Feng Shui explained


Feng shui. Yin yang. Qi. Wu Xing. Always wondered what the feng it was all about? We uncover the key to living and decorating harmoniously… And a few cheats. 😉


Feng shui is the art of arranging your environment in harmony with the natural world. It translates literally to “wind water”, relating to a quote from the Chinese Classics that reads, “The energy that’s dissipated by the wind stops at the boundary of the water”. It even sounds peaceful!

This 5000+-year-old Chinese philosophy operates on the premise that there is an interrelationship between humanity, the earth and the heavens, and that prosperity (in all its many shapes) can be achieved by balancing qi (or chi), the energy that binds the universe.

Images sourced L to R: bohemiadesign.tumblr.com and nicety.livejournal.com

Sceptical? Sounds like New Age sorcery? Whether you think it’s the bible or a whole bunch of BS, if it gathers good fortune and healthful energy in our home it can’t be that bad… right? Plus, this kind of holistic understanding of existence appeals. (We’ve always leant on the hippy side of hipster.)

If you’re wanting to delve into its deeper magic, this blog is not for you. 😀 There are numerous schools from the traditional to the Eight Life Aspirations (!) and the mystically named Black Sect School that can have you practicing its dark arts – but beware. You’ll need a compass and an inordinate amount of patience. And you may find yourself tracing the form of a dragon through your floorplan to ensure it doesn’t encounter any difficult corners.

Instead, we’re opting for a few quick and dirty cheats to shortcut the steps to a zen existence… Here goes:

Images sourced L to R: etsy.com and hgtv.com

Qi is your friend

As mentioned above – this is the élan vital – the invisible thread of energy that “rolls through all things”. (To quote our man, Wordsworth. Ahhh, Tintern Abbey…) Make sure there is room enough for the qi to move freely through your home.


Balance your Yin with your Yang

Qi can be separated into two distinct types: yang (acting) and yin (receiving). These two opposing energies are complimentary when they exist in equal parts. Keep this in mind in the kind of lines you choose (soft + hard) and your colour selection (see below).

Plants offer softer curves and other feng shui benefits. Images sourced L to R: fengshuidana.com and decoholic.org

Out with the old…

And in with the new. Nobody likes residue. (Nobody.) But you’ll need to put your money where your mouth is… De-cluttering is in order. Yep! Get rid of the things you’re clinging to in the belief that you will one day (one day!) need them.

Need tips on how to de-clutter your space. De-clutter Mastermind Peter Walsh from The Living Room tells you how here!

Images sourced L to R: stylebyemilyhenderson.com and Zanui.

Give your air some TLC

Add in some air-enhancing plants to cleanse the O2 you’re taking in. The peace lily, bird of paradise and various palms are great (areca, lady, dwarf date etc), even the humble rubber plant will give your space a refresh.


Or if you just want to look like you have good energy in your home, opt for the artificial versions… After all – who’s going to know?? 😉

Images sourced L to R: lushome.com and buzzfeed.com

Consult the Wu Xing for colour advice

The Wu Xing is not an Asian Triad. It is the 5 elements or phases that rule everything from cosmic cycles to your internal organs and even political upheavals. Wood, fire, earth, metal and water…

Colour is said to be an expression of each of these elements. As such you can strengthen aspects of your life through your colour choices in different rooms:

Fire – passion and high energy – red, orange, purple, pink, strong yellow
Earth – nourishment and stability – light yellow, beige, sandy, earthy hues
Metal – clarity and preciseness – grey and white
Water – ease and abundance – blue and black
Wood – growth and vitality – brown and green
fs 5

Burning sage and decluttering cleanses your home. Images sourced L to R: poppytalk.com and fengshuidana.com

Add feng-shui-friendly decor accents

From a sitting Buddha to a running water fountain, a touch of Zen can’t hurt. Mirrors enhance the natural light in your space. Light and love! as my yogi friends would say.


And there you have it. Feng shui allows us the means to cleanse our homes of negativity – no more being slimed by external influences! Phew!

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.