Feng shui is a phrase that’s been buzzing around in posh circles and new age aficionados for decades now. You’ve probably heard that guy named Gideon in your yoga class talking about how he is going to fengi shui his bedroom this weekend. Though feng shui is a trendy concept, it’s also an ancient one that’s deep-rooted in Chinese philosophy.
Feng shui literally translates to “wind” and “water.” It is a practice that originated out of China 6,000 years ago. The practice is used to encourage the flow of Chi (or Qi), or life force, through the placement of objects in a living space. The discipline can be applied to architecture, urban planning, interior design and landscaping.
The idea is that the strategic placement of objects in a room, home, garden, etc., will promote harmony and happiness for its residents. Feng shui is tied to Taoism as well as the concepts of yin and yang, which deals with opposite yet complementary forces. While it was originally more used for city planning, the concept has become very popular within interior design.
There is a good deal of skepticism surrounding feng shui. It even made it onto Penn & Teller: Bulls**t!, where it was found to be exactly that: bulls**t. But, feng shui practitioners swear by this discipline on promoting health and happiness.
Despite what skeptics say, feng shui is incredibly popular and something that all interior designers are familiar with. There are many schools of thought on feng shui arrangement, as they tend to be open to interpretation. But, most experts on the subject would agree that a person’s bedroom is the most important place to start, as it is one’s place of rest. We’ve gathered ten basic feng shui principles for your bedroom. Maybe if your bedroom isn’t in line with them, you’ll finally understand why you’re such a stressed-out mess.
In feng shui, doors hallways and furniture should be placed in such a way that promotes the flow of chi. Bed should not be placed in front of a door (obviously not literally in front of it so you can’t open it). Doors carry the flow of energy, and a big bed will block that force.
There is also supposed to be an equal amount of space on both sides of your bed. This trick can be done by placing two nightstands (preferably circular so that energy can flow around it) on either side of the bed. Well, unfortunately for me in my small NYC bedroom, I don’t have the luxury of that kind of space.
Feng chi is kind of a minimalistic concept. If there are too many things in your room, the chi will have a hard time circulating them. This could apparently even lead to intimacy issues. Well, strike two for me, my room is covered in all my trinkets. I swear it’s like Ariel’s cave of wonders.
Feng shui says to avoid mirrors like Dracula. Well, not exactly like him…but just don’t have them in your bedroom. “Mirrors are also potentially powerful reflectors of this energy and thus must be placed so as not to concentrate ch’I into one area,” wrote Jon Puro for The Skeptic Encyclopedia.
Back to your actual bed, feng shui practitioners say that you should get a wooden headboard for your bed. A solid wooden headboard will probably set you back some hundreds of dollars, but it will provide support and protection for the person sleeping in the bed. But, they also say that the back of your bed should be against a wall, so maybe that’s good enough.
This one baffles me, but apparently, you’re not supposed to have plants in your bedroom. I think I’m at strike four. My room looks like a jungle when I bring my plants inside for the winter. Plants are thought to contain a lot of yang, which is male and associated with heat and light. Well, if that’s the case, why do all my plants have girl names, huh? It’s thought that because plants contain a lot of this energy, they’ll keep you from getting a restful sleep.
Feng shui says that your bed should be off the floor so chi can flow under the bed as well. So, beds with storage underneath are no good. Well, what if you’ve got about thirty pairs of shoes under there? Maybe my shoes are popping with chi.
Feng shui says that it’s not good to have your bed under a beam. It may make you feel like you’re under pressure (like maybe it will collapse). I guess this makes sense. Collapsed beams over broken bodies is not a comforting thought to fall asleep to.
Feng shui says that you shouldn’t have any sources of water in your room. That includes aquariums and fountains (who seriously has a fountain in their room?), but it also includes images of water. Strike fifty, I’ve got at least a dozen images of the beach in my room. Also, there are always about three half-empty (I’m not positive) water glasses in my room. Apparently, these are “negative items” and can cause financial loss.