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:

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 Choose Your Bathroom Vanity Lighting

featured this month on Houzz by Yanic Simard

The bathroom vanity is a special part of the home, but one that can sometimes get overlooked. In a primary bathroom, it can be the central hub for many important parts of our self-care and the true workhorse for much of our daily routines. For this reason, bathroom vanities need carefully selected lighting to live up to their full potential. There are many options to choose from, all of which work in different scenarios and can be used together to get the best of both worlds. Read on to find out how to pick the right bathroom vanity lighting.

Use a Single Sconce Above the Mirror If:

  • You don’t have room on one or both sides of the mirror to fit a pair of sconces.
  • You have a very wide mirror with no breaks in between.
  • You have a tall space and want to dramatically accentuate the height by adding a focal point up high. full article

Q&A Sunday: LED Bulbs vs. Full-Spectrum Bulbs

In terms of BTB feng shui, what is the opinion of LED bulbs? Do they emit EMFs? I thought full-spectrum bulbs were better.

Rita, on How to Buy New Light Bulbs Without Guessing

Hi Rita, 

Thanks for your question! Feng shui doesn't really take this sort of detail into consideration, and in my work with BTB feng shui, we haven't touched on light bulbs much. In general, I believe this would be more of a Bau Biologie question. 

However, we did do some research in attempt to help, and this is what we found!

First, the term "full-spectrum" seems to actually refer to the type of light a bulb puts off, ranging from infrared to near-ultraviolet, and there are available full-spectrum options in CFL, LED and incandescent. It is worth noting that, like with greenwashing, there are bulbs that specify "full-spectrum" that actually do not include the entire spectrum and aren't much different from an average bulb. 

That said, there does seem to be evidence that LED bulbs give off more EMFs than incandescent, in the form of "dirty electricity." Most research and writing confirms that LED bulbs do emit a certain type of EMF, known as dirty electricity, which is caused by products that transform the type of electricity flowing through wires into other types (from AC to DC) in order to provide lower voltage and use less energy

If this is a concern for you, you can try halogen incandescent bulbs, which are clean, or look for high-quality, high-efficiency LED bulbs that do not use a transformer, as they are safer than traditional LED bulbs with regards to EMFs. 

In any case, I would definitely recommend researching further into available lightbulbs and Bau Biologie for more information! 

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 Buy New Light Bulbs Without Guessing

How to Buy New Light Bulbs Without Guessing.jpg

The days of incandescent lighting are coming to a close, and most of us agree it's for the best. But if you've been buying incandescent bulbs for years (and who hasn't?), replacing these bulbs with CFL or LED options can be a frustrating task. Since the terminology used for labeling new bulbs is somewhat different than that of old bulbs, it can be tough to figure out which one is right for you. We can help decode all that. 

Give Up Watts

In the olden days, watts were essentially the most important detail on a bulb. In order to light your space correctly, you matched your old bulb wattage to new bulb wattage. As it turns out, watts refers to the amount of energy a bulb requires, not the amount of light it gives off. CFL and LED bulbs can give off more light without using as many watts as incandescent bulbs, so when you're checking wattage, go for the lowest number possible. 

Look for Lumens

If you want to know how much light your bulb will give off, check the number of lumens. Lumens represent how much light a bulb produces, regardless of how many watts are required to produce it. Since we're so used to checking bulb wattage, we often ignored this information with incandescent bulbs, but with new, eco-friendly bulbs, it can be the most important! On average, a 60W incandescent bulb produces 800 lumens of light. For brighter spaces, opt for more lumens. And vice versa. 

Mind Appearance

If you're used to shopping for "soft white" or "daylight" bulbs, it can be frustrating to not find those terms on CFL and LED labels. This information is still there, in fact, it's even more detailed! Check your bulb packaging for the term light appearance. This measurement includes the temperature of a bulb in Kelvins. You can find more detail on that system here, but in general, the lower the temperature, the warmer, more yellow your bulb will be. Bulbs with higher temperatures, or cool bulbs, give off light more similar to natural daylight. 

In addition to these important details, you can also find this helpful information on your CFL or LED bulb packaging:

  • Estimated yearly cost - Typically based on average United States energy costs and usage
  • Life - How long your bulb will last, usually based on 3 hours of use per day
  • CRI - Color rendering index - A rating of how accurately colors display under this light

 You can even check to be sure that the bulb you're selecting is dimmable! While it may be a bit of a change to move from incandescent lighting to more eco-friendly options, with a little adjustment and practice, buying a light bulb can be just as easy as it's always been, and maybe even more effective! 

by Anjie Cho

This Week on Instagram

closeup of a light tray for a ceiling ...  lighting  goes in there!  #architecture   #inconstruction   #ceilingdetails

closeup of a light tray for a ceiling ... lighting goes in there! #architecture #inconstruction #ceilingdetails

#mantraMonday ! the  sun yantra  today. Sun is a planet that is associated with individuality, radiance, and yang energy. The associated mantra is:  Om Hrim Hrim Suriyaye Namah Om   #mantra   #yantra   #vedicnumbers   #sacredart   #sacredgeometry   #holisticspaces   #thesun   #theplanets

#mantraMonday! the sun yantra today. Sun is a planet that is associated with individuality, radiance, and yang energy.
The associated mantra is:

Om Hrim Hrim Suriyaye Namah Om

#mantra #yantra #vedicnumbers #sacredart #sacredgeometry #holisticspaces #thesun #theplanets

The  Lunar New Year  is fast approaching, and  Holistic Spaces  now has  new charms  for the upcoming year is the Year of the Monkey. The snake is the best friend of the monkey, so keeping one nearby is good luck!   #snakecharms   #chinesezodiac

The Lunar New Year is fast approaching, and Holistic Spaces now has new charms for the upcoming year is the Year of the Monkey. The snake is the best friend of the monkey, so keeping one nearby is good luck! #snakecharms #chinesezodiac