How to give your apartment better feng shui

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An ancient practice developed by the Chinese more than 3,000 years ago, feng shui aims to cultivate a relationship between you and your environment to achieve an improved life. Even without special feng shui tools, any Berkeley student has the potential to get good qi flowing. You (and your roommate) might be able to get a little metaphysical help for the upcoming school year by abiding to just a few rules regarding your future residence hall or apartment.

The primary function of feng shui, which literally means “wind-water,” is to create a harmony between people and the environment. More specifically, it works with qi, invisible forces or spiritual energies by which the universe and humanity are bounded. Depending on how your living area is laid out  or the position in which  your furniture is placed, good qi or bad qi can be present and influence the flow of energy that affects daily life.

Being your primary place of rest (hopefully), the bedroom is a good place to apply these principles. It is ideal to have your bed as far away as possible from the door while still being able to see the door from it. You should avoid putting your bed or facing your head under a window. Because there is no wall to block qi from entering and leaving through the window, sleep may be unrestful. Having your feet face the door during sleep is believed to drain your personal energy. This is called the “death position.” Traditionally, in Chinese culture, the deceased were carried out with their feet first. If you are unable to avoid this position, a footboard should act as a “buffer.” Footboards, though, are only acceptable in this situation; in others it will “block your life progress.” Headboards, on the other hand, especially wooden ones, are good feng shui as they can provide additional support.  

Bathrooms are usually not a good place for qi because it is similar to water —  it will leave through the pipes and drains. You want qi to fill your living area, not escape through these openings. Thus keeping the toilet lid closed and popping the bathtub drain closed can prevent this from happening, even though it may seem impractical. It is usually okay to keep your bathroom door open unless it’s directly across from the front door, near the kitchen or visible from your bed when you sleep.

In the kitchen, it’s not good to leave brooms or mops out and leave pantry doors open. Placing potted plants or herbs along the southern or eastern walls of the kitchen can help bring prosperity, and good qi can be attracted by copper pots and pans. Of course, keeping a clean and organized kitchen is a good idea.

Having a clean living space with the right arrangements should encourage the circulation of good qi. Whether feng shui is a pseudoscience or not, having a clean living space should make your residence hall or apartment feel more comfortable, nonetheless.

Contact Jennifer Wong at [email protected].