Change Your Color, Change Your Life

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Your home environment has a huge impact on your mood and your life. In order for your space to truly nourish you, you need to consider all the details in your interior design. And among the most important elements of design is color.

Color has the power to transform not only spaces, but also the people in them, by changing the flow of energy, evoking specific emotions and producing physiological changes in the body. Color has a profound influence on our mood, perceptions and actions.

If you make conscious decisions on the colors you choose to surround yourself with in your home, you can deliberately create a healthy and balanced environment and life for you and your family.

How do you want to live? How do you want to FEEL? Choose your colors accordingly.

This article reveals the emotional power of five popular colors:

1. Red

Red is a powerful color that evokes strong emotions.  It stimulates the body and mind.  Red increases your metabolism and your blood pressure and makes you more alert. Because red stimulates appetite, food tastes better when surrounded by red (so it is a popular color for dining rooms). Red can make a person feel passionate and excited.  But beware – too much red can evoke anger and lead to anxiety.

2. Blue

Blue acts as red’s opposite. It is serene and mentally calming. It decreases the pulse rate, lowers body temperature, and reduces appetite. Strong blues stimulate clear thought, and lighter blues calm the mind, aiding concentration. Thus, people are often more productive in blue rooms. If you need a little kick in the pants, try blue for your home office.

3. Yellow

Yellow is emotionally energizing and uplifting. It has been proven to stimulate the brain. This stimulation can make you more alert and decisive. It helps memory and promotes clear thinking. With a yellow kitchen, you just might not need that extra cup of coffee in the morning!

4. Green

Green is often used in decorating for its calming effect. It helps balance and soothe emotions. Green relaxes our muscles and helps us breathe deeper and slower. Studies show that those who have a green work environment experience fewer stomachaches. But watch out! Although green creates feelings of comfort, it can also cause laziness.

5. Purple

Purple is a mysterious color. It is the combination of two complete opposites – red and blue. Purple can be invigorating or calming, depending on how much red or blue is in the shade. Pure purple takes awareness to a higher spiritual level of thought. It encourages deep contemplation or meditation. Consider bringing purple into rooms where you want to feel creative or spiritual.

Remember that color has a far-reaching effect on emotion and behavior. Decide how you want to feel and the actions you want to take in a specific space, and use color to achieve your goal.

To read more about colors and feng shui, read here!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: What is the Best Art for the Bedroom?

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What is the best art to hang in the bedroom?

Magalie R., Los Angeles, CA

Hi Magalie,

Thanks for your question! I remember when you asked if it was good feng shui to have a painting of water in the bedroom. This one seems to be a follow up, as you're wondering what is the best art to hang in the bedroom

There are many times that I go into a single person’s bedroom and see art of single people, or the person's pet. While this is totally fine, usually the single person is looking to meet a partner. In feng shui we would say that by having images of single people you are giving the universe the message that you want to be alone. Now sometimes I see a lot of photos of the pet(s) as well. This may indicate that the single person has no room for a partner as the pet has filled up that spot.

If you want a partner (or already have one), feng shui encourages you to have things in pairs. So images in pairs whether it be people, or two things that are similar but not necessarily identical, give the universe the message that you’re ready to have a partnership that’s balanced and equal with another person. I'm not just talking about image of couples, but perhaps two similar pieces of art in similar frames.

In addition, the bedroom is a place of rest and relaxation. Any artwork that is tranquil and nurturing in color and subject matter is ideal, especially if you have trouble sleeping. Pale, muted or dark blues, greens, pinks and purples in art can create a restful mood in a bedroom. If you want to bring in a little more spice and passion, add red artwork to bring in some fire energy.

If there is a particular piece of art you are looking to add to your bedroom, please feel free to submit it for the next Q&A Sunday!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday" (formerly “Question of the Month”).  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers.  Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Q&A Sunday: Tips for Spiritual & Healing Providers

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What are some basic tips for people who provide spiritual or healing services to reflect a fun, sacred, zen-like atmosphere to spaces/venues that are already designed?

