Category Archives: Interior Design

Feng Shui for the Holidays

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This article is taken from my December 2017 Newsletter. Please click here to read the newsletter in its entirety.

     It’s that time of year again. The time of year that many people look forward to and dread all at the same time. Many of us look back on childhood holidays with nostalgia and as adults we wonder where the “magic” has gone. When you really think about it, when you were a child, your parents handled all the stress for the holidays. All you had to do was show up, open presents, eat candy, and enjoy all the fun! It’s the adults who shoulder the burden of making the holidays special, but all too often the stress of the season robs us of the joy we once associated with this once magical time of year.

An important part of every holiday are the décor items we choose to display. Like little time capsules, each item brings up memories and sentiments of people, places, and holidays gone by. That nostalgia is part of what makes the holidays so special. While holiday decorations are an important part of creating the ambience of the season, if they aren’t displayed correctly they can contribute to the stress in our lives rather than being part of the fun.

Feng Shui is all about creating a space that looks and FEELS good. Here is a great way to display your holiday “treasures” in an attractive and organized way, adding more to the fun and less to the stress of your holiday home décor.

Over the years many of us have accumulated an oddball assortment of holiday décor items. Things we have kept from childhood, decorations we have been given and those we have purchased are too often thrown together amongst our every day décor items in colorful chaos. When we have too much visual stimulation and disorganization in a space, the environment begins to feel tense rather than restful. The secret to displaying holiday items attractively and calmly is to group “like” things together. Doing this is easier than you may think.
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First, decide where you want to place your collection. Choose a different location for each display (in other words, don’t place more than one grouping on the same table, mantle, or other display surface). Next, remove your everyday décor items from the display area so that they aren’t competing with the holiday ones. Then choose the items for the grouping.

Items should be grouped either by theme (funky homemade childhood ornaments, angels, Santas, nativities, etc.) or by color (all red items, gold items, etc.). Place a solid colored cloth or table runner under the display to help visually hold the grouping together. Then place the items on the cloth. Not only will the items look more organized, you’ll find that they are also more interesting and attractive when displayed this way. Additionally, if you’re a person who has collections of everyday household décor items, this is a trick that can be used throughout the year with those items too.

To show you what I’m talking about, in addition to my regular Christmasdcs93 tree ornaments, I also happen to have a lot of angel ornaments and a lot of dachshund ornaments (when you have dachshunds, believe me, you accumulate a lot of these over the years!) There isn’t enough room on the tree for all of them, so instead I display them by grouping them together.

I love all of these holiday décor items, but they would look ridiculous if they were    placed in a hodgepodge on a table top. Instead, I group them together in separate areas to create their own little vignette. An attractive cloth underneath the collection (red for the dachshund ornaments and gold for the angels) ties the groupings together and makes them look more organized and attractive.

Grouping your ornaments and treasures make holiday decorating fun and festive without looking disorganized and chaotic. You’ll find that by applying the feng shui principle of organizing and grouping items to cut down on visual clutter to your holiday décor items, your holiday home décor will feel as good as it looks!

Copyright 2017,  Cathleen McCandless, All rights reserved

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Easily Update the Look and Feel of Your Home on a Budget

This article is from my November 2017 newsletter. To read the newsletter in its entirety, please click here.

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Does your house ever leave you feeling blah, or uninspired? So much of the time we get used to the things in our homes that we don’t even notice them any more, yet it is often the very things that we have gotten used to that need to be changed or spruced up in order to give our homes (and us) a lift. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to freshen up the look of your home.

Slipcovers are better than ever. Stretchy fabrics cover couches and chairs in ways that make them look brand new without looking like they are slip covered. It will look like you splurged on new furniture without the cost.

Artwork can become boring and uninspiring, and may not reflect the interests or tastes we have as they change over time. Go to art.com for a huge selection of inexpensive art. You can shop from the comfort of your home and be sure you’ll find a piece that fits your taste, your wall, and your budget!feng shui tips 2

 Area rugs are great ways to give a room a new color scheme and a fresh look. You can use the colors in the rug to add accents to the room with pillows, candles, and accessories to tie the room together. Don’t be afraid to put an area rug over a carpet. It is a much less expensive alternative to replacing an old carpet and will give a tired room new vibrancy.  Continue reading

Do You Have Good Feng Shui?

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This article is taken from my August newsletter. Please go to https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1413101038 to read the newsletter in its entirety. All material is copyright protected.

Does your home have good feng shui?  Take this simple quiz and find out!
Here’s a very simple checklist to let you know how your home rates on having good feng shui. Simply answer yes or no to any of these questions and keep a tally of your answers. Don’t overthink it, just answer honestly. You can see how you did at the end.

