For many of us, our home is our sanctuary, so it makes sense to try and create a space that’s as positive as possible. After all, research has confirmed that the design of our living space may affect our happiness.

For 4,000 years, feng shui – the concept of designing a space that fosters harmony and balance – has been embedded in Chinese culture.

Plenty of us have heard of feng shui, but may not know the benefits it can bring and how to start applying it.

So, how does feng shui help us feel happier at home? And how can we put it to work without spending too much time, money, or effort?

What is feng shui?

What is feng shui

Feng shui, which means ‘the way of wind and water’, is rooted in Taoism – a Chinese religion that emerged around 2,000 years ago. It’s based on the idea that everything in the universe has energy, and that our surroundings affect our emotions, thoughts, and actions, as well as our health, relationships, and career success.

It’s believed that feng shui can be used to harmonise and balance the energy (or ‘chi’) in a space. Its principles guide on how to decorate and arrange furniture to improve the flow of positive energy, bring peace and prosperity, and align a person’s living space with who they are and what they want.

Feng shui also offers guidelines on balancing opposing, complementary (‘yin and yang’) elements – such as masculine and feminine, light and dark, or warm and cold – in a space. Plus, it pays attention to the balance of the five elements of water, wood, fire, earth, and metal, which are represented by colours, shapes, and materials in the home.

While there’s currently no direct scientific evidence to support the collective principles of feng shui, it’s a theory largely based on logic. And this study showed that indoor spaces designed using feng shui guidelines produced more positive emotions and were perceived as more comfortable.

8 ways to use feng shui for a happier home

We can use feng shui to bring balance and positivity to our home by making some simple adjustments. For example, adding plants, uplifting artwork, mood-enhancing colour accents, and/or other natural elements.

Feng shui can also involve de-cluttering, re-arranging objects, and removing or neutralising disruptive elements.

If you’re intrigued by this ancient Chinese art and want to give it a go, here are eight simple ways to use feng shui for a happier home.

1. Check your command positions

Check your command positions

In feng shui, the command position refers to the arrangement of your furniture in relation to the doors and windows, where chi enters and exits.

When sitting on the sofa, lying in bed, or working at your desk, you should ideally be in the position furthest away from the door – but with a good view of it and the rest of the room.

The best spot is often diagonally across from the door and, ideally, with your back to a solid wall. If this isn’t possible, it helps if you can see the door and it’s not behind you.

The command position is about being in a strong position to face whatever enters the room. It essentially puts you in control of your space and energy.

2. Tidy and declutter your space

Tidy and declutter your space

Decluttering is a cornerstone of feng shui – and most of us already know, whether we’re aware of feng shui or not, that decluttering can make a difference to our health and happiness at home.

However, in feng shui, decluttering focuses on encouraging the circulation of energy.

According to feng shui, clutter can affect us wherever it’s located. For example, one area which tends to be neglected when tidying is under the bed. But, in feng shui, any clutter near the bed can affect the flow of energy and negatively impact sleep.

Feng shui is also about letting go of items that evoke negative reactions, broken items that can’t be fixed, and items you simply don’t use.

For tips on decluttering, check out our articles; How to declutter and reorganise your home and 8 tips for minimalist living.

When it comes to decluttering, it can be helpful to start with the entrance point(s) to the home, as these can have the biggest effect on our mood upon our return. We’ll look at this in more detail below.

3. Create a positive first impression

Create a positive first impression

What do you feel when you first walk through the door to your home? Are you faced with a pile of old coats, hats, and socks spilling out of drawers – and muddy boots strewn across the hallway?

Items tend to pile up at the front door and, in feng shui, clutter at your entrance can prevent the flow of energy through your home.

To create a welcoming entrance, the first step is to remove any clutter and organise your things. Try to give items their own place, and enough space, so they’re more likely to stay there. Then perhaps shake out the door mat (if you have one), and give the area a good clean.

In feng shui, doors are the portals where opportunities come into your life, so it’s important to make sure they open freely and fully. For example, you could check that clutter isn’t lurking behind them, the hinges aren’t squeaking, and the locks don’t stick.

Then ask yourself: is there anything you can do to make the entrance bright and inviting – both inside and outside? Consider adding a fresh coat of paint, new lighting, healthy green plants, and/or some artwork.

According to feng shui, to invite new opportunities and positive energy into your life, it can help to make sure your door number is clear and visible, get an inviting welcome mat, and place a mirror perpendicular to your front door to open up the space inside.

