The dos and don'ts of furniture placement, color palettes and more.
Believe it or not, your living environment has a direct impact on your overall wellbeing. For this reason, crafting a home that feels balanced and uplifting is key. And what better place to start than by embracing some basic feng shui living room tips.
The ancient Chinese practice focuses on Qi, a force of positivity that correlates to the way objects are arranged in a space. From ensuring that the back of your living room sofa doesn't face the entrance to arranging furniture around a fireplace, there are easy feng shui pointers to help your space flow better — and look good, too. Scroll down for a look at advice from feng shui experts, Anjie Cho, Reiko Gomez and Amanda Amato. You'll appreciate their take on how to make your living room a relaxing haven that enhances your mind, body and spirit.
Set the Intention for the Space
Living rooms are designed for a variety of purposes — some are cozy escapes for unwinding after a long day's work, others are designed with entertaining in mind. And while you may tailor the room's colors, layout and decor to its overall intention, keep in mind that the room should be treated as a gathering spot, whether it's just for your household or guests. "The phrase indicates that it's a place of living," Cho explains. "Often located closer to the front door, it's more public-facing room in your home as opposed to the bedroom or office, so the colors and layout should reflect that."
Amato prefers bold hues if guests visit your home frequently and calming tones for those with a more relaxed lifestyle. "If the living room is lively and often used for entertaining, adding hints of more energetic colors such as yellow and orange would be fitting. If your living room is primarily used for relaxing at the end of the day, then a restful and subdued color palette would be more appropriate."
Bring in the Five Elements
Feng shui uses the five elements — earth, wood, fire, metal and water — to describe the physical and energic world around us. "It's important to balance the five elements to create a harmonious environment," says Amato. You can accomplish this with your decor or "subtly displayed in other ways with intention." For instance, as opposed to opting for the color red, consider using everything from animal prints to triangular shapes to represent the fire element in your living room.
Choose Colors, Textures and Shapes Wisely
While, yes, you should always go with colors that you're naturally drawn to, there are a number of palettes, ranging from warm neutrals to crisp grays, feng shui experts lean toward in a living room. Plus, there are certain shapes and textures to watch out for when choosing furnishings. Here's what Amato says is worth keeping on your radar:
Earth: low, square or rectangular furniture to ground the space, warm earth tones like brown, gold, yellow and clay; geometric patterns; pottery and porcelain materials
Wood: tall, vertical lines; shades of green; botanical and floral patterns; live plants; tall furniture
Fire: triangle shapes; leather materials; animal prints; lighting and candles; spiky objects and abstract art
Metal: round shapes and arches; metallic colors ranging from white tones to silver or gray; shimmery fabrics; and circle patterns
Water: irregular and curvy shapes; ocean-like blues spanning from light to dark; iridescent and reflective materials or fabrics
Let the Couch Take "Command"
If possible, try not to have the back of your sofa face your living room's entrance. "An ideal furniture arrangement is one where, as you enter the space you can see the sofa 'greeting you,'" says Gomez. "This will draw you into the room’s embrace."
But let's face it: There are some design schemes that aren't conducive to this layout. The workaround? Add a narrow console table behind your sofa to showcase decorative table lamps, accessories, an orchid or even a water feature. "This way, the person sitting on the sofa feels more protected from people coming up behind them while those who enter the room have a more appealing view," she adds.
Amato also likes to weave in a mirror if the sofa can't be placed in the "command" position. "Hang a mirror so that the owner can have a view of the entry if facing the door isn't possible," she says.
Create a Seamless Sense of Flow
Your home should feel cohesive in the world of feng shui. Flow matters. It can be as simple as being able to walk through the living room with ease or maintaining an attractive, clutter-free space. "If you’re doing too much twisting and turning to get around pieces of furniture, or you find yourself squeezing between chairs, your arrangement is too tight," Gomez says. "Open things up, and possibly remove one or two pieces of furniture, to increase the flow of Qi."
Illuminating an interior calls for balance. You'd be surprised how much a poorly-lit room can put a damper on your mood. On the other hand, if a room is too bright, it can be disturbing. For these reasons, Gomez likes to layer lighting. "The best solution is to have different types of lights, like low table lamps for mood lighting, along with recessed ceiling lights for overall illumination. And whenever possible, place light fixtures on dimmer switches."
Use Plants as Decor
"Plants bring in wood elements to a space," says Cho. "They bring in growth and vitality, but they are very healing." In other words, they breathe life into a room. Amato recommends plants with rounded leaves — think jade, golden pothos, and lucky bamboo plants. But Gomez says steer clear of cacti. "Select soft, lush plants with feathery leaves rather than anything sharp or pointy," she says.
Be Intentional About Mirrors and Wall Art
There are a few guidelines to follow when hanging mirrors and art on the wall (stick to serene prints like images of the beach). In feng shui, placing these pieces too low can bring your mood down, so a good rule of thumb is to hang them an inch higher than you usually would. It helps to draw the eye up.
Open up the Windows
Clean windows are believed to help bring about more luck and success in your professional life. "Metaphorically, if your windows are dirty it is said that your view on life is clouded or that you are unable to see the opportunities that surround you," Amato says.
Keep Clutter to a Minimum
Take your time clearing clutter that has taken over your space. "Maybe you've had some blocks with how you connect to the world and others and it's reflected in feng shui," says Cho. "Acknowledge and be gentle, try to tackle one thing at a time and ask for help if needed."