Welcome back to the Feng Shui Master Class, this is your lesson 5, Feng Shui Interior Design. In this lesson, we’ll look at how the general layout of your house affects all people living in it.
Feng Shui Interior Design Critical Elements
There is a traditional saying about Form Feng Shui: “The 3 most important elements of Feng Shui are door, bedroom and stove” (陽宅三要門、房、灶). We shall have a look at the guiding principles around them, with particular focus on the modern society, i.e. how these principles about the door, bedroom and stove could affect Feng Shui interior design for a modern house.
Door to Door
Architects like symmetrical designs and sometimes this cause troubles. Door-to-door is one of the most commonly found bad Feng Shui interior design in modern buildings. In apartments, if the entrance door of your flat faces straightly to the door of another flat, it is a bad Feng Shui. According to traditional Feng Shui theory, it looks like two people confronting face to face. People living in both flats are prone to having quarrels with others.
Remember in the last lesson we said that Feng Shui theories contain a lot of analogies? The reason of door facing door being bad Feng Shui is because it looks like two people confronting each other face to face.
The same also applies to door within the same flat, say, bedroom’s door facing the main entrance door. The person who occupies that bedroom has a higher chance of having quarrels with people around him/her. In the following example, bedroom 2 and bedroom 2 suffer from this problem, occupiers of both rooms would have higher chance of having disputes with others.
What if the doors are not in exact opposite but only overlaps partially? Well, in this case, if we door a straight line passing through the center of both doors, we would get a line not exactly in 90 degree (i.e. not normal to) either side, but somehow an inclined line. You may think that this is a weaker “sha”, but unfortunately it is not. In fact, this is an even worse situation, meaning that the magnitude of dispute would be greater.
Another variation is door facing the door of kitchen or toilet. So it is not simply door to door but door to kitchen/toilet in effect. What’s wrong with it? Well, in these cases the bad effects would mostly be about bad temper and/or health.
If this is the case of your house, don’t worry. Try putting something in between two doors, say a tall plant, fence or cupboard. For entrance door to entrance door case, hang a curtain or blind in front of your door. It works like covering your mouth by a mask, thereby reducing the chance of direct confrontation.
Door to Window
According to traditional Feng Shui, it is not good to have the entrance door of a flat faces a window opening into the external air. It may be difficult to understand but let me explain.
Feng Shui is about managing Chi. The ultimate aim is to bring in good Chi and store it (聚氣) in your house. This gives energy and wealth to all people in the house. Doors and windows are openings that could let Chi go in and go out. Door and window along the same line means the Chi flowing in could leave immediately. It’s like a company that makes a lot of money but soon spend it all. Money comes and go and nothing is left.
Of course, in the eyes of modern architects cross-ventilation is good for health. Therefore, to have the best of both worlds (health and wealth) it is better to have door and window on opposite planes of a house but NOT directly face to face.
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Door Facing Sharp Objects
After finishing the last lesson, you should by now have a sense that sharp objects are usually not good. Yes, the same also applies to Feng Shui interior design. If you live in a multi-storey apartment and your flat’s main entrance door opens into a sharp angle in the common corridor, this is not good. This kind of situation is quite common nowadays.
This situation brings bad luck to the occupiers of the flat, because it looks like pointing a knife to your face. In particular it is not good for health.
The same principle is also valid for the door of a room facing a sharp angle or object right inside the same flat. For example, if there are internal corridors pointing to your bedroom’s door, you would be adversely affected.
The solution to this problem is hanging a Ba Gua or calabash facing the sharp object. The former is used to dissolve most of the bad “sha” while the latter absorbs the bad “sha”. You can use either method, no need to apply both.
Door to Long Corridor
Long corridor by itself isn’t bad, but if there is a flat or room at the end of room which door opens to that corridor, it is a problem. Traditional Feng Shui studies the movement of the intangible Chi (氣). A long corridor is like a funnel, forcing all Chi towards the door like a sword pointing to your face. The strong Chi could harm the occupier of the room or flat, causing higher chance of illness or bodily injury. Remember in the last lesson we said that it’s not good to have a long and straight road pointing directly to the entrance door of your house? The same rationale applied here.
Again, the solution is to use a Ba Gua or calabash. Of course, if you have a choice it is best to avoid living in such as flat or modify the door so that it’s not hit by the long corridor.
