What is Feng Shui: Basic Principles for Beginners

What is Feng Shui: Basic Principles for Beginners

Chances are, you have heard about organizing your home according to Feng Shui at some point, but what is Feng Shui exactly?

The ancient philosophy of Feng Shui is more than just a buzzword for real estate agents and interior designers. The Chinese words “feng” and “shui” translate as “wind” and “water” and arise from an ancient poem talking about human life flowing together with the environment around it.

What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is a practice of organizing the living space and arranging the design pieces in a certain way in order to create harmony with the natural world. The goal of the Feng Shui philosophy is to establish a balance between an individual and their environment by harnessing the forces of natural energy or qi.

In Asian culture, the philosophy of Feng Shui is also called the Tao, which translates as “the way”. Taoism describes the way of nature, and Feng Shui basic principles reflect that nature. To better understand how to incorporate Feng Shui in your living spaces, let’s take a look at the essential Feng Shui principles: the five elements, the commanding position, and the Bagua.

Essential Feng Shui Principles to Follow

So what is Feng Shui about? The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui is all about the interaction of humans and their environments.

It is believed that positioning our surroundings in accordance with the principles of positive energy flow will enable us to achieve specific improvements in our lives.

As such, the main tools used in the Feng Shui practise include the compass and the Bagua, or the energy map. Read below to see how you can use these tools to master the Feng Shui basics.

1. What is Feng Shui Bagua Map?

Feng Shui Bagua Map & Areas | Peachy InteriorsA Bagua is the Feng Shui energy map that is applied to the floor plan of your home spaces.
The word “Bagua” is translated from Chinese to mean “eight areas.” Each of the Bagua areas represents a different life circumstance, such as wealth, career, or family. In addition, every area has corresponding colours, shapes, seasons, numbers, and natural elements. A ninth area at the center of the Bagua is you, representing your overall wellbeing and health.

It is worth mentioning that there are several Feng Shui schools of thought. All of these schools use Baguas when organizing home spaces, but they may apply the concept in different ways. For example, BTB (Black Sect) and Western schools usually lay the Bagua to have the knowledge, career, and helpful people areas alight with the main entryway of the home. On the other hand, the Flying Stars and other classical schools prefer to orient the Bagua based on the compass or the energy of the year.

The Bagua Areas

The simplest way to incorporate the Bagua map in your life is to select one to three areas that require the most attention, – it is impossible to work on all areas at once.

To improve flow and strengthen the positive energy in these areas, incorporate Feng Shui principles corresponding to that particular area. For example, if you want to encourage your overall wellness, you might want to add a square brown table in your home area corresponding to health.

Health (Tai Qi)

  • Representing: Overall wellness, health, the center
  • Colours: Orange, brown, yellow
  • Shape: Square, flat
  • Element: Earth
  • Season: Transitions between the seasons
  • Number: 5

Family (Zhen)

  • Representing: Family, new beginnings
  • Colours: Blues, teal, green
  • Shape: Rectangular, columnar
  • Element: Yang wood
  • Season: Spring
  • Number: 4

Knowledge (Gen)

  • Representing: Skillfullness, self-cultivation, knowledge
  • Colours: Dark blue
  • Shape: Flat, square
  • Element: Yang earth
  • Season: Transitions between the seasons
  • Number: 8

Helpful People (Qian)

  • Representing: Travel, helpful people, benefactors
  • Colours: Metallics, grey
  • Shape: Spherical, circular
  • Element: Yang metal
  • Season: Autumn
  • Number: 6

Wealth (Xun)

  • Representing: Prosperity, abundance, wealth, expansion
  • Colours: Purple
  • Shape: Rectangular, columnar
  • Element: Yin wood
  • Season: Spring
  • Number: 5

Children (Dui)

  • Representing: Children, joy, completion
  • Colours: Metallics, white
  • Shape: Spherical, circular
  • Element: Yin metal
  • Season: Autumn
  • Number: 7

Fame (Li)

  • Representing: Fame, visibility, passion, reputation
  • Colours: Red
  • Shape: Pointy, triangle
  • Element: Fire
  • Season: Summer
  • Number: 9

Partnerships (Kun)

  • Representing: Partnerships, self-care, marriage
  • Colours: Pink
  • Shape: Square, flat
  • Element: Yin earth
  • Season: Transitions between the seasons
  • Number: 2

Career (Kan)

  • Representing: Career, the path in life
  • Colours: Black
  • Shape: Curvy, wavy
  • Element: Water
  • Season: Winter
  • Number: 1

2. What are the Five Elements of Feng Shui?

The Five Elements of Feng Shui | Peachy InteriorsThe five elements of Feng Shui – metal, earth, wood, water, and fire – come from the ancient Taoist tradition. The elements represent five interconnected phases in life that work together to create a balanced and complete system. Feng Shui techniques aim to balance these five elements in both your home and each of your life areas described by Bagua.

To apply the five Feng Shui elements in your home and life, you first need to define where you want to focus your efforts. Much like with the Bagua, select one to three areas of your life that need improvement. Then, strengthen your and your home’s energy in those areas by adding the corresponding shapes and colors in those spaces.

