Spring is coming. Or maybe it is here. In all honesty, it is hard to determine by the weather outside exactly what season we happen to be experiencing. But I digress. While many of us somehow recognize a special time of year for cleaning the house, Feng Shui advocates year-round “Spring-Cleanery”. Here are a couple of broad things you can do during your cleaning session in order have a fresh start.
Firstly, let’s talk about clutter! Normally I would recommend that you reduce clutter. But in the spirit of the Spring, get rid of it. Just demolish the clutter. Imagine the clutter in your home is gold and you are taking it all to some kind of cash for gold establishment. There is the clutter that is on your tables or floors or any other place in plain sight; but there is also clutter in cabinets and other places that are less obvious. Take time to take care of all of it. For example, go through your refrigerator and clear out anything that you don’t use or eat. The same goes for your pantry, cabinets, closets, drawers, and so on.
One last tip for you is to bring in potted plants. If you already have some, be sure they are properly maintained and in good health. You may recall our recent discussion about feng shui in hotel rooms where I recommended bringing in a plant. As I said then, it serves the same purpose as it does in your home. As far as cleaning is concerned, plants physically clean the air flowing through the space while simultaneously cleaning the energy flowing through. So remember: kill the clutter, bring the home to life with greenery. Do it!
Clean and Organized Cabinet - Photo: HomeMadeSimple.com
The kitchen has become a central hub for home life. While we are always recommending that each room or space in your home have a specifically designated purpose, the kitchen seems to want to ruin our plans of total world organization. So, in this ever-changing space, here are a couple of design tips about space management to keep your kitchen functional.
Space is something that is important in every area of your home. In the kitchen it is paramount. A universal element of the kitchen is something called the work triangle. This triangle refers to three components of the kitchen and their relative distance to one another – the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove. While there are different ways to configure this triangle depending on the overall design of your kitchen, there is one thing you should always keep in mind – do not block these paths. A direct and unobstructed line between these is in the interest of both efficiency and safety. You wouldn’t want to trip over a skateboard while carrying a heavy pot of water from the sink to the stove. Well, maybe you would. But that is between you and whoever covers your medical bills.
Having said all of that, I am not saying you should keep your kitchen completely barren. A common fixture in kitchens with islands or bars is the use of stools. Aside from being sure that these stools are not in the direct paths discussed above, there are still more things to consider. The last one I will give you to process is the functional consideration: have only enough stools to accommodate while having space to sit comfortably. I don’t like to require my guests to solve puzzles when they want to sit in my kitchen. This will allow them to sit comfortably without displacing a rogue stool to block the path of people walking by.
Kitchen with Bar Stools - Photo: HouseBeautiful.com
If you will recall last week’s article about bringing hotel chic into the home, in the spirit of Spring Break, I’ll talk about bringing the Feng Shui of home with you to your hotel room. You can’t always predict what is going to happen on a vacation, but you can make all attempts to make things flow in your favor.
When booking your hotel room, be sure to ask for a room that is away from areas of foot traffic or other noises. This includes elevators, vending machines, pool areas, or rooms along busy streets. Sometimes these things cannot be avoided, but it never hurts to ask. Keeping your room away from these areas will provide for a much more relaxing stay, fewer distractions, and a smoother flow of energy through the room.
If possible, get a room with a balcony, patio, or a window that can be opened. When you first arrive in your room, open the door to the outside or the window to allow fresh air into the room. This serves to literally and figuratively air out the room for your stay by removing old and stagnant energy left from the previous occupants of your room.
I’ll round it off with two smaller yet equally relevant tips that you should have no trouble with in any hotel room. The first is to bring in a small potted plant. Incorporating a plant into your hotel room will accomplish the same as it would in your own home by filtering the air and flow of chi throughout the room – as well as being pretty to look at. Lastly, if the mirror in your room is visible from your bed, be sure to cover it before going to sleep. This slows the flow of energy helping you to sleep better, as well as preventing you from frightening yourself by seeing your bedhead as soon as you open your eyes.
Hotel Balcony View - Photo: Atlantida Villas
Going on vacation is always an exciting experience. While the destination and the activities you expect to partake in are definitely at the forefront of your mind, there is one thing that is almost universal in a trip away from home - the hotel room. The room itself can often add to the excitement, and here are some tips that can help bring a bit of that simultaneous hustle/bustle and comfort to your own bedroom.
The key to many hotel rooms is the space. There is room to sleep, relax, and prepare for the day which is undoubtedly going to be filled with enjoyment. It is likely that you may already have ample space in your bedroom. However, you should be sure that the space is not wasted. While there should be enough room for maximum mobility, you must also designate spaces for certain activities.
This is where the flexibility of the average hotel room comes in. A common staple is a desk. While the desk is not often large, it is enough to be able to do some kind of work in the comfort of your room. On many occasions, there is a mirror mounted above the desk which you can use if your bathroom is occupied. Or if you just feel like gazing at your own beauty as you work. If you have the space, you should also designate a sitting area with comfortable chairs where you can unwind and reflect on the day’s wonders.
Most of the excitement of a hotel room comes from experiencing something new or unknown. It will be hard to replicate this feeling in the bedroom given that it is likely the place that is most familiar to you. Every once in a while, change things up. Add something whimsical like a piece of art or something else that is easily changed. Don’t get bogged down in seriousness.
Hampton Inn Suite - Photo: TripAdvisor.com
It cannot be understated how important color is to our lives. Colors, along with the concepts they represent and the feelings they evoke, penetrate even the deepest reaches of our subconscious. Their meanings are almost universal, but not quite. While the use of color is intuitive and almost second nature to some, it is helpful to know their meanings in the realm of Feng Shui.
One way you may categorize colors with respect to Feng Shui is corresponding them to Yin and Yang. In the pure black and white symbol of the yinyang that many are familiar with, Yin is black and represents femininity while Yang is white and represents masculinity. Going one step further, Yin and black represent the cool colors of the color wheel as Yang and white represent the warmer colors. Therefor, we can conclude that cooler colors are feminine while warmer colors are masculine. Not to make any remarks about your personality.
Cooler colors encompass blues, greens, and purples. Contrary to the concept of “cold” that one might associate with a person, cool colors tend to provide a nurturing and relaxing atmosphere. If you need a place to go and feel safe, secure and calm, your best bet would be use incorporate these colors into that space. On the other hand, warm colors include reds, oranges and yellows. These colors trigger a more excited and energetic feelings, as one would associate with fire.
Keep in mind that Yin and Yang are not necessarily good or bad. That said, neither are the use of warm or cool colors. One should take away from the concept of Yin and Yang, and from Feng Shui in general, that everything must have balance. Your home should not be entirely blue with blue furniture, blue walls, blue floors… There should be a balance of the calm and the energetic. A balance between the relaxed and the motivated. Make your home into a place that is not only your sanctuary from a hectic life, but also a center for rejuvenation to be able to live that life.
Use of Color in the Bedroom - Photo: BestHomeDesigns.org