Feng Shui Tips for Moving into a New Home

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Where we live is an essential element of our lives. It is where we feel safe.  It is such a precarious time when we are moving into a home, so it is during this transition time that feng shui can be of great assistance.  It is helpful to implement some feng shui when moving because it’s easy and extremely effective to start off your home with the right fundamentals in place. Below are some simple feng shui tips when moving into a new home.

Space Clearing

When you move into a new apartment or house, it may have lingering energy of past inhabitants.  This energy may be stagnant or negative, so it’s beneficial to start your life there with a clean slate.  The best way to do this is with a space clearing.  This can be done before you move in, with your boxes unpacked, or even after you have already unpacked.  But is best to do this as early as possible.  This process is a way of blessing the space, so be sure to do so with the intention that you are creating a new home to support and nourish you.  Start by opening all of the windows and doors for a minimum of nine minutes.  After 9 minutes of airing out the entire place, use orange essential oil to clear the space.  You can purchase an orange essential oil spray or get a diffuser for each room.  Oranges are very auspicious and the essence from the peels transforms energy into something positive and bright life affirming.

Rededicate the Home

After you have cleared the place of the existing energy, it is time to rededicate this space as your home.  Begin by selecting one personal object per room that has a positive special meaning for you.  Some examples are: family photos of happy times, an heirloom with positive memories, or a favorite plant. Place one personal object in each room starting at the entry, and then go clockwise placing the other objects in the additional rooms. Pay special attention to the entry, the kitchen, office and bedrooms.  After each object is located in each room, head back to the entry door.  From the entry, proceed clock wise from room to room.  In each room focus your positive and joyful intentions for your new home first by recognizing your personal object, then the room that it is now in.  Visualize that the happiness associated with that object is filled the room with supportive and lucky energy.

Command Position

My last suggestion is to do your best to locate your new furniture based on the command position.  In feng shui the concept of the command position is to locate your bed, desk, stove and other major furniture in such a way that it has the most expansive view of the entry door for the particular room.  You always want to be facing the door, while not directly in line of the door.  This typically means that you would be in command when placing your bed diagonally from the door, on the opposite side of the room and facing the door with the wall behind your headboard.  This position allows you to be in command of your home and life, creating a stress free and relaxing abode.

Congratulations on your new home!  Remember that feng shui is about focusing conscious intention in whatever you do. With all these feng shui tips remember that you are improving the energy flow in your life to create a safe and nurturing abode.

by Anjie Cho

Organizing your Studio Apartment: Feng Shui Tips

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Streets are crowded in New York City and apartments are cramped.  And if you live in a studio, your lifestyle and domestic environment are likely to be even more crowded and cramped.  Check out the following tips for some simple ways you can create a more organized and calm atmosphere in your small space.

Separate the Space

The most challenging aspect of a studio apartment is separating your public space (in feng shui terms, your yang space which includes the living and dining areas) from your private, sleeping area (in feng shui terms, your yin space).  And believe me, I know how hard it is to keep these two spaces separate! When I lived in a studio, my bed functioned as my dining table, desk, and sofa.

In feng shui, there are two things that happen when public and private spaces intermingle like this.

First, you may have trouble sleeping and getting fully rested because your private space is surrounded with the active energy of the public yang activities of eating, working and socializing.  For instance, your rest time may suffer and be distracted because you see your work or your front door, which may keep you up at night.

In contrast, you may be unable to fully focus and concentrate on working, digesting your food, and connecting with the outside world because passive yin energy may trickle into the public areas.  This may make you more drowsy and lethargic.  For instance, you see your bed when you are working, so you think it’s a good idea to take a break and nap, instead of focusing on your to do list.

The first step in planning out your studio apartment space is to do whatever you can to visually and physically separate the yin and yang areas.  You can achieve this with freestanding room dividers, fabric panels or curtains, or you can get fancy and install a pressurized wall. 

