You don’t have to make big changes to your rental home to make it feel like your own. Through the ancient art of feng shui, you can create the perfect space for you.
What is it?
Feng shui (pronounced “fung schway”) is the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics that uses geography and astronomy to receive positive “ch’i” (energy), improving one’s life by putting it in harmony with the environment.
There is a rich and complex system of belief and practice behind feng shui, but even a basic understanding of the benefits of minimalism, balance and organization will likely improve how you experience your living space.
There are a lot of small changes you can make to increase the positive energy in your home. Start by brainstorming a list of small changes you could make to help your home feel harmonious and open. Maybe you need to create a way to manage the “landing area” of your home to keep it from getting cluttered, or perhaps your furniture is too big and obstructs the traffic flow from one part of your home to another.
The philosophy of feng shui sees the home as a unit, one that needs each component harmonized to achieve overall balance. As you walk through your home, see how each part of it makes you feel. Is a room too dark? Is there a room or space you’re just not comfortable with or a particular closet that is chronically messy? Make a note of it! Likewise, notice which aspects of your living space make you feel good.
Get rid of the excess
Purging the clutter from your home means making order out of stacks of paper by creating a workable filing system, or packing away knick-knacks or wall hangings that no longer interest you. Ideally, each decoration in your home feels like it has a reason to be there.
Clear furniture surfaces by putting items into neatly-organized drawers, and get rid of things you don’t use or don’t want. Clear out items that hold negative memories, including photographs, gifts from old loves or relatives, pieces of clothing or any item that makes you feel sad. True feng shui means order from the inside out.
Use proper furniture placement
The command position for furniture places the major piece in a room facing the door. The security that comes from being able see the exit/entrance of a room comes from the human instinct to control what’s coming and going in its environment; most people feel instantly uncomfortable when they have their back to a door.
Use this placement in your living room, bedroom and home office, taking care that the “power” pieces of the room are placed with a full view of the entire space.
Bring nature inside
All rooms in your home should be sensual and inviting, energizing and soothing at the same time. Accentuate pleasant views with curtains to frame the windows. You can also hang beautiful landscapes on the wall to lead the eye away from unappealing vistas.
A small table-top or wall fountain recalls the sound of a gentle brook, while live plants — especially with those with beautiful blooms — can make your home feel like a more natural and healthy place. Fresh flowers and real fruit in bowls make a lovely, lively addition to the atmosphere in any room of the house.
In rooms in which you truly desire to relax, keep your television, computer, or exercise equipment out!
Use rich colors
Surrounding yourself with rich, soothing colors can create an enormous change in the atmosphere of your home. Choose colors to which you respond positively at first glance. Yellow, for instance, is a good color for digestion and makes an excellent shade for the kitchen. Greens, blues, browns — whatever colors make you feel alive and contented — are the ones to choose, in shades that your landlord will hopefully approve of. (Make sure you get permission before you paint! You can agree, of course, to paint all walls back to their original color before you move.)
There are so many ways that the practice of feng shui can create harmony in your rental home. Being conscious of the space and the way you would like it to feel is the first step. Proceed thoughtfully and you will soon fall in love even more fully with the home you’re living in.