Why Your Holistic Space Needs Art

Why Your Holistic Space Needs Art.jpg

Art may not be the first thing you think of when designing your holistic space, but it actually plays a very important role on many levels. Art, by nature, is very subjective, but its effects in design are much more objective and global. Adding the perfect pieces to your home can bring your area together in various ways. 

Balance The Five Elements

We've mentioned art many times as one of the easiest ways to balance out the five elements in any space. As each element relates to a certain area of the feng shui bagua, symbolized by certain shapes, colors and subjects, selecting a piece of art can bring in one or more of the five elements. For Earth you can add earthy colors like brown, orange and yellow and square shapes. For Metal, look for metallic colors, whites, grays and circular shapes. For Water, choose the colors dark blue and black and wavy shapes. For Wood, opt for green, blue and columnar shapes, and finally, for Fire, look for the color red and triangular shapes.


Some types of sacred art can be viewed and contemplated in meditation. For instance, the yantra mandalas are created through meditation in action but also can be a visual focal point of a meditation practice. Sacred art is often created with mantra and symbolism. I once attended and event at the Rubin Museum of Art called a "Dream Over". The museum hosts this event in which attendees are assigned a piece of art that you contemplate overnight. Participants meditate, are read bedtime stories and are invited to sleep and dream under their selected piece of art. Art can be a wonderful way to guide meditation and open your mind to inspiration and creativity. What moves you? Look for that in your art pieces.

Add Nature

While the best way to add nature to a space for feng shui adjustments is with living plants, there are times when that option isn't feasible. Maybe your thumb is charcoal black or you have boisterous pets (or children). In this case, choosing artwork that depicts nature can be a great alternative. Be sure to pay attention to the colors in your art and match them to your feng shui needs for the specific room.

Add Color Without Paint

On a similar note, there are often occasions when painting a space is not an option, such as when renting an apartment. In this case, artwork can serve as a way to add color and brighten a room without breaking terms of a lease. Images can add a healthy dose of color on their own, or you can grab a blank canvas and paint it one solid color for a big pop. 

Nurture Inspiration

Part of what makes a space holistic is that it provides nourishment and inspiration to its residents. We've even done a few posts and a podcast on how to make your space inspirational. One easy way to do this is with art. One of the best things about art is that it can be interpreted in so many ways and boosts creative thinking. Find a piece that inspires you to work toward your goals, make more art, spend more time on creative outlets, etc. 

Strengthen a Room's Purpose

I mentioned earlier that it's important to keep each room's needs in mind when selecting art. This can also be used to your advantage! In design, we often aim for a certain feeling or aura in specific rooms. For instance, the bathroom is often meant to be a place for relaxation and the bedroom for passion. Adding curated artwork can help establish these purposes. Before you look at art, take stock of what you want each room in your space to inspire and find a piece that matches that feeling!

Whether you make your own art, find art that speaks to you or commission a personal piece, bringing artwork into your space can go a long way in making a house into a holistic home. If you're on the lookout for artwork now, consider a Holistic Spaces mandala or reach out to some of our favorite artists below:

Amy T. Won
Mavis Gewant
Carmen Mensink
Karl Lorenzen

by Anjie Cho

The Secret to Flexible Decorating: the Picture Ledge

The Secret to Flexible Decorating- the Picture Ledge.jpg

Does this scenario sound familiar? You cuddle into the corner of your favorite chair. You pull a comfy throw onto your lap while closely hugging a cup of steaming tea, coffee or fire water. And you sigh, content and happy, until your eye rests upon that framed bit of artwork on the wall and you realize you’re ready for a change.

The good news is that the things we hang on our walls can be easily swapped out and updated for a fresh, new look. The challenge, however, can be finding a comparable piece to hang in that exact spot. Can the new piece use the same nail hole? Will it fit in the space of the item that you’re replacing? Will you need to create new holes in the wall for another sort of hanger? Do additional items need to be moved around to accommodate your new find? The more change this seemingly simple update requires, the more reluctant you may be to make it. 

Don’t worry! There’s a simple solution. Put down the hammer and don’t hang another thing before you read this. The secret to creating an easily updatable room is the picture ledge. Whether you like to replace your wall art each season or you want the flexibility to change things up on a whim, a picture ledge gives you a creative space to easily swap pieces without drilling new holes in the wall and alleviates spacing headaches each time your décor evolves. 

