The home my husband and I provided as a furnished rental was meant to be our own. We designed it wholly to suit our own needs and wants. As with most people the most important areas were the kitchen and bathroom. However, that doesn’t mean we ignored the other areas, they were factored in mainly in the way they were furnished. Utilizing classical Feng Shui really helped me to create the good energy flow I wanted. It guided me when I was unsure about what to do in an area. It’s a big feat to remodel a home as well as totally overwhelming when you add in furnishings. Although I had utilized Feng Shui before when furnishing a home and when it was time to sell, I had never incorporated it into a remodel. When choosing the core elements of the home I consulted my map for everything. All finishes such as flooring, counters, appliances and paint. I did this in both the upper unit and the lower unit.
My Home’s Map
Feng Shui is obviously not the answer to every problem and if it’s used exclusively and primarily it’s very possible to have an incoherent and terrible design. Common sense has to be on equal footing with Feng Shui and often must trump it. I see it as a way to lend a hand when trying to find the best possible solution. Always go with your gut! We had two units, one up and one down to consider. I actually had to be more creative in the lower unit because I couldn’t be so bold with colors with the light challenges I faced. I may do a post on the basement at some point. This post is solely for the upper unit which really took the brunt of my design skills (experiments?)!
Feng shui is all about what direction the entrance is facing. I used a compass, a floorplan of my home, a full circle protractor, and a bagua map. The bagua map was made possible by my husband’s graphic design skills. While standing in my entry doorway (the door I use most often) facing outside, I took a reading. Then, facing the same direction as while in the doorway, I took a few more readings throughout the home. The average of those numbers is the home’s entrance reading. My entry way is in my Health area, the East Bagua. I then used that to position my protractor over my floorplan. This is my interpretation of Feng Shui. I have no formal training but researched to find out how I could implement it myself. I have since used it on a total of 3 homes and one apartment.
There are two forms, the first and easiest is Western Feng Shui and is simply a map with baguas which you just place over your floorplan. I had a small space to make a big impact so I used the original form, Classical Feng Shui. It seemed more accurate. A compass is used to determine the baguas and it is based on the direction the home faces.
Blank Bagua Map
The kitchen is in both the Money and Fire Bagua, Money’s element is wood and Fire’s is fire and of course wood feeds fire. We chose colorful teal farmhouse cabinets with bead board accents in shapes which are all square and rectangular to further feed the wood element. A backsplash using rectangle glass tiles representing the wood element in shape as well as the shape of money. Gold is a great representation of money and is always welcome in the Money Bagua. In addition, the floor is hardwood which further enhances the wood element. Our range is firmly in the fire area and obviously creates lots of heat! As most of the kitchen was strong in feeding the fire element it was called for to use common sense in some of the design. Black represents water and weakens the fire element. However, using black to contrast all of the bright colors was the right thing to bring the design together. Soapstone counters, black stainless appliances and beautiful art deco inspired checkers painted on the hardwoods brought everything together.
The small laundry area off the kitchen is also in the Fire Bagua. I did take some care in this area as well by using a wood element shape of rectangle for trash and recycling bins. I continued to feed the fire element with an unfinished wood laundry table, creamy yellow wall and a purple marmoleum floor to add more energy.
The bathroom is in the Creativity/Children Bagua which is represented by the metal element. It is heavily inspired by the art deco movement, with black and white as the theme softened by a wall of baby blue. Penny tiles on the heated floor and an octopus theme plays off the black and white theme. For the Creativity Bagua, white and grey are the best colors with free flowing and rounded shapes. The bathroom has a lot of rounded items such as the toilet, shower head and sinks. The free flowing items include the venetian inspired mirrors and the free standing bathtub. The octopus theme also incorporates the free flowing nature of the Creativity Bagua, with an octopus decal giving the feeling an octopus is coming out of the bathroom, octopus towel hooks, hand towel as well as toilet paper holder. Water in itself is free flowing, something that is inherent in a bathroom! The metal element is strongly represented in the antique revival chrome fixtures on the shower and bath. In addition, the hardware on the vanity, the towel holder and the octopus trimmings are all metal. The main color of the bathroom is white which is the recommended color, but lending some common sense to the design there is also black for a sharp clean feel as well as one wall in blue to soften the look a bit. The Creativity/Children bagua is one to focus on if you are trying to have children.
