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Feng Shui Tips for the Home Office
This ancient Chinese art is based on the Taoist belief that nature—and our environment—is filled with Chi, or energy, which affects our health and fortune. Here's how to balance those energies to create a harmonious office environment.
Gabrielle M. Blue
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Feng Shui Tips for the Home Office
Choose the Right Room
It is believed that energy flows from the front door and spreads upward first. So the ideal space to create your office should be relatively close to the front of the house, on an equal or higher floor. "It really needs to be a place where you feel good in," says Ken Lauher, a noted Feng Shui consultant. He recommends avoiding dark closets and basements.
See Who Enters
Be sure to place your desk in a command position, meaning not directly in front of the door but facing it, and not facing a wall or window. The farthest corner from the door is best, so that you can see everything in the room. Though if you’re living in tight quarters, that may not be possible. If you have to put your desk against the wall, Lauher suggests putting a larger mirror in front of you. "That does two things: You can see behind you and it makes you feel like you can move forward and you’re not getting stuck." And positioning yourself so that you can see who is entering your office allows you to be prepared for whatever business comes your way.
Determine Your Element
There are five Feng Shui elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. It’s important to understand how they work toward producing and balancing a positive Chi, or energy, flow. You should incorporate all five into your office in some form, and Lauher suggests enhancing those that best represent your personality and your industry in order to create your ideal work environment. A simple test to help you determine which element fits you best is to consider your favorite vacation spot. Do you prefer the beach, the mountains, or a place with a more tropical climate?
Need Inspiration? Add Wood.
Wood promotes creativity and symbolizes loyalty. Any object, such as your desk, the floor, wall panels, or other wooden knickknacks, will satisfy this requirement. The colors green and brown best represent this element and, according to Lauher, are generally recommended for people in the investment, law, or medical industries, to promote trust and opportunities. Painting your office or desk in either of these colors will stir motivation, inspiration, and good health. It’s best to position your wood element in the eastern corner of your office.
Need a Boost in Productivity? Add Fire.
Fire is known to be the most powerful of the elements. It's aggressive and said to represent passion and excitement. This element embodies energy and should be used to boost action and productivity in your office. Naturally, red is the color associated with this element and should be used in multi-colored offices, which Lauher recommends for artists (to encourage creativity) and therapists (to appeal to a wide range of people). If the color doesn't exactly fit your decor, a lamp or candle will do. But be sure to place your fire element in the southern corner of the room.
Need Balance and Stability? Add Earth.
This element creates a firm ground for building and strengthening relationships—excellent for businesses looking to expand and maintain consumer reach. Earth tones, such as light browns, yellows, oranges, and sandy colors best represent this element, and Lauher recommends these colors for lawyers' and accountants' offices, to promote concentration and wealth. Using materials made of clay, brick, or ceramics in your office will satisfy this need, as will paintings of landscapes. This element should go in the center of your office.
Want to Rake in the Dough? Add Metal.
This is your moneymaker! Metal indicates harvest and financial success. But before you construct an office made of steel, understand that an overindulgence of any element will knock off your office’s Chi and create disharmony. Silver, grey, gold, or any other metallic color embodies this element. And items made of stone, gold, copper, silver, or marble will give your office that professional touch it needs. Just be sure to place this element in the western corner of your office.
Need Help Communicating? Add Water.
Water is the element of communication and opportunities—essential for every office! This element is free-flowing and promotes networking, traveling, and wisdom (or learning). Blue and black are the colors most associated with it, and they should be used in an academic's office or artist's studio to promote intelligence and concentration. They can also be used by lawyers, doctors, and investors to enhance trust. There are a variety of "water" items that you can add to your office, including a mirror, a mini fountain, a fish bowl, or anything made of glass. Whatever you choose, be sure to place it in the northern area of your space.
Get Rid of Clutter
Energy can’t flow freely if it keeps tripping over those paper stacks and the random junk in your office. So, clear it out! Feng Shui is about balance and organization. According to the site
Feng Shui & Beyond
, anything you need and use on a daily basis should be at arm's reach; everything else should be neatly sorted, filed, and stored. Lauher adds that the clutter underneath your desk is indicative of how you run your business. "I’ve found a huge pattern between having a lot of things under there and feeling stuck in your career." A tidy office makes you feel accomplished, put together, and ready to go.
If after organizing your home office you feel like the colors, items, and furniture are lacking harmony, you may want to add a plant or two. You’d be surprised by how adding foliage can give your office the balance it lacks. "One of the cheapest and most effective ways to make a space feel like a home is by adding living plants," says Lauher. "If you can incorporate that into your work environment, you’ll feel more abundant, healthier, and you’ll feel like you’re living bigger." Bamboo is a popular plant of choice for its low maintenance, but you can go with any of your favorites. Just make sure they're real!
Last updated: Apr 20, 2011
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