Produced by Cynthia Frank/ William Waldron
It’s the moment you long for, that moment when your head touches the pillow and you drift off to dreamland. But you don’t. Your mind is going 100 miles an hour and somehow you find yourself in the kitchen at two in the morning shamelessly spooning leftover chocolate-on-chocolate ice cream and questioning all your life choices. A subtle treatment for insomnia may be the best way to get back on track before you join the Peace Corps or go on your Eat, Pray, Love trip abroad. The feng shui method is a way to improve your bedroom vibe.
The Chinese believed for centuries that there were invisible forces working all around us. These forces, when optimized within an occupied space can boost our well-being. It is sometimes called Chinese geomancy. Others refer to it as early Taoist ideology. Most people know it as Feng Shui. This belief system is millennia old and, in today’s screen-driven, fast-paced pandemic, politics burnout moment, it’s more than ready for exploration.
We spoke with Anjie Cho (author of Holistic Spaces) and Julia Sarasola (New York City-based practitioner). They shared practical tips for how to feng Shui your bedroom. Continue reading to find inspiration for positive mojo and a blessed shut-eye. You can still go to Bali.
For a Serene Environment
No matter what your style of decorating, the goal is to create a peaceful bedroom. Cho says that the most important aspect of feng-shui is how it makes you feel. A bedroom with good feng-shui is a place that feels like home. It’s calming, nurturing, supportive, and comfortable. Your environment can have a huge impact on your success, your livelihood, well-being, and your health.
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Establish a Commanding Bed Position
Sarasola explains, “The bedroom is where you can rest and prepare for the next day. We actually spend one-third of our lives doing this.” It’s important to adapt your space for yin energy. This is the restorative, soft energy that balances the more active yang.
The command position is the easiest way to achieve this. This means you can see the door from a position where your back is against the headboard. This usually means that you are looking diagonally towards the door. Cho says that you shouldn’t have your feet pointed straight at the door and your headboard should not be aligned with the door. The bed should be as far away from the door as possible. Sarasola explains that this symbolism means you can face your life and opportunities with a solid vantage point. This eliminates surprises and unrest.
Sarasola warns against sleeping on architectural features such as low-hanging beams, ceiling fans, sloped ceilings, or even soffits. She says that it can cause a feeling of pressure and heaviness, which is not a good idea. These features can be easily fixed by painting your bedroom a lighter color to match the ceiling. This will reduce their spiritual and visual weight.
dd a Supportive Board
“Who doesn’t like a little extra support?,” Sarasola adds. “Choosing the right headboard will make a big difference in your sleep quality and security. Cho recommends upholstered headboards or wood, but warns against metal perforations. They can make you feel like you are being held captive. It should be able to be leaned against the bed and attached to it. If the headboard matches your comforter or bed sheets, you get bonus points.
Balance in All Things
The bedroom is the best place to practice symmetry and balance in feng-shui. Cho states that balance in a bedroom is essential if you are looking to attract a partner, or be in a relationship. You can make your bed more attractive by placing nightstands, sconces or artwork on either side of it. Your goal should be to make enough space for you and your partner. Cho has good news. “They don’t have to be symmetrical.” Balance gives you more freedom.
Place Mirrors Judiciously
Feng shui experts say that mirrors and reflections can disrupt your sleep and cause too much energy. Are you still unsure? You might try covering the mirrors for a few nights to see how your sleep is. If they are not covering your bed, it might be worth moving them to another wall.
Mirrors, on the other hand, can be used sensibly to activate the right energy in a space according to feng-shui principles. Sarasola says that mirrors can be used to guide and direct energy flow, absorb or expand, reflect or protect, strengthen, and even draw in auspicious Qi [or energy].” Sarasola suggests hanging your mirrors or aligning them so that your neck or head isn’t cut when looking into them. Sarasola warns that the alternative could cause neck pain or headaches, as well as make it difficult to communicate or be heard. Sarasola suggests that couples hang a large, round mirror over their bed in order to foster harmony, compassion and patience.
Show off Your Curves
Sarasola says that feng-shui calls sharp corners poison and pointed arrows. “Corners can drain our energy and leave us feeling under attack,” Sarasola says. To soften the furniture, you can place a small piece of fabric or a plant that cascades over it if your options for placement are limited.
Create a Bedroom Library
Feng shui experts agree that books should be kept out of bedrooms because they can be “active.” However, that all depends on your relationship with them. It is okay to read a novel that helps you relax, but it is best not to have a large library. Sarasola says, “If books are bringing you joy in your bedroom, that’s fantastic.” An accumulation of objects that make you feel anxious or stressed when you look at them or read them can be a sign of fears or obstacles and can even lead to stagnant qi. If this is not addressed, it can lead to anxiety, insomnia, or even sickness.
One rule is clear: When you look around your bedroom, it should make you feel calm, happy, and supported by the things in it. We’ll let your decide what Steve Jobs biography to place in your books.
Choose Organic where Thread Count is Concerned
For bedrooms that follow the principles of Feng Shui, organic bedding is the best choice. Cho says that there are many ethical considerations involved in the manufacturing and creation of conventional bedding. This energy is interwoven into your home’s materials. Cho says, “Buy the best ethical and non-toxic materials you can afford. It will have a positive impact on your life.”
Cho prefers white bedding. Cho says that white bedding is a blank canvas, which can be used to add accents such as pillows. Pink bedding is a good choice if you are looking to attract a partner. Red bedding is a good choice if you are looking to ignite your passion for life.
