Chi, or energy, will move into as well as around a home through its openings. So doorways are the first areas to analyze.
If the front door opens directly into a wall, or if one meets a wall or obstruction when stepping out of the front door, the house will not allow chi to enter easily. This will mean a very low energy level in the house.
To change it, place a faceted crystal ball midway between the front door and the interior wall. The ball should be hung on a red string or ribbon and drop about six inches from the ceiling. For additional help make sure the light fixture in this area is bright and clean and hang an attractive picture showing a broad vista on the offending wall. Doing this will energize the chi coming into the house.
If the obstruction is on the outside, a crystal and light fixture can be used there as well to energize the chi.
If interior doorways are directly ALIGNed in a hallway, chi will move too quickly between the rooms. Hang a faceted crystal ball or some wind chimes from the ceiling midway between the doors.
If a larger doorway opens into a smaller doorway, chi will rush from the large door into the smaller. To slow it down, place an attractive mirror or picture on each side of the smaller doorway at eye level. This will slow down the energy nicely.
Many people are attracted to homes with cathedral ceilings only to find the rooms are uncomfortable once they move in. The chi in such rooms is moving too rapidly and whirls around the space near the ceiling. If the ceiling is sloped it becomes an even greater problem as the chi bounces off the slanting surfaces at all angles. A solution becomes crucial.
One option is to hang a mobile or banner of an appropriate size in the void to help move the energy back down. Along these same lines, a ceiling fan could be installed. Make sure the movement of the stir from the blades is downward and never place a fan over a bed.
Another option is to create a false ceiling line around the room about eight or nine feet from the floor. This can be done using a picture molding, wallpaper border or plate rack or by ALIGNing all of the tops of doors, window treatments and artwork. The imaginary line will fool the chi so it will stay below it. This option, if combined with one of the previous solutions, would be even more effective.
Living and Family Rooms
There are three important challenges to address in these frequently used rooms. The first is the position of the seating areas. No one likes to be surprised from behind so it is bad feng shui to sit with one's back to the main doorway. Make sure the primary seating areas and as many as possible of the others have a clear line of view to the main entry of the room. If this positioning cannot be done, place a mirror so the reflection of the entry can be seen.
Next, check the ceiling for exposed beams. These raised surfaces push the chi down in the room and can become oppressive. Try not to position seating areas under beams and use some of the following options: Have the edges of the beams rounded and paint the entire beam white or light beige. Consider hanging a pair of bamboo flutes facing each other at 45-degree angles. Trim the beam with swags or fringe. Finally, if the room has a cathedral ceiling, use some of the cures suggested above.
Needless to say, the ancient Chinese did not have bathrooms, and even today many rural areas of China are without such facilities. Because of the drains (especially the size of the toilet drain) chi exits the house rapidly through a bathroom.
Always keep the toilet seat lid down when not in use. This closes off the largest drain of chi in the room. It's even better if all other drains also can remain closed when not being used.
If the toilet seat ALIGNs with the bathroom door, place a faceted crystal ball or wind chime midway between them as described above. Placing a healthy plant on the back of the toilet also will generate positive chi. Just be sure to keep the plant healthy.
Keep the bathroom door closed. No one wants to see the toilet anyway. To be even more effective, place a mirror on the outside of the bathroom door. This will reflect the chi back into the rest of the house. This last option would be even more important if the bathroom were positioned at the end of a long hallway.
We spend one third or more of our lives in bedrooms. As a result we should make them as nurturing as possible. The flow of bad chi can eliminate a refreshing night's sleep.
The bed's position should be facing, but not in a direct line with, the doorway. If the room does not allow a direct line of sight to the door, position a mirror, free standing or wall-hung, so that the doorway can be seen from the bed. No one wants to be surprised while sleeping.
The subconscious senses movement while asleep. Make sure there are no mirrors that directly reflect the bed. The movement of the bed's occupants will reflect in the mirror and result in restless nights.
As with living rooms, no one should be sitting or sleeping under an exposed beam. It is oppressive. Use the ideas mentioned above to reduce the impact of such hazards.
Remember, chi can be good or bad depending on circumstances. When a door or window sticks, a faucet leaks, a wall cracks or wallpaper peels, the subconscious keeps nagging us to repair it. This is bad chi.
However, when a home is orderly and functions well, when little problems are fixed soon after they arise, the chi in the house is positive and good. Regular maintenance will go a long way to create and nourish positive chi.
If you have analyzed and corrected the challenges mentioned above and still want to go further with enhancing a home through feng shui, your next step is to analyze the house or room(s) using the Bagua.
You probably have seen the Bagua as an octagon. Since Westerners rarely build in this shape, Figure 1 is a modified Bagua in the shape of a rectangle. It shows the life situations or treasures and the elements, colors and numbers associated with each area.
Ideally, in Chinese terms, a house or room creates a space that is either octangular, circular, rectangular or square. As we analyze a space we will identify where pieces of one of these geometric shapes are missing and compensate for the problems these missing areas create.
Your first step will be to lay out the floor plan of the house or room in question, preferably to scale. Next, line up the main entrance or doorway wall with the side of the Bagua Map that says "Knowledge & Self Cultivation," "Career" and "Helpful People & Travel." The main entrance will always come through one of these three life situation blocks.
Now, analyze the room or home. By ALIGNing the floor plan in Figure 2 with the Bagua Map, you can see the "Love & Marriage" area of this home is missing. This means there is trouble in the relationship of the couple who live there. To enhance this area you have two options, you can do one or both of them.
The easiest option is to enhance the "Love & Marriage" area of each room within the house using some of the Nine Basic Cures. The second option is to create the illusion that the house is a true rectangle. This can be done in any number of ways. The fastest and easiest way would be to put a light, wind sock banner or flagpole with a flag at the top in this corner of the property. Whichever object is used, it should be permanent.
A more complex option would be to build a patio or deck in the missing corner and place a trellis-like covering or regular roof over it. Make sure there is a post in the exact corner that would make the house the completed geometric shape. Now enhance this new living area with wind chimes, plants, etc. to make it an attractive space.
A second challenge is shown in Figure 3. In this case the "Helpful People & Travel" area is missing from the room and a sharp corner is created within the space.
As a solution, place pictures on the side wall of people who are helpful to the client's life. They may be friends, family or someone used as a role model or teacher. You also could place a mirror on this wall. It would be even more helpful if the mirror were framed in white, gray or black. Just make sure to hang it so the whole face can be seen when standing in front of it.
Finally, a plant with rounded leaves growing up in the sharp corner would dull the edge and help the flow of chi.
By analyzing each room and the entire house, modifications can be made easily to control and supplement chi. In the next article we will discuss how to use personal objects to further enhance the use of the Bagua as it relates to the energy in a home.
Susan Dudics-Dean is owner of Celestial Designs and an interior designer who has worked in the San Francisco Bay area of California for more than 11 years. She also is a newspaper columnist and seminar speaker.