Chances are you’ve been tossing around the term feng shui for years...without ever truly understanding what the heck it is. (Guilty.) In a nutshell, feng shui (pronounced fung shway, BTW) is an ancient Chinese discipline that examines object placements and how they affect a home’s energy. Yet, beyond improving the energy of inanimate objects within the home, feng shui can also help reduce stress and anxiety while making you feel more grounded in your daily life. So, in the hopes of ridding our homes of any and all bad energy—and ending 2023 on the right foot—we tapped feng shui expert Laura Morris for a full breakdown of what goes into the practice, plus an essential guide to (properly) feng shui-ing your home.
15 Feng Shui Principles to Follow in Your Home to Feel Less Stressed & More Grounded
Meet the Expert
Laura Morris is a Toronto-based feng shui educator, tarot card reader and co-founder of Mindful Design Feng Shui School. Morris has studied extensively in feng shui after earning her certification from the BTB Feng Shui Masters Training Program in 2014, and she’s the co-host of the Holistic Spaces Podcast, which offers accessible feng shui tips for your home.
What Is the Science Behind Feng Shui?
“Qi (or chi) simply put is energy,” Morris explains. “It is an unseen force that flows all around us. Everything in feng shui is infused with Qi: You, me, a rock, a tree. The concept of Qi goes back to the earliest examples of Taoist texts about how to cultivate Qi (personal energy) for better health and longevity. While there is not a clear and direct translation into English the closest words to describe would be: breath, life force, vital energy, cosmic breath. It is the foundation of feng shui. Practitioners focus on improving the quality and flow of this energy through our built environments so we can thrive and prosper.”
How Can Feng Shui Improve Your Overall Well-Being?
Morris tells us that following the principals of feng shui at home can:
- Create deeper connections with your environment
- Make you feel more grounded and present
- Help to reduce anxiety and worry
- Promote better sleep with an upgraded bedroom layout
- Empower you to manifest change
What Is 'Bad' Feng Shui?
Morris says, “I am not a fan of using the term ‘bad feng shui’ because it can create judgment and fear. I prefer to see potential design issues as an opportunity to improve and grow. For example, a staircase that is positioned in line with the front door can mean a loss of resources. Feng shui is about paying attention and gaining insight; this example is a great way for someone to become more aware of how they use their energy or spend their money. And by addressing this in their home they become more mindful and can shift their mindset. There are a few simple ways to correct this flow of Qi: adding a rug and a well-placed entryway table, or hanging a feng shui crystal (a crystal prism ball made specifically to adjust the Qi) between the front door and the bottom of the stairs. One important thing to remember is that everyone's Qi is different and each of us is supported by different elements in a home. Rather than trying to ‘fix’ a problem, I would encourage you to see the positives in your space, like how your home shelters and supports you.”
15 Feng Shui Rules to Follow in 2023
1. Never Hang Mirrors Across from the Front Door
The reason? Any good energy that comes across your threshold will immediately get bounced back outside. “While it is true that mirrors reflect energy away, they also expand, move and pull energy. Having a mirror at the front entrance or across from the front door can be a good way to expand a narrow entrance or to deal with a ‘blocking wall’ which can impact your Qi,” Morris adds. “Overall, it is important to take note of what you are reflecting or doubling with a mirror. For example, if your front door opens to a busy highway, you probably don't want to bring that busy energy into your home, but if you live across from a beautiful wooded area, you can benefit from all that vital Qi being pulled in.”
2. Never Put a Bedroom Over a Garage
Garages have heavy, chaotic energies. And that is the last thing you want to feel when it comes to rest. “In feng shui, a garage is beneficial because it represents bringing resources into the home, but it is not ideal to have a bedroom over a garage. It is a big, open, empty space with not a lot of life energy in it. If you can avoid this, great, but if you have this situation—and you can't move rooms (or houses!)—you can add grounding elements to the bedroom like a vibrantly colored rug (try red or green).”
3. Treat Your Stove Like Your Most Prized Possession
Stoves are money makers in feng shui—they bring good fortune and attract abundance. “The stove is super important and represents household wealth,” Morris explains. “Even if you order in and never cook, try to use it and all its burners. Boil water or even an egg.” Keep yours clean and grease-free.
4. Ban Electronics in the Bedroom
Electronics prime the brain to buzz. Plus, actually think about what it is that you last read or watched. (You do not want your boss’s manic demands infiltrating your dreams.) Morris tells us, “Like the stove, the bedroom is key to your success and productivity in feng shui. A good night's sleep is a necessity to show up as your best self in your daily life. Electronics represent active Qi, or energy, and in a bedroom we want slow, quiet Qi.”
