Originally featured on the Brookdale Living Blog.

Many people have heard of feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) before, but few really understand what it is or means. According to Merriam-Webster, feng shui is “a Chinese geomantic practice in which a structure or site is chosen or configured so as to harmonize with the spiritual forces that inhabit it.” 

In other words, feng shui is used to help bring balance to a space. The underlying question to every aspect of feng shui is, “how does this space make you feel?”

Feng shui can be applied to spaces of all different sizes, from planning an entire neighborhood design to the rooms of a single home or even spaces as small as your office desktop or a linen closet; the placement and use of materials can be utilized to either bring balance or cause discourse. When looking at downsizing to a senior living community, making it feel like home is going to be essential. But where to begin?

  1. The foundation of feng shui is all about balance and order. This simply cannot be achieved without organization. If your space is cluttered and unorganized, your first step should be to take the time to whittle things down to only what you need and/or enjoy being surrounded by.

    Note: This includes dust! Make sure you regularly clean your home and the things within.

  2. Next, you should assess the flow of your space. Is it easy to move from one place to another, or do you find yourself dodging and maneuvering around furniture? The natural flow of traffic from one room to another should be open and unblocked.

    For example, when you enter a bedroom, you should not have a dresser directly in the pathway to a closet or bathroom entrance.

  3. Now you can take a step back and look at the balance of the space. Feng shui encourages balance between light and dark, masculine and feminine, hard and soft and other combinations of opposites. You should also consider the five feng shui elements when bringing balance to a space: fire, water, wood, metal and earth. These elements can be represented in many forms, so be creative.

  4. Once you have these basics under control, you can move on to more advanced principles.
    • Avoid televisions in bedrooms. These spaces are intended for rest and TVs emit a significant amount of energy into the room.
    • Do not place a mirror directly across from your front door. The front door is where your home gets its energy, and a mirror will simply reflect that energy right back outside.
    • To get the best sleep possible, the foot of your bed should not face an open doorway, and no mirrors should be placed where they will reflect your image while you sleep.

Feng shui has been around for thousands of years, so information and ideas are seemingly endless. Ultimately, the key to making your space feel good is all about order and balance.

Feng Shui Pointers