflective surfaces 

Just like walls, other large surfaces can absorb or reflect your light. Opt for glossy countertops, add glass panes to your hanging artwork, and place mirrored trays on top of dark tables.

Light is important for your physical and mental health. So make sure your home is gets as much light as possible!

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.