9 Cliché Decorating Rules We Should All Start Breaking

While some decorating rules of thumb are definitely worth paying attention to—think: "Decorate rooms one at a time" or "Always design rooms around furniture"—others are made to be broken. To prove our point, we asked a few of our favorite designers which old-school decorating clichés they believe should be ignored, and their responses didn't disappoint. Read ahead for nine decorating clichés our experts say you should avoid following.

1. The Rule of Threes

"There's this very cliché rumor that if you do a pop of color in a room it should appear in three different places, which is just such a funny thing to suggest! I never think a room should be that contrived. Accents are great when they are unique." —Alyssa Kapito, Alyssa Kapito Interiors

2. There's No Room for Experimentation

"It's not necessary to match every single item in one room. In fact, we always mix it up. Many people fall into the habit of matching the artwork with the couch and the rug and even an accent piece such as a throw pillow. Experiment by incorporating different patterns and colors that go well together in order to add character. We like to mix vintage with new and love texture." —Caroline Grant and Dolores Suarez, Dekar Design

3. All White Walls are Boring

"I think that people tend to think that white walls are boring, but personally, I love white walls. There are many shades of white, one for every taste. White paint brightens and expands spaces visually, and it's a blank canvas that can inspire you to engage and play with more daring colors in your accessories (which are easier to change)." —Anjie Cho

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It's Nesting Season — Here's How To Make Your Bed The Coziest On The Planet

image credit: Megan Doty, mbg Creative via    MindBodyGreen

image credit: Megan Doty, mbg Creative via MindBodyGreen

The term "hygge" first popped up on the American scene in 2016, and unlike other home trends come and gone, the Danish philosophy that prizes cozy, comfortable spaces has withstood the test of time.

It makes sense: Who wouldn't want to walk in their front door and immediately feel wrapped in a warm hug? Typical hyggelig fodder includes fuzzy socks and roaring candles, but to ring in winter 2019 we're calling for the next iteration of a wellness-approved hygge bedroom: one that makes us feel cushy and safe while also promoting a better night's sleep.

Go forth and make the bed of your dreams with these eight add-ons:

6. Reminders of people (or pets!) you love.

Placing a reminder of someone or something you love right across from your bed basically guarantees that you wake up in a good mood every morning. It can be a photograph from a family trip, a dreamy landscape, or an ode to a furry friend.

When you're hanging yours, take a cue from feng shui design philosophy and place it a little higher on the wall than you think you need to. "If someone has issues with depression and low energy, I often notice that their artwork, photographs, and mirrors are hung low on the walls. The low artwork can bring down your chi," feng shui expert Anjie Cho explained in a piece about bedroom design. "It's also good to fasten frames in two places so the art isn't crooked."

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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.


Mindful Design Feng Shui: Kick-Start Something New in Your Life Using Feng Shui

During these winter months, as we naturally slow down, we can use this time to reflect and set our intentions for the new year. In a few weeks time, the energy will begin to stir under the soil, as nature prepares for spring time. You can use this transitional energy to start preparing for something new and spectacular in your life.

In this week’s video, Anjie discusses a specific question that is very relevant for this time of year.

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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 and Mindfulness in Art

I wanted to send a picture that I have hanging in my bedroom to get your opinion of the Feng Shui as you suggested in one of your posts. The  online form did not allow me to input it. I hope this is ok! Thanks!

Lucretia B., Austin, TX

Hi Lucretia,

Thanks for your email and for sending in your question. This is a lovely piece of art. May I assume that it’s one that you care for, since you’ve not only hung it in your bedroom, but you’ve also taken the time to ask me about it? Take a moment to touch into how you feel about this artwork. Where did it come from? What do you sense from it? How does it feel in your body when you gaze upon it?

It still surprises me that sometimes I receive questions about feng shui and art where the asker has a neutral position on the piece. Sometimes they can take it or leave it. I think we have the tendency to try to fill up space and just put something up ‘just because’. Often they have no idea why they wanted to put it up in the first place, besides that there was a empty space they wanted filled.

Sound familiar? We do the same with food, television, any sort of entertainment so we don’t feel the empty, bored, sad...etc. It’s not ‘bad’; however it’s interesting to notice this and see that if it comes from mindless conditioning. Is this coming from a helpful place? This is true mindfulness, contemplation and paying attention to the details even for a few moments.

I also encourage my clients to wait for the art that they love. You don’t need to rush and hurry to finish up your home. In fact, it’s kind of fun to have your eye open for something that you love. Alternatively you can find something to put up that’s not perfect but is trendy and fun for now, without a lot of investment. Or...why not just keep the space open?!

There is, of course, also the aspect of the location of this art. In your case, this art is up in your bedroom. If you’re a single woman ready and actively desiring a relationship with a partner, this isn’t exactly the best imagery. But the colors are soothing; the cool hues are okay for a bedroom otherwise. The angles are rather metal-like, so precise and orthogonal. And it can certainly go in another area of your home.

Be sure to check out our other posts about art!

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 launched our program in September 2018. 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!


Q&A Sunday: What Should I Put on the Wall by My Bed to Attract Love?

What Should I Put on the Wall by My Bed to Attract Love?.jpg

What should I put on that wall by my bed? And I wouldn’t mind working on my love life!

Stephen, Brooklyn, NY

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your question and the cute floor plan! Love the colors! Sometimes people are surprised to hear that even the execution of the floor plan can give me some content for the person’s Feng Shui.

