Feng Shui Guidelines
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Principles of Feng Shui

Feng Shui: Chinese art of arrangement and placement. Translates “Wind and Water.”

Chi: Life force, energy. Goal is to attract chi.

Sha: Negative or destructive energy. Goal is to avoid sha.

Yin/Yang: Complete balance of forces (male/female; light/dark, etc.). Goal is to create yin/yang balance. Spaces that are too yin are dark, damp, perhaps too close to graveyards, hospitals, prisons, slaughter houses, police stations. Too much yin is associated with lack of energy and prosperity. Spaces are that too yang are bright and noisy and may be too close to electrical transmitters, factories, and noxious fumes. Too much yang is associated with accidents and misfortune.

Yin/Yang Balance Table:


Remedies for too much yin


Remedies for too much yang

Dark colors

Orient main door so that it faces away from yin structure

Light colors

Paint doors in blue, or a yin color

Muted colors

Do not have windows facing yin structures

Bright colors

Select muted, cool colors in the interior

Curved lines

Paint the door bright red to signify strong, powerful yang energy

Straight lines

Avoid too much noise

Dim lighting

Make sure the porch is well lit

Bright lights

Introduce water features such as miniature fountains

Moist (basements)

Bring in yang sunshine by cutting back trees

Dry (attics)

Have paintings of lakes and rivers

Low (sofas)

Plant trees with luscious vegetation and grow a garden

High (breakfronts)

Maintain a good lawn

Soft cushions

Put garden lights around the house

Loud (rooms near busy roads, kitches)

Paint railings and gates black

Stair treads

Paint the fence a bright color

Wood benches


Empty walls

Have a red roof

Stair risers


Decreases (dimmer switches)

Introduce yang objects like boulders, pebbles, stones into the garden

Filled bookshelves


Hides (closets, recessed lighting)


Grows (plants)


Earthy (seated furniture)


Urbane (desks)


Still (chairs)


Warm (ovens, heating vents)


Odors (mold)


Active (fans, desk chairs with casters)




Fragrances (candles, cooking)


Five elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood: Goal is to determine if there is too much or too little of one element in a room and either reduce/augment.

Productive Cycle: Wood produces fire; Fire produces earth; Earth produces metal; Metal produces water; Water produces wood

Destructive cycle: Wood destroys earth; Earth destroys water; Water destroys fire; fire destroys metal; metal destroys wood

Elemental Table:











Patterns (e.g. tiles laid in chevron)



Incite, initiate, awaken


Earth tones


Clay, brick, mud, cement

Any object that adds stability and boundaries (e.g., low square coffee table)


Peaceful and secure


White; Metallic colors



Curves and circular objects, metallic fabric and paint,


Discernement, control, restrain



Mercurial; Waves


Glass, sinks, tubs, fountains, aquariums


Peaceful, content, open





Building materials and furniture


Transformation, growth, change

Table: Elemental Problems and Cures



Too much noise

Add water element

Need to transmit ideas

Add water

Need to relax

Add earth and water

Need to feel grounded

Add earth

Need to quell fears

Add earth

Too quiet and sluggish

Add fire

Need to feel inspired

Add fire

Need to think

Add fire, wood, and metal

Need to break our of your shell

Add wood

Need to feel happier

Add wood

Need to communicate

Add metal

Need to be cultured

Add metal

Color Table:


Use to add:

Avoid in:


Energy, Warmth, Warn, Attract attention

Mental institutions, contemplative areas like bedrooms and offices, sports facility lobbies, crowded public facilities.


Cheer. Hope. Vitality. Warm. Agitate.

Avoid in nightclubs, inside cupboards/drawers, bathrooms, rooms for meditation.


Cool. Serious. Assists meditation. Denotes mystery. Express uniqueness

Avoid when space needs to be cheerful, when space needs agitation, in cold spaces, dining areas, paths for general use.


Sustains conversation. Repels loneliness. Hinders concentration. Adds life.

Avoid when autocratic leadership is needed, when complete rest is needed, or when concentration is required.


Peaceful. Connects to nature. Nurtures. Rejuvenates. Promotes rest and calm.

Avoid when growth is undesirable (facilities treating cancer patients), inside moving vehicles


Purity. Cleanliness. Openness.

Avoid in cold climates, in theatres or movie interiors, in places where people don’t know each other, in student lounges, in funeral homes, waiting rooms, and children’s bedrooms.


Assert independence. Evoke mystery and intrigue. Express strength.

Radiate warmth.

Avoid in children’s spaces, healing spaces, service areas, reading areas and when forthright communication is needed.


Leadership. Power. Elevate self-esteem.

Avoid in egalitarian settings, in boiler rooms, war rooms or where egos can clash.

The Bagua Map: The idea that right and left have inherent meanings for human beings just as the left and right side of the brains control different functions. Each area can be activated.







Community and family-East

Health and Self--Center



Children and Descendents-West



Knowledge and Wisdom-Northeast

Career and Self-North


Helpful people and compassion-Northwest



Architectural Features:

Poison Arrows: “Killing breath” take the form of sharp objects which overwhelm energy.

Examples: sharp hills, towers, sharp edges of buildings and roof tops, electrical transmitters, signboards, windmills—any pointy object. Deflect poison arrows with with sending “sha” back or conceal with rows of trees, etc.

T-Junction: Having a house/building at end of t-junction is a severe “poison arrow.” Cures are to build a row of trees, reorient the main door, use a mirror or build a wall. The same goes for being at the apex of a Y-junction or V- junction.

Power corner of a room: Farthest from the entrance to the left.

Doors: Should open outward and lay flat against wall.