Vitamin D is dangerous. The principles of Feng Shui are exactly in line with what the doctor ordered. Sarasola says that natural light is an incredible source of life force energy. A bedroom that is rich in life force energy supports and nurtures us throughout our waking and sleeping lives. Do not block your windows with bulky furniture.
Ambient lighting at night should be soft and soothing. Cho says that uplighting is a good type of lighting for feng-shui, especially if the person is feeling depressed. Cho recommends using 2700 kelvin lighting over 3000 kelvin to add warmth to an interior. Candles can also be used to create warmth and intimacy in an interior.
Find a new home for Aunt Phyllis’ Portrait
Cho says that family photos are not appropriate for your bedroom. Cho says that bedroom should be about connecting with your partner. Avoid family photos and posters that feature bands or movies. Instead, choose abstract art that is soothing and depicts serene places. Sarasola says that you can use colors, shapes and the subject matter to support your image. For example, images of tall, upward-moving trees and shades of green can be very positive and give energy to growth.
Your choice of bedroom artwork is an individual and emotional decision. Sarasola says, “I often tell clients to let their intuition lead them as to what they are drawn towards.” “Reflect on the emotions that your artwork is evoking in you. Feelings of joy, hope, stability, joy and peace will create harmony in your bedroom.
Placement: Your largest piece of artwork should be placed on the wall facing the footboard of the bed. This will ensure that you can see it when you wake up and go to sleep. Cho cautions that artwork should not be too low. Cho warns that artwork placed too low can cause emotional distress.
Take into account the dimensions of your bed
Feng Shui even includes rules for mattresses. Let’s start with the size. For those who spend a lot of time with their midnight companions (we don’t judge), full and queen-sized beds should be preferred. Two separate box springs can cause distance and break up relationships in king-sized mattresses. If you are looking for the largest option, a bed frame that has a single box spring is best.
Good feng shui also requires that your bed be at an acceptable height. It is a good rule of thumb to leave 18 inches between your mattress and the ground. Unless you are a Disney prince, in which case you have all the luck you need, you want to feel grounded and not floating on a magic carpet.
A Rug can Ground Your Space
Feng Shui experts agree that carpets help bring the bedroom’s gravity. The most popular rugs shape is rectangular and square. Round rugs promote positive energy because they don’t have corners, and so don’t interrupt the flow of the room. No matter what shape or color you choose, a rug is an important way to ground your bedroom.
Technology and Electronics: Reduced
Your lifestyle will determine whether you want a TV in your bedroom. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, consider removing the television from your bedroom. Cho says, “We live in an age when we are constantly surrounded by electronic devices.” Cho says that there are many ways to discreetly hide the TV and not make it distracting from your sleep.
Make smart window curtain decisions
Although there is no set rule regarding curtains, a nice rideaux can be used as a diffuser or divider. Sarasola says that curtains can be used to buffer the street’s active yang energy and the bedroom’s gentle yin energy. Curtains can be used to provide privacy, visual soften the space and add texture or color to it.
A Multi-Purpose Bedroom is null
We understand, you are preaching to the choir (city dwellers, can we get an amen?). Space is scarce and you may not have enough space to accommodate your work-from home situation, your dream gym corner, or even your child’s crib. It’s possible to make smart changes in any space other than your sleeping area. Feng shui 101 says that your bedroom should only be your bedroom. This is because your mind will not be trained to become more active in the space designated for relaxation or sleep. A person with an imbalanced chi is not a Zen person.
Bring in plants with rounded leaves
It is always relaxing to be surrounded by nature. Consider making plants part your bedroom decor. Feng shui is not for everyone. Cho says that it is better to choose plants with soft, rounded edges. Succulents with heart-shaped leaves and snake plants can help to make a space feel calmer.
void Water Features
Feng Shui says water should not be placed in a bedroom. Avoid placing water features in your bedroom, such as a fountain or fish tank. Avoid hanging artwork with water scenes, such as waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and rivers. Water has active chi energy, which can disrupt the serenity that you are trying to achieve. Water also extinguishes flame, which is bad for passion and libido. Tsk. Tsk.
Take into consideration the Color Effect
Feng shui is a study in color theory. Different colors have different energies. Blue and black help us concentrate, while green encourages decisiveness. White supports mental clarity.
While most people believe that a neutral palette is essential for a good feng-shui bedroom, Cho suggests you can use any color you like. Cho says that neutrals are more earthy-colored and the earth is associated with stability, support, and nourishment. Cho says that if that’s what you like and need, then that’s a great palette. It’s all about what you like.”
Take it down and Zhuzh up
Finally, make sure to clean out your bedroom every day and hold regular decluttering sessions. It’s clear that clutter can cause stress. Good feng shui requires you to keep it at bay. Cho says that open space is important, especially under your bed. This creates healthy energy, and healthy chi. If you have limited space and need to store bedding, pillows, or blankets under your bed, it is best to stick with soft sleep-related items. You shouldn’t keep anything that is emotionally charged, such as shoes or jeans that don’t fit anymore, or photos.
To create a comfortable atmosphere, tidiness alone is not enough. Sarasola notes that you can use sage to smudge your bedroom or diffuse oil to improve feng-shui. Citrus essences like orange or bergamot give me energy to get started in the day. When I need more energy to ground or center myself, I turn to sandalwood and lavender. They are more yin-oriented and can help me get into a more peaceful state.
Monique Valeris also contributed additional reporting.
Rachel SilvaAssistant digital editorRachel Silva is the Assistant Digital Editor at ELLE DECOR and covers design, architecture trends, haute couture, and everything in between.
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