What’s Feng Shui?

Feng shui is the art of arranging elements of a space to enhance your wellbeing. It originates from ancient China.

A desk against a wall with a rolling chair next to it.

To create a positive and well-designed living area or workspace, try implementing the principles of feng shui. It’s about arranging the elements of a space to create harmony between you and your surroundings.

Related: 15 creative wall decor ideas

Feng shui can help you create a better work or living environment. This can lead to benefits in your personal life or career.

While some people may claim that feng shui is the key to wealth, health, happiness, and success, it can’t guarantee any of those things. Instead, by creating a better environment, you could take steps that’ll move you toward those benefits.

It originates from ancient China and is now used across the globe. The term feng shui translates to wind-water. Learn the principles, how it works, and ways to implement it in your life.

Principles of feng shui

Feng shui is about creating harmony and balance in a space. The goal is to improve the flow of air and energy. By understanding the principles, you’ll be able to experience powerful results.


Qi or Chi is one of the fundamental concepts of feng shui. It refers to the energy around you. While you can’t see Qi, you can feel it physically or mentally.

Unseen things like noise, wind, air, and other elements that you can’t see impact how you feel. The point of having a positive flow of Qi is that it makes you feel good.

With feng shui, your space is organized in a way that feels good. You’ll be happy in it and feel harmonious with your surroundings.

Bagua areas

Bagua areas.
Graphic by David Em/Nola & Luna.

A bagua is comprised of eight areas around a center and serves as the energy map of your home. It breaks down your home into eight spaces. It tells you where to place different elements to enhance the flow of qi.

The best way to use the bagua is to choose one to three areas of your life that you’d like to work on. What areas do you want to strengthen?

It’s most effective when you work on a select few because focusing on all of the areas at the same time can be overwhelming.

The bagua areas, the colors that represent them, and location are as follows:

  • Wealth: Implement the color purple because it represents prosperity and abundance. Its location is southeast.
  • Fame: Use the color red because it relates to passion, reputation, and recognition. Its location is south.
  • Love and marriage: Add the color pink because it’s tied to relationships and partnership. Its location is southwest.
  • Family: Use green because it represents new beginnings and family. Its location is east.
  • Well-being: Everything revolves around the color yellow, which is the center and represents your well-being. Its location is in the middle.
  • Children: White and metallic colors represent children, joy, and creativity. Its location is west.
  • Knowledge: Adding the color blue is how you can improve your knowledge and skills. Its location is northeast.
  • Career: Implement the color black to strengthen your career and life path. Its location is north.
  • Helpful people: Use grey to represent benefactors, helpful people, and travel. Its location is northwest.


According to feng shui, the world is divided into five elements. They’re wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The goal is to balance the elements because each one impacts how you feel differently.

If you’re in a space that doesn’t feel right, there’s a good chance that elements are missing or it’s being overpowered by an element.

Before you incorporate the different elements, consider what you want to enhance in your life. Pick two or three areas from the bagua. Then, choose the elements that’ll improve the energy in your home based on the bagua areas.


Earth is tied to strength, stability, and security. This can be in your personal life or career. Its purpose is to ensure that you feel grounded and secure.

To add more of the element in your space, look for earthy tones and colors, such as brown, orange, yellow or green. Shapes are another way to bring in the element of earth. Add items that are square, rectangular, or flat.


Fire relates to leadership, passion, power, fame, and boldness. It helps you be more enthusiastic, bold and can be a great way to build more courage.

If you’re looking to add the element of fire, look for red things that are shaped like a triangle or with pointed ends. Be careful with the fire element because too much can lead to aggression or feeling out of control.


Metal represents clarity, focus, simplicity, and efficiency. It’s one of the easiest elements to add to your space because the item is made of metal. It can be brass, iron, gold, silver, or aluminum. There are many ways to include metal in your home or office.


Water is associated with inspiration, change, cleansing, and abundance. Black or dark tones, reflective surfaces, and wavy items are excellent ways to add the element of water.

When you’re adding water, focus on calm waters, such as a soothing river, pond, lake, and soft waves. The peaceful side of the water is what you’re aiming for.


Wood relates to growth, creativity, vitality, and new life. The best way to add wood elements is to look for green and brown. Typically, plants are ideal, and they bring freshness into your space. You can also add wooden furniture, tables and use natural fabrics.

The command position

The command or commanding position is a spot in the room that’s furthest away from the door. In feng shui, the command position is where you want to spend the majority of your time. So, be sure to place your main pieces of furniture there.

From the command position, having visibility of the door is ideal. You should be able to draw a diagonal line from the door to the command position.

How you place your furniture also matters. If it’s a bed or couch, the back or headboard must be against the wall. By doing so, you’ll have good backing and support.

Ways to use it

When it comes to having good feng shui in your home or office, it’s difficult because there’s so much to do. It can be overwhelming to think about what to do. To help you get started, the following are ways to use feng shui:

  • Open up your entryway. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in. Spend time decluttering and making sure tables, benches, or shoe racks are placed on the side. The goal is to have an open walkway for energy to flow.
  • Add small and medium plants. To bring energy, life, and a refreshing feeling, add small and medium plants to your spaces. Large plants can get obstruct paths and block natural light. They’re great for keeping outside, though.
  • Invite in natural light. Natural light is a key part of feng shui. Wipe down your windows, and remove anything that’s blocking light. Allow it to light up your home or office.
  • Move your main furniture. Think about what you spend most of your time doing. If you’re not currently spending it in the commanding position, move your main furniture.
  • Allow air to flow. Air circulation is important in feng shui. Allow energy and air to flow by opening up areas that are blocked or cramped. Clear your floors, declutter your closet or anything that’s stuffed.
  • Be intentional about colors. Choose colors based on the bagua areas and elements.

By applying feng shui principles to your home or office, you’ll feel better and be more productive. Choose your colors and materials wisely because they play a role in the energy of a space.


Feng shui is an excellent way to improve the way a room or space feels. Whether it’s your home or office, the use of feng shui principles will improve the flow of energy and air. When you feel good and comfortable in a space, you’re more likely to be productive and happy.

Additional resources:

Featured image courtesy of Canva.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola and Luna, the destination for home improvement and decor. He launched Nola and Luna to share DIY how-to’s, inspiration, reviews, shopping guides, and expert advice to help you create a beautiful home.

About Nola & Luna

Nola & Luna is your ultimate home advice destination. Get ideas and tips to create the home of your dreams. Learn more about Nola & Luna