Entrances: Should be uncluttered and well kept. Access to front doors should be flat or sloping slightly upwards to allow chi to flow in. It is inauspicious to have the door open directly to a flight of stairs. Slow the chi down with plants.

Mirrors: Are generally good. Do not have mirrors directly across from a door or the chi will bounce out. If this is the case, install some plants. Do not have mirrors that are placed so tjat people’s heads are “cut off.”

Relationship to other buildings: Avoid being sandwiched in by larger buildings or being dwarfed by other buildings. And, avoid poison arrows from other structures. Planting trees may deflect some harsh points.      

Proportion: Extensions like dormers, chimneys, terraces, should balance with the overall structure.

Support: The backyard garden should be larger than the front.

Bright Hall: The front entrance (lawn) of a structure should have a clear, uncluttered area.

L-shaped houses: To make up for the lost space, the area may be activated by lights and plants.

Gardens: Keep them trimmed and clean. Do not overwhelm the space with pools and fountains or break the impact with plants and shrubs. 

Green dragon: The right side (when looking out) is the “green dragon” side and the left side is the “white tiger” side. The green dragon should be higher than the white tiger.

Placement of furniture: Keep your back to the wall. Use bookshelves or a screen if necessary. Do not offer seating opposite a doorway. Try to sit where you can see as much as possible. Do not have furniture too close together.

Ceilings: Avoid overhead beams or ceiling fans directly above a bed.

Windows: Avoid placing beds in front of windows and sitting with your back to them. Use blinds and curtains if necessary.

In offices: Use mirrors on desktops if your desk is placed so that your back is to the door. Do not sit with a window or open door behind you. Do not sit directly opposite doors. Place the desk in the power corner if possible (far left).


National Review of Medicine, Nov. 15, 2004, V. 1, No. 21

Practice Management: Invite Feng Shui into Your Waiting Room

Valmai Howe, the originator of the Power Feng Shui method, pays a visit.
Your patients are glad she dropped by

By Judy Dewalt

Physicians' waiting rooms in this country run the gamut. Some are as cosy as a well-worn glove while others have all the charm of a thousand government offices — fluorescent lights, tiled floor, chairs and tables that look as though the manufacturer had the monkey house at the local zoo in mind.

Your reception area is important. Patients spend a lot of time there and the right atmosphere can help instil a calm, open frame of mind that can ease even the most difficult consultation.

People respond in remarkably similar ways to different environments. Over 3,000 years ago, the Chinese developed guidelines intended to create harmonious living and working spaces. They called the art feng shui, which literally means wind and water. In recent years feng shui has blossomed in the west. Newspaper magnate Rupert Murdock, and hundreds of other business leaders, have fashioned their offices to take full advantage of the ancient principles.

Valmai Howe, author of Adventures of a Feng Shui Detective, and founder of the transformative Power Feng Shui method, says our houses and offices "not only affect us, they also reflect us." Here are some of her suggestions on how to optimize the soothing effect of your waiting room.

Floor and ceilings: "Materials should be similar to those in your living room. Smooth plaster ceilings, wooden floors with carpets."

Colours: "Soft earth tones. Avoid white and grey."

Lighting: "Ambient lighting. Table and standing lamps — absolutely no fluorescents."

• Furniture: "Comfort is the most important feature — sofas and easy chairs that you sink into. You want to create an atmosphere in which patients feel cared for the moment they come in the door. Avoid sharp corners, favour curves. Oval or round coffee and end tables put people at ease. Wood is the material of choice. Avoid metal. Make sure patients have a view of the door but don't place them directly in the path of doors if at all possible."

• Artwork: "The best artwork for a waiting room are soothing scenes of nature; wildflower meadows, tranquil gardens with fountains, vibrant forest pathways, inviting beach or lake scenes with quiet water, not crashing waves."

• Plants: "Soft, rounded leafy plants foster a peaceful atmosphere that, at the same time, is living and vibrant — health giving. Cactus and sharp- leafed plants have a place in this world — in the desert, not your waiting room. The combination of appropriate plants and soft earth-toned walls and decor provide a supportive and healthy environment which makes waiting time pass more comfortably."

Music: "Soft classical music promotes peace. Ideally use a CD player and choose your own soothing favourites. A classical FM radio station is acceptable as long as it offers music programming only."

• Water: "Water is a gentle healer. A discrete water cooler which dispenses spring water creates a sense of caring. Attractive pottery water dispensers are available at most hardware stores and through companies which provide water to offices."

• Mirrors: "Avoid mirrors. People don't want to see themselves when they may not be feeling their best."

• Magazines: "Avoid daily newspapers. Current news focuses on unpleasant topics that make people feel uneasy and fuel nervousness. Magazines which feature travel, food and spas provide health distractions and help allay anxiety. Patient-oriented educational material is ideal."

• Window treatments: "Avoid vertical venetian blinds in favour of natural materials such as soft fabric in cotton, wool or silk. Bamboo or rice paper is also suitable."

• Refuse containers: "Provide a non-metal wastepaper basket with a lid."

These changes will go a long way to providing patients with an atmosphere that promotes healthy, helpful doctor-patient exchanges.


In addition to the above see:

Too, L. (1999). Fundamental of feng shui. Boston, MA: Element Books Ltd.

Wydra, N. (1993). Feng shui: The book of Cures. Chicago, IL: McGraw-Hill.

Xing, W. (1998). The feng shui workbook. Boston, MA: Tuttle.

This website is maintained by Marceline Thompson Hayes, mhayes@astate.edu

This page last updated August 21, 2007

Arkansas State University