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Big things might come in small packages, but bringing feng shui into a teeny, tiny space can feel like a task of Herculean proportions. At its core, the goal of feng shui is about harmonizing your life with the geophysical energies in the environment such as Earth’s magnetic field, the vibrational energies of elements, and cosmological influence of time.
The ancient Chinese practice dates back so far, there are varying estimates about how many thousands of years old it is. According to Yap Hwee Boon, a conferred master of traditional Chinese feng shui better known as Master Boon, the concept dates back to 5000 B.C. “Later, more foundation principles were added and eventually sophisticated systems were developed over millennia to become what is now known by the initiated as traditional Chinese feng shui,” she adds, noting that western feng shui burst onto the scene a few decades ago.
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Feng shui can be a powerful tool for making sure a space feels balanced, which can make you feel comfortable at home. Boon says it isn’t so much about strategically placing that one plant, but it is important in any spaces where you live and work — and the bedroom is no exception. “[The bedroom is] unique because it is the one place where we spend the most prolonged time in the one spot sleeping,” she explains. “Whatever energy affects our bedroom will have a significant consequence on our wellbeing.”
So how do you get the atmosphere just right in your small bedroom? Or rather, what shouldn’t you do if you want to achieve exceptional chi, or energy, in your personal space? I tapped Boon and two other feng shui pros to share what you should never do in your petite place, and what to do instead.
Using bright, bold colors.
While I love a pop of pigment as much as the next design enthusiast, it’s not exactly the best choice for your bedroom. “Feng shui is all about creating a space that is an affirmation for the life you desire,” feng shui consultant Kristina Hollinger shares. “You want to feel good in your space; when you feel good, you become a magnet for what you desire.” While highlighter-bright colors may certainly bring a smile to your face, she says that earthy tones will help keep you grounded and promote rest. Her top picks include soft hues like beige and dusty pink.
Author, designer, and feng shui practitioner Alejandra Brady agrees, noting earthy tones should be paired with tactile textures and a hint of lavender spray. “The vibe I am always striving to create in a bedroom, especially a principal bedroom, is one of calm and peaceful energy that appeals to as many of our senses as possible,” she says.
Ever since remote working became more of the norm, many people are completing that nine-to-five grind at home — be it in their designated home office or from the comfort of their couches. But your bedroom? According to Brady, that’s a hard pass from a feng shui standpoint.
“You want to be able to ‘turn off’ at night and if your room is filled with electronics and items that remind you of work or even working out, it may be harder for you to get the rest you need,” she shares.
If square footage is already at a premium, it may be tricky to move your office to another room. Instead, Brady recommends adding a partition to separate your personal and professional quarters.
Cramming your bed into a small corner.
Don’t worry, even knowledgeable experts have made some faux pas mistakes in their day. Up until Hollinger was in her twenties, she would push her bed right up against the wall to make the most of her bedroom’s limited footprint. Little did she know, one of the biggest feng shui principles is to place your bed in a command position, which means it should be accessible from both sides.
“Pushing a bed against the wall will block the flow of chi, leaving you feeling less refreshed and energized. It could also impact your relationships,” Hollinger says. “The partner sleeping against the wall could feel trapped or less supported in the relationship. A bed in the command position will support your personal energy and your relationships!”
Sure, nobody wants to bring bad energy into your bedroom; however, you might be making a big faux pas without even realizing it. Simple tweaks like placing a mirror in front of your bed or sleeping under ceilings with beams can bring forth harmful energies. (Boon adds that water features are a big no in the boudoir.)
“Real feng shui requires meticulous calculation of the energies in the bedroom,” Boon says. “[You] should ensure your bedroom has favorable feng shui energies that support you in a positive way.”
So, how can you tell if an accent brings that bad energy? While Boon recommends consulting a professional, a good place to start might be determining if a piece of decor could harm you in some way. If you’re nervous of that angular nightstand scratching you or art hung over your bed bopping you on the head should it fall, it’s in your best interest to bid those touches adieu.
Shoving items underneath your bed.
When you have so much stuff yet and little storage space, it’s easy to want to throw everything under your bed and call it a day. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, not necessarily in the feng shui world. “If possible, have your bed be the main item in the bedroom and try to have nothing underneath the bed, so that energy can circulate during the night,” Brady recommends.
Keeping items that no longer serve you.
Speaking of your stuff, Brady says clutter is a big no-no in the feng shui world. “The main focus should be your bed, a soft rug underfoot, matching nightstands, and lamps, if possible,” she says. Decluttering is a small bedroom’s best friend because it helps pave the way for the good vibes to come in. But if you’re looking for a place to start, get rid of anything that is past its prime. “Expired personal products and medications, items from exes, stained or ripped sheets, litter boxes, and books with violent titles or content bring angry and intense energy to the space,” she explains.