April 17, 2011
Ann Bingley Gallops is an expert in feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice that revolves around embracing a life of positivity. And we all know how much our home environment impacts our overall well-being, so I invited Ann, the founder of Open Spaces Feng Shui in New York City, to share a few basic decorating pointers, relating to the principles of feng shui.
Decor Musings: What's the first thing people should consider when seeking to incorporate elements of feng shui into their homes?
Ann Bingley Gallops: The object of feng shui is to have good, healthy chi energy move around your space, nourishing every area of your home, which is also a metaphor for your life. This is why clearing clutter is so important. Clutter blocks chi energy, so get rid of whatever you don't love, use or need. Keep paper clutter under control as well. Prevent any junk mail from coming into your home. Organize your magazines and give them a real place. You can even designate time once a week to clip the articles you want for future reference and save them in a file.
DM: And what are some specific areas of the home that require special attention?
ABG: In feng shui, the three most important areas of your home are your entryway, kitchen and bedroom. The entryway is considered the mouth of chi. You should have a nice door, good lighting, and make sure your house number is visible from the street. It should have a feeling of openness.
The kitchen is the source of your health; it's where you cook to nourish your body. Therefore, the kitchen is also the source of your wealth because if you're not well, you're unable to make a living. Keep it spotless. Make sure the burners on your stove work and your counters are clear of everything except the items you use every single day. You should also be able to see what's happening behind you while you're cooking. So to keep in line with feng shui, a mirror or any other kind of reflective surface would be placed behind the stove for safety. Feng shui is about being secure in your environment as much as it is about decorating.
With your bedroom, it's viewed as the source of your spiritual and physical health, as well as your relationship. The bed is considered the most important piece of furniture in your house. You need to have a bed of good quality. It should be placed in what's called the command position, which allows you to see anyone entering your room. Also, mirrors are inappropriate for the bedroom because they have such hard energy.
DM: Can you share one last point people should always keep in mind about feng shui?
ABG: Think about the primary purpose of every room in your home at all times. So for instance, with the bedroom, you don't want exercise equipment, a TV, or a desk in the space. They have nothing to do with the primary purpose of being in your bedroom. This is essentially how clutter is created, too. The primary purpose of a room is confused.
Photo: Courtesy of Ann Bingley Gallops