1. Do your spirits rise when you arrive home?
Your home should be a sanctuary and a place that brings you peace and happiness. Make sure that the exterior of your home is peaceful and attractive. Something as simple as adding a new doormat or a pot of bright flowers can do the trick.

2. Do you live only with things you love?
If you are living with furnishings or décor that are uncomfortable, hold unhappy Continue reading

Feng Shui Life Assessment Survey

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This article is taken from my January 2017 Newsletter. To read the newsletter, please click here.

Many of us make resolutions for the new year with the hope and intention that things in our lives will somehow improve. In order to help you identify what is, and is not working in your life, I have developed a questionnaire that I call The Life Assessment Inventory. This questionnaire will help you narrow down and prioritize what you feel needs to be improved most in your life. Once you have identified these areas, you can use the energy of feng shui to help you make improvements and reach your goals.

    Rate the answers to each question below from 1-10. 1 means that there is a lot of room for improvement, and 10 means that you’re really happy with the situation. Don’t overthink your answers. Just write down the first number that comes to you. Remember that life is dynamic and changes all the time, so the answers you write today may not be the same answers you’d write tomorrow, next week or next year. In fact, this is a great exercise to do at the beginning of a new year or new birthday year. Take the Inventory, put the date on it and put it away in a safe place. A year later take the test again and compare your results. Hopefully you’ll have improved the areas that you rated low from the year before. It’s a great way to track your goal-setting progress as well!
  Once you have your answers, circle the ones that you rated 5 or lower. These are the areas that need the most improvement and ones that you’ll want to pay special attention to as you set your personal goals and make your feng shui improvements. Match each question to the Feng Shui Life Aspiration Area that goes with it. In feng shui, different areas of life (known as Life Aspiration Areas) correspond to areas in the home based on the compass directions. Each area has an element (water, wood, fire, earth and metal) associated with it. Much like acupuncture for a building, placing the elements in their proper locations can help bring more energy to various aspects of your life.
 Ready, grab a pen and paper and let’s get started!!
 Life Assessment Inventory

Rate each question with a number value using the following scale:

Very Dissatisfied   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   Very Satisfied

1. Do you feel respected by the people in your personal life?

2. Do you feel respected by the people in your professional life?

3. Are you satisfied with your romantic life? Continue reading

Letting go of What No Longer Serves You with Feng Shui

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This article is taken from my December 2016 Newsletter. To read the newsletter, please click here.

Many years ago I had a client who had moved five times in two years. She made a joke saying, “Moving five times in two years was as good as a fire”, meaning that moving that often had given her many opportunities to get rid of lots of stuff. Many times when we think of letting go of items in our homes we think of cleaning out our closets, but real letting go involves reevaluating everything in our homes, not just the things we have tucked away.

     When I moved from California to Hawaii, I moved out of a rather large home that I’d lived in for 17 years. Prior to moving into that home my mother had passed away, so not only did I have 17 years of my own stuff I had a lot of her things too. Moving over the ocean is a completely different experience than moving over land. I had to evaluate each item I owned; determining whether or not it was worth the expense of shipping it thousands of miles away. In the end, I managed to get rid of about 90 percent of what I owned; shipping only the items that were small enough and/or meaningful enough to warrant the hassle and expense of doing so. The process was emotional, exhausting, and ultimately freeing.
     Feng Shui is about living and working in spaces that feel as good as they look. Part of having those spaces feel good has to do with the emotional connections we have with the things we choose to surround ourselves. Our homes are our sanctuaries, and we need to treat them as such. When the items in our homes lose their purpose and meaning, the energy in our homes and in turn in our lives can start to feel like dull, ordinary, and burdensome. Letting go of what no longer serves an emotional or practical purpose is very liberating, and that fresh new feeling can transfer over to other aspects of our life as well.
      You don’t need to wait for a move to get started. Here are ten tips to get you going right  now.
     1. Go through each room in your home with a box and force yourself to get rid of five things in each room. If you don’t want it, need it, love it, or use it, get rid of it!
     2. When you bring in something new, get rid of something old.
     3. Take photos of items that you no longer wish to keep or store, but that may have sentimental meaning. For example, I got rid of a box of childhood toys that I’d kept for decades. Taking a photo of those items before letting them go helped me to give them up.
     4. Remember that you are under no obligation to keep something that someone gives you. It’s your home and you need to be the one who decides what goes and what stays.

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Easy Ways to Uplift the Look and Feel of Your Home with Feng Shui

The  article below is taken from my August 2016 Newsletter. All information in this article and the newsletter is copyright protected. NO information may be copied without written consent. To read the entire newsletter, please click here.

