The kitchen is our source of health and wealth. This is a belief of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art that joins design sensibility with spirituality. To learn more, I recently attended a Feng Shui kitchen design seminar at In Good Company (New York, NY) given by Ann Bingley Gallops, president of The Organized Life. Ann is a professional organizer who is also a Feng Shui practitioner. She believes in de-mystifying Feng Shui and her practical approach helps people improve their lives.
Design nourishes. It’s undeniable that you just feel better in a room that is well designed. Call it chi, energy flow – whatever – it’s just better. Take 10 minutes right now and clean your kitchen junk drawer… don’t you feel better already? Although Feng Shui is far more complex than a simple de-cluttering and cleaning of errant breadcrumbs, Ann offers some simple tips and tactics for the kitchen and bath that are sure to enhance your space and ultimately your life.
Put some Yang into your Bathroom!
There are several basics to Feng Shui that everyone can keep in mind. The first is the idea of balance between Ying and Yang (the female and male) and between basic elements of fire, water, wood, earth and metal. Where there’s good Feng Shui – there’s good balance. Bathrooms represent a whole lot of Ying through the water elements. To achieve balance in a bath – you want to introduce some Yang: fire (through good lighting, color, animal prints) and wood (through plants, symbols of plants). If there’s too much metal or white – you need some fire to melt it (not literally, just conceptually).
- Drains are bad. The chi or life force drains out of them. So you’ll want to close the lids on toilets to improve prosperity. (There’s a simple economic plan that’s no cost – just close the toilet seats!) If you think about it – it’s just unsightly and a good habit to keep them closed.
- In a master bath – you shouldn’t see the toilet from your bed.
- Be careful where you place mirrors. Let’s just say you shouldn’t see yourself sitting down.
- Doors should open fully so you don’t feel cramped. Get rid of those old bathrobes.
- Make sure there’s good circulation. Fans promote good chi flow – and health – and they do reduce moisture, mold and mildew – so it’s good common sense.
- Speaking of chi flow… visualize a flow of energy or chi around all your surfaces. Get rid of things that will stop it. All the bottles of shampoo lying around. They collect water and stagnate the chi. Mildew is bad – whether you believe in chi or not. So look for ways to organize these elements off of the tile or surfaces so water can’t collect and get dirty.
Caption: Good lighting and wood elements bring bathrooms into balance.
Mirror from Restoration Hardware
Let go of clutter in the Kitchen.
Another important concept in Feng Shui is the “command position.” When we are surprised or startled, it creates fear or negative energy. (Luke, feel the force…) Do you always grab the chair against a wall in a restaurant so you can face everyone? I do. I just like eating without someone behind me. It’s the same for an office desk, or any space where you work or eat. Try not to have your back to the door. If your cooking space does point you in a vulnerable position, Ann suggests a reflective surface like a Chinese bagua mirror so you can see what’s behind. You can find these online or at Pearl River (https://www.pearlriver.com/v2/index.html) in New York. A nice stainless backsplash or tile works too – and it’s easier to clean than a painted wall.
Another way to improve chi in a kitchen is to again imagine the flow and see where it gets stuck. Magnets on the refrigerator, appliances on the counter top, trash on the floor.
- Keeping your counter tops free of clutter is visually appealing and cleaner. A good approach is to move anything off that you don’t use at least once a day – or pretty frequently. Everything else needs to go somewhere – a drawer, cabinet or shelf. Even out of the kitchen entirely.
- Trash should be closed and out of sight. If you don’t have under-the-counter space to put the trash – get a lid on it. It’s healthier and nicer.
- Let go of the magnets… I just bought a stainless refrigerator and I thought I would be lost without my magnets. The reality is that I just found other ways to keep organized and other places to put the important paperwork and pictures. Having a shelf with family pictures is much nicer and cleaner. I have a bin in my junk drawer for coupons and flyers, school lunch schedules, etc. And my calendar is now in my home office.
Under-the-counter trash containers from Medallion Cabinets help keep trash covered and out of site.
Written by Lori Dolnick.
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