Let’s talk about the basics. Start by selecting the ledge length that best suits your decorating style and room size. You can find pre-made ledges in a variety of lengths or you can DIY a ledge to your specifications. If you’re going the make-it-yourself route, get creative with the materials you use. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration and decorations for such a project. 

Generally, if you’re going to place the picture ledge over a couch, place the bottom edge of the shelf about 10 inches above the back of the couch. If you’re going to hang it elsewhere, keep in mind, you’re aiming for “eye level” artwork on a wall. A good rule of thumb is to hang your ledge 4 to 4 ½ feet from the floor. 

What goes on the ledge? For starters, there’s the obvious framed artwork. It is, after all, called a picture ledge. But don’t stop there! These ledges with their grooves and/or framed edges are ideal for displaying things like decorative plates, forward facing books, thin vases, and collectibles. Think outside the box! Hang some picture ledges in your bedroom and display your favorite shoes. Use these unique shelves in the kitchen to arrange your go-to bottles of spices and seasonings. Try a picture ledge in a child’s bedroom or play room to display those awesome Lego creations and favorite toys. Anything that will securely fit on the flat space available is fair game. Have fun with it, and the next time you glance up and realize it’s time for a change, go for it! Swap out your old shelf décor for something fresh and new without any worry.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: How to Use a Food Processor For Leftover Soap Pieces

How to Use a Food Processor for Leftover Soap Pieces

How to Use a Food Processor for Leftover Soap Pieces

Learn how to recycle leftover bits of soap into new, original bars using a food processor

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Video Transcript:

I'm Anjie Cho, and this is how to use a food processor for leftover soap pieces.

I love using bar soap, especially super nice, natural soap. Bar soap is more eco-friendly because you can use less of it and it lasts longer. And you don't have the disposable containers. But you do end up with those leftover soap pieces. I'll show you how to recycle your leftover soap pieces using a food processor.

First, you need a processor, some leftover soap pieces, a saucepan, some oil and a soap molder of some sort. First, grease your soap mold, mine is a glass bowl. You can also use a fancy soap mold or a paper cup.

Second, place all your leftover soap pieces in a food processor and pulse until you have grated soap pieces. Place these in your pan over low heat with just enough water to cover. Here's where you can get creative and use milk, tea, coffee, water, it's up to you.

Milk can give a creamier, moisturizing soap. Different herbal teas can add the benefits of the herbs. Such as peppermint, which is tingly and invigorating. Coffee and caffeinated teas can help wake you up and make your skin firmer. And then, there's water for the purists.

Once you have a smooth texture, take your mixture and let it cool a bit. After it's cooled to the touch, at this point you can add other things such oatmeal, coffee grounds. etc. And you can add some scrubbing power. Or you could just add some essential oils.

Pour it into your mold and cover it with plastic wrap. You can leave it out or put it in the fridge. When it's set after a few hours, you can take it out and let it cure, meaning dry and harden for at least a week. Maybe longer if you used a lot of liquid.

This is a great way to use leftover soap pieces and make a special bar that's all your own.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: Natural Way to Make a Chair Smell Good

Natural Way to Make a Chair Smell Good

Natural Way to Make a Chair Smell Good

Restore used and lived-in chairs to good smell with natural products like vinegar, baking soda and sunlight

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Video Transcript:

I'm Anjie Cho and this is natural ways to make a chair smell good.

Because upholstered chairs get used, sat on, spilled on, etc. and because they can't easily be cleaned, sometimes they start to smell, well, not so good. But there are natural ways to make a chair smell better. You don't have to use chemicals, you can go the eco-friendly route.

First of all, don't try to cover it up, I think it makes it worse. The best way to go is to deodorize and remove the bad odors. Some ways to do this for upholstered fabric is to sprinkle baking soda and let it sit overnight. Baking soda deodorizes by absorbing the odors. After it has sat overnight, vacuum the baking soda. This should help tremendously.

If necessary, move onto step two using white vinegar. Make a solution of equal parts water to vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Make sure to test an area first. For instance, this will not work for silk. If that area's o.k., then spray the entire chair with vinegar spray. I promise you the vinegar smell will absolutely dissipate and leave the chair smelling better.

Finally, step three, if it still needs some deodorizing. Vacuum the chair one more time and leave it out in the sunlight all day. Did you know that sunlight actually can kill bacteria and a lot of the odors come from bacteria? Be mindful if the fabric has a possibility of fading in the sunlight. Again, do a test of you can.

