Could an ancient practice make us happier and more successful at home?
Most of us don’t reference 5,000 year old philosophy when we think about the current state of our kitchen, however perhaps we should. Maybe there’s a reason so many famous people spend so much money for help with this design theory.
I think you will find that there are some key principles in Feng Shui that make too much sense to dismiss-not only when designing our kitchen, but the entire home.
So, without getting into a huge lesson, let’s talk about what Feng Shui IS and what it is NOT.
Feng Shui meaning “wind and water” is the art of placing not only objects in the home such as our furniture, mirrors and other décor, but (if available for us to control) the home itself. The rooms, windows, cabinets, flooring, and so on. Feng Shui masters will tell you that everything in the home has an imprint and impact on our flow or “Chi” creating a negative or positive effect on our lives. They suggest that we are more geared toward overall prosperity when our home is in tip top shape… inside and out.
Feng Shui is NOT a superstitious belief insinuating that creating specific areas or using certain colors/items in the home will bring money or instant good luck. It doesn’t say that you’ll have bad juju if you place your bed under a window or your stove in the wrong region (although there are suggestions with this).
Again, to be very simplistic- Feng Shui believes in keeping things fresh, clean and in working order while incorporating certain colors, elements (water, fire, wood, etc.) as well as a guided placement of items to make the home feel free-flowing, spacious and most importantly… GOOD. Feng Shui teaches us that old items (ie: cabinets, counters, fixtures) cause a “prosperity block” to the natural flow or energy movement in the home.
Of course I’m going to relate this to kitchen design and rightfully so. Chinese Feng Shui gurus feel (like most of us) that the kitchen the HEART of the home and the cook’s “command center.” We nourish our bodies and gather with our friends and family in the kitchen. What’s more important than nutritionally sustaining ourselves and spending time with loved ones?
Forget about philosophy for a moment and think about how much we are effected by our environment. How do you feel mentally and emotionally in a new bright space (kitchen) with beautiful colors, and pleasant lighting? How does that change your mood? I’m sure you would agree with me that certain spaces give you instant energy, an uplifting happy vibe and maybe even inspiration.
What about a dark, dank, old kitchen? I often feel heavy and sleepy when I’m in a stagnant space. Sometimes even agitated like I can’t work freely. I certainly don’t want to cook!
Is your kitchen showing her age?
Maybe you are good about keeping your kitchen clean and clutter free, but how old is it? Are your cabinets up to date and in perfect working order? Do you like the color of them? Is EVERYTHING working efficiently throughout the kitchen? Do you know that broken fixers, chipped countertops, malfunctioning drawers, outdated or faded colors, bad lighting, poor storage (crowding) are all big no-no’s in Feng Shui design. NO FLOW.
And let me just add…the kitchen is not the place for sentimentality or hoarding. Take a picture of your old kitchen with grandma’s chipped cooking jar, frame it and keep it moving. Holding on to old items is not good for the flow of a space.
The elements in the kitchen and the current trends
The wonderful thing about a kitchen is the built in natural elements – Water, fire and stone (generally on countertops). This already attributes to overall balance and good flow making the kitchen the perfect place to be NEUTRAL. This is great news for my clients that love white, grey, black and earth tones in the kitchen.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t add color!
A hint of red is fiery and passionate (try a red front door for money flow encouragement). Yellow is bright and connected to digestion making it a perfect pop in the kitchen. White represents purity and of course feels fresh and clean.
Green is for growth and also feels fresh and personally makes me think of herbs. Speaking of which, a small herb garden adds great vibes to a kitchen. A new kitchen! Popular grey is earthy and grounding and fantastic for wall color or cabinets.
Lights! Updating lighting is vital. We all know how we feel when exposed to fluorescent lighting for extended periods of time. Eww. Recessed lights are cost effective and happier on our eyes (and mood). Dimmers and under cabinet lighting enhance a beautiful space as well.
Bringing it home
I could talk on and on but I don’t want to bore you. My intention is to give you an interesting spin on why remodeling your kitchen it not only functional, but good for your health. I have been incorporating the art of placement since I was a little girl and I suppose that’s why I design now. I firmly believe that we are happier and function better when everything in our space is working properly, clean and deliberately placed with our own special touches and colors.
The kitchen is incredibly important and should reflect how we feel inside (as should the entire home) so I would suggest starting there if your home feels “out of whack.”
When remodeling or re-decorating it’s very important to “feel” what will work for you. Doing that actually puts you in the Feng Shui mind set. It’s about feeling and flow. Hire a designer- maybe someone that will consider the big picture of placement and design (hint-hint) and this will take a lot of the burden off of you. If you’re really interested in a strict Feng Shui design there are experts that can help with everything from floors to appliance selection.
In closing, have fun and research lots of different ideas/philosophies if you want and know that you’re not just increasing your home’s value- your valuing yourself, your family and the time you spend together. Be prosperous!