Life of Chi – Transform your home with the harmony of feng shui
Over 28,000 years ago a bunch of cavemen chose a cave to live in, using three basic principles: the caves held the high ground in the area, the surrounding countryside could be easily seen from the cave entrance and water was easily accessible.
These Neanderthal's were the earliest known practitioners of the ancient art of placement - which is better known today by its Chinese name - feng shui.
Feng shui, meaning wind (or air) and water - the two basic elements needed for human survival - provides a fascinating way of bringing balance, comfort and harmony into your life by the strategic placement of your furniture, belongings and even yourself within your environment. Feng shui can influence the success of your life by helping you design your surroundings in harmony with the flow of natural energy or chi (life force).
Make a great entrance
Your main entrance is considered the place where good opportunities can enter your home, so it makes sense to make the most of it. Paint the door an auspicious colour - this will depend on which direction it faces: East (green or brown), South (red, yellow, purple, orange), West (white or grey), North (black or blue). Add a new welcome door mat and place pots of flowers or plants on either side of the doorway.
One of the simplest and most positive feng shui tips is to declutter. Chi energy stagnates where there is mess and dirt. So get clearing and cleaning to release all that trapped energy. Invest in good storage systems, throw away clothes that you haven't worn for years and organise, organise, organise.
Mirror placement is an important aspect of feng shui and needs to be done correctly. The best places for mirrors are in the living and dining areas. A mirror that is reflecting food on a dining table is effectively doubling the amount of food, which signifies abundance and can remedy financial problems. Anything your mirror reflects will be doubled - so make sure it doesn't reflect any exterior doors or all the luck will go right out that door.
A great way to stimulate your finances or career is by adding a water fountain or aquarium either in your home office or in the entrance to your home. Make sure the fountain doesn't flow towards the door, or all the good energy will depart! Have at least eight red fish and one black fish (the lucky number of fish) in your aquarium to attract auspicious chi energy.
Using houseplants in your home will create a sense of harmony and will help balance energy, as plants represent wood, which is yang (masculine, creative energy) or the life force. So a planter filled with herbs on a windowsill or a hanging basket will draw in serene energy from outdoors.
1 Photo frames - to create a harmonious home, decorate the walls of your living room, kitchen and dining room with happy family photos. Pastel Polaroid-style frame, £65, www.thedriftingbear.com
2 Red - the colour red adds warmth, power and luck. Introduce red into your home with colour accents, such as cushions, a rug, curtains or accessories. Grey Lissom sofa with red and yellow cushions, www.rume.co.uk
3 Happy pairs - matching pairs of items such as chairs or candles will inspire affection and romance. Matching chairs upholstered in Ashbee - Mulberry, www.plumbs.co.uk
4 Fountains - Clean flowing water symbolises luck, energy and health, so fountains or water features are important in feng shui. Spiral tower pebble bowl fountain, £479, www.haddonstone.com
5 Circular table - a round or oval dining table allows the chi to flow in a gentle curving path around the room. Old English painted round pedestal table, £465, www.theorchardhomeandgifts.com