Feng Shui: Bring Balance to Your Home

The beginner’s guide to the basic principles of feng shui

May 28, 2024
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Designing a living space or arranging items in a room isn’t as easy as it looks. If things get placed in the wrong position, it can make the space feel awkward or forced. That’s why many interior designers and home decorators apply the principles of feng shui within their practice.

The ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui emphasizes harmonizing the living space with nature through spatial design in order to bring balance to both your home and your life. Feng shui goes beyond just being a design concept; it applies the Taoist principles of being “the way” of nature to finding balance in life.

The history of feng shui

Feng Shui has gotten very popular across the Western world within the last 30 years, but it has its roots in ancient China and Taoism. Feng is the Chinese word meaning “wind” and shui meaning “water”. So altogether, feng shui takes its philosophy from the way of wind and water.

Taoists believe that qi is the life force that inhabits and connects all living things, and qi is made up of opposing yin and yang elements. Feng shui is a method of balancing yin and yang and improving the flow of qi through the intentional placement of decorations, furniture, buildings, and even whole cities. Human life and the environment must be as connected as the qi flowing through us all.

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The basic principles of feng shui

The concept of using feng shui in design stems from allowing the qi to effortlessly pass through your home. If you disrupt the flow of qi in your decorations, then your home will not be balanced. In order to correctly utilize feng shui philosophy to balance your home, it’s important to understand the basic principles of feng shui.

The bagua map

The bagua translates to “eight areas”, with each of these areas corresponding to a different category of your life. The eight bagua areas are wealth, fame, love, family, children, knowledge, career, and helpful people. Each bagua area has corresponding elements, colors, and shapes that give ways of channeling that energy.

The bagua is often depicted as a 3x3 grid with your overall well being in the center. To correctly map out your home, overlay a bagua map over the floor plan of your home or room to act as a guide when setting up the space. If you are having troubles with any of the bagua areas in your life at the moment, then you should apply the appropriate feng shui principles to the corresponding space in your home to strengthen the energy flow in that area.

The five elements of feng shui

The five elements and basic energetic categories of feng shui are earth, metal, water, fire, and wood. These five elements should be balanced in your home in order to create a complete system, as they are in nature.

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Each individual element defines how you will feel within the space, so you should incorporate these elements based on how you want to focus your energies at home. Pick a couple of areas at a time that you want to strengthen, and incorporate these elements into your home by adding the corresponding colors and shapes to your room. The five elements also go hand in hand with the bagua and elements is linked to a bagua area, so be sure to keep that principle in mind when designing your living space.

The commanding position

The commanding position is the strongest place in a room. Feng shui considers the commanding position to be the space that’s farthest away from the door without being directly in line with it. So in other words, it is the place that is diagonally from the door. While in the commanding position, it’s also very important to have a clear and unobstructed line of sight to the door.

It’s suggested that you put your bed, desk, stove, or any other main pieces of furniture in the commanding position as these are the main aspects of life. Also, it’s ideal to have a strong wall behind the furniture piece in the commanding position, such as having your bed up against the wall or sitting against the wall while working at your desk. This signifies having support and confidence while in this location.

Yin and yang energies

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Yin and yang energies is the Chinese concept that opposite and complementary energies work together in tandem to create harmony. Yin is the passive and softer energy, while yang is the bold and firm energy. For example, masculine and feminine, dark and light, relaxing and productive, cold and warm, all of these energies are needed in a room or home in order to create a balance. Ideally, channeling these two yin and yang energies will bring order and flow within a space.


The colors in feng shui are strongly associated with the bagua map and the five elements. Each element as well as each bagua area have specific colors associated with them that work to channel the different energies and bring out their strengths. If you want to improve a specific part of your life, then you should incorporate the color that represents that energy into your home.

The benefits of feng shui

Feng shui is based on the principle that everything surrounding you has an impact on your life and vice versa. The teaching argues that by aligning your energies and allowing qi to flow freely, feng shui can help you gain prosperity, happiness, health, relationships, passion, and other positive aspects in life. Whatever you’re aiming to improve, you can through the proper placement of decorations and furniture in alignment with the bagua map and the elements.

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Even though feng shui is not backed by science, it is, however, widely accepted that your surroundings do have an impact on you and your mood. For example, if you are in a very cluttered space it might make you feel trapped or anxious, or if you are surrounded by the color red, you might feel angry or passionate. Your surroundings, your environment, and yourself all feed off one another, and feng shui is made to bring calmness to the areas surrounding you.

Feng shui has been used for centuries as a way to bring peace and balance to your living space, and many people continue to stand by the principle today.

How to practice feng shui in your home

Practicing feng shui in your home can mean rearranging your furniture to incorporate the commanding position or adding some wooden furniture or plants to the family bagua section of your home. The designers at Ukio take feng shui into account when creating the space for our month-long apartment rentals in order to ensure peace and tranquility during a stay. If you want to learn more about how to add feng shui to your home, we have some easy tips for you to follow.