Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Your bathroom can make you poor.

Is your bathroom counter cluttered?
via Google

How is your financial outlook? Do you need a raise? Does money seem to be pouring out of your bank account? Check the bathroom. Not for spare change necessarily but to see if you can improve your chances of hanging on to some.
via Google

Open drains in Feng Shui are disastrous for your financial outlook. Money literally flows out the drains. Is the toilet lid kept down? The tub drain closed? Perhaps the pull is so strong in your house that you need to change your habits.  Sometimes you literally have to close the door!

Water Colored walls via House Beautiful
The bathroom has a super strong water identity that some of the time can be almost overpowering. Not only are there faucets and nozzles that add water to the room but those drains that take it away. Water represents prosperity in Feng Shui, so the number and condition of the bathrooms will make a difference in the occupant's financial condition.

The water element has specific colors in Feng Shui. Saturated, intense colors leaning towards the dark side of the color wheel are all considered water colors. Also in that category is the blue family to just this side of green. Funny that traditionally bathrooms seem to be blue!

Water Colored walls via Houzz
How can we keep not just our prosperity but the house energy from flowing out of our lives? OK, assuming the clutter and storage is taken care of, let's look at this in stages……...

  • Firstly, where is the major bathroom located in your house? Last week, I gave you a link to learn the Bagua and how to map out your house. Here it is again. If your bathroom is located in the prosperity area of your home, don't worry, there are blessings/cures to help you! Ideally it would not located near the kitchen as it represents waste.
  • Secondly, what do you see when you enter the doorway? The toilet should be tucked away to the side or ideally in its own room. Notice the examples above? No toilet in sight. If you walk directly into the site line of the toilet, we've got work to do!
  • Lastly, what colors have you chosen for the walls, floors and surrounds? A lot of the time we inherit the floors and surrounds, but what about paint color? I'll guess it is in a watery shade, otherwise you wouldn't be here!

via Google

Water is one of the five energy elements we consider in Feng Shui to balance spaces. Pictured above they are: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. The circle goes clockwise as one element nourishes (adds) to another. The star shape in the center represents which element contains (subtracts) the other. In the bathroom, we are overloaded in the water department, so earth dams water! Balance again is the key, so the five need to be represented for yin/yang. Don't leave me yet!

via Houzz

OK, here is a good example of balance. The yellow is an earth tone, good for counteracting the water element. So is the ceramic tile. The wood floor is the wood element, but you could use real or artificial plants. The marble represents the metal element (which includes rocks, minerals, actual metal, all metallics colors and white). I see we need the fire element. I would bring in the  dark rose color from the bedroom in towels or flowers. Perhaps even in the shower curtain.

Looking at this picture, there is a big no no in Feng Shui. Remember when we did the bedroom? You shouldn't see the bathroom from the bed. Close the door when you go to bed at night and that will cure that! No door? Make it a priority to curtain the opening or screen it off. You need restful sleep at night and not energy flowing downward through the drains.

Mirrors in the bathroom should be high and wide for your body energy to open up wide in the morning. I know we all love a single mirror over each sink, but make your reflection want to stretch to fill up the space in the morning after resting all night. Wide mirrors encourage you to spread your horizons!

Look at this beautiful, warm bathroom via Houzz. It has delicate lighting, lovely pink (fire) walls, ceramic (earth) tiles, flowers and wooden chair, metallic colored (metal) mirror and clean white fixtures. The mirror is tall, reaching up towards the higher ceiling, so width isn't a problem here. What if you don't care for earth or warm colored bathrooms? Use any color you care to, just make sure the elements are balanced.

Pony wall via Google
Now what about that toilet situation? You can't just rip it up and move it! We'll have to make do with some cures then. If there is space, a half or pony wall could be constructed to block the view from the door like the one to the right. If you are not able to do anything because the space is too small or you rent, don't worry! Hang a minimum of 30mm faceted round crystal between the door and the toilet from the ceiling. The ch'i will move upward. Or, this would be another good place to use a screen to block something. BTW, love the extra storage in that pony wall!