5. Never Place Beds in Direct Alignment with Doors
Unless you want to get blasted head-on by energy while you’re trying to rest. “It is best not to be directly in line with the door to your bedroom. Having your bed in a good position is one of the feng shui 101 basics,” Morris purports. “Place your bed so you can see the door while lying down without being directly in line with it; this is the optimal placement. This brings ease and restfulness because it allows you to see what is coming at you. Plus, this placement doesn’t just apply to your physical space. It also helps you to deal with what is coming at you in life.”
6. Declutter Your Entryway
Clutter is super destructive to a home and its occupants, especially when it overwhelms the moment you walk in the door. Morris advises, “Clutter is a big problem in our modern-day lives, but when feng shui was first developed, the idea of clutter did not exist. From a feng shui perspective, clutter is a block or an impasse, and the Qi cannot flow properly. The front door represents opportunities and is called the ‘mouth of Qi,’ where most of the energy enters the homes. Removing clutter can be a way to get the energy moving especially if you feel stuck.” Rely on smart storage (trunks, coat closets, etc.) to keep your foyer—and mind—zen.
7. Keep the Kitchen Table Spotless
This hub represents family and love—we want people to crowd around it and feel welcome. Keep it sparkly clean and set up a separate workspace for the kids to do homework and craft projects. “The kitchen is a central place for the family. Keeping it available for gathering is important. But in reality, you may need your kitchen table to multi-task for homework or as a WFH space,” Morris adds. “Try balancing the energies of the kitchen with a vibrant green plant or by adding a bowl of oranges, which represent abundance.”
8. No Bright Colors for Kids' Rooms
Sorry, Tickle Me Elmo-themed bedroom plans. Bright colors are magnificent for other parts of the home, but for kids, they're just too energetic to promote rest. “Intense colors can be overly stimulating, especially for sleep,” Morris notes. “It is important to understand what color best supports the child. In feng shui, colors are associated with different energies too (see above). Using color is a simple way to support your Qi, but it can be done in subtle ways. For example, you can add a rug, toss pillow or artwork as a little hit of the color you need most.”
9. Toss (or Fix) Any Broken Furniture
This signifies that something else in your life is broken or will soon break—and represents lack, suffering and unworthiness. Morris also agrees that there’s no excuse for this one, folks: “Having broken things in your home speaks to a sense of lack. Depending on what the item is it can reveal specific information about what may be holding you back.”
10. Close Bathroom Doors When They’re Not in Use
Bathroom energy is, um, gross. You don't want that floating around your home. “This is a basic, quick fix to contain the depleting energy of a bathroom. Bathrooms have a lot of water that drains away from the home, but bathrooms can also be beautiful places to reset and recharge. Spend a little time to give your bathroom some TLC and, if possible, add a plant to lift the energy,” Morris suggests.
11. Fix Leaky Faucets ASAP
A leaky faucets is super bad luck: It means you are leaking all your abundance and happiness away. Address drips immediately. Morris explains, “Leaky faucets mean resources and money are leaking away. When you think about it, leaking water is pretty costly and wasteful. Feng shui is about taking steps to fix everyday issues before you start getting fancy with magical adjustments.”
12. Ditto Dead Light Bulbs
A burnt-out light represents well, burnout—as well as stress, poor finance and bad health. Full, radiant light is important to attracting what you want in life. Take it from Morris: “Like broken furniture in your home, dead light signifies lack. Lighting is connected to the fire element, which is all about being seen, visibility and inspiration. Change your burnt-out bulbs so you and your ideas are seen by the world.”
13. Fill Forlorn Spots with Plants
Whether it’s a corner or a dark hall, seek out spots that feel stagnant and add the energy of happy green. As Morris says, “Plants are amazing! They embody the energy of wood and can lift stagnant, stale Qi in a home. Now, plants do need sunlight (even if it is low light), so if you have a really dark corner or hallway try using lights, mirrors or a feng shui crystal—those are all good places to start to lift the Qi.”
14. Keep the Basement Tidy and Bright
As the literal foundation of your home, its vibe will resonate throughout the house. So don’t make it a dumping ground—and keep it as light and dry as possible. “A basement can often be the forgotten land,” stresses Morris. “It is the foundation of your home and life, and if you are weighed down in the basement, it is hard to move forward with new ideas. Also, see what you are storing in the basement; if it is old and outdated stuff you no longer need, that stuff might be keeping you stuck in the past.”
15. Repaint Often
Got old, dirty walls? Yep, you can pretty much guess how that makes you feel. Morris tells us, “A fresh coat of paint is a way to reset the energy of your home. In feng shui, we also think about ‘predecessor Qi,’ which is the energy of the people who lived in a home before you. Painting the walls is a good way to clear it. And if you can't repaint? You can also wash your walls or try a space clearing by misting a mix of water and orange peels or essential oil throughout the home.”