Ever wonder why you suddenly get a feeling of relaxation and tranquility upon entering certain spaces, and your blood goes cold in others? Why some homes just feel happy and harmonious the moment you cross the threshold, and others just don't?
According to practitioners of the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, your gut reaction to a space may have a lot to do with its "chi" or energy. Feng shui (pronounced "fung shway") is often called the "Art of Placement," and is sometimes touted as an art, sometimes as a science, and sometimes as a philosophy. It is actually all three, and its practitioners say its effects can be felt in the mind, body and spirit in ways that either uplift or diminish one's personal "chi." More and more over the past decade, interior decorators and designers have been incorporating feng shui into their work
Feng shui, literally translated, means "wind water," and refers to the ancient Chinese practice of considering landforms and sources of water when selecting the optimum setup for a home or a burial ground. In Chinese philosophy, balance and harmony manifest when the two polar energy forces of yin and yang exist simultaneously, balancing each other. These forces are malleable through the manipulation of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, water and metal), and can be moved in positive or negative directions by a number of influences.
In the case of an apartment, those influences can include everything from lighting and floor plan to the materials used in the décor and the placement of furniture and artwork.
The Design Process
Keeping these principles in mind, Jennifer Ellen Frank, a feng shui designer/consultant with Ten Thousand Ounces of Gold in New York City, combines feng shui with other decorating principles. Frank's process of design begins before she even steps into a client's home.