So are you ready to try this on your own? Just do it! Cleaning and painting are simple to do and will make a big impact regardless of what you have for permanent features. Drop me a note and let me know if you have specifics or how you're doing. Till next time!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BDSM=Romance in the bedroom Part 2

Valentine's Day is just around the corner!

via Pinterest

Again, it's not Fifty Shades we're working on, But romancing the bedroom using the principles of Feng Shui! BDSM by my last week's definition is:

1. Banish
2. Dust and clean
3. Storage
4. Maintain

So the bedroom is cleared out, the cleaning is done, the electronics are under control, now what? The fun stuff! If you are not familiar with the Bagua map to determine which areas of your room represent which part of life, go here and get a blissfully simplified explanation of how it's used.

Color is a very important part of using Feng Shui in interior design. It is the mood setter as well as the gatherer of positive energy for a space. What would be your guess for a romantic bedroom color? Red? Pink? Both! Let's be clear though. An all red bedroom may have worked in a 19th century bordello, but it's WAY too much for a day in and day out bedroom! All pink may look good in Barbie's bedroom, but would Ken be comfortable? So the answer is somewhere in the middle…or not!

Both partners in a bedroom need to agree on the color choice. You want to create a sanctuary, an inviting nest for the end of the day, a romantic getaway from the cares of life... well you know what I mean without getting too mushy! Bedrooms are very yin (feminine energy) spaces.

Although blues and greens are excellent choices for a calm, cool, revitalizing bedroom, the best tones are in the skin tone of all the races. Terah Kathryn Collins writes in Feng Shui Room by Room, "pearly beiges and tans, creamy cocoas, blushing pinks and peaches, subtle yellows, pale violets, and earthy reds". These are definitely romantic colors. This gives a lot of room for choices when partners need to compromise. Look at these color cards for inspiration:

via Design Seed

via Design Seed

And in the more dramatic category are the darker colors in the same tones or the aforementioned blues and greens. Check out this way cool bedroom below:

via NY Times

 This is how red could be added into the design without overwhelming a red hater! (Really, are there truly any?) If the artwork was of a different theme, this could be perfect.  In art and accessories couples or pairs is what you're looking for. If people in artwork makes you feel uncomfortable, how about a pair of dolphins entwined or a pair of lovebirds? Serene and romantic is the goal you're striving for in art, photos and accessories. Don't even think about putting those family photos back. (Future posts will put those in their proper place!) This is the place for your happy couple pix. Who wants the kids or Nana watching while being in your intimate environment?

Notice how the chandelier is not over the bed? Great Feng Shui! The pointy edges are considered "poison arrows" pointing sharp energy outward. Not good over the bed!

While we're on the subject of over the bed….ceiling fans. Not so good in Feng Shui. The moving fan blades cut and move around the energy, again not wanted over the bed.  I have had good luck  though using a crystal ball chain pull on a ceiling fan when a client couldn't give one up. Go here for an explanation of fans over beds.

Feng shui is all about intent, not rules. I put (this) here with the intention of adding (this blessing or cure). The intention and blessing is what ever you decide it will be. If something is precious to you and brings a memory of a time with your loved one but is not a pair, by all means put it in your intimate space! Never have anything in your home that you do not love or cherish. Getting rid of home decor items that just decorate a space is clutter control #1. 

via Vogue

This bedroom has been on just about every design blog, pinned on Pinterest and posted on Facebook millions of times. It deserves to be because it is wonderful Feng Shui design. It is symmetrical, it has equal space on each side, two pictures in the same spot on each side and 2 teeny lamps, one on each side of the bed. It shows the intention of an equal partnership in this couple's life. The beams above the bed are pretty high, but in a perfect world, beams should not be over the bed as it lowers the energy, pushes it down. The cure for this is the wonderful custom wallpaper in an up reaching tree pattern. It stretches the energy upward to counteract the beams. Love how it grows out of the live edge slab headboard! Very grounding for this dynamic couple. Hmmm… do I detect a smidgeon of pink in those birds?