The Sleeping Area

It’s best to have a standard mattress and headboard.  But in small spaces, many people opt for a convertible sofa bed or sometimes a Murphy bed.  It’s not the most ideal situation, but if you must, I strongly suggest you create a mindful daily ritual of putting away the bed each morning and opening it up before sleep each evening.  This creates an emotional and mental distinction between the active yang and passive yin energies that will maintain the necessary boundaries to keep your studio apartment relaxing and supportive.  It’s also best to keep the bed towards the rear of the apartment, not in view of the front door.  This is a safer and more protective feng shui position.

The Dining Area

If at all possible, do your best to create a separate eating area.  If there is not enough room for a table, try a wall mounted drop leaf table.  These do not take much room, but make a tremendous difference because you will have a surface to eat on.  The dining area represents how you nourish yourself.  It’s important to have a dedicated eating space where you can thoughtfully spend even a few minutes eating your breakfast or savoring a cup of tea.  This will do wonders for your digestion, and gives your body a chance to take pleasure in the act of eating and drinking.  

The Work Area

Similarly to a convertible bed, if there is no room for a separate desk, create a simple ritual to transform a table into a desk when needed.  For instance, when the table is used for eating, you can get a beautiful tablecloth or place mat, with a lovely plate.  Be sure to put away the notebooks and computers.  When it’s work time, be sure to fold up the placemat or tablecloth, and bring back the computer.  And when it’s sleep time, put it all away.

Although a studio apartment may be a challenging space, there are things you can do!  Separate the yin and yang areas and do what you can to make your sleeping, eating and work areas special, purposeful and supportive for you and your wants!

by Anjie Cho

Everyday Feng Shui: Simple Tips to Keep Your Apartment Calm and Centered

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Many people would like to integrate feng shui changes into their homes and businesses, but put it off until they can first clean it or until they renovate or right before they move.  But what most people don’t know is that you can embrace feng shui at any time.  It can actually be more helpful to integrate small scale, simple changes into your daily life. Feng shui isn’t just about moving furniture around but rather about physically shifting your environment and supporting  your daily life. Below are 3 simple feng shui tips you can incorporate right now to clear, calm and center you home.

Clean Your Windows

My husband and I cleaned our windows early this summer and afterwards he noted how clearly he could see the world now.  The environment and your perspective become clearer, brighter and more vibrant.  In feng shui, windows represent the eyes of the inhabitants of a home. Dirty and cloudy windows represent a lack of clarity in your life.  Improve your outlook by maintaining clean windows. While this is not necessarily an everyday occurrence, this tip makes a huge impact and your windows should be maintained on a regular basis.  It’s also important to use non-toxic cleaners such as vinegar and water to clean the windows.  Not only is a vinegar-water solution superb at cleaning glass, it keeps the indoor air free of toxins.  I like a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water, mixed in a spray bottle with 9 drops of sweet orange essential oil. Be sure to shake the bottle before use.

Rotate Your Stove Burners

What’s your favorite burner on your stove?  Mine is located front, right.  In feng shui, your stove represents nourishment, as well as career, fame and wealth.  This means it is essential to use your stove everyday, even if only to boil water, and to keep it very clean and in working order.  All the burners should work properly and wipe down the stove on a daily basis.   So what does this have to do with your favorite burner?  Next time you use your stove, try using a different burner to expand your opportunities for success in career, fame and wealth.  Instead of mindlessly using the same “favorite” burner, intentionally make an effort towards something new every day.

Use your Dining Table

Sadly, nowadays dining tables tend to be used for everything but dining.  If possible, it is important to take some time each day to eat mindfully at your dining table.  The dining table symbolizes a space to nourish and feed the body, especially with family and friends.  Using it on a daily basis prevents it from collecting dust and clutter, and allows you to take some time to nurture yourself.  Since space is often at a minimum, a dining table is often a daytime desk or perhaps non-existent.  If used as a desk, be sure to put away the “work” while you eat.  If non-existent, create a small space somewhere that’s dedicated to eating one meal.  Perhaps clear off the coffee table, keep the TV off, and find a beautiful placemat and dish to serve yourself your meal of choice.

