Feng Shui, in a nutshell, would mean really small furniture! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Seriously though, it is a “Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment.” Yes, I got that from Wikipedia. We have all at least heard of the concept and some of us even make efforts to work it into our rooms, homes and offices. Whether you are a fervent believer or not, it is hard to refute the fact that a room utilizing these ideas really does “feel” better. Whether you are selling your home or simply want to “Feng Shui”-up your existing space for your own benefit, let’s take a look at a few areas on which to focus your attention.
The first concept is balance. If you look at a room and find there are large pieces of furniture on one side and these are not comparable to the items across the room, you are most likely out of balance. Many homes have a combined living/dining area in which this idea of being off-balance is fairly common. With one side containing couches, chairs and an entertainment center, the other side of the room can’t compete with (typically) wooden table and chairs. The “weights” of each side are not in balance.
An easy fix for this is to open up the area with the larger furniture by moving those large pieces to the exterior walls. This helps give the room a lighter and more open feel and allows the larger items to lose their place of prominence. The addition of a glass table or table with wiry “thin” legs can also highlight the airy feel of the living area side and works to balance out the thinner legs of the dining room’s table and chairs.
One of the more common ideas with this system is that of “flow”. And we’re not talking about the swelling Saco! Flow simply means you can physically and mentally get “through” a room without impedance. One of the more obvious examples of this would be a room that greets you, as you walk into it, with the back side of a couch. The couch immediately stops you from walking into the room and mentally stops your brain from “taking in” the rest of the room.
Some people are really good at jamming way too much furniture into their homes. I promise I’m not going to get on a kick about clutter, but suffice it to say: less is more when it comes to furniture in your living space. Not only is it annoying to have to wriggle your way through the living room to get to the bathroom, it is mentally stopping the flow of the room and removing the balance we just gained from the earlier paragraph. Try to walk through your home (end to end) without having to think too much. If you find yourself winding and twisting too much, it is likely time to make some changes.
Every room has a focal point. While some are not always obvious, they are present and make an impact on how you perceive the area. Just like the idea of “flow” from above, are there items in the way that block the access to the focal point of the room? Using the couch example, you would not want a couch to be between the entryway of the room and the fireplace. Make sure the centerpiece of the room is accessible and is not blocked (physically or mentally) from the main entrance.
The last idea is that of feeling too “boxed” or cramped in the room. Right in line with the ideas from above, you don’t want to make your room feel like you are having book club every day. Boxing-in the room with chairs, couches and other furniture seals it off from the rest of the house and obviously blocks the flow of the room. Once again, this also makes it more difficult to walk through the home and creates a feeling of cramped, contained living quarters.
The “boxed” idea is one in which you will have to adjust for your needs. I don’t entertain large groups very often so the need for lots of indoor furniture is minimal. I can minimize my couches and chairs and leave the room and the home feeling open and airy. For those of you who DO entertain often, you can be strategic with your placement of these items between parties and still maintain the flow and open feel of the home.
Whether you are selling the home or not also plays a huge role in how you lay out the area. “For showings and pictures, you want to have the least amount of furniture possible which still maintaining a lived-in look and feel,” notes Badger Realty agent, Diane McGregor. Potential buyers should be able to easily walk through the home (without the zigzagging from before). A minimizing of large and cluttered furniture placement also helps when taking photos for the listing.
If you are selling your home or just want to find a better balance in the space you live, take a little time to brush up on your Feng Shui knowledge. Not only will you end up with a more livable and pleasant space in which to live, you will find a more positive response from potential buyers (and your Realtor!).