Last week I showed you this photo of a messy bedroom:

via Google

I wanted to show it again because this actually illustrates 2 points.  The first is that this bedroom has great bones. The color is cocoa beige. The headboard is curvy and feminine in shape, the mattress and linens look top quality and the lamp is very stylish. The pointy ends of the side table are not great, but we could throw a scarf or runner diagonally over it to soften it. Remember that pointy objects throw off "poison arrows"of negative energy (sha ch'i). 

Secondly, I can guarantee this is a single woman. How? The lack of symmetry in the room. There is one side table, one lamp, the statue is of one solitary woman and the artwork is of another solitary woman. Perhaps if a second side table with a lamp was added, pairs in accessories and romantic artwork that depicted couples, she would see a new relationship in her life. Well that and pick up the mess!

Let's take a look at more well done Feng Shui in a bedroom:

via Roger Davies
Beautiful symmetry and the pops of red are wonderful. Pairs of objects everywhere! The overloaded chair is a clutter problem but I'm sure it's only for photo styling. The chairs look as if they belong on either side of the table at the foot of the bed.  Marilyn's photo looks amazing over the bed. Obviously this couple finds it very romantic when they added it to their bedroom. Love the chandelier and the curves in the walls!

via Pinterest

Here is a romantic bedroom, hard to determine if the occupant is single or not. The room is fairly symmetrical with lighting on both sides of the bed and the heavy fireplace wall is balanced by the window wall. Maybe too many mirrors, they could be changed out with serene artwork. The photo over the bed is of the woman of the house and is appropriately intimate. There is a good feeling here, the colors are beiges and creams and very soft elements are nice against all the hard surfaces. Notice the offset chandelier again!

 Now some questions to finish up the bedroom..
What do you see when you wake up in the morning? A lovely painting or the doorway to the bathroom? Not so soothing. If there is no door, can a screen hide it or a curtain? Imagination helps out here.

How many mirrors are in the room? Good Feng Shui suggests no more than one and it not face the bed. Too energetic for sleeping, but scarves help with this too. It would be interesting to find out how the previous bedroom felt in energy while sleeping…..

Speaking of the bed, where is the bed located? Check out this article for perfect bed placement.

I love to add fresh flowers and a plant or two to pull together the accessories. Make sure they are always healthy and in good shape. Dried flower arrangements are fine, but they do have a shelf life. You should throw them out after about a month.

These articles are just a starting point for decorating your bedroom with the elements of Feng Shui. Channel your inner decorator and remember, clutter and storage are your major concerns in intimate spaces, followed by mental stimuli, and then color and artwork. 

Let me know your comments and ask me questions to fill in any blanks in your space and have the best time romanticizing your bedroom! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

4 Ways BDSM=Romance in the Bedroom

Just in time for Valentine's Day! 

Part 1 of 2

Gorgeous tat vis Pinterest

How's the love life? Calm down, I'm not going Fifty Shades on all of you! Sorry kinksters, but you should stick around and learn some valuable info to improve too!

Here is how I define BDSM:

1. Banish
2. Dust and clean
3. Storage
4. Maintain

Feng Shui has specific criteria for adding romance to the bedroom. One of the most important things you can do is remove the clutter. Come on people, who wants to cuddle in this bedroom:

Cluttered bedroom via Google

Or bring a new partner to this one:
Messy bedroom via Google

Doesn't make you want to be passionate, does it? Loads of bedrooms look like this and I'm not judging, just saying'. They're OK to live in but I'm going to give you some instructions to improve the bedroom decor if you want the romance to move up a notch.
Let's get Part 1 started….

  • Feng shui tells us that clutter has a way of zapping the life out of a room. The energy gets clogged up because it can't freely move around the crap. The best thing you could do for an existing relationship is banish the junk. This is true if you want to get into a new relationship as well. Get the stuff out of the bedroom that doesn't belong there. You know I mean that clothes hanger exercise equipment and under the bed too. Go here and get advice on how to start de-cluttering.

