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Feng shui isn’t just about stocking up on feel-good furnishings, it’s about knowing exactly where to put that new sofa so it doesn’t block the energy in an otherwise harmonious room. An ancient Chinese philosophy, feng shui examines your living or working space to see how the positioning of objects might be affecting your health and wellbeing. Practitioners believe that disorder gathers and stores negative energy (chi) which brings about misfortune and ill health, so just by de-cluttering your desk, you can create a more positive and balanced environment to get those good vibes flowing.

How it works

In the past few years, the trend for a feng shui interior has been on the up with DIY kits being thrust under our noses left, right and centre. But this is no new fad; in the Far East they’ve been living their lives by these rules for the past 3000 years. So if you are considering re-positioning your pad, by all means give it a go yourself, but be aware there are feng shui practitioners on hand for hiring if you’re in desperate need of some direction.

Before your feng shui master (officially known as a geomancer) starts re-hanging doors and stripping walls, you’ll meet for a consultation - this can take anything from two hours to two days, depending on the size of the space, so be prepared for the cost implications. If you’re looking to feng shui your three storey flat, you might want to put a few pennies away first.

Simply moving a chair so your back doesn’t face the door is a step in the right direction, but there are several complex calculations which need to be carried out by your feng shui guru prior to the unveiling of your new-look layout. Using the Ba-Gua to guide them (an octagonal chart containing the symbols of the I Ching – the ancient oracle on which Feng Shui is based), your energy expert will take into consideration everything around them and you...

  • First, they’ll flip open their compass to determine exactly where objects should be placed, be it north, south, east or west.

  • Then they’ll calculate the best way to balance the directions with the four natural elements – water, wind, fire and metal.

  • The surrounding land will also be taken into account, so don’t be offended if they start branding about some high tech equipment – they’ll just be examining whether you have any toxic materials, radiation or health hazards lingering by your back door.

  • Your birth date and where it falls in the Chinese horoscope also plays a part in dictating how the room will be set out, as does the yin and yan as feng shui considers yin to be feminine, passive energy whilst yan is thought of as masculine and hot.

After all the calculations have been totted up, your practitioner will talk you through all the changes they think you should make so you can stop your chi getting trapped between your bed and your bin. This could be anything from re-arranging some furniture to introducing some feng shui symbols into a room. This might mean the small addition of a mirror or plant, or the implementation of some crystals or dragon symbols, so make sure you keep an open mind when it comes to your feng shui prescription.

Once all the changes have been made and your chaos has been turned into an oasis of calm, your home (or office) should not only look the part, but it should feel more harmonious too. And who wouldn’t get used to a papier-mâché dragonhead hanging in the hallway, especially if it means you'll feel more serene at the end of the day.

Is it for me?

Feng Shui will work just as well with your flat-pack furniture as it would your antique heirlooms so everyone can benefit from a little reshuffling, although you do need to be prepared to make changes. If you don’t fancy rounding off those contemporary square pillars or ripping out those authentic overhead wooden beams that cost a fortune to install, it might be a good idea to search out alternative energy balancing therapies.

Good to know

Pronounced fung-shway, feng translates as wind and shui - water. In Chinese culture a gentle wind and clear water have always been associated with good harvest and health and so stand for livelihood and fortune. Bad feng shui therefore is interpreted as hardship and misfortune.

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