The bedroom is where people spend ⅓ time in their entire life. Its location and furniture disposition is important to health. In advanced Feng Shui principles, it also plays a critical role in childbearing.
No Empty Back
A bed shall not be empty at the back. In other words, the headboard of a bed must lean on the wall. Why? According to traditional Feng Shui theories, the lack of support means emptiness. If you sleep on a bed like this, you may face resistance in collaborating with others and found that you do not have sufficient support from others.
What if the headboard of my bed lean on a wall where there is a windows in the upper portion? In this case, although you do sleep with a wall at the back, the wall is considered half-tall only. This is not a good Feng Shui design, still.
Remember the headboard of the bed must contact directly with the wall. If there is a wall behind the bed but separated from the bed by a few meters, this is not considered good.
In the following example, the bed is located right in the center of the room, not supported at the back. This may look good from interior design point of view, but certainly not good as Feng Shui interior design.
No Door Opening into the Bed
The second bed-placement principle is to avoid directly facing the door. In the cases below, those who sleep on this bed may find themselves easily suffer from health problems and/or insomnia and nightmere.
Again let’s look at the flow of Chi. If the door of the bedroom opens into the bed, the Chi from outside the room would directly hit the bed (and the people sleeping in it). You could easily figure out how bad it is.
Bed under Beam
A third Sha to avoid is placing the bed right under a beam. It’s like a big block placed over your body. It blocks air movement in the room and resemble the look of a guillotine if placed normal to the direction of the bed.
If you sleep in this bed, you may get insomnia and nightmare easily. Even if you sleep 10 hours a day you still feel tired. If this is the case of your house, be sure to relocate the bed or hide the beam by erecting a false ceiling.
I have personal experience with this kind of bed placement. I once rented a room in a shared apartment many years ago. The room was so small that the only location to place my bed was in a corner where my head would be directly under a beam. In that two years I could hardly get sufficient sleep, no matter how early I went to bed I still woke up without much energy (I could even fall asleep in the subway when traveling to the office).
How to deal with this tough situation? It’s not easy if you cannot control the Feng Shui interior design. What you need to do is to erect a false ceiling covering the whole room. In this way, you have effectively hidden the beam above the false ceiling, and the flat false ceiling formed the new ceiling level.
Bathroom/Toilet inside Bedroom
This happens in ensuite rooms, where inside the bedroom there is a door opening into a bathroom/toilet which is exclusively used by the occupants of the bedroom, i.e. a private bathroom/toilet.
Is it good or bad? This kind of design is very common now, especially in the place where I live (Hong Kong), it is used by some Feng Shui masters to help the owner of the flat to achieve a goal, however it may also bring adverse side effects. The goal to achieve is better relationship (e.g. finding a boyfriend or girlfriend), but the bad effects that may follow is bad health. It is especially bad if the toilet door opens right into the bed, just like the example above.
I certainly know that some people are desperate for love, but I would not recommend this method to my students or clients because of the side effects.
Stove and Kitchen
Stove is the third critical element in Feng Shui. A good news is almost the same principles above related to bedroom apply to kitchen too. It is because Feng Shui examines Chi movement, door and beam locations are important to the flow of Chi.
No Door Opening into Stove
So the same rules are valid for placing the stove in a kitchen. No door opening directly into the stove and no beam above. Quick and easy, right? Indeed, once you mastered the basic Feng Shui principles, you can apply them to other cases using common sense. Feng Shui is really not that difficult, everybody can learn it.
Kitchen at Entrance Hallway
In ancient China, kitchen was considered a place of fire (火) in Feng Shui. Stoves were fueled by firewood. Cooking in the past generated lost of smoke and heat.
Feng Shui masters see having a kitchen opening into the entrance (hallway) of a flat a big problem. The problem is that the smoke could easily affect the health of all people living in the flat. They often go in and out via the entrance (hallway). Beside, it is believed that heat may cause bad temper to the occupiers. So, if the kitchen in your house is adjacent to the main entrance door of your house, or the kitchen is an open one (without walls separating it from the living room), make sure that you have a strong ventilation equipment installed.
The same applies when the kitchen is located near the bedroom/entrance door. Since toilet is a place with germs and bacteria, if the toilet door faces directly to bedroom’s door/entrance door, people living inside may get sick and illness easier, according to traditional Feng Shui. Just ask yourself, you don’t want to sleep in foul smell? Absolutely not. Now you could see traditional Feng Shui is closely related to and supported by architectural science.