Now about the computer…. If at all possible, get it out of your bedroom. That also goes for the work desk too! Carve out a niche in a closet, use an out of the way corner in the living room or set up a spare bedroom as a home office. One exception, if it is covered, it can stay. There are great offices in furniture available. Try an idea like this one at Riverside Furniture:

Riverside Furniture American Crossing

Or put a folding screen in front of it. Really, who can rest when ever time you turn over you see the report on the desk that is not finished? How about the TV? If you HAVE to have the TV in the bedroom, OK. Not good, but OK. Best to put it in a cabinet, use the aforementioned screen or throw an artsy scarf over the screen for a Bohemian vibe.

Screen via Google

Your cellphone should be off as well. Consider where the alarm clock is located. Near your head? Electronics impact healthy sleeping and the EMF's keep your mind too active for restful sleep. Out of sight is always better than in plain sight! While you're at it, get all the tchotchkes off the side tables and dresser. (We'll put them back in Part 2). That includes family photos and fake flowers.

  • Grandma said "cleanliness is next to godliness" and she was on to something. When was the last time you vacuumed the floor/carpet? How about dusted the picture frames? (While we're talking about them, take them down too). Take down any dries swags or wreaths. Dust mites are prolific in bedrooms. That equals allergies. I'm not even touching bedbugs! Change the bed linens ideally once a week, cooler climates every other week seems to work. Clean the bedroom and your sleep will improve. Your mind can relax…..
Clean bedroom via Google

  • Do you have a chair in the bedroom you can't see because it's covered in clothing? Perhaps it's time to purge the closet. Look at the floor of the closet. Are there too many shoes and you can't see the floor? It's time for storage. Move the shoes and clothing in and out for seasons if possible. If space is a problem, how about a blanket chest at the foot of the bed? Hanging holders behind the doors? Professional organizer?
Closet via Google

Plastic bins should be stored out of the room in a perfect world. The best thing to do is ruthlessly purge. I use the one in one out rule cause I have tiny closets. The point is, put the stuff away! Mrs. Beeton wrote in 1861 "a place for everything and everything in its place".
via Amazon

  • So now the room is purged of stuff that doesn't belong there, it's clean, the clothing storage has been sorted out, now what? Maintenance is needed to keep it that way! Make a concerted effort to maintain a cleaning schedule. It only takes a few minutes daily to make the bed, wipe the tops of things and put the clothes away. I find that no top sheet and a duvet with a cover makes for quick bed making. Some experts claim when you make the bed, your day seems to become more orderly. Keep purging closets as needed and put the stuff away routinely. Whew!

via Google

Next week we're ready for Part 2, romancing the bedroom decor with art work, color and furnishings. Think about how far you've come in such a short time and you should be able to feel the energy flowing around the room and under the bed. That's what you need for romance to build! Happy sleeping and be sure to keep me updated on your purging sessions. Gotta go dust!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is your Family Room making you uncomfortable?

If it does, stay with me while we check out a comfy one using the principles of Feng Shui…..

Last time I showed you a beautiful, serene living room for quiet reserved interaction. Now, let's see an example of a space that would be good for gathering the family or having a party during your favorite sports season:

Lovely family room via Houzz

Warm, inviting and set up for conversation, this room would be the perfect setting for a family get together. When I look at this room through Feng Shui eyes, I first see an overall earthy more yang (masculine) space. 

Why you may ask? Look at that massive fireplace! It's made of stone which is outdoorsy, hard edged and dense by nature. The beam used as a mantle is very thick and linear with a smooth finish and has angled brackets below. If you remember from last time, linear with a smooth finish equals fast moving energy, curves make energy move around more slowly. BTW, does anyone else think the light sconces are kind of small for that application? Just saying….. but the metal chandelier is gorgeous! 

Anyway, the entertainment center is white which represents the masculine metal element in Feng Shui. The high ceiling gives a very lofty feel to the room, not perfect Feng Shui but workable. Put these things together and it gives that more yang feeling; energetic, busy, focused, moving and shaking! But look at the room again:

Notice the round ottoman and side table, curved lines on the sofas, the soft textures of the fabrics, fluffy trim on the pillows, warm blanket on the chair, wool carpet and the voluptuous balloon shades on the windows. These are very yin (feminine) objects. There's that balance of yin and yang again……

So what makes this room feel so warm, social and comfortable? One word COLOR!

