Let’s face it—some of us need all the good fortune we can get. So what if we were to tell you that you could step up your success with even the simplest of decor decisions?
That’s the essence of feng shui, the ancient Chinese philosophy of living in harmony with your surrounding environment. The theory: Optimizing your spatial arrangements to be better aligned with nature can boost your energy, foster happiness, and even put a little luck on your side. And that’s why homeowners have turned to feng shui for centuries as a manual for designing and decorating their homes.
“Our home is a metaphor for our life—and using feng shui can help transform the conscious and unconscious mind,” explains Laura Cerrano, an expert at Feng Shui Manhattan. The result? A harmonious abode that can be felt on all levels: mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
But the thing about feng shui is, it’s easy to screw up. One wrong move, and you could open yourself up to some bad juju. If you want to harness all the good energy your home has to offer, avoid or fix these feng shui faux pas—fast.
1. A bed on the same wall as the door
The boudoir is the most important space in your home, says Kim Radovich, Principal at Kim E. Courtney Interiors, in Huntington Bay, NY. After all, “we spend a third of our lives here, sleeping, procreating, and rejuvenating.”
And if you want to max out the good vibes in the place where the magic happens, you have to start with the bed. Placing it in an inauspicious position is a common feng shui mistake.
“Don’t put it on the same wall as the door to your room, because you need to be able to see the door from the bed,” Radovich explains.
Some feng shui experts believe that placing a bed near a door—where energy is rushing in and out—negates the sublime vibe you’re trying to create in the bedroom. If you can’t avoid sharing the same wall as the door, you can boost your qi, or positive energy, by hanging or leaning a mirror so you can see the reflection of the door from the bed.
2. A raised toilet lid
This one’s easy: Just keep it closed! The toilet’s opening is like a drain, and exposing it can mean your home’s good fortune might escape, Radovich says.
“Not only will shutting it keep the energy stronger in your bathroom, but it’s also more pleasing to see when you enter the room,” says Dana Claudat, an interior designer and Pyramid School Feng Shui consultant.
3. Mirrors (improperly placed) in the foyer
Photo by Colin Cadle Photography
Where would we be without entryway mirrors for those last-minute hair and makeup checks on our way out the door? Don’t worry—we’re not about to tell you to ditch this design trend. But as with many things in the feng shui world, the issue here is with placement.
“The front door is our connection to the world,” Radovich says, and by hanging a mirror directly opposite the entryway, you risk losing good vibes. The point of a mirror is to reflect positive energy (Hello, beautiful!), so putting one in this spot will “push away” the nice flow that’s trying to come into your home. Instead, place your mirror off to the side, as shown above.
4. Greenery in the bedroom
Photo by mark cutler
This one surprised us—isn’t nature the ultimate manifestation of good qi? Turns out, it is—just not in the bedroom.
A bunch of potted plants in this space can rob the room of its positive atmosphere, and might even affect your relationship if you’re sharing the space with a partner, Claudat says. That’s because these plants are actively growing (unlike flowers in a vase) and aren’t giving off restful energy that’s needed in the bedroom.
Sound, scent, and light are important for good feng shui, Radovich says, so you can add music, chimes, and candles or firelight in the bedroom (so hygge!). But save greenery for kitchen window sills, the living room, and patio.
Can you truly be Zen if you can’t see your kitchen counters? If you’ve ever read anything from master organizer Marie Kondo, you know that clearing away extra stuff is essential to good vibes.
“Your qi will be stagnant, and the flow of energy can be blocked in a space that’s filled with clutter,” Radovich says.
By tossing things you don’t need, you’ll be energizing and enhancing your house without even knowing all the feng shui rules, Claudat adds.
Experts can help with big projects and with blind spots—you know you have ’em! A professional organizer and feng shui expert can also be brought in to fine-tune the overall energy. And decluttering can be done right away.
6. A mix of flooring
Photo by Increation
From a feng shui perspective, the type of floor covering you use represents the home’s metaphorical strength.
“Choosing a floor design that’s continuous throughout the house is good practice as this gives the place strong, supportive qi,” Cerrano says. Interior designers would agree!
When each room has different flooring, the energy is weakened. The exception, of course, is in the kitchen and bath, where floors often need to be different from the rest of the house.
7. Rushing to decorate
It’s human nature to want to check off boxes on your to-do list—and setting up your home is just one of many projects on tap. But rushing feng shui–related matters isn’t smart.
“Lots of people tend to quickly fill every space in the home, and I find that energetically and aesthetically they should be saving room to grow,” Claudat says.
So don’t hurry to cover every wall and pile pretty things onto your shelves. Leaving space for new discoveries is better for the home’s energy (and your sanity).