T.F, Stamford, CT

This is a situation that many face: how to create a holistic space with what you have. It’s a little like life, right? We come into this world with our cultural and environmental conditioning and limitations. My teachers would say that if you’re born a Honda you’ll never be a Mercedes, but you can be the best Honda you can be! Similarly, we can work with what we’re given. Most feng shui is remedial - we make adjustments after the fact. With my clients I actually incorporate feng shui into the architectural design. But not everyone has that luxury or foresight.

Space Clearing

My first suggestion is space clearing. In feng shui we use different rituals involving mantras, sometimes rice, sometimes oranges and others. If you want to do this yourself I recommend getting some orange essential oil and placing 9 drops in a bowl of water. With this bowl, walk around clockwise from the entrance sprinkling the essence throughout the space. Lately I’ve also been burning palo santo, a Peruvian wood used to smudge (or clear) a space. Remember when you clear a space, always put positive energy back in.

Commanding Position

Second, use the commanding position to layout the most important areas in your space. For a spiritual or healing provider, this may be your desk or the position in which a client receives your services. The commanding position locates us in an advantageous place so we can feel relaxed and in control of our environment. This position is that which is furthest back from the door, while not in line with or behind the swing of the door.

Five Elements

Third, use the five elements to create a balanced and harmonious space. Take a look at this previous Holistic Spaces blog article or explore our five elements series on the Holistic Spaces podcast.

Bring in Nature

Finally, for a healing and zen-like space be sure to have some green plants. Use non-toxic cleaning products and add fresh flowers when possible. The plants not only improve the indoor air quality, they add life energy to the space. Plants promote kindness and flexibility. Fragrant fresh flowers bring joy and improve energy flow.

There is also something my teachers call “method of minor additions” which involve the use of feng shui adjustment objects such as crystals, mirrors, windchimes, colors, etc. Unfortunately that’s where the feng shui expert comes in. This depends on the particular location, situation, and person.

Good luck with your space, and kudos to you for providing such beautiful services to help others.

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!

Feng Shui Tweaks For Every Room In Your Home

featured today on MindBodyGreen by Anjie Cho

  image credit: Maja Topcagic via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Maja Topcagic via MindBodyGreen

Feng shui is about more than just moving around furniture or creating a "Zen"-looking home. Feng shui gives us tools to reduce stress, improve our well-being, and invite joy into our lives.

Similar to meditationthe practice of feng shui is deeply steeped in mindfulness, in slowing down and noticing the details in your life so that you can truly experience the present moment. The words "feng shui" are Chinese and translate to "wind" and "water." Wind is our breath, and humans are almost 60 percent water. Wind and water are vital elements for life, as is feng shui! Historically, feng shui has roots in Taoism and Buddhism. However, elements of feng shui are palpable in every culture across time. For instance, these days we can all feel the difference between a New York City apartment and a quiet hidden cabin in the forest, and we understand that our surroundings greatly affect our energy.

By connecting with the spaces around us, we can begin to further relate to and celebrate our outer and inner worlds. Feng shui says that we are interconnected with everyone and everything is alive, that there can be magic in making your bed every morning, gazing out the window, or walking through a doorway. full article

by Anjie Cho

De-Stress Your Relationship

Valentine’s Day is an opportune time to look at your primary romantic relationship. No matter how well it’s going, all relationships can use some support. Feng shui gives us some practical and magical tools to give your relationship some extra support. And if you’re not in a relationship, these tips still apply!

1. A headboard for support

A stable headboard that is securely attached to the bed represents solid support and stability in a relationship. The best type of headboard has no bars, holes or perforations. The bars may indicate feeling imprisoned or caged! Holes or perforations lack stability and may weaken a relationship. If you already have a headboard, just make sure to tighten it to the bed. The headboard should be securely and mechanically fastened to the bed (rather than attached to the wall, or almost falling off). If you don’t have a relationship, the headboard will help you to attract a relationship that has enough support to last!

2. Equal partners

Be sure to maintain equality in the relationship by having equal space on both sides of the bed. If possible, each person should have at least 18” of space between the wall and the side of the bed. You also want to have equally balanced nightstands with lamps. The nightstands need not be matching, but close in size. I had a client whose husband had a huge nightstand, and she had this tiny little thing. Such a situation may manifest itself in an unbalanced power relationship between the couple. If you’re single, this lets the universe know that you have space available to accommodate someone into your life.

