Feng Shui Tips For New or Well Loved Austin Homes
published on November 18, 2011
Feng Shui is sometimes considered either a school of decorating or a new age spiritual practice. In truth, Feng Shui is neither, and instead is an approach to design environments for the best possible energy, creating a positive effect on whoever enters the space. Austin and Travis Country residents may feel a long way from Feng Shui’s origins in China, but Feng Shui can easily be incorporated into any home.
Kathryn Weber, a certified master practitioner of Feng Shui, is a local consultant who has been helping homeowners create peace in their home environments for over 19 years. Having studied from Kuala Lumpur to Austin, Weber runs the online magazine Red Lotus Letter, in addition to helping Austinites lay out their interiors and find Austin homes for sale.
Weber believes all homeowners should know the way a home is arranged and decorated – even maintained – has an influence on overall health, well-being, and happiness, both at home and in life. “If you have a home that is supportive and built in a way that is beneficial for you, you’re going to be more productive in your life and happier as a result.”
The term Feng Shui is comprised of two Chinese words: feng, meaning wind, and shui, meaning water. These two elements flow and circulate everywhere and are the basic elements of human survival, moving chi throughout the world. Chi can be considered the energy that animates everything, from the smallest atom to the largest animal, and is referred to as “life force.” A home that is decorated using Feng Shui techniques has been planned to best allow the flow of Chi, or life, through the house.
Decorating a home with Feng Shui goes beyond simply arranging furniture and matching color schemes. Professional Feng Shui consultants like Weber consider both aesthetics and the relationship between natural elements when helping homeowners. Feng Shui principles state that everything on Earth is composed of at least one of the five basic elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal, each element represented by a corresponding color: black, green, red, yellow, and white. When arranged in a positive, energy encouraging sequence, these elements create harmony in a home.
Arrangements of furniture, objects, and even a structure itself take into account the natural order of the elements – that water nourishes wood, wood feeds fire, fire burns to make earth, and from earth comes metal. However, placing some elements next to each other can prove destructive, for example, placing water near fire, as water can douse out fire, or metal near fire, which can be melted by the fire. The most prevalent example of negative Feng Shui in many homes is placing a stove, a representative of the fire element, too close to a sink, representative of water. A trained Feng Shui consultant can recommend placing an object symbolic of earth, like a brown or green ceramic bowl, in between the two to create harmony. Weber also suggests avoiding placement of a sink and a stove that face each other so that two people working in the kitchen are back to back, causing both a potentially hazardous environment from bumping together with hot food, and a set-up for relationship troubles, as turned backs are symbolic of poor communication. “Having an island in between the stove and the sink can prevent negativity and kitchen mishaps,” said Weber.
Five elements of Feng Shui:
Water – Represents movement, communication, opportunities, and relationships. Its associated color is black, and water in the house should be circulating and clean. Water that disappears, for example, in a flushing toilet, is considered wasteful and draining so keep toilet lids down and bathroom doors shut. Homeowners near Lake Austin or Lake Travis will naturally have an abundance of the water element, which is highly desirable, as Weber explains. “Water is one of the most auspicious elements so homes with water views and water around them command higher prices, which makes sense in Feng Shui because water is equivalent to wealth.”
Wood – Represents creative energies and new development alongside inspiration and growth. Incorporating live plants into the home can represent the element of wood. Homeowners near expansive parks and nature preserves, like Steiner Ranch neighborhood, have a ready supply of the wood element just off their doorsteps.
Metal – Metal is a conduit of energy and is associated with wealth, like a metal coin, and protection, like a metal sword. Hanging a metal wind chime on a patio is a peaceful way to incorporate a metal element into the home. Downtown Austin residents have the metal element surrounding them in the form of steel girders and other supports for the structures that comprise the Austin skyline.
Earth – Represents permanence, stability, and tranquility. Adding live plants in clay pots brings the earth element into a home, as do natural objects d’art like stone statues or sparkling geodes. Life in a neighborhood with abundant hills, like Senna Hills neighborhood, is rife with the element of earth.
Fire – Represents passion and energy and is considered the most powerful of all the elements. Its corresponding color is red, and it is recommended to keep the majority of fire elements out of the bedroom, where rest is necessary, and in more active spaces of the home. A neighborhood can have a strong representation of the fire element in the form of red bricks, where the color is coupled with its harmonizing earth element, clay, as seen in the sturdy brick homes of Villages at Western Oaks.
Homes with a poor balance of the five elements are said to contribute to feelings of anxiousness, lethargy, anger, and other negative emotions that can be detrimental to families or homeowners looking to sell their house. A professional Feng Shui consultant like Weber can help survey a home and determine a way to work with existing possessions to create a space that promotes positive energy flow, where all the elements of a home work together and are conducive to good energy, or chi. If you’re looking for a home that harmonizes with your lifestyle, contact an Austin realtor to begin your Austin home search.
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