The color orange in Feng Shui is a welcoming, stimulating color best used in a socializing room of the house such as this. I would consider the wall color in the orange family as well. The Kelly Moore Snippet of Tannin beige is definitely leaning into that warm earth tone category.

Now those who knows me know I can't leave well enough alone and I have to throw in another option or two, soooo….. 

I might think about installing wall colored crown moulding around the room at the window/bookcase height. That would bring the feeling of loftiness down to human level and by that easy fix correct the Feng Shui. Lower ceilings, even implied ones  make us feel more comfortable when we are in a space for prolonged periods.

With all the warm earthy elements I think we need a bit of water to add a "cool" balance.A water element does not have to be blue! It could be added by a large autumnal colored seascape over the fireplace. I love the family portrait as is, this is just another option to balance the room. This one is called Sunset Cliffs and is from

Photo by Christopher Talbot Frank

Or how about water themed objects d'art at the top of the bookcase? You'd need several types but this one from is a good start:

Amanda Brisbane Orange Blaze

For some orange relief, look at this fab Raymond club chair in the Desert Modern line from Ralph Lauren Home. A great choice if the red leans towards the orangey range. (Hard to tell in photos).

via Ralph Lauren Home

In my estimation this room has an overall balance and equal juxtaposition of yin and yang happening without too much tweaking. This is what Feng Shui consultants strive towards when mixing Feng Shui into design. 

Thanks for visiting again. Next week we'll start a 2 part series of bedrooms with more explanations about how Feng Shui works.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interior Design using Feng Shui, Bohemian and Just Good Design

A few of my clients have been asking that I blog about how to decorate spaces a la Feng Shui and Boho Design, which is what I already do. I've re-written and updated this first post that was missed the first time around!

 Let's jump in by checking out what well done (well mostly) Feng Shui looks like in a design featured in Architectural Digest:

Jaime Drake

Lovely! Why you ask is this well done Feng Shui? There are several key things I look for:

Curvy Yin elements

I notice that most of the tables are round. I see the chairs have curvy lines and the tufting on the sofa is cushy. The ottoman is round as well. All very Yin (feminine) in energy.

Straighter more Yang elements

I see that the white sofa and the coffee table are more linear and while not perfect Feng Shui, they add a harder edge Yang (masculine) energy. Same with the white lamps and accessories which represent the metal element. The throw cushions are perfect to make the linear sofa more soft and inviting. Harmonious Yin & Yang (balance) is the objective! There are more objectives, but these are key.

Cool blues with pops of pink and yellow

The color is very watery; blues and lavenders leaning towards blue. The room has a lot of cool color, but look at the pops of pink. Hot pink! The warm yellow flowers on the side table are a nice addition to the blue and complement the pink. It also brings out the yellow-green in the artwork over the sofa. The twigs in the picture are uplifting tree energy which tempers all the watery color.  

While practicing Feng Shui one of my criteria is how the energy flows around the room. Curves make energy meander in and around objects. Sharp or straight lines make it rush by. I can see that this room is symmetrically set up, and that equals order. Clutter in Feng Shui is a no-no!

Perhaps lumbar cushions and drapery trim

Hmmm…… I think to change it up I might add the fabric above as two lumbar cushions on the chairs and as the drapery trim.

Cheeky, huh? This Pindler & Pindler Puma Pink upholstery fabric is available through  Or how about swapping the cool blue area rug to the Pop Colors Leopard in Azalea Pink and Lime Green shown below from

Instead of cool blue area rug
Animal prints are considered a fire element in Feng Shui and are used to "warm up" a room. All things considered, this is a very serene room for quiet conversation and reflection, an oasis. Very feminine in feeling Probably not a lot of raucous Super Bowl parties here! 

Please leave a comment and let me know how this post has been for you. Is there anything you would like to know about decorating with Feng Shui? Ask away!