What Should I Put on the Wall by My Bed to Attract Love? - Floor Plan.png

I’m not surprised you’d like to focus on love, because pink tones are associated with the Relationship area, and the grey is related to Completion and Joy. Maybe you’d like some more joy in your love life? And maybe some things need to end to make room for new love. I laid the feng shui bagua map on your bedroom plan, and two things stick out. The bed is the first.

The bed would ideally be rotated so the headboard along the wall that says “10 ft”. This puts you in the commanding position. But from your dimensions I see that you might not have enough room. If you can, I would advise it. If you can’t, the ideal thing to place on the wall next to the bed would be a mirror. It’s always a good idea to have space available on both sides of the bed. Even just a few inches will help. In regards to relationships, when you have that bed up next to the wall, there’s no space for a partner to come into your life. It’s important to have a space that is equal (or in your case, as big as you can make it), to attract an equal and balanced partner into your life. 

As far as what to put up on the wall in the bedroom, as I mentioned before, a mirror would be best if you can’t change the orientation of your bed. By placing a mirror on the side of the bed that’s up next to the wall, you can energetically and visually create that space. And since your bed is not in command, you can also place a mirror somewhere in the room so that you can see the door reflected in it when you’re in bed. By having the back of your head facing the entry, you’re not in command. This puts you at a disadvantage in many ways…one of which is that you may not be able to truly see all the possibilities for love clearly.

The second thing I noticed was that in your Relationship area you have your hamper! Yes, I know the hamper has to go somewhere, but maybe if you’re looking for a partnership, it’s better in a different bagua area! It may imply that you have old stinky laundry that’s keeping you from finding a partner! If it must be in that area, just be mindful to do your laundry regularly and not let it pile up. But if possible, best to move it anywhere else for now.

Finally, the last suggestion circles back to the colors pink and peach. In BTB feng shui, we have something called “peach blossom luck” which helps you to attract a partner. You can paint one or all of your walls pink or peach. But even pink or peach linens or pillows or other accessories will work. Find a large canvas at the art store and paint it a lovely shade of peach. It’s even effective to wear pink and peach.

Let us know how it goes! 

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 launched our program in September 2018. 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!


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

What is the Best Art for the Bedroom?.jpg

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: Symbology of the Six Pointed Star

I came across your site and it is beautiful. Really like the idea of incorporating feng shui and zen in your living space. I was searching the mandala site and saw the Ketu yantra, which got my attention. I noticed the center looks like a Jewish star. I wonder if that's your intention that it is actually a Jewish star - which I absolutely find appealing, as my husband is Jewish and I am Chinese. 

Emily B., Encino, CA

Hi Emily,

Thanks for your email, and I’m so glad you like the website and the Ketu yantra. A lot of people are drawn to this one. It’s very healing. It’s actually related to my Vedic destiny number, so it’s one of my mandalas that’s very personal to me.

Many of the yantras (like Ketu) have the six pointed star in the center, which is the same symbol as the Jewish Star of David. In Vedic symbology, this symbol is the combination two equilateral triangles. One is triangle is upward pointing (male, yang, fire), the other downward pointing (female, yin, water), and the overlap of the two create balance of these opposite energies, like the yin and yang symbol

I hope you find the use of these shapes as interesting as I do! Since I love sacred geometry and symbols, I really loved responding to this question. On a final note, my yantra teacher Mavis Gewant, describes geometric symbols in an interview I did with her

A yantra is a geometric pattern of energy specific to deities and planets. It has been said that they are the physical form of a deity, where mantra is the sound form. Yantras give a structure or pattern to energy. They are composed of geometric forms like squares and circles. Since all cultures have these kinds of shapes, they resonate in our DNA when we see them. Yantras are archetypal and universal.
— Mavis Gewant

PS: I am Korean (also Asian), and my husband is also Jewish! 

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!


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Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for an Office with No Windows

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What are some feng shui considerations for a psychotherapist’s office with no windows?

Erin H., Mountainview, CA

Hi Erin, 

Thank you for your question: what some feng shui considerations are for your office, since it has no windows. I think the answer for this question may be helpful to many people in windowless offices. 

It's ideal to have at least one window in any space, as having natural light and fresh air is vital to human beings. Everything living grows towards the light. When I work with my private architecture and feng shui clients, one of the main desires across the board is maximizing light. Light is so important, and without it, we can feel claustrophobic, suffer from health issues and even become depressed. As an architect, for any habitable space, there are actually light and air requirements. We need air circulation and light, and it's difficult if we don't have them both.

In feng shui, the windows represent the eyes of the inhabitants and can symbolize how we see the world around us. If it's not possible to change offices, I recommend including some artwork that feels like a window. This doesn't mean finding pictures of windows. Instead, look for images of landscapes or other settings where you're bringing the outdoors in. Hanging this kind of art on the wall can give the impression of having a window, even when there isn't physically one there. 

There are also seasonal affective disorder lamps, which simulate natural daylight, that may help. These can be used in any space, especially one without sufficient natural light, to counteract the negative effects of lack of sunlight. They are often recommended by therapists during the colder, darker seasons. In fact, as a psychotherapist, you may already be familiar with them!

Finally, you could also bring nature into your space with fresh flowers or green plants. It's true that most plants need natural sunlight to grow, but you can opt for a low-light plant or even add a fake plant to your space. If possible, aim for a real plant, as this can help out with indoor air quality as well. Fresh flowers are also an incredible way to bring in nature energy and connect you with the outdoors. Take a look at some of our posts on flowers for ideas on which blooms to select for your space!

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 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.

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