As I mentioned in previous lessons, natural lighting is critical to good Feng Shui. A house without sufficient sunlight could attract spirits easily, and occupiers in the house may have bad health and luck.
Applying this principle internally, if there is any corner, due to improper layout or furniture placement, receive little or no sunlight, you must add artificial lighting there and switch it on 7×24, or at least in the day time. This is particularly important for the entrance hallway and the bedroom. Indeed this is quite natural since no body would enjoy living in a dark place.
You may ask how to determine if a corner has sufficient lighting? Well, on an ordinary sunny day, check whether you can read a book without additional lighting in any corner of your house.
Takeaway Feng Shui
In ancient times, Chinese people usually do not buy and sell houses or flats. They buy a parcel of land and build. At that time Feng Shui is used for “designing” a house, not for “choosing” a house. Nowadays, people usually buy existing houses or flats, so it is very important to learn how to “choose”. After finishing this online course, I’m pretty sure that you would know how to choose, but before that, here are a few tips that everyone could apply.
We believe that babies are very sensitive to the environment. Although they may be unable to tell what exactly they sensed, if they don’t feel alright in a place they would cry or refuse to stay. So the rule number one of inspecting a house or flat is to bring a baby.
What could a baby sense? It could range from the existence of ghost (!) to bad Feng Shui. I have seen a few times that babies felt uncomfortable in a house which had bad Feng Shui.
How about good Feng Shui? Similarly, if the house has good Feng Shui, most likely the babies would be happy to stay for longer.
In fact, we the adults also have this ability, albeit not as strong as the babies. Sometimes when we walk into a house or flat, we feel uncomfortable. This may be a sign of bad Feng Shui.
The second thing you can do, if you prefer something more tangible, is to use a magnetic compass. Take it out and hold it flat on your palm, remove all electronic devices on your body (e.g. mobile phone, pager, bluetooth device). Observe the movement of the pointer. Normally it should correctly point out the direction.
However, if the Feng Shui is bad, it is very likely that the pointer would move constantly or point out a wrong direction. The former case is quite easy to observe, the latter case requires you to use your common sense, by comparing the compass’s pointer and the actual directions by referencing the direction of the sun.
Why would this happen? Feng Shui examines the energy that exists in the environment. We find out the Feng Shui of a place by measuring the directions. It follows naturally that the energy in a space has correlations with the directions. Good energy should be clean and pure, while bad energy is chaotic that could make the magnetic compass malfunction.
Remember, we need a magnetic compass here. Do not use your smartphone to measure.
One final thing you could do, irrespective of your Feng Shui knowledge, is to ask the neighbors about the previous occupiers of the house or flat. By the answers you got you could fairly easily tell if the house or flat has good Feng Shui.
I used to live in a flat in a multi-storey building. Interestingly, all previous tenants of this flat moved out for the same reason: they need a bigger place because of having a new baby. Even if I do not know Feng Shui, I could definitely say this flat is good for couples who want a baby. And guess what? I moved out of this flat in less than 2 years, because my son was born and I need a bigger place to live in!
Do ask the neighbors about the history of the flat if you are contemplating to buy it. Certainly you wish you would not hear something horrible. And if the neighbor tells you that the previous owners left this flat because they bought somewhere bigger and more expensive, chances are you have found a flat with good Feng Shui!
There are two thing you need to remember. Firstly, Feng Shui chances constantly. A formerly good house may turn bad as time goes by. For example, one big cycle of Feng Shui equals to 20 years. The current cycle started in 2004 and will end in 2023. A house that was good before 2004 may turn into a bad house now. Secondly, Feng Shui is not independent, it is related to your own destiny. Even if you live in a good Feng Shui house, your luck may change over time. Do not simply blame your house and refuse to check your own fortune. (Advertisement: if you have not yet checked your fortune in the 2013 Year of Snake, visit here for free advices!)
My final tip is to buy a new house or flat only when you are lucky. I have seen so many cases that lucky people who did not find a Feng Shui master to help could pick a good house only by chance. I have also seen numerous cases that people in their low tides bought a bad house that eventually brought bad energy and made the owner even more unlucky. If you feel that you have been unlucky for a period, do not buy.