I challenge you to incorporate these three simple everyday tips to provide some clarity, calmness and centeredness in your home and life.

by Anjie Cho

Home Office Design: Feng Shui Tips

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Your home office represents an important area in your home.  In feng shui, this area symbolizes your career, wealth and how you nourish yourself in the world.  Below are some simple ways for you to incorporate a few changes in your home office to support your career and wealth.

Desk location

The first thing to look at is where your desk is located in relation to the room’s door.  I often see clients with their desk facing the wall, leaving their backs to the door.  These are major feng shui no-nos.  Ideally, you should face your desk so you can see the door, while not in line with directly the door.  The most auspicious position is a desk placed diagonally from the door.  The desired orientation, called the “command” position,  is when you are facing the door and the expanse of the room.  It means that you are in command of your life, your career, and can see what the universe has in store for you.  The best opportunities will be available to you and you will be able to see them coming.  This position minimizes stress and allows the best flow of energy while working.

If space is at a premium in your home and you cannot face the door, set up a mirror so that while sitting at your desk you can still easily see the door in the reflection.  Small concave mirrors found in automobile shops are excellent for this job.

Create a separate space

Speaking of space, I understand many of us do not have an entire room for office space in our homes.  If you do not have a dedicated room for your office, do your best to separate your desk within the space it is in.  Some ways you can do this are with a freestanding bookcase or a room divider, or even with a fabric panel or drape.  This is especially important in a bedroom or living room, or you may have difficulty focusing while working, and disengaging when not working.  Visual boundaries are very important in keeping your work and play times balanced.  At the very least, you can get a beautiful piece of fabric or scarf and cover your desk when office hours are closed!

What are you facing?

What are you facing when you are sitting at your desk?  Are you staring a brick wall?  Are you looking out at your view?  In the feng shui world, we encourage you to face into the room with a good view of the door, while not right in line with the door.  As I mentioned earlier, this position puts you in “command” of your life and career.  If this is not possible and you must face a wall, there are a few ways to improve this situation.  You can put a mirror on the wall behind the desk.  Rather than looking a wall that represents a block in your forward movement, the mirror will expand your view and allow you to move ahead in your career.  You could also put an inspirational image, an image with depth, or even a vision board.  A vision board is simply a collage of words and images of where you see yourself in the future.  The idea is, if you can see it, you can have it!  And of course, don’t forget the mirror to see the door.

This also brings up the question of having your desk face a window and outdoor view.  In my experience, although it’s nice to face a view, it’s not the best position for someone who wants to advance his or her career.  Your energy goes out the window and does not stay with your work.  Instead, why not have the window to your side so that it’s available for you to view when you want to take a break.  But it’s not distracting you from achieving your career and wealth goals.

Desk Clutter

I also encourage you to look at your desk clutter.  The purpose is to pinpoint any problem areas you may have regarding career and wealth.  Where does your clutter tend to accumulate on your desk?  While sitting at your desk, look at the furthest left corner, the furthest middle/top, and the furthest right corner of your desk.  Is there a place that you always pile up your paperwork that you plan to get to “one day”?  Is there a stack of magazines you’re hoping to go through?  Is there a specific area you stash all the mail you haven’t opened yet?  Clutter on the top left corner may represent stagnation in your cash flow and money.  The middle top symbolizes how people are viewing you, which is your fame and reputation. Maybe you need more visibility and/or recognition.  The furthest right corner is the relationship area.  This may indicate the need to cultivate new and existing relationships.  It’s time for some lunch with people you haven’t seen in months, to just see how they are doing, and get the energy flowing.  What is the clutter, and what does it symbolize to you in the area of the desk it’s in?

