Monthly Archives: October 2010

Kitchen Feng Shui

The kitchen is another one of those rooms that in some Feng Shui literature, has a lot of misinformation, superstition and myth associated with it.  I’m going to share some basic information with you on how you can create a kitchen that has good Feng Shui, while dispelling a couple of the myths you may have heard.

      Let’s start with the myths. One of the most common Feng Shui myths is that your stove should never be located directly across from your sink.  This myth stems from misunderstanding the Five Element cycle in Feng Shui.  The Five Element Cycle dictates that the water element “puts out” or destroys the fire element.  While this is true, it isn’t the reason that ancient Feng Shui knowledge tells us to avoid placing the stove (fire) next to, or opposite the sink (water).

    The reason Feng Shui originally recommended avoiding having water too near fire is because in ancient China (where Feng Shui began) people cooked over an open flame.  Before the invention of matches, starting a fire was an arduous task. The last thing you wanted to have happen when you were cooking over fire is the flame to go out, hence, it is just common sense that you would want to avoid water near that area. 

        Today we have gas and electric stoves instead of wood-burning fires to cook over, and running water in sinks instead of sloshing open buckets.  The rule of having the water (sink) near the stove (fire) does not apply to our modern kitchens. There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about if your sink opposes or sits next to your stove. In fact, my sink is directly across from my stove, and nothing has happened because of it in all the many years I’ve lived in my home.  If this is the case in your home as well, you have nothing to be concerned about, despite what you may have read in some Feng Shui books.

     Another myth you may have heard is that you need to put a mirror behind your stove to bring prosperity.  This is nonsense.  Putting a mirror behind your stove can add light to a dark area under a range hood, but it won’t do more to increase your finances than rubbing a rabbit’s foot. Now let’s explore some basic tips:

1. Provide full-spectrum lighting.  Full-spectrum lighting will provide a clean light in your kitchen without the dingy yellow cast that traditional light bulbs offer.  You can get full-spectrum bulbs at home improvement stores.

2. Consider your paint color. Reds stimulate the appetite, while blue suppresses it.  Too bright yellow can create irritability and increase the frequency of arguments.  White can feel cold, black can be depressing.  Most people prefer warm, friendly earth tones in their kitchen to provide a relaxing and friendly atmosphere.  

3. Get your knife block off the counter and put it in a cupboard.  Feng Shui strives to make a space feel safe and secure.  The police department recommends that the knife block should be kept off the counter because if an unarmed person breaks into your home and they are startled, they know to go directly into the kitchen to obtain a weapon.  This knowledge in and of itself should be enough reason to put these dangerous objects away.

4. Keep your counters free of clutter.  A good rule of thumb is that if an appliance is used less than three days a week it should be put away.

5. If you use a kitchen table, get a round one. Round tables encourage people to relax, converse and share with one another.  If you want your children to talk about what happened during the day, sit at a round table at meal time.  You will be surprised at the difference!

          The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home.  A well-functioning, attractive kitchen can be the hub of activity in a busy home.  The happier and more comfortable the kitchen feels can carry over to the overall feeling in the entire home. 

Copyright protected c. 2010 Cathleen McCandless http://www.sandiegofengshui.com

The Importance of the Entryway in Feng Shui

For most people, the entry/foyer of a home is not thought to be an important part of the home, yet from a Feng Shui perspective it is one of the very most important areas we need to consider.  The entry is not only the first impression of your living space, it is also a key component in whether or not you will experience comfort, safety and happiness while you live there.he most important consideration in Feng Shui is whether or not a space allows us to feel “safe”.  If we do not feel 100% safe in our environment, we will not relax, and if we cannot relax we certainly aren’t going to enjoy the time we spend in our living and working spaces. 

 Our basic need for survival is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and determines whether or not we will relax in a space or feel stress and unease.  The entryway can play an important role in establishing the comfort and safety and in turn, the pleasure and relaxation we feel in our homes.

 First let’s look at the purpose for the entry/foyer.  In addition to providing a way into the home, the entry is a “decompression zone” between the outdoors and the indoors.  Having a designated entry helps our survival instinct adjust from scoping the outdoor environment we have just left and allows us a couple of moments to shift our attention to an indoor setting.  