3. Pair of rose quartz

Rose quartz is a natural semi-precious gemstone that assists in opening up our heart to receive and give love. Place two similarly sized pieces of this natural stone on your nightstand to symbolize and attract supportive openness between you and your partner. If you are looking for a romantic relationship, the rose quartz can support self-love and healing so that you can attract the best partner.

4. Clean under the bed

Whether you’re single or have a partner, the objects and storage underneath your bed can represent unconscious blocks in your love live. The energy of anything under your bed truly affects you in a great way, especially because we spend many passive “yin” hours sleeping in bed. If you must have some storage there, stick to sleep related items such as pillows, blankets and linens. Absolutely no photos of ex-lovers or anything sharp or dangerous.

5. In case you need more passion

Hey, we can all probably use a little more passion in our lives right? Maybe for Valentine’s Day it’s time to treat yourself to a racy little lingerie set… in RED! Red is the color passion and fire. Get yourself some sexy red underwear and see how it makes you feel. I promise it will make a difference. You can also get yourself some red sheets to heat things up in bed!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: What Color Should I Paint My Front Door?

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How do you know which color to paint your front door? 

Teri G., New York, NY

Hi Teri,

This is a question that comes up a lot! And I'm going to throw that question right back at you, because it really depends...on you. There is no magic perfect color, but I’ll go through some guidelines and ways to approach this decision.

First thought, best thought

What is the color you want to paint the front door? What’s the first color that arises right now? Remember: first thought, best thought. Don’t overthink it. It may just be the color that works best for you. 

Mundane matters too

Now think about the color that popped into your consciousness for your door color. Let’s look at this practically. Does it fit with the rest of the house? Colors have countless variations that can probably work with your home, and that’s where a designer can help you to find the option that works best. 

Have fun with it!

But it’s also okay if the color is maybe a little out of place. First of all, it’s just paint - you can always repaint the front door. Second, I'd like to share a story my teachers have told about Professor Lin Yun (founder of BTB Feng Shui). He told one of his clients to paint their whole house exterior purple! Now this is pretty extreme, and this person ended up becoming the talk of the neighborhood, which in turn created a huge business boom. I’m not suggesting you should paint your whole house fluorescent yellow, but you can have fun with the door and remember that painting a front door is not a huge commitment. You can always repaint it!

Try red or black

Red and black painted doors are good basic go-to’s for front door colors in feng shui. Red is auspicious and can attract life energy. Black also absorbs and also brings in positive qi. But this is the “Barnes and Noble” answer!

The mouth of Qi

With all of the above considerations, remember that your front door represents the mouth of qi. This is where energy from the world can enter your home and life. Maybe you do want a door that blends into the rest of your home and looks dignified and subtle. Or maybe you want to attract some energy, in which case a bright red door could look great and do wonders for your opportunities. Now we've come full circle to the first thing I mentioned, which is that the color really depends on you and your life circumstances!

In some areas of the home, there are certainly colors you might want to avoid. All black in any room can make a space feel smaller, and red in a bathroom can make relaxation difficult. But when it comes to the front door, anything is fair game. It's such a small area it can easily be repainted. Put some thought on your decision, and be willing to take a chance on trying a new color!

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. full article

Power Polish: Featured in GirlsLife

featured this month in GirlsLife by Kelsey Haywood Lucas

I'm so excited to be featured in this month's GirlsLife magazine as Kelsey Haywood Lucas's color expert! 

Seeking a particular type of pick-me-up for the new year? Help is right at your fingertips. Whether you want to kick up your confidence or just bliss out a bit, selecting a smart shade for your mani is the secret to instant feel-good vibes. 

Color makes a huge impact—it can shift our own emotions and even change the way that others see us.
— color expert, Anjie Cho

Yep, your mani is pretty much magic...

Grab a print copy to read the full breakdown of which nail colors correspond with your goals and energy for the new year!

by Anjie Cho