If it’s cluttered everywhere, well you’re in trouble! Just to be clear, clutter is not always negative, as long as it doesn’t hinder your life or cause guilt and distress. But it may be a problem if it does hurt and prevent you from achieving your goals, keeping you “stuck”.   Please do not be too hard on yourself if you do have clutter, take it step by step.  I suggest you start with 9 minutes a day.  Take a timer and just do 9 minutes of clutter clearing, and then feel good about it!

by Anjie Cho

How to Create a Relaxing Space: A Color Guide for Homes

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In New York City, we all lead hectic lives, full of traffic, crowds and congestion, so it’s important to create relaxing environments in our apartments and homes. Using color is a great way to create a peaceful feel in your space, but it’s important to understand how wall color and decorative accent color can affect the atmosphere of your home

Color can be used to harmonize and create your sought-after atmosphere and ambiance.  In feng shui, color is one of the 9 ways that you can shift your space and life.  People are overwhelmingly affected by what they see, so the appropriate use of color can truly help create a relaxing space.  Below are some color suggestions for creating a restful, healing and organic home.

I suggest you use color, not just with paint on your walls, but also with furniture and/or accents such as rugs, drapes, and art.  Be conscious of the quantity of colors that you use, especially for small spaces. Use one or two colors as an accent, rather than a smattering of bold colors.  It is a good idea to avoid loud patterns, especially sharp angular geometric shapes.  Stick with solids or subtle organically shaped designs.

The easiest way to approach the idea of relaxing colors, is to think of the natural world.  For instance, beach colors or forest colors.  Beach colors are muted and soft tones.  Forest colors are deeper tones, yet balancing and calming.  In both cases, cooler and warmer colors both work.  Below is my color guide for recommended soothing colors, and stimulating colors to avoid. 

Relaxing Colors:

The key is to use harmonious colors together rather than contrasting ones.  The colors below all work well together for a tranquil environment.

Dark or Pale Blues:  Think the pale sky or the deep blue ocean.  Blues give a quiet and settling feeling.  It creates a meditative feeling of exhaling, relaxing tensions and refreshing the body. They say that humans see cobalt blue in the womb, therefore blue can provide a sense of security and calm.

Try: Benjamin Moore, Province Blue 2135-40 or Benjamin Moore, Gossamer Blue 2123-40

Deep and Pale Greens:  Greens can represent tranquility and healthy supportive energy.  It’s a balancing color, and the color of nature and plants.  In feng shui, green represents life and renewing energy.  Greens can be extremely restorative.  Avoid bright fluorescent greens, which can be too stimulating.

Try: Farrow & Ball, Green Blue 84 or Benjamin Moore, Lush AF-475

Pale Browns and Neutral Tones:  Earthy tones of sand and soil are soothing hues, representing stability and the nurturing of mother earth.  Brown can be elegant and also symbolize the quiet steadiness of a tree.  Stay on the light end, but away from the flesh tones and yellow colors.

Try:  Benjamin Moore, Harmony AF-90 or Farrow & Ball, Dove Tale 267

Pale and Deep Violets:  Violets can be calming and balancing.  It’s the combination of fiery red with relaxing blue.  Therefore, this color can harmonize and create inner balance and peace. 

Try: Farrow & Ball, Brassica 271 or Farrow & Ball, Pelt 254

Colors to Avoid:

These colors are safe to use in small amounts, but best to avoid them if you can.

Red: Red is very stimulating.  Try to steer clear of too much of it.  It can be very active and while appropriate for many applications, it’s not suitable for relaxing environments.

Gray and Blacks: These colors are considered depressing and isolating.  Although Black can be contemplative, it can generate a dark look.  Gray is thought of as an ambiguous color, the “gray area."  Note: Grayish hues are okay for soothing spaces, just use them in combination with some of the suggested relaxing colors.

Yellow: Try to avoid yellow, especially bright yellow as it can be very hard on the eyes.  It puts pressure on people and is not appropriate for a relaxing environment.  It says “caution,” rather then “relax."  Also yellowish whites hold a murky and aged feeling that should be avoided.

White: White is great as a base, but avoid rooms that are entirely white.  White can be sharp and harsh on the eyes.  Imagine walking in a field of snow, it’s blinding and exhausting.  Choose off whites, and add in some of the relaxing colors to soften things up.  

Try:  Benjamin Moore, White Dove OC-17 or Benjamin Moore, Soft Chamois OC-13 

by Anjie Cho