Try these simple, inexpensive ideas to bring new life into your spaces!
flwnd23    Does your house ever leave you feeling blah, or uninspired? Often we get used to the things in our homes that we don’t even notice them any more, yet it is often the very things that we have gotten used to that need to be changed or spruced up in order to give our homes (and us) a lift. Here are some easy, inexpensive tips and inspiring photos that can help you freshen up the look and feel of your home.

Slipcovers are better than ever. Stretchy fabrics cover couches and chairs in ways that make them look brand new without looking like they are slip covered. It will look like you splurged on new furniture without the cost.
Artwork can become boring and uninspiring, and may not reflect the interests or tastes we have as they change over time. Go on sites like art.com for a huge selection of inexpensive art. You can shop from the comfort of your home and be sure you’ll find a piece that fits your taste, your wall, and your budget!
 
Area rugs are great ways to give a room a new color scheme and a fresh look. You can use the colors in the rug to add accents to the room with pillows, candles, and accessories to tie the room together. Don’t be afraid to put an area rug over a carpet. It is a much less expensive alternative to replacing an old carpet and will give a tired room new vibrance.
New Hardware and Fixtures can bring fresh life to a kitchen or bathroom. Door handles, drawer pulls, and even inexpensive light fixtures will update the look of these rooms in no time.

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Texture and Feng Shui

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This article is taken from my July 2016 newsletter. All information in this article and the newsletter are copyright protected and may not be copied without written permission. To read the July Newsletter, please click here. 

Most likely texture isn’t a subject you’ve thought a lot about, but can you imagine life without it? Nature is rich in texture. From the crevices and grooves of tree bark to the soft fur of a kitten, texture adds depth, interest, and variety to our lives.

       I once worked with a client who was trying to sell her house and having no success. She had smooth marble floors, no rugs, leather furniture, glass tables with metal legs, and wood window blinds. There was not one surface in the main rooms of the house that was not smooth and sleek. Buyers were telling my client that the thing they didn’t like about the house is that it felt “cold”. My client didn’t understand why they were saying that or what to do about it.  When I saw the way she chose to decorate her home, I could see immediately why it wasn’t selling. The explanation was simple. When there is an abundance of very smooth surfaces in a room (marble, glass, metal, leather), the room lacks texture and will often feel cold and unfriendly.
       Remember that Feng Shui goes beyond how a space looks and focuses on how a space feels. If you’ve read my book, Feng Shui that Makes Sense, you’ll know that one of the most important aspects of creating good feng shui is to add materials, shapes, and images from nature to your living and working environments. By including a variety of textures indoors, you’ll be creating a space that will instinctively feel more relaxed and nurturing because texture is such an important aspect of the natural world.
      To illustrate the role texture plays in creating a relaxing space, look at the living rooms pictured above. Both rooms are stark white, but evoke completely different feelings. The main difference between the two is that the living room on the bottom has a variety of textures, and the room on top does not. Completely smooth surfaces rarely exist in nature. Even bodies of water usually have ripples upon them. When a room has nothing but completely smooth surfaces it will tend to feel cold and uncomfortable because these conditions are simply not found abundantly in a natural setting.  When texture is added to balance all the smooth surfaces, the room will instinctively feel better.
How can you bring more texture into your home and work spaces?
Here are ten easy tips to help you out.
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1. Area rugs
Area rugs are a great way to balance the feeling in rooms with smooth floors. Textured rugs will warm up a space and have the added benefit of noise reduction.
 2. Plantsflinvas39
     Plants add texture to a room while at the same time creating a soothing presence. In fact, many varieties of houseplants have been shown to purify the air and reduce the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
3. Pillows
    Throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to add texture and color to a room. Pillows with textured fabric can also be used to help balance the smooth surfaces of leather furniture, which sometimes feels cold.
4. Baskets
    Baskets add a lot of texture and warmth to a room. They make great storage options and some can even be used for wall decorations.

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Feng Shui for Children

This article was taken from my June 2016 newsletter. All material is copyright protected and may not be copied without written consent. To read the newsletter, please click here.

In addition to this article, more information on feng shui can be found in my #1 best-selling book, Feng Shui that Makes Sense.

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Ten Ways to Help You Create an Optimal Environment for Your Child

While most feng shui information pertains to adult living and working environments, children can also benefit by applying feng shui principles to their sleeping, studying, and playing areas. Below you’ll find great feng shui tips for making your child’s room a nurturing place of happiness and comfort.

