This article is taken from my November 2016 Newsletter. To read the newsletter, please click here.
Thanksgiving time and on that day most Americans will be sitting around a table sharing a wonderful meal and giving thanks for all their blessings. When you’ve been lovingly cooking all day long, you want the meal to not only taste good, but be a wonderful experience for everyone there. While feng shui can’t do much to change whether or not you’re a great cook, it can help create an ambience that will make the meal even better. Feng Shui goes beyond how things look (and taste), and addresses how things feel. So with that knowledge in mind, here are some quick and easy ways to make your Thanksgiving meal (or any meal for that matter) as excellent as possible.
Most of the time a formal meal takes place around a rectangular-shaped table. While
this may be a more traditional setting, it isn’t the best for actually relaxing and sharing a meal. Around a rectangle table, many of the guests will not be able to see or converse with each other. You’ll end up with a party at one end and a party at the other end. People sitting on the same side of the table at opposite ends must lean around others in order to see or talk to guests at the other end of the table, making conversation awkward. Furthermore, the people sitting at the ends of the table (usually the patriarch) are the only ones who can see and converse with everyone, thus giving them command of the meal (in feng shui, we call this seat the “Command Position”), creating an inequality in the authority of people during the meal.
From a feng shui perspective, a round table is highly preferable to a rectangle-shaped table for a pleasant dining experience. Around a round table, all guests can see and converse with each other, there is no “head” of the table, and everyone there is energetically equal. Studies show that when guests are seated around a round table for a meal, they say that the food tasted better, they lingered around the table longer, and they felt that their all-around dining experience was more positive. A rectangle table tends to hurry the meal. People will sit down, eat, and get up shortly after the meal to go into the other room. Around a round table however, guests will linger over the meal, talk, laugh, eat dinner or have coffee and desert, and still be sitting there talking or even play an after-dinner game at the table.
While I understand that not everyone has a round dining table, I would encourage you to get one next time you’re in the market for a new table. If you have a big gathering, it is better to seat your guests around a couple of round tables rather than stretching them out at a large banquet-style rectangular table. When it comes to creating an optimal dining experience, a round table wins every time. Also, make sure that the dining room chairs are comfortable. Guests should be able to sit with plenty of room for their legs. You don’t want the chairs too high or too low. Comfort is key to enjoying a great meal.
Warm tones are soothing and comforting. Reds and oranges stimulate the appetite. A little red can go a long way, so if you opt to paint the dining room red, consider painting one wall red as an accent wall, or add luxurious red or burgundy drapes for an especially elegant touch. If you don’t want to go to all the work of actually adding red to the walls and drapes, a red or burgundy table runner, table cloth, candles, placemats, napkins, or centerpiece can add appetite-stimulating red to the room.
Blue is a color that suppresses the appetite and makes food less appealing. It is thought that this is because there is no blue food (even blue berries are actually purple). While this may be great for dieting, it is not a color you want surrounding guests when you want them to enjoy their meal. Choose blue for other areas of the home, but leave it out of the kitchen and dining room.
The centerpiece should compliment the dining experience, not detract from it. People are soothed by images of nature, so adding natural elements like fruit, flowers, leaves, etc. will be especially pleasing. Remember to not make the centerpiece so high that guests can’t see each other, and not so large that it takes up room for plates and place settings. Speaking of place settings, there are tons and tons of wonderful, creative ideas on the internet for place settings and centerpieces depending on the event and the theme you want for the meal.
People look best under candlelight. Light fixtures on a dimmer switch make it easy to
determine how bright you want the lighting to be for a meal. For extra fun, purchase some battery-operated lights (like white Christmas lights) and add them to your centerpiece. Battery-operated candles can provide ambience without the risk of fire. Make sure you choose unscented candles for the meal. You don’t want the scent from the candles to overpower the guests while they’re trying to enjoy the flavors of their meal.
Frequently people try to squish too much furniture into a dining room. This can give a claustrophobic feeling and also makes pushing the chairs in and out from under the table challenging. Very tall cabinets and breakfronts can feel overpowering and oppressive. Less is definitely more when it comes to furniture in a dining room. Also, make sure the artwork you choose to hang in the dining room is pleasant. A large mirror will make the space feel bigger and helps reflect the light as well.
Feng Shui can go a long way in helping your meal go from good to great. Try some of these tips this Thanksgiving and see what a difference it can make in your dining experience!
Copyright 2016, Cathleen McCandless, ALL rights reserved