You may have heard this before: If the stairway directly faces the front door (that is, if you walk in your front door and do not turn, you will go straight up the stairway), all of your luck and money will roll down the stairs and out the front door.
I don’t think luck has anything to do with feng shui or that fortune is like a ball that can roll down the stairway and straight out the door. Having the stairway face the front door is undesirable for a much more common-sense reason.
When you enter a home and the stairway is located directly across from the front door, your attention is pulled straight upstairs, exposing the most private area of the home to the public area of the home. This creates an awkward experience for guests and occupants alike. I like to say that having the stairway directly across from the front door is like meeting someone for the first time and having them pull their shirt up over their head—too much information a little too soon! Furthermore, a home with the stairway directly across from the front door doesn’t feel as safe as a home with the stairway in another location. When you’re upstairs sleeping, you may feel more vulnerable knowing that there’s easy access to the bedrooms, should an intruder break in during the night.
Homes almost always feel best when the public, formal rooms are located toward the front (yang) portion of the home and the more private, personal (yin) rooms are located toward the back, away from the main entrance. Think of it this way: the rooms that you frequent in your bathrobe or pajamas for part of the day—the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room—feel best when out of view of the main door to the home.
So, what do you do if your stairway faces the front door? The best thing to do is to distract the eye away from the stairway as much as possible. While it may not make you feel safer, it will lessen the strong statement that the stairway makes when you walk in the front door. Start at the front door, and take a look up to the view at the top of the stairway. The wall at the top of the stairway should be painted the same color as the walls leading up the stairway so that it blends in and doesn’t draw your eye upward unnecessarily.
Next, remove any artwork, pictures, or objects at the top of the stairway. A focal point at the top of the stairway directs attention to the second floor. In order to turn the focus away from the stairway, there needs to be a focal point adjacent to the entryway. In figure 5.8, this has been accomplished by placing a patterned area rug on the floor between the stairway and the door and placing plants near the side of the stairway. Ideally, there would be some eye-catching artwork on the living room walls that could be seen from the entryway. These features keep the eye anchored on the downstairs rooms, rather than leading it up the stairway to the bedroom areas.
Once in a while, the second story of a home is actually the main living area, and the first floor is where the bedrooms are. My grandmother’s house was designed like this to capitalize on the ocean view. As children, we use to call it an “upside-down house.” If this is the case in your home, then you do want to pull the eye up the stairway toward the more active living areas, rather than keeping it focused on the private areas downstairs. Reverse the instructions above by placing your focal points and contrasting paint choices on the upper levels and removing any décor that would entice visitors to linger at the entry-level floor.
As with so many things that are misunderstood in feng shui, the myth about your money rolling down the stairs is just that, a myth. The reason for why stairs are best when not positioned directly across from the front door makes much more sense than some silly superstition regarding stairs and your hard-earned cash!