There are natural and eco-friendly ways to make a chair smell good using baking soda, vinegar and natural sunlight. Net time skip the chemicals and try to do it the green, natural way.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: How to Make a Natural Cleaner With Peroxide

How to Make a Natural Cleaner With Peroxide

How to Make a Natural Cleaner With Peroxide

Using peroxide is an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative to toxic cleaning products

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Video Transcript:

I'm Anjie Cho, and this is how to make natural cleaners with peroxide.

Unfortunately, many conventional cleaning products are made up of toxic chemicals. Not only do we breathe in these toxins, they get directly absorbed into our bloodstream through our skin. They also release toxins into the air and water supply. You absolutely don't want these products in your home. They poison you, your family and the planet as a whole.

It's easy to make a non-toxic alternative natural cleaner using hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is safe for our water supply because it breaks down in the water. It's also inexpensive at one or two dollars for a bottle like this. It's great as a cleaner because it's naturally antibacterial, and that's why we use it to clean cuts. Some uses for peroxide as a cleaner are one, mix it with some club soda to clean surfaces like counter tops.

Two, as a substitute for bleach. It's a natural whitener. Three, use it undiluted to sanitize toothbrushes, cutting boards and waste bins. My favorite way to use peroxide is to add a few drops of essential oil, like eucalyptus, which is naturally antibacterial, and use it for an anti-mildew shower tub spray. I just take a spray bottle, take the top off, screw it right onto the brown bottle.

By the way, the reason why hydrogen peroxide often comes in those opaque brown bottles is that the peroxide can easily break down in sunlight.

So it's best to keep it out of the sun and in the brown bottles. So have some fun and make your own do it yourself natural cleaner with peroxide.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: Separating the Area in a Studio Apartment By Using a Curtain

Separating the Area in a Studio Apartment By Using a Curtain

Separating the Area in a Studio Apartment By Using a Curtain

Separating personal from public space is important. Use a curtain to facilitate this separation in a studio apartment.

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Video Transcript:

Hello, I'm Anjie Cho, and today I will share with you some tips to separate an area in a studio apartment by using a curtain.

The most challenging aspect of living in a studio apartment is separating your public active space such as your living, dining, kitchen and work areas from your private passive sleeping area. It's very important to visually and physically separate your sleep and public areas when designing the layout of your studio apartment.

One way you can achieve this is with curtains. In this example I've used a ceiling mounted curtain track. There are also curtain wires that will work but in my experience, depending on how long the span is, the wire will begin to droop with the weight of the curtain and this doesn't look good. The ceiling mounted curtain tracks and rails are rigid and end up looking the cleanest. Regular curtain rods will also work well if you can mount the supports on the ceiling.

Make sure you get the correct types of screws and anchors for the ceiling you have. I have concrete slab ceilings here, so I used a hammering drill and concrete anchors. Be sure to measure out the space you have so the holes are located correctly.

In this application I used a semi opaque fabric so there is visual for that privacy but you still see some light pass through. If sound is an issue, it might be better to use a heavier fabric.

The other advantage of drapes is flexibility. When you need more space you can open it up like this because after all a studio is a small living space.

I'm Anjie Cho, and this is how to separate areas in a studio apartment by using a curtain.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: Ways to Reduce Waste Sent to Landfills

Ways to Reduce Waste Sent to Landfills

Ways to Reduce Waste Sent to Landfills

Compost, recycle and purchase recycled content to prevent additional waste from being sent to landfills

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Video Transcript:

I'm Anjie Cho, and these are ways to reduce waste sent to landfills. Did you know that in 2012 Americans disposed a total of 4.6 pounds per person per day. It's interesting to look at this chart from the EPA to see what we can do to reduce waste sent to landfills. 

Paper and paper board can be reused and recycled. I always make sure to print on both sides of the printer paper if possible. I also save the paper and use a blank side to make a scrap paper notepad. Plastics can also be reused and recycled. I try to reuse plastics as much as possible. I also BYOB, bring my own bag, when I go shopping. If you forget your bag, opt for paper, it's easier to recycle.

For both paper and plastic, whenever possible reuse first then recycle. I also encourage you to purchase post-consumer recycled content whenever possible. By choosing post-consumer recycled you support and create a bigger demand for recycling and the infrastructure for more environmentally responsible living. Fewer products are made from virgin materials and therefore reduce the waste sent to landfills.

Glass and metals like this are the easiest materials to recycle, so no excuses. Yard trimmings and food waste can be composted.

Food waste that goes to landfills doesn't decompose but instead it produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Instead, compost the food waste and make it into something useful. Many urban areas offer community compost programs.

