I get asked this a lot when I consult with clients. This question exemplifies some of the misunderstandings people (including some Feng Shui consultants) perpetuate in Feng Shui.
Many of my clients say that they have either read or heard that beamed ceilings bring all sorts of negative experiences—from headaches and joint problems to divorce. I even had a client tell me that they were going to pass up buying a home that they loved because the living room had beamed ceilings and they had read in a Feng Shui book that this would bring their family “bad luck”.
Thankfully, none of this is true.
The “bad luck” associated with beamed ceilings arose from common-sense advice long ago whose original intent has been lost over time. In order to understand why beamed ceilings were considered “bad” Feng Shui, we need to go back to the time and place where Feng Shui began.
China is a land prone to seismic activity. When structures were poorly built (by hand) in earthquake-prone China hundreds of years ago, it was sound advice to tell people to not sleep or sit for long periods of time under a load-bearing beam. As with many edicts in Feng Shui, this information has been passed down for generations and the original common-sense advice was forgotten and replaced by superstition.
Beamed ceilings are not inherently “bad.” In fact, almost all buildings have them whether you can see them or not. After all, they are holding the roof up! It is simply the way we feel when we sit or sleep in a room with open beamed ceilings that determines our experience. That perception will be as unique as you are. Determining whether or not beams have a positive or negative influence for you depends on many variables. Along with just about everything in Feng Shui, personal preference plays a big role in whether open beams in a room feel good or not. Some people like the feeling and ambiance beams provide in a space, while others find them oppressive and threatening.
If a ceiling is low, heavy beams may feel oppressive. If this is the case, paint them a light color to match the ceiling. If the ceiling is very high, the beams can add charm to a space. Deciding if the beams are good for you or not is all in your personal perception.
The bottom line is, how do you feel when you sit or sleep under a beam? If the answer is “fine”, then the beam is not a problem. If your answer is “I don’t like it”, then you will need to consider alternatives (painting the ceiling, putting in a false ceiling, etc.). Ultimately the choice is yours. Remember, If it feels good, it’s good Feng Shui and go from there!
Copyright 2012 Cathleen McCandless