Q: As my husband and I began the spring-cleaning process, we discovered that we now find our décor a tad gloomy and claustrophobic. Is there something we can do to “refresh” our surroundings?
A: Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to give your home an energy boost to support your family, life and pets. Feng shui is the Chinese art of placement and a design system based on the concept of “chi” energy — the life force that exists in all things — that aims to create harmonious living spaces.
Here are a few feng shui tips to energize your home.
Clear the clutter. Clutter is like clogged arteries in the energy flow of your home. Household items are considered clutter if they get in your way, distract you from what’s important, and don’t have a use or place in your life. If you’re spending too much time managing your stuff, tackle one room at a time and donate unused items to charity or pass them along to someone who can use them. When you remove clutter, you create space for new opportunities.
Move your furniture. As human beings, we have a primal need to feel safe. The location of key pieces of furniture in a room, such as your bed, desk or sofa, determines if you are in a proactive or reactive relationship to your surroundings. Check each room to see if your furniture is in the “command position.” Is it outside the direct path when entering the room? Is its backside against a solid wall so you’re facing the entrance when sitting or sleeping on it? Do you have a clear view of the entrance from it? Is it the focal point of the room? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, consider moving the furniture to a better spot.
Refresh your surroundings. Give your home a deep clean by opening the windows to release stagnant air; cleaning window panes for sparkling views of the outdoors; washing décor, bedding and pet beds; and dusting, vacuuming and cleaning your floors. If you have a busy household, think about hiring a green cleaning company, preferably one that avoids toxic cleaning chemicals. Consider aromatherapy scents to clear your mind and energize your day. Therapeutic-quality essential oils, such as lemon, orange and citrus, used in a diffuser or room spray can help create a stimulating and uplifting atmosphere in your home.
Enhance outdoor pet spaces. Pets enjoy fresh air and exercise. A pet door installed in a window, door or wall offers them freedom to enjoy the stimulation of the outdoors. Fenced backyards keep a dog contained, but cats can scale a fence and encounter many outdoor hazards. If you’re a cat owner, the addition of a catio, an enclosed “cat patio” for a window, porch, patio, deck or yard can provide a solution while complementing your home. Be sure to provide fresh water for your pets when outdoors and remove toxic lawn or garden chemicals to protect pets, birds and wildlife.
Add color and décor accents. A new coat of paint for the interior or exterior of your home is a low-cost and high-impact way to change the energy of your surroundings. Yin rooms (quiet, private rooms) benefit from soothing and calming colors including blue, green and muted colors, while yang spaces (active rooms) benefit from red, yellow and energizing colors. Whether you add new pillows for your sofa, artwork for the wall or place mats for your dining table, color can positively affect how your feel in your home.
As you change your surroundings this spring, may positive energy flow for a harmonious home.
Cynthia Chomos is a feng shui consultant, color designer and the founder of Catio Spaces, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAK’s nearly 2,800 members, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.