1. Wall Color
Color choices are highly subjective, but one study shows that rooms that are painted bright yellow tend to increase tension. Babies cry louder, longer, and more often in bright lemon yellow rooms and adults tend to argue more often in rooms painted that color.  Soft neutral wall colors are calming. Accent with brighter colors in bedding and artwork.
2. Bed Position
I’m always surprised at the odd ways adults position children’s beds in their rooms and then wonder why their child has trouble sleeping. Just as in an adult bedroom, a child’s bed needs to be positioned so that they can see the door but not be in direct line with the door while lying down. Children under the age of ten often feel more comfortable when one side of the bed is pushed up against a wall rather than open on both sides.
3. Children’s Beds
Adults and children alike often sleep better in a bed that has a solid headboard with no holes or slats in the headboard. A headboard creates a feeling of comfort and security does not exist when the bed is pushed up against the wall without a headboard. Avoid beds made entirely out of plastic (like a plastic bed that looks like a car for example). Plastic off-gasses toxins which can be unhealthy for children.
4. Avoid Artificial Scent in the Home
There is a growing body of evidence that artificial air fresheners (think plug-ins, sprays, candles, potpourri, and reed scented sticks) have unhealthy side effects, especially in children. They have been linked to asthma, headaches, and immune deficiencies. If you like scent in your home, opt for diffusing therapeutic-grade essential oils like the ones I suggest in my newsletters. These products are anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial and actually increase health and well-being when diffused in a room.
5. Provide Easy-to-Access Closed Storage Options
Very few children enjoy cleaning up after themselves. To make tidying easier for them (and you), provide plenty of storage choices. Kid’s toys are brightly colored and even when placed neatly can make a room look messy. Cabinets, shelves with a solid fabric draped over them, wicker baskets with lids and ottomans are great storage ideas for toys and books. A storage area under the stairs can easily be converted into a fun, cozy play area and a place for toys  and games.

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Color & Feng Shui

This article is taken from my April 2016 newsletter. To read the entire newsletter, click here. Please note that all information in this article and in my newsletters is copyright protected and may not be copied without written permission. Thank you!

In my many years as a feng shui consultant I’m often asked, “What color should I paint this room?” My response is always the same, “Any colors that make you feel happy and comfortable.” The client is often surprised by my answer because often people mistakenly think that if they paint their home some special “feng shui colors” they will make more money, fall in love, or get a better job. Of course this simply isn’t true or everyone would be doing it all the time.

    Painting or decorating your home in specific colors hoping to change your destiny is as silly as it sounds. This is another one of the myths and misunderstandings that is often promoted by feng shui practitioners and authors alike. The truth is, while there are colors associated with the elements of feng shui, they were never meant to be the colors you needed to decorate your home. The real relationship color has to feng shui is how the colors you use make you feel. The reactions and feelings people have towards colors are as unique as the individual perceiving them.
    We choose colors based on personal preference, cultural influences, trends, and often, by what looks good on us. Even our childhood experiences with certain colors will have an impact on how we feel when confronted with them. For example, when I was little my mother made me where a LOT of navy blue because she thought it looked good on me. To this day I hate the color navy blue. Even though it is a good color on me, I don’t own even one navy blue piece of clothing and you won’t find it decorating my home either. I simply don’t like it because I was forced to wear it so often in childhood.

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Crucial Factors for Feng Shui Success

The article below is taken from my March 2016 newsletter. To read the newsletter, click here. Please note that this blog, and content in the newsletter are copyright protected. No material may be copied without permission.

Feng Shui is not an exact science, nor can it grant your every wish. What it can do is free up the energy to help things in your life run more smoothly and in a more positive direction. I’ve found from doing this work for over 20 years and with over 1,000 consultations, that when done properly, feng shui can truly help us to live a happier, healthier, and more successful life. The key words here are when done properly. In this article, I’m going to point out five important things to bear in mind when applying feng shui principles to your home.

1. You MUST have an accurate floor plan and accurate compass directions. 
    Feng Shui and acupuncture were developed at about the same time in ancient China. Many of the principles are the same. Just as the ancient Chinese knew that there were invisible lines of energy flowing through the human body that impacted health and well-being, they knew that there were invisible lines of energy flowing through the earth that influenced the land, and in turn, the buildings and the people who occupied them.
    If you’ve ever had acupuncture, you know that the acupuncturist is very precise in the placement of the needles used to stimulate the meridian lines in the human body. The same precision needs to be used when applying the proper elements to the energy points in a building. The only way to do this is to make sure that you are using a to-scale floor plan and accurate compass directions. For exact steps on how to do this, please read chapter six of my book, Feng Shui that Makes Sense.
2. The 5 Elements need to be Placed Properly
     Once you’ve located the meridian points on your floor plan, you need to place the necessary elements as close to those points as possible. Like the needles that the acupuncturist uses to stimulate the meridian points in the human body, the elements are what feng shui uses to stimulate the energy points in a building. Each meridian point has elements that are positive, elements that are detrimental, and elements that are neutral. It is very important that you place the elements (water, wood, fire, earth, or metal) properly in each location. Again, chapter six in my book will help you to do this.

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