 When we enter an indoor environment from the outside, having a designated entry/foyer provides us with a small space where we can take a second to feel safe and adjust to our new surroundings.  A entryway also allows the people in the home to have a buffer between their living areas and any strangers who may arrive at the front door. The entry allows us to experience a sense of safety by protecting us from potential intruders.  This allows us a greater sense of comfort and relaxation in our homes.

Here are a list of some other features you may want to bear in mind when considering your home’s entrance:
 
Stairways 
A lot has been written in Feng Shui regarding stairways and the entrance to the home.  It is often said that you don’t want the stairs to directly face the front entrance as “money will roll right out the door.” I don’t believe this for a second, but I do know that when we walk into the entry of the home and right smack in front of us are the stairs leading to the bedrooms, the house does not feel as good as when the stairs are located to the side of the door or in another area of the home entirely. 
 
The upstairs is the most private area in most homes.  It is also the place where we are the most vulnerable (while sleeping, bathing, etc.).  When the most private part of the home is directly exposed to the most public part of the home, the result can be a heightened sense of danger.  In other words, it is as if you are providing an easy and direct route for an intruder to enter the most  private part of your world.  Often people living in homes with this configuration will report that they don’t rest as well as they should, or tell me they feel more vulnerable while living in the home.
 
If this is the case in your home, try not to draw added attention to the staircase. Avoid placing any artwork in the stairwell or at the top of the stairs.  It only serves to draw your attention up there.  Instead, opt for artwork, patterned area rugs and bold paint colors that can be seen in the downstairs areas to pull your eye away from focusing on the staircase. This will help diminish the overpowering feeling the stairs have when greeting people right at the door. 
 
Note, if the stairs are off to the side (like in the picture above) it is not a problem.  I am speaking of stairs that directly cascade in a straight line right towards the front door. 
 
Front Door                                                                                                   
In Feng Shui, we prefer to have a solid front door rather than a door with glass panels or windows in it.  The reason is simple.  A solid front door provides a greater sense of safety for the occupants of the home.  Glass allows strangers to see movement or people inside the home and can also be broken to make intrusion easier.  A solid front door provides a greater feeling of comfort than a door that includes glass.
 
Lighting
 The entry should be well-lit by natural light during the day and proper electric lighting at night.  Both serve to provide a greater sense of comfort and safety.  Windows in the entry should be high enough so an intruder cannot climb in.  Windows and skylights above doorways are wonderful ways to bring light in without creating a feeling of vulnerability.
 
Flooring
One thing to consider when choosing wood flooring for an entry is whether or not the planks will run vertically, diagonally, or horizontally.  If you have a very long hallway leading from your entry, wood flooring with vertical planking can create a feeling of a “Bowling Alley” leading from your front door.  You may want to consider alternative options such as diagonal or horizontal placement of the slats.  If that is not possible, an area rug or runner will help mitigate the bowling alley effect.
 
Mirrors
Mirrors can be a great way to bring light into a dark entrance.  However avoid placing mirrors on a wall directly across from the door.  This placement can create an uneasy feeling for people when they enter and have not had time for their eyes to adjust to the new surroundings.  It is disconcerting to walk into a space and feel that someone is coming directly towards you.  Even if that someone is YOU!  It is best to place mirrors on the walls to the side of the entrance rather than directly across from the door.
 
Artwork                                                                                                                                
 The entry is your home’s calling card and first impression.  Be sure to choose attractive artwork with positive images for the entrance.  If the entry is very small and cramped you may want to consider artwork with a landscape that adds a feeling of depth to a small space.  A Trompe-l’œil mural is also a wonderful way to give the illusion of more space and interest in a small entryway.
 
Clutter
Try to avoid making the entry the “dumping area” for keys, shoes, backpacks and the like.  If it is the place where you and your family drop their ‘stuff”, be sure to provide storage options such as cupboards, boxes with lids, armoires, or any attractive other closed containers that will allow items to be easily stowed without cluttering up the entry.  Hat racks and coat racks are not good options for the entrance as they more often than not make the entrance look cluttered, crowded, and messy. 
These are just a few ideas for you to consider for your entryway. Remember that your feelings for your home begin at your front door.  Comfort, safety, organization, relaxation and beauty are all staged at the entrance to your home.  When you consider this aspect of the entrance, this often-neglected space becomes very important.  Take a second to observe how your entryway/foyer may be adding to the positive or negative feelings you have about your home.  You may be surprised at what you discover!
 

Copyright protected c. 2010 Cathleen McCandless http://www.sandiegofengshui.com