4. Clean your windows

Clean your windows

Like doors, windows are important as they’re places where chi can enter and exit the home. They also symbolise the eyes of the building – and, if they’re dirty, it’s believed they can affect our perception.

Keeping windows clean and sparkling also lets in more sunlight, which is energising and makes us feel more positive!

To be more environmentally-friendly and save money, you could consider making your own homemade glass cleaner, and adding a few drops of an uplifting essential oil.

Letting fresh air into your home is important in feng shui too, as it removes stagnant energy – opening your windows for 10 minutes a day can make a world of difference to the feel of the home.

5. Remove obstacles in your way

Remove obstacles in your way

For chi (or energy) to move around your home, the routes must be clear.

The best way to identify blockages is to walk around and notice what gets in your way or causes any frustration. We adjust to our daily struggles over time – so it’s easy to forget that there could be another way to live.

For example, do you have corridors that you squeeze through or a table that you’re always bumping into?

Try to arrange your furniture in a way that leaves room for chi to flow into and around rooms. Something that many of us are guilty of is having too much furniture in a small room, which creates stagnant chi. So, it could be a case of removing some non-essential pieces to open up your space.

Feng shui is also about comforting and nurturing ourselves, and rounded edges – on, say, a table or desk – are preferable to sharp corners (with sharp energy).

6. Add plants

Add plants

In feng shui, plants connect us to nature, bringing freshness and vitality to your home.

Biophilic design (bringing nature into human environments) has been shown to increase positivity. And, according to NASA scientists, houseplants can improve air quality in your home.

Choosing green, vibrant plants with round, soft leaves is recommended in feng shui. It’s useful to consider what plants will thrive best in your lighting conditions, and to choose ones you can easily care for.

In contrast, plants with spiky or pointed leaves, such as cacti, are believed to have sha chi (sharp energy), which can drain positivity from the room.

To find out more about which plants are typically used in feng shui, you can check out this list of 12 of the best plants for positive energy from Homes and Gardens. Or, you may like to read our articles; 10 low-maintenance indoor plants that can add life to your home and 11 of the best bathroom plants.

7. Create balance with feng shui colours

Create balance with feng shui colours

We all know that colour can make a huge difference to a room. Like everything in feng shui, different colours are associated with different energies.

For example, green is the colour of renewal and fresh energy; brown is about stability and self-care; and white is about productivity and completion. You can read more about the meanings of colour in feng shui in this article from The Spruce.

When putting these colour principles into practice, it can help to consider the sort of energy you want to create in a room.

In feng shui, subtle hues may encourage yin energy and create a serene and peaceful space, which can be ideal for a bedroom. On the other hand, bright colours bring in yang energy, increase vibrancy, and may be most suitable for a dining or sitting room.

It’s also believed that using darker colours lower to the floor – to provide a solid foundation – and lighter colours on walls and ceilings – to open up the room – can create more balance.

You can add colour to your home through paint and wallpaper, accessories, or more subtle touches, like a bunch of flowers.

8. Use the bagua

Use the bagua

If you want to dig a bit deeper into feng shui, you can use the bagua. This is a grid-like map that divides your home (and each room) into nine squares, each of which corresponds to a different area of life, such as career, health, family, wealth, and so on.

The bagua can help guide you to use helpful shapes, elements, and colours to draw positive chi into the areas of your home that may need attention.

For example, to attract love, feng shui suggests using doubles of everything (for example, two pillows and chairs), embracing romantic shades of pink and red, and making your bed with fresh sheets.

To understand more about how to use the bagua, you might like to check out this article from Mind Body Green.

Final thoughts…

Feng shui is becoming more popular as people explore the connection between their homes, health, and wellbeing. It teaches us some simple ways to create balance and harmony in our homes, and it can be a powerful tool for relieving stress and promoting relaxation.

Although there’s limited research on the direct impact of feng shui, there are studies that support each principle in practice. For example, decluttering and adding plants to your home have been shown to boost mood and productivity.

Remember, the goal isn’t to create perfect feng shui, but to focus on small positive changes you can make to help you feel good at home.

For further reading, head over to the home and garden section of our website. Here, you’ll find everything from cleaning tips to home decorating ideas.

Have you tried feng shui in your home? What works for you? Do you have any tips or helpful ideas that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!