The living room is a long room which occupies three baguas; career, knowledge/spiritual growth and health. The main focal point is the fireplace, which is immovable. The fireplace wall occupies the Career Bagua. This bagua is represented by the water element which lends itself to the colors blue and black and a free flowing shape profile. I considered the logistics of the area, that this bagua would have to be where the TV was placed and it already has a fireplace in it. That’s a lot of fire in this area which is strengthened by water! The wall was painted bright blue and the fireplace was tiled in black. Blue and black are water colors which serve to temper the fire element. The two windows which sandwich the TV have beveled glass which is vertical and represents free flowing water. Because the blue and black were so dark, common sense told us to add in white built ins. A barn door on a track added more free flowing elements as well as a great utility in that it covers the television or the windows alternately.
The Spiritual Growth Bagua is represented by the earth element and really isn’t well supported by water. I chose to use wavy grey couch and loveseat despite them being strongly water and metal. It was the best common sense choice because I had this furniture already. Also because the set would be in both the Knowledge/Spiritual Growth Bagua as well as the Career area. The Earth element is supported by rectangles, squares and earthy colors. In the room there are two windows which are rectangular in this area and I painted the wall a beige color, used rectangular beige curtains on the largest window and placed a rectangular wine rack in this bagua. Square throw pillows were also placed on the furnishings to further ground this area with the right energy.
Living room furnishings. The loveseat ended up moved over to where the chairs are since it would leave the people sitting there with their backs to the entrance (Feng Shui no no). The wine rack is rectangular and since alcohol shouldn’t be in the Health Bagua, this was the best place for it.
The Health/Family Bagua is in the dining room and entry way. This is where it’s good to decorate in groups. Families of items go well here like chairs, candles, art with flowers, trees and animal families. Photos of family or depicting the desired family are great in this area. My family is four, so that is the amount I used because it is perfect as is! The element is wood but water compliments it as well. I was on the hunt for a mirror to put in this area because a mirror over a dining area is supposed to create abundance in that it multiplies the food put on the table. I chose to paint the dining room sage and furnished it with a dark brown square dining table to further strengthen the wood element. Because the dining area was partially in the Fire Bagua, a rather vibrant area of the house, I chose to add in some bright yellow chairs and a purple bench seat.
Dining room looking into entry/living area. The white sewing cabinet ended up directly across from the front door- also in the Health/Family Bagua.
The bedrooms are extremely important because they serve multiple functions, we sleep and recharge in the bedroom, connect with our intimate partners and store our personal items there. My bedroom is in the Marriage/Love Bagua, but all bedrooms should be treated as though they are. The element for the Marriage/Love Bagua is Earth and it is also good to decorate with the fire element as well. For my bedroom I decorated with a muted pink. Art and items which symbolize love are great in this area, I used two peonies, two salt hearts (which come from the earth) and a lovely strong velour head/footboard. Water elements are not good for the bedroom because they represent movement of energy. For this reason I avoided mirrors as well as visual representations of water.
At the entryway of each unit outside I ensured there were plenty of plants in the beds. Red lilies and small white and purple flowers will blossom in spring but for now there are new succulents in a rock garden. The property is also adorned by grapes which have been trained now to line one side of the property. We get a bumper crop of grapes every year which brings an energy of abundance! Although common sense and utility must be front and center during a remodel, Feng Shui helps to direct the aesthetic once those boxes are ticked. The home has an energy that is extremely unique and fosters creativity, harmony and productivity. Because of the attention which was paid to the energy I think it is highly functional for work, family and leisure.