Looking for Harmony: Feng Shui Planning for My New Home Office
Writing for this blog over the past few months, I’ve learned a lot about home décor, not only from my own research, but also from my wonderful colleagues.
I have recently been looking for a home with an extra room–one for my very own office, that I wouldn’t share with my partner, where I could focus on my work and on developing my writing business. Happily, I found this elusive home (where I live, three bedrooms are like unicorns: rare and out of my budget), and I want to share my process of planning and decorating my very first home office with you.
Feng-Shui: home decor arrangement and energy management
I’ve decided to use Feng Shui, the Chinese art of energy management through home décor, as a framework to plan and decorate my room. Why Feng Shui? “It seems like a lot of mumbo jumbo to me”, you say. Well, sure, I suppose, if you pay someone a lot of money to do it. But with the Internet these days, you can find the basic principles of almost anything, including Feng Shui, for free.
This doesn’t answer the question though. Why Feng Shui? I do believe that energy flows around us (I’d call it the Force, but hey, this is a décor blog, not a sci-fi fanfic, and I don’t know anyone with Jedi powers yet) and that the objects that surround us influence us. “What you see is what you are” applies just as much as “you are what you eat”. Do I believe it really works? I can’t be sure, but since it will cost me nothing to put my desk in one corner rather than the other, what do I have to lose?
Here are some basic things I have learned about Feng Shui and how I’m going to apply them to my office.
“The commanding position”
My office is positioned at somewhat of a slant: viewed from a map, the top left corner points north and slightly west, as you can see from this AWESOME diagram that I just made in Skitch.
As the door is in the top right corner, the commanding position would be at the bottom left corner.
What does this mean?
The commanding position fulfills an important role in Feng Shui: it lets you see the door without directly facing it. Feng Shui principles tell us that good chi travels in zigzags, whereas bad chi travels in straight lines. You do not want to be on a straight line with an entrance or a window: you would be getting bad chi straight in the face (or any other suitable part of your anatomy). Any effective home office should have the desk placed so that the worker can see the door at all times, but without facing it directly. So, no desk facing walls here: the desk will face the door, placed at an angle in the corner.
The home office cardinal points: fame and reputation, career and lifepath, prosperity and abundance
Since I’m simply moving in the space, there is nothing I can do about the cardinal positions of my home office. However, I can use the direction to strengthen those three areas of my life: fame and reputation, career and lifepath, and prosperity and abundance.
To the right are the spaces in my room for each area, based on the actual direction of my room.
- Fame and reputation: This area points to the south and is ruled by the fire element. This is where you put warm-colored décor elements (red, orange and yellow) and things that make you proud, like diplomas, prizes and trophies. This is the space where you present who you are to the world.
- Career and lifepath: As is indicated by the color blue, this area points to the north and is ruled by the water element. This is where you express your ideas and desires about your career and life path. Blue is obviously a good color, and water-based decor like a fountain is appropriate, and so are mirrors. You can also use black and white images in metal-colored frames. These images should relate to people you admire or to your profession.
- Prosperity and abundance: This area is ruled by the wood element and is positioned to the southeast. This is where you put plants, images and objects that make you think of prosperity: coins, money, etc. This is the perfect spot to put a vase filled with fake coins or your safe (in Feng Shui, the safe increases abundance). Here, you can’t use any fire-related colors or images, so stick to brown and green.
A strong back
Another thing I have learned reading around is that every office needs a strong backing; in Feng Shui, they call it a “mountain”. Because you can’t really have a mountain in your office (unless you work on a mountain?), you can replace it with a tall plant in a big earthen pot. Basically, you want to get the tallest, widest plant you can get in your office. You put this plant right behind where you sit in your commanding position.
The plant serves a double purpose: not only does it provide strong support for your work, but it also purifies the air around you. It also serves as a focal point when you enter the room; good Feng Shui requires a focal point. On the walls at your back, you can also hang pictures of differing sizes (to provide visual interest and to kill bad chi) of your family and loved ones.
So, this is where I am at right now. I know where my desk is going to go, but I still need to find a spot for a filing cabinet, a bookcase and a reading chair. What say you? Any suggestions for décor items, colors or furniture placement?