The term "feng shui" usually conjures up images of furniture arrangements, but you can apply these ancient Chinese spatial laws to other aspects of your home beyond optimizing room layouts. To learn more about how to bring the good vibes to our kitchen, we tapped certified feng shui expert Laura Cerrano for simple, actionable tips for making the most of an oft-used space that carries particular significance when it comes to feng shui.
"According to feng shui, the three areas of your home that relate to your well-being include the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen," Cerrano says. "They are also known as 'the energy triangle.'" Incorporating a few key principles into your kitchen can be especially beneficial to improving the overall well-being areas of your home. "The kitchen in its own respect relates to nourishing the body and serves as a space where families gather to share stories and meals, so making the time to establish a homey kitchen, no matter its size, can offer many benefits," Cerrano says.
Read on for Cerrano's foolproof feng shui kitchen tips, including the best colors for your cabinets, the reason you should always keep a bowl of fruit on your countertop, and the surprising home accessory that could double the energy of wealth in your space.
To bring the good vibes to your kitchen, particularly if it's a small one, "good lighting is vital," says Cerrano. "Avoid fluorescent light bulbs if you can, and experiment with different levels of lighting. Become present with this simple change, and sense the shift in energy each one of them brings."
"For a space to have a better quality of energy, at least two to three layers of lighting are recommended, which can include natural lighting from the windows," she explains. "The use of a mirror in a small kitchen could offer the opportunity to expand the spatial perspective and bring in more light."
When incorporating a mirror into your kitchen, placement is everything, according to Cerrano. "If you choose to hang or lean a mirror within the kitchen, be sure it reflects your entire head, shoulders, and chest," she says. "This is called, 'capturing your aura,' or in other words, it's a metaphor of seeing yourself, others, and life with clarity."
Respect Your Stove
"This suggestion is from the Black Sect Esoteric Buddhism School, developed by professor Thomas Lin Yun," explains Cerrano. "He transformed ancient Buddhism and Chinese philosophies to be adapted to the modern life and to address modern issues and challenges."
To determine whether or not you're giving this key kitchen appliance its due, Cerrano suggests keeping these key questions in mind:
1. Is it working properly?
2. Is it clean?
3. Do you use it to cook, or is it just sitting there?
4. If you do cook, how often do you alternate the burners you use?
"If you answered no to having a clean stove, no to it properly working, no to cooking, and no to alternating the burners, you may want to rethink how you treat your stove," says Cerrano. "Why? In BTB feng shui, it's believed that all things, including inanimate objects and appliances, have a spirit and tell a story. The stove is associated with wealth (even if it's not in the wealth life section of your home)."
So what does it mean if you answered no to any of the above questions about your stove? "When it's not properly working, it's said to represent 'lack' and how that could be translated is different for each person," she explains. "When you're not alternating the use of your stove's burners, it's said that you could be subconsciously choosing to not allow possible new opportunities into your life. By not keeping your stove clean, it's said you are not honoring wealth (however you wish to define wealth). And if you do not use the stove at all, it's said wealth is not being 'ignited' and promotes more stillness."
What can you do to ensure you're respecting your stove? "If anything, at least once a year, give your stove a good cleaning, and use it from time to time," Cerrano says. "Remember to alternate the burners, and if you can't use all of them, at least go back and forth between two of them."
If you want to take it to the next level, Cerrano has a clever suggestion for ensuring your stove plays a central role in your kitchen's feng shui. "You could also consider placing a mirror behind the stove," she says. "In essence, the mirror's purpose would be to 'double' the energy of wealth by reflecting the stove burners. Not only that, but it could also help expand the spatial feeling of a small kitchen."
"Adding a mirror behind your stove also comes in handy if the cook is arranged in an un-commanding position, meaning you cant see who is approaching you from behind," she says. "The mirror allows you to see behind you, thus reestablishing a command position."
Keep Color in Mind
Beyond layout and appliance arrangement, color can have a significant impact on your kitchen's feng shui, according to Cerrano. To make the most of a smaller kitchen, "keep the wall and cabinet colors light," she says. "Lighter colors help expand small rooms."
If you're looking for impactful color suggestions, Cerrano has you covered. "To calm the overall atmosphere of a kitchen, whites, greens, yellows, sky blues, earthy colors, or even soft grays" are great choices, she suggests. Keep in mind, "you do not need to paint the entire kitchen all of these colors. You can choose just one color or a two-color combination. You could have an accent wall or colors could be within the countertop, cabinets, or the backsplash behind the stove."
Despite all the benefits of color, don't feel limited by painted cabinet options. There are feng shui benefits to other cabinetry materials as well. "Frosted or half glass kitchen cabinet doors can create 'breathable' focal points so everything is not completely solid and closed in," Cerrano says. "If you use glass cabinet doors, you need to really keep the inside of that space organized."
Looking for another way to incorporate color into your kitchen? "Displaying a bowl of fruit is always a great go-to feng shui cure for the kitchen," Cerrano says. "Fruit signifies abundance for health and wealth, while also providing key nutrients for you to eat. If you can't always fill your bowl with fresh fruits, the next best option is to use artificial ones."
Art is another easy way to incorporate color into your space. "Be mindful of the type of artwork you choose to display within your kitchen," Cerrano says. "Select artwork that helps stimulate a healthy appetite or even promotes the concept of gathering or cooking in general."
"The subject matter could revolve around the imagery of food itself, an indoor or outdoor cafe-diner scenery, or any other type of imagery you wish to use within your kitchen," she says. "It could be realistically rendered, abstract, cartoony, or somewhere in between. Connect with artwork that suits the personality of both you and your kitchen."
If you're familiar with the concept of feng shui, then you probably know an organized kitchen is a given. "Keep your kitchen countertops clear of clutter," Cerrano says. "Be sure your cabinets and drawers are dedicated to storing only what is really needed in the kitchen."
Go beyond clearing off your countertops and really evaluate the contents of your cabinets and drawers. "Be practical with this feng shui suggestion," Cerrano says. "Know how many people live in your apartment or home and that will indicate how many dishes, forks, and cups you really need."
"If it's just you and one other person, you probably don't need fifteen dishes, mugs, or water glasses," she says. "If you entertain often, perhaps dedicate one cabinet or the pantry closet (if you have one) to store those extra dishes and mugs for special occasions."