I recently spoke with Wendy Bodin, a certified herbalist, feng shui expert, and reiki master. She has practiced feng shui and helped others use it for the past 18 years.
I was wondering if my house passes the feng shui test. Does yours?
Bodin says feng shui is “interior design with a higher conscious.” She can walk into a space and feel the energy. Does it feel cluttered, positive, or negative? “There aren’t pad answers for feng shui. You have to look at each situation individually, because nothing is ever gonna be the same,” says Bodin.
Bodin says feng shui literally means ‘wind-water.’ They both move and they both flow,” she says. That is exactly the feel you want in your home or office environment. You don’t want the energy to feel stuck or cramped.
One of the main ideas in feng shui is clearing out energy. Designers believe in minimalist living spaces, because “disorganization creates chaos. The chaos gets transferred into our brains and we can’t think straight.” Bodin says, “Just cleaning your house you think . . . it feels so nice in here.” As busy working parents “we have a hard time keeping up with that, but it can make a big difference in how we feel.”
Bodin recommends finding good containers and baskets for “storing and organizing things better.” Putting all those toys back where they belong can help too.
Yin and yang is the basic principal in Chinese medicine (the duality of everything on earth and in nature . . . up and down, dark and light, hot and cold.) It’s about finding the balance between the yin and the yang,” says Bodin.
This also pertains to colors in decorating. In feng shui, red is yang and blue is yin. Many people believe that colors can make you feel a certain way. Those who practice feng shui believe that too. The colors you chose to decorate with can have a real impact on how you feel in your space. For example, “red can be intense and can be heavy and can even increase anger,” says Bodin.
When it comes to painting, you should, “Paint colors with some thought. Using accent colors is better than a whole wall,” says Bodin.
In feng shui design, red and yellow are ideal colors in the kitchen. They are the colors of fire and warmth. The goal is to bring that warm feeling into the heart of the home. Bodin says, “Putting out fruit in a bowl on the counter makes me feel good.” Designing with “nurturing elements brings people together.”
Do you have a staircase that leads right to your front door? In feng shui, experts believe that causes everything to goes out the door: health, wealth, etc. One feng shui fix is using plants. “If there’s room on each side [of the door] you can put big potted plants on each side. It will help.”
If you are buying a new home, stand by the front door and ask, “How does it make me feel?” says Bodin. “If you walk in the front and there is a wall right there, you don’t want that. You want the space to open up around you as you walk into it.”
In feng shui, moving walls and opening up space allows the house to breathe better. “Sometimes the only answer is remodeling,” says Bodin.
Many of the principals used in feng shui decorating use common sense when it comes to functionality. For example, “The kitchen should have enough space and the dining room should be within reach to bring food to the table easier.” Crowded and cramped spaces are uncomfortable and can make you feel uncomfortable in your own home.
Bodin wishes builders would bring back the breakfast nook. It feels comfortable so “it brings closeness and togetherness in a family.” She says restaurants use booths because they know customers enjoy them. “You feel supported and close” with a booth enveloping you. ”They should bring back the nooks in architecture.”
Outside Your Home
For good feng shui, your backyard should be clean and neat for a peaceful, relaxing space. Bodin says,“Keep everything as manicured as possible.” Nature has a big role in feng shui. It is important to experience the outdoors each day. To see the view of the mountain is positive. “Mountains emit positive energy because they are made of rock. Designers use elements like metal, wood, and water to decorate and create balance in a room and throughout a house.
When it comes to your bedroom, Bodin says you want to find the most serene place to put the bed and cozy up in it. She says its similar to when an animal cozies up in their cave. Feng Shui designers believe your headboard on your bed should be up against a wall. Your feet should also face a wall, not a door, or a window. Bodin says, “You want to feel surrounded and secure in your bed when you sleep.” She reminds us that mirrors are not good in a bedroom because that reflective surface can be distracting and not restful.
Bodin believes listening to relaxing music at home can also enhance family harmony.
Go with “what makes you feel good and comfortable and go with your instinct,” says Bodin. To learn even more about Feng Shui, visit Wendy Bodin’s website.