8 Open Concept Layout Mistakes We Should All Stop Making

featured on Apartment Therapy by Caroline Biggs

image credit: Jessica Isaac via  Apartment Therapy

image credit: Jessica Isaac via Apartment Therapy

For as spacious as the layout may be, designing an open concept home can be tricky. Along with figuring out the right way to arrange your furniture, you’re often stuck with the daunting task of forging distinct areas inside a lofty, wall-less space.

Thankfully, we know a few space-savvy designer friends to call upon for help. We reached out to eight interior design aficionados for advice on what not to do when you’re laying out your open concept living area. Here’s what they had they had to say.

3. Being Too Open

“With open concept living spaces, I find that there’s the paradox of wanting to have lots of openness, but also wanting smaller intimate spaces for connection. It’s helpful to keep certain areas open for larger gatherings, but also create intimate nooks, like a reading corner or small workspace, so you have spots you can hang out alone in too.” — Anjie Cho

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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.

Dive deeper into feng shui to transform your life!

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Create sacred spaces that support, and nourish.

Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com

Q&A Sundays: Using Feng Shui Crystal Balls

I bought a feng shui crystal a long time ago because it was pretty but I have no idea how to use it properly in my home. Help!

Jennifer K., Yonkers, NY

Feng shui crystals are used to adjust the flow of energy in a space. They are particularly effective for bringing light, brilliance and clarity to home or office space. Feng shui crystal balls are made of faceted glass, as shown here. I often recommend Swarovski leaded crystal glass balls, which refract the most light because of the lead content. Note, the lead is not harmful to you.

These feng shui crystals are easy to find online (check out the crystals at my store), and they come in various sizes. For feng shui purposes, most interior spaces should use crystals of 40mm or larger. In feng shui, it is also very important to hang feng shui crystal balls using a red cord.  Red is a very auspicious color and represents protection.  It’s even better if the cord can be a length that equals a multiple of 9 – like 9”, 18,” 27” etc.

Although there are many applications for feng shui crystals, they are best prescribed by a feng shui practitioner. However, there are some general uses that I can share with you.

Bring Light to your Entry 

Place a feng shui crystal ball in a dark or small entry to expand the space and attract positive energy, which then disperses the good chi into your home.

Clarity for your Mediation practice

Place a feng shui crystal ball above your meditation seat or just in front of you such that you can see it. It will expand and provide clarity in your practice to create harmony and peace within your inner and outer spaces.

Focus your Career

Place a feng shui crystal ball directly above your head while sitting at your desk. Be sure it’s fastened well and secured. The crystal will assist in focusing your energy specifically in light of your career and the work you do.

You can also click HERE to watch an eHow.com video on how to use feng shui crystals.

Thank you for your question Jennifer. It is actually a common one, and hope it helps you and the other readers. 

by Anjie Cho


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. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


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!


House to Home: Your Perfect Workspace

featured on telegram.com by Debbie Travis

Dear Debbie: When is working at home a bad idea? I find it a real struggle to put aside home tasks and unrelated phone calls and get down to concentrating on my paying job as an accountant. Should I rent office space? — Anna

Dear Anna: For many people, working at home solves myriad challenges, including time lost traveling and food expenses. Also, cutting down on sick days is easier when you don’t have to venture out. Having a home office can be ideal with today’s computer connections, but it also depends on your career choice. Many accountants work from home, so consider how you can better situate yourself so that you can close out home distractions and concentrate on your clients.

In her recent book “Holistic Spaces, 108 Ways to Create a Mindful and Peaceful Home,” the author, interior architect Anjie Cho, lays out how to create holistic spaces using many disciplines. She thinks of feng shui as the original “green” design and looks at how the environment affects us on an energetic level, as well as how we affect the environment.

The philosophy of where to situate furniture in relation to doors and windows, what should or should not be in a room and how we can benefit by following these rules is an ancient one, and not often thought about in western societies. Because so many of Cho’s rules and so much of her guidance is backed by a combination of common sense and tested theories, it is a valuable companion, especially if you are struggling with home anxieties.

…read full article


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. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


New Year, New Home: Q&A with Anjie Cho

image credit: CICO Books via    Ryland Peter & Small

image credit: CICO Books via Ryland Peter & Small

We know January can feel like a bit of a slog, but it's also a great time to stand back and take stock of where you are and what you want to achieve this year. If you feel like your home is in need of a re-design, big or small, now's the time to make sure your environment is supporting and nurturing you as much as possible. We spoke to Anjie Cho, architect, feng shui consultant and author of Holistic Spaces, about how to maximize the potential of your space and get 2019 off to the best possible start!

Hi Anjie! So what are holistic spaces?

Space is physical, emotional, energetic, and so holistic spaces is a way to look at all the space around you in an integrated way. When you can begin to see that your inner and outer spaces are connected, it gives you insight and joy. It's a mindful way to work with the environment around us, so that we can see the magic in our everyday life. Every moment and every space has a gift to offer. 

When did you first become interested in feng shui?

In my late twenties I was pretty miserable and looking for happiness outside of myself. On a trip to the Buddhist country of Thailand, I had an epiphany during a Reiki session where I realized that when I returned to New York City I would begin a journey to find contentment within myself. So, I started studying meditation, yoga, and naturally next came feng shui. I was an architect so I wanted to bring this mindfulness into my work as well.

…read full article


Dive deeper into feng shui to transform your life!

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Create sacred spaces that support, and nourish.

visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com


Q&A Sunday: The Best Front Door for Creative Entrepreneurs

The Best Front Door for Creative Entrepreneurs.jpg

Dear Anjie,

Hope you are doing well. Thank you so much for your podcast; it's very helpful. I'm in the process of moving to a new house. It would be very helpful if you could please let me know which is the best front door direction to look for, as I and my wife are creative professionals. I write music for film and tv and she writes and edits novels and short stories. And both of us work from home. We would like to strengthen our financial stability and growth. And we would also like to attract more opportunities in our respective careers.

Jaikumar S., Mumbai, India

Dear Jaikumar,

Thank you for your email, and I’m glad you like the podcast!

I understand you would like to know the best front door direction for your family as creative professionals who work from home. There are dozens of feng shui schools, and the one that I practice is called BTB feng shui. BTB feng shui does not prioritize the direction of the front door on the basis of the compass directions, rather we look at how the door is located in relationship to the flow of qi (or energy). 

Because you noted that you and your wife would like to attract more opportunities, it would be best if your entry door was easy to find and visible from the street. Ideally you would have the house number very easy to find and a clear path to reach the front door. This means that the qi can find you, therefore the opportunities can also reach you with ease. 

I would discourage a front door to a home that is on the side or back of the house, or hidden. If it’s hard for your friends to visit you, it will also be for all the opportunities and prosperous qi. 

You mentioned that you and your wife would like to work on financial stability and growth. With respect to the front door, you could make sure that the home has a door that is stable and in good condition. Repair any non-functioning items and oil any squeaky hinges. You can even repaint the door to refresh the qi. The colors related to growth are bright blue and green. These colors relate to the wood element. Or you can opt for a deep green like the color of a deeply rooted and stable tree canopy.

Remember to keep your entrance well-lit and free of clutter as well! I encourage you to also take a look at some of the blog posts on creating a productive home working space, like The Feng Shui Home Cleanse That Will Bring Your Intentions to Life, as well as Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Career Growth and Direction, another relevant reader question. Thank you again for reading the blog and listening to the podcast. I hope these adjustments help!

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!