Ah, the bedroom. Your home within your home. It was already where most of us spent the most time. These days your room is likely a home office, too. So how can you turn your room into a one-stop sanctuary for work, rest, sleep and sex?
The answer: Feng shui!
Literally meaning “wind” and “water,” feng shui is an ancient practice with Taoist roots focused on existing in harmony with your surrounding environment. This isn’t just some Asian-inspired fad your cousin picked up during her backpacking days. There are experts, schools and comprehensive texts dedicated to this sacred set of beliefs. Feng shui believers use its teachings to harness good energy and block out unwanted forces to develop complex architectural designs, arrange optimal living spaces and everything in between. If adhered to properly, experts purport feng shui can help nurture and sustain an enviable overall quality of life.
There’s a lot to unpack here—centuries of Taoist teachings, in fact. Lucky for you, we’re giving the sweet and lowdown. Here’s our must-have bedroom feng shui guide:
This really refers to where you spend the most time. Translation: Your bed and your desk. Feng shui experts have determined these items should be in diagonal alignment and in a direct line of sight to the door but not on the same wall. That means each gets its own wall. Your bed represents you and your desk symbolizes your career. Separate them. You are not your job.
See above. Your bed represents you. Wood is great, as it’s tied to growth and prosperity. The right headboard brings stability, but the wrong one can leave you feeling trapped. Iron bars on a headboard conjure up prison cells and permeate negative energy. Your linen colors should instantly put you at ease and match the color scheme of the rest of your space.
This one comes with caveats. Flat and clear mirrors are fine. They can expand your horizons. But make sure its aim provides a pleasurable view. Decorating with broken or obscured mirrors is a big no-no. They can represent a lack of clarity.
The Five Elements
Feng shui comprises five elements—earth, metal, water, wood and fire. These elements are interrelated phases of life that together form a complete, balanced system. Feng shui experts purport that giving weight to each can help nurture and sustain an enviable quality of life.
This is related to feeling grounded in your space. Color schemes are key. Try to incorporate earthy tones, which contribute to a sense of stability and self-care. Stick to flat, square and symmetrical shapes. Some ideas include accent rugs, ceramics, clay pottery and planters with stones.
Our takeaway: Try an earth-toned rug under your bed.
Yes, beauty and joy are central to feng shui. But so is efficiency. That’s where metal comes in. White, grays and metallic hues deliver the goods. Wall color as a neutral backdrop is a great way to introduce this element. But subtlety is fine, too.
Our takeaway: Try metallic bookends, a metal chair or a small sculpture.
“Be like water,” Bruce Lee once said. It’s both still and flowing. It represents a vibrant social life and career, but also the placid nature of deep wisdom. The colors most closely tied to the water element are black and midnight blues. Wavy shapes or curves work too.
Our takeaway: Try a blue throw blanket, throw pillows on your bedspread, a piece of small curved furniture like a round stool for a planter stand or artwork with waves.
Vitality and growth should have a ubiquitous presence in your life—or, at least in your room. The wood element is tied to greens, browns, columns and rectangles. Think upwards and onwards! Pimping out your room to the feng shui fullest means turning it into your temple that teems with life.
Our takeaway: Plants! The lusher and the greener, the better. You also can try out a light pine desk or bedside table.
The fire element is an extension of your passions, inspiration and unique self-expression. It mainly consists of reds and oranges that pop—so not for everyone. It can also be tricky to introduce in your room where you need relaxation. It’s intense and stimulating.
Our takeaway: If you’re someone who needs to be reminded to go big or go home, try some fiery artwork or a piece of furniture that really stands out! If you’re bold, go for a bright red chair, or be more subtle with a small modern light fixture.
What to Avoid
Nobody needs more time staring at a screen. Your room should be a sanctuary with minimal distractions. Keep the tech to a minimum, and remember that this is your sacred space—not a screening room.
Out of sight, out of mind. Right? Think again. Tucking off-season clothes, books, boxes, electronics or anything else under your bed might seem like a good hack. But it can throw your room’s energy all off. A cluttered space means a cluttered mind. If you really need the storage space, try to stick to soft, sleep-related items like blankets, linens and pillows.
Random Asian knick-knacks
Do you need it? Do you even like it? To be clear, Asian-inspired objects are fine. But don’t arbitrarily choose pieces to decorate your space because you think they fit a “feng shui aesthetic.” Find pieces that serve a practical purpose or elicit meaning for you.
Oren is a writer who loves good books, good coffee and good people. He lives in Los Angeles with his husky pup Harrison Ford.