The basics of feng shui for those who don’t know.

basics of feng shui kitchen

With more of us staying at home we take a look at the basics of feng shui. Get to know the ideas behind feng shui and how we can incorporate its principles into our daily lives.

basics of feng shui
Get rid of that clutter!

Feng shui(風水 ), is the ancient Chinese art of balancing energy in your home. Although considered a pseudoscience, many people believe it can improve balance and harmony within a home, improve how we feel and encourage productivity, and in general, boost many aspects of our lives.

The concept considers the use of colour, elements, architecture and design to promote balance in one’s life.

Feng Shui can accomplish this by focusing on how energy flows through our living spaces. This includes using colours, textures, furniture placement and shapes appropriately, so they are pleasing while also supporting a comfortable “chi” flow throughout the room.

So let’s take a look at Feng shui and see how we can implement its ideas into our lives.

basics of feng shui

What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese idea that has been around for thousands of years. It’s the study of how your surroundings affect you and your life. 

It is primarily a set of ideas to improve our wellbeing within a space; this could be the home, office or even a garden, anywhere where you spend considerable time either alone or with others. 

Chi, ki or Qi translates in Chinese as “air” and figuratively as “material energy”, “life force”, or energy flow, and it used in feng shui as the energy which flows all around us. The primary reason for feng shui is to direct this positive energy flow to benefit us within a space. It is this energy that connects all things and the environment in which they exist.

basics of feng shui

Feng shui is a complex collection of practices, so we have detailed the basics below. The basics are simple and easy to implement in your home, from colours and materials to the Bagua map; more on that later.

Before we begin with the basics, it’s vital to start by decluttering your space. Clutter in a home or office will impair energy flow and reduce any attempt to improve feng shui. Have a good clean, remove things that don’t need to be in the space before making any design changes to your home or office.

The need to have a clean and organized home is essential. A clutter-free room can help promote an optimistic mindset, whereas too much clutter will do the opposite.

So let’s look at the simple principles of Feng shui.

The 5 feng shui Elements


Wood is associated with health, vitality and growth. It may also symbolize abundance. Add plants and trees to a space.


Love, passion, creativity all come together with fire from the sun. Think reds, yellows and orange tones. 


In 2021, in particular, this element is significant. In times of uncertainty and anxiety, the earth provides a feeling of calmness and grounding in our environment. Earth is expressed in brown, beige and earthy tones. So you could use pottery or wood.


For those working from home in 2021, metal is essential as it provides the basis for a productive environment. It also encourages clarity and calmness. Whites and various shades of grey denote metal. 


Finally, water the most critical elements to good feng shui. Water flows and, as such, allows energy to flow. Blue and black are the dominant colours. If you can’t include running water as a feature in your space, then use mirrors or other objects predominantly in black or blue.

The Bagua map

The Bagua map is a tool to help feng shui design; it can be used for any space, from a small desk to a large building. 

The map is used to assess how Chi flows through a certain space, it allows the designer to see where changes should be made and how energy can be balanced better. Each part of the map has its own characteristics, material and colour.

  • The eight different parts of the map (Gua) each have a name and represent different life situations.
  • The compass is represented by each Gua with south at the top and north at the bottom, south representing the heavens and north the earth. 
  • All eight Gua are associated with an element and colour to represent something from the natural world.
  • The ying-yang symbol sits in the centre. This represents a balance of the Guas.

Bagua map

Traditionally the Bagua map would have been octagonal, but modern interpretations tend to be used as they are easier to read. They do, though, contain the same information.

How to use the map.

Find or make a copy of the floor plan of the space you wish to look at. 

Draw or place the Bagua map on top of your floor plan. 

Now align the bottom of the Bagua map along the same axis as the front door.

You are now able to see where the Guas are and how energy is flowing within the space.

Colour in feng shui

Colour choice in a space should be used where applicable to the map and its materials. Colours denote different energies and correspond to the elements discussed earlier.

Moreover, colour is essentially a perception of light waves; since light is energy, then so is colour. When designing space, this should be remembered and partnered with its matching element.

Where to place the Feng shui command position

So once you have these things in place, it’s time to look at what’s called the command position for each room. This is a place where you command your own energy. It’s the best place to deal with the energy of things happening in your life.

Preferably you’ll want to choose an item of furniture you often use, an office desk, sofa or bed for example. You’ll want to place this piece as far from the door as possible but with an excellent clear view of the door. Make sure the door is visible whether stood, lying down or sat.

basics of feng shui

You should not be in direct line to the door but off to an angle, often diagonally. One last thing to note is that it’s usually better to have something solid behind the piece of furniture. Place your bed, sofa or office chair in front of a wall; make sure it’s not a wall with a window but a solid wall. 

Ideally, you’d want to have this in place in the office, bedroom and living room. Anywhere you spend much of your time.

basics of feng shui kitchen

If you want to know more about the basics of feng shui, or how it can be applied in your own home and office space, then our site is here for you. We hope that this post has given you a glimpse into what feng shui means and how it may help create a better life balance for yourself and those around you. To stay up to date with all that’s happening with art and design in Asia, we invite readers to sign up for our mailing list. Whether looking for creative decorating ideas or advice on creating an effective workspace at home or work, explore our archives today! Signing up is quick and easy.

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