Three Ways to Feng Shui Your Home Using Nature

This article originally appeared in print on Natural Awakenings, June 2018

When assessing the feng shui of a home, the objective isn’t always just about beautifying it from an aesthetics point of view with the proper placement of furniture or interior décor. It’s also about harnessing the power of the benevolent vitality of Mother Nature.

Look at the mountains, trees, bodies of nearby water, colors and curvature of the land. These natural landscapes exist and stand before us to inspire and support us. From a feng shui perspective, we understand that every part of these living beings plays an intricate role in influencing our health, relationships and overall well-being—externally and internally—even within our homes.

Feng shui is a tremendously useful tool that can bring Mother Nature’s essence inside our homes. It aims to emulate the euphoric and sustainable way that nature makes us organically feel when we are outside and how to imitate that inside our homes.

Though the application of traditional Chinese feng shui can be daunting at first, there are small, simple steps we can take to help revitalize and uplift the energy and spirit of our home. Here are three ways to create an environment that doesn’t just look beautiful but also feels amazing.

  1. Use real plants.

Artificial plants are more robust, require very little maintenance, and can sit even in the darkest corner of your home. Still, real plants far outweigh the benefits of owning artificial ones. Numerous studies have shown the upside of being surrounded by real plants, especially indoors. For instance, extensive research performed by NASA has revealed that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxin in 24 hours. The effects of caring for them also boosts our moods, and makes us feel more productive, focused, creative and less stressed.

Strategically place plants to support strong prosperous energy spots in your home, especially if these areas are at the front door, foyer, living or dining room, or even kitchen. If you also work from home, place plants, especially those with broad leaves, on your desk. They help regulate humidity and increase levels of positivity—seeing greenery and nature helps us feel more relaxed and enhances overall concentration.

  1. Invite natural sunlight.

Our planet’s relationship with the sun pervades all forms of life. In Chinese metaphysics, the sun is considered the most powerful and cleansing source of energy, and gives life and meaning to the “five elements” (fire, earth, metal, water and wood). In ancient days, many homes and famous landmarks in China, such as the Forbidden City, were built with a south-facing direction because the south direction stands for the fire element, or the sun. Not only can natural sunlight make a home look brighter and give the feeling of more space, it also has positive effects when it comes to nurturing our health and physical body. The sun is an incredible source that supports our sleep cycles, hair growth, and immune system, because the sun’s energy allows our bodies to heal and manufacture certain nutrients, like vitamin D.

In feng shui, “yang” (or open and active) spaces, such as our kitchen and living room, can greatly benefit from natural sunlight. Opening the windows or using sheer curtains on large windows helps the sun to shine through. This natural brightness can activate and stimulate strong prosperous energy.

  1. Make use of an aquarium.

It’s not uncommon to find aquariums in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants. In feng shui, their function and placement is strongly connected to increasing prosperity and abundance and money luck. Their therapeutic qualities can also have lasting healing effects for the mind and body. For instance, studies have shown the positive impact that aquariums—especially fish-filled ones—have on reducing anxiety, blood pressure, and pain, and increasing memory capacity.

Aquariums, as with using natural sunlight, are better suited in yang spaces. Avoid placing aquariums in bedrooms, studies or meditation/prayer rooms, where the energy should be more static and passive (“yin”). Because aquariums are considered an activating object, the movement of the fish and water will disturb the yin energy necessary to nourish the body when resting.

Feng shui invokes a feeling of calm, peace, serenity and harmony. To create a sustainable and happy home, choose features that embody characteristics of the natural world, such as plants, sunlight, water, natural materials, and colors. Many of these features go beyond aesthetics—they contribute to healing.