For example, imagine that the Bagua shows that your living room aligns with the area corresponding to children, joy, or completion. It ties into the metal element, – so think about the ways to incorporate white, metallic tones and circular or spherical décor elements in that space.

Once you have made improvements in one area, focus on a couple of other life areas and corresponding rooms. Incorporate the related elements and invite good energy into your life, these spaces, and, ultimately, your entire home.


  • Qualities: Precise, efficient, beauty
  • Colours: Metallics, white
  • Shape: Spherical, circular
  • Season: Autumn
  • Areas: Children, helpful people


  • Qualities: Stable, grounded, self-care
  • Colours: Yellow, brown, orange
  • Shape: Square, flat
  • Season: Transitions between the seasons
  • Areas: Knowledge, partnerships, health


  • Qualities: Vitality, upward, expansive
  • Colours: Blues, green
  • Shape: Rectangular, columnar
  • Season: Spring
  • Areas: Wealth, family


  • Qualities: Flowing, downward, shifting
  • Colours: Black
  • Shape: Curvy, wavy
  • Season: Winter
  • Area: Career


  • Qualities: Brilliant, illuminating, passion
  • Colours: Red
  • Shape: Pointy, triangle
  • Season: Summer
  • Area: Fame

3. What is Feng Shui Commanding Position?

Feng Shui Commanding Position | Peachy InteriorsThe Feng Shui commanding position represents the location in a room that is the furthest from the door and is not directly aligned with it. The optimal placement puts you diagonally to the room entrance and, ideally, gives you an open line of sight to it.

When you are in any room, you should be spending most of your time in the commanding position. According to Feng Shui basics, you should determine what is Feng Shui command position locations in each room and aim to place your desk, your bed, and your stove in diagonal alignment, if possible.

These three parts of your house each represent an essential part of your life and, as such, should be given extra attention. The desk stands for your career, the bed stands for you, and the stove represents your wealth and an extension of your nourishment.

Basic Principles of Feng Shui: Room-by-Room Tips

Now that you have a better understanding of what is Feng Shui, let’s take a look at a few easy tips to incorporate Feng Shui principles in each of your rooms.

1. Entry

Home Entry | Peachy Interiors

In Feng Shui, the entry is also called “the mouth of qi,” since it is where the energy enters your home. It is also what people see from the outside of your house, meaning that your main entryway represents your face to the world.

Follow these tips to make your entry has good Feng Shui:

  • Make sure to keep your entryway area free of clutter and clean, so that qi can easily enter your home and continue its flow. Remember to wash your door and sweep the entry hallway regularly.
  • You may want to include additional lighting to introduce the fire element and keep the area bright.
  • Finally, make sure that your main entrance is easy to find. Is it free of obstructions and clearly labelled? Delivery people and your friends should be able to find and access your front door easily.
SHOP: Add this 3-light ceiling light fixture to your entryway to make the area bright and stylish.


READ MORE: 33 Entryway Décor Ideas for a Stunning First Impression

2. Living Room

Living Room | Peachy Interiors

The living room is where you gather with your friends and family members, so the goal should be to create a sense of belonging and coziness:

  • Make sure to include comfortable seating options for everyone who lives in the home, as well as several potential guests who come for a visit.
  • Face sofas and chairs toward each other to encourage conversation and connection.
  • As much as possible, avoid having the backs of chairs facing the door.
  • Add vital life energy with a few healthy green plants in the room. Adding a wood element will also strengthen the areas of kindness and compassion.
SHOP: Don’t want the hassle of live plants? Add a wood element with this handmade abstract wooden sculpture.

3. Kitchen

Kitchen | Peachy Interiors

The kitchen represents your wellness and how you nourish yourself. Here is how you can improve your kitchen Feng Shui:

  • Make sure your fridge is tidy and clean. Get rid of any expired items and clear out anything that you don’t need anymore.
  • Wipe down the inside of the refrigerator with the intention to encourage wellness and create more space to nourish yourself with healthy food.
  • If remodelling your kitchen, aim to place the stove in a commanding position in relation to the kitchen entrance.

4. Bathroom

Bathroom | Peachy Interiors

Bathrooms include a lot of drains, which means they can lead to downward and depleting energy. To combat this, keep the toilet seat and the bathroom door closed as much as possible. Water stands for the flow of money and wealth in Feng Shui, and following this tip can help to prevent money from escaping your life.

5. Bedroom

Bedroom | Peachy Interiors

Your bedroom and bed represent you, so it is the most important area to organize according to Feng Shui guidelines:

Make sure your bed is placed in the commanding position.

  • In the next step, check the area under the bed. It is not recommended to store anything in this area, as you spend a lot of time sleeping and resting there, and anything under the bed could affect you energetically. If you do need to store items under your bed, make sure to only have bed-related, soft items like blankets and sheets.
  • It is a good idea to add earthly elements to your bedroom for increased support and nourishment. A good way to do this is to use a square earth-coloured rug under your bed.
SHOP: Place this jute hand-woven area rug in your bedroom to bring in some earth element.

Are you looking to learn more about what is Feng Shui, Feng Shui basics, and Feng Shui principles? Subscribe to our newsletter today to receive new Feng Shui articles directly to your inbox.


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