Rubber, leather and textiles can be recycled through textile recycling programs, or if they're still usable, take them to your local Goodwill.

I hope we can all work together to reduce waste sent to landfills by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting as much as possible.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: Chinese Home Decorations

Chinese Home Decorations

Chinese Home Decorations

Chinese home decorations bring meaning and symbolism to a space. Coins, zodiac animals and lucky bamboo offer wealth, harmony, growth and more. Add oranges for positive energy. 

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Video Transcript:

I'm Anjie Cho, and today I'm sharing with you the meanings behind using Chinese decorations in your home.

First are the ten Chinese coins of the Ching Dynasty. These are reproductions of coins from the Ching Dynasty representing the ten emperors from that time period. The coins represent abundance of wealth and power. It's beneficial to put these in an area that's easily seen from the entry. It can bring you wealth and money from an upright and legitimate source.

Another Chinese home decoration is the 12 zodiac animals. This is a representation of all 12 animals together on a cord. Each year is represented by a different animal and they are all included here, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal represents an archetype. This decoration combines all 12 of the zodiac animals to represent harmony. This decoration is beneficial to put in the center of a home to represent harmony with all the members of the family.

The third Chinese home decoration is lucky bamboo. Bamboo is abundant in Asia and grows very quickly. It represents upright and honest growth as well as flexibility and adaptability. The bamboo plant does not flower or fruit. Its life span is long but simple. It's also hollow which represents an empty heart of humbleness. Coincidentally in Western culture, it's a symbol for the green sustainability movement.

In Feng Shui lucky bamboo is best when it's straight and not curly or twisted which can represent the opposite of upright and positive growth. Lucky bamboo represents a wood element of kindness, flexibility and healing growth.

Plants also add life energy to a space. Lucky bamboo is great because they can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions and in water or in soil and it's very easy to find. If the green starts to fade into yellow, it probably needs a little bit more light. Just so you know the lucky bamboo you will often find is technically not bamboo but symbolically the plant works the same way.

Finally, the last Chinese home decoration I will talk about is a bowl of oranges. In feng shui, oranges and orange peels contribute positive, fresh and brightening energy our inner and outer environments. Oranges are very auspicious and lucky in Chinese culture. You can always find oranges as decorations at any Chinese festivity. The oranges transform the home with vibrant, life-giving positive energy.

An easy way to incorporate oranges as a home decoration is to get a lovely Asian style bowl like this one, a green, black or white bowl complements the color of oranges very well. In Feng Shui a bowl of fresh oranges adds happiness and brightness to any room.

I'm Anjie Cho, Feng Shui designer with Anjie Cho Architect and founder of Holistic Spaces and today I shared with you the meanings and applications for Chinese home decorations.

by Anjie Cho

eHow.com Video: How to Get VOCs Out of Clothing

How to Get VOCs Out of Clothing

How to Get VOCs Out of Clothing

VOCs,  Volatile Organic Compounds, are toxic and harmful to humans. Learn how to remove these VOCs from your clothing

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Video Transcript:


I'm Anjie Cho and this is how to get VOCs out of clothing.

Did you know that conventional clothing off gases VOCs? VOCs stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. Toxins are released into the air by VOCs from synthetic materials found in buildings, in traditional paint, furniture and even clothing. VOCs are found in even what you might consider natural fabric like cotton. Many fabrics are treated with VOCs during the washing, dyeing and printing processes. VOCs can cause health problems such as headaches, dizziness as well as skin and respiratory problems.

Clothing is especially problematic because of the direct skin contacts, and we can easily absorb toxins directly through our skin. So, how do you get the VOCs out of your clothing? First, air the clothing out outdoors, in sunlight if possible.

The most effective way to reduce VOCs is to allow the clothing to off gas in a well-ventilated place in sunlight. This allows the VOCs to dissipate and leave the fabric. If you don't have outdoor space, set a fan up or make sure you have a breezy room. Setup some indoor green plants which will help to absorb the off gas and chemicals.

Second, after you've aired out the clothing, be sure to soak and wash them thoroughly with a non-toxic eco-friendly laundry detergent with an additional cup of baking soda added. I suggest soaking the clothing overnight, then wash and air dry the clothing. Again, make sure you use eco-friendly non-toxic laundry detergent, so you don't add back in more toxins. Repeat these two steps as required, but for most of us one round should be enough.

Although VOCs can be harmful to our health, we can use natural methods to remove the VOCs from our clothing.

by Anjie Cho