Feng shui is a Chinese concept based on the principle of Tao, or harmony. Feng, which means wind, and shui, which means water, is a concept based on observations of nature and built around ideas of flow, energy, and balance of the five elements. It aims to order our built environments on principles of the natural world, and, by doing so, to create spaces that add vitality and offer peace in our lives.
Feng shui is built upon a few basic principles, the commanding position, the bagua and the five elements. The commanding position has to do with the best way to orient yourself and your furnishings within a space. The bagua is an energy map of eight spaces, each relating to different life circumstances, that are centered around a middle area representing overall health and wellbeing. The five elements are wood, fire, earth, water and metal, each of which has related concepts (e.g., wealth and abundance), shapes, colors, and seasons
Feng shui essentially seeks to incorporate desired concepts connected to both bagua and elements with the materials of a space, its colors, its air and light quality, positioning, and spatial flow.
Creating Your Own Feng Shui Office Space
There are many ways to incorporate the concepts of feng shui into your home office, but as a starting point, we’d like to offer some basics that you can build on for a greater sense of harmony and tranquility.
Your Desk and the Commanding Position
The desk is one of the most important pieces of furniture to pay attention to in feng shui as it represents your career. In an office space, you should position your desk facing the door but not directly in line with it. It is better not to face a wall or window. If you must face a wall, try to disguise it with artwork that appeals to your sense of self.
In a space where your office must double as another room, avoid using your bedroom as an office area. One of the principles of feng shui is to keep your work area as far from your sleeping space as possible. You can also define the work space of your dual room with a rug with a shape and color that speaks to your desired bagua energy.
The best material for a desk is wood, which brings natural energy to your space. Open front desks are popular for feng shui because they allow for energy flow, and rectangular, curved, and L-shaped are all good choices. It is also a good idea to declutter the surface of your desk, keeping only what you’re currently working on in view on the surface.
Air and Light
Feng shui literally focuses on the quality of air you breathe and recommends plants as a means of filtering air and of symbolizing the harmony of the five elements. Furthermore, plants can represent the qualities of the bagua regions. For example, the Swiss Cheese Plant has excellent air filtering properties and demonstrates fame and recognition, a good quality for a business area. The pothos plant has heart-shaped leaves that speak to love and kindness, while the more finicky fiddle leaf fig tree speaks to patience and wisdom because of the care required.
Light is also vital to creating a conducive feng shui space. You should pay attention to both natural and artificial lighting. LED lights offer a variety of hues and can be connected to dimmers, which makes for an excellent choice when doubling the function of a space, so that you can alter light quality based on current use. Choosing fixtures with metal finishes is a way to achieve balance by adding the metal element to your office.
A basic principle of feng shui is that furnishings should be placed at least three feet apart so as to create a sense of energy flow. This means keeping furniture at a minimum. In addition to a desk, a separate chair for relaxing in reminds one to take breaks and find tranquility. It is also suggested that any furnishings should have rounded edges rather than sharp corners.
As part of a sense of flow, decluttering your office space routinely is an excellent way of feeling the increase energy of your room. Assign a specific day each week to take time to clear both your room and your desk.
In an office space, there are three directional areas to which you should pay attention:
- South area represents fame and reputation, and, because its energy is fire, should avoid mirrors, the color blue, or artwork that represents water.
- North area is your life path or career and is represented by water. Both water elements and metal elements work well in this area.
- Southeast area designates prosperity and abundance. Wood is the most important element here, and you should avoid representing fire or metal in this space.
Finding balance is about mingling the representations of the five elements within your office space. This can be achieved by using shape, color, material, or even representation through artwork.
- Earth can be represented by browns, yellows, and oranges. Its shape is flat and square and plants speak to its properties.
- Water is black and shaped in curves and waves. An actual water feature, such as a small fountain invokes its meanings, or it can be symbolically represented with pillows, throws, or rugs.
- Wood is column-like or rectangular and is best represented by the desk in your office. Its effect can be enhanced with greens and blues.
- Metal is circular or spherical and whites and metallics are its best representatives. Furnishings with metal trim, white-framed art, or metallic light fixtures balance this element.
- Fire takes on triangular or pointed shapes and its color is red. The quality of lighting in your office space, of course, contributes to this elemental balance.
So if you’re looking for a change, something that enlivens your work space and that offers you the energy to get work done, but a sense of peace when the day is done, think about redecorating your office with feng shui in mind because we all need a little harmony these days.