Your living room is the ultimate hangout spot. It’s where family and friends stream their favorite shows, relax on the couch, and enjoy each others’ company. But sometimes, with so much activity happening in one room, the space can become cluttered and disorganized. When that happens, it doesn’t just bring down the ambience, it also negatively affects everyone who uses the room. So how can it be corrected? How can you restore peace to such an active area?
Enter the art of living room feng shui.
Feng shui may be an ancient Chinese practice at its core, but its principles and practices have been adopted by people all over the world. While its tenets are slightly complicated, the main idea of feng shui is that everything — people, objects, nature, etc. — has energy, and balancing those energies correctly creates harmony, ultimately leading to peace and prosperity.
What does the living room represent in feng shui?
When it comes to feng shui home makeovers, the bedroom and kitchen get a lot of attention. But it’s the living room that’s often the first room a person enters in a home. That means that the living room sets the tone for the rest of the house. Its layout can evoke certain feelings and emotions immediately, so it’s important to pay special attention to this area.
How do you feng shui a living room?
Living room feng shui can be achieved by certain color, layout, and decor choices. But before we start going into those tips, there’s one thing you need to do first and foremost: declutter the space.
Feng shui is all about spatial harmony. This means that everything in the room has a clear function, and those things are organized or arranged in a tidy, purposeful manner. If there are items filling up the space, the flow of energy is impeded. And when that happens, the room becomes unbalanced (i.e., no prosperity for you).
Keep in mind that decluttering and organizing isn’t a one-time activity; it has to be maintained for optimal results. To do this, either continually purge the room or find ways to free up some space. This can be done with shelving, bookcases, or furniture that also offers a storage function, like a hollow ottoman or a trunk-style coffee table. Now, onto the list.
1. Balance the five elements
Feng shui is rooted in the belief that five elements — earth, water, fire, metal, and wood — work together as a cycle, either productively or destructively. This is intended to mimic the function of nature:
- Wood fuels fire.
- Fire creates earth from its ash.
- Metals are mined from the earth.
- As metal heats and cools, water is created from condensation.
- Water allows plants and wood to grow.
The idea is that these five elements have corresponding colors, shapes, and materials. These elements can work together for growth, or they can create friction. For example, wood absorbs water to grow, and soil (earth) can extinguish fire.
|Water||Blacks, blues||Wave||Mirrors, water, crystals||Wisdom, serenity|
|Fire||Reds, oranges, yellows||Triangle||Fire, candles, electronics||Energy, passion|
|Metal||Whites, pastels, metallics||Round||Metal objects||Logic, intelligence|
|Earth||Browns, yellows||Square||Ceramics, pottery||Stability, balance|
|Wood||Greens, teal||Rectangle||House plants, paintings of nature||Growth, creativity|
So how is this applied to design? If your room feels off kilter or at odds with itself, it’s likely because the elements are fighting rather than working in tandem.
2. Try energy mapping
How do you know if a section of your house needs more wood energy? Or less earth? Consult the bagua map (seen below). It divides your home into nine areas, each with its own elemental focus. The central spot is the heart of the home and distributes energy to the other nine sectors. Using the front entrance as a starting point, you can determine where your living room falls on the bagua map grid and then emphasize the correlating element. For example, if your living room is the first room on the left when you walk in, you’ll want an emphasis on earth and water (think mirrors and ceramics in hues of brown and blue).
3. Find the right living room feng shui colors
Color has the ability to awaken our senses and engage our minds. Choose wisely, and your living room can have an instant upgrade. Pick the wrong shade, and you can immediately feel the energy downshift.
Some feng shui practitioners believe that the compass direction of your living room determines its ideal color. Following this guideline, here’s how to get an accurate compass reading of your living room.
- Use a hiking compass or the compass on your smartphone.
- Stand inside your home’s front door, face outside, and note the magnetic north.
- Use the reading to ascertain where the living room stands, directionally speaking.
- Select a color that corresponds with the direction.
|North||Water||Blacks, blues, metallics|
|Southeast and East||Wood||Blues, blacks, greens, browns|
|West and Northwest||Metal||Blacks, whites, grays|
4. Perfect your living room layout
From sofa location to TV placement, living room feng shui layout matters. An important part of feng shui is establishing a commanding position. In the living room, this means that the person or people on the sofa are about to have a clear view of who’s entering and leaving the room. This is translated to seeing opportunities come in and out of your life. To achieve this commanding position, have the couch or sofa placed in a way where the entryway can be easily seen. No backs to the door.
Where should a TV be placed in a living room for good feng shui? Once you have your couch in a commanding position, you can figure out the best spot for your television. This is most likely mounted on an opposite wall, creating a sleek look. If possible, avoid hanging the television over a fireplace. This should be a main focal point of the room, and the television (metal element) will fight against the hearth (fire element).
5. Place mirrors strategically
Mirrors are a great design tool. They can add light to a room and make it feel bigger. Keep in mind, though, that feng shui mirrors adjust energy flow, and, because of their reflective properties, they can bounce energy into a space. Anything you want amplified needs to be in the mirror’s path. For example, if your mirror faces a plant, this adds to the earth energy, doubly promoting growth and creativity.
6. Give yourself some grace
Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the feng shui in your living room right, but once it’s right, you’ll notice a difference. You may even feel inspired to tackle the rest of your house! Consider using a PODS portable storage container to temporarily store extra furniture, boxes, and random things while you work it out. In the end, you may not want to put it all back. In that case, you can donate anything you don’t need or store anything you might need later. Whatever you decide, PODS is flexible and here to help.
For more on storage and organization, as well as lifestyle and wellness, visit the PODS Blog.
LB Gabriel is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever in Memphis, TN. A frequent PODS Blog contributor, she's a sucker for any tip she can find on downsizing, cutting clutter, or minimalist living. When she's not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.