You might have noticed that we're big fans of feng shui here at MyDomaine. From selecting houseplants that usher in good luck and fortune to selecting artwork that inspires gathering with loved ones over a meal, we're constantly on the lookout for ways to bring the good vibes home using this ancient Chinese art. After all, if a few small design tweaks can boost your productivity or improve your quality of sleep, why wouldn't you decorate your home accordingly?
Feng shui is a Chinese practice of trying to create balance with the natural world in our interior spaces. It uses energy forces to create harmony between an individual and their environment.
To learn more about making the most of the space that's arguably the most utilized in any home (aka the living room), we tapped expert Laura Cerrano. "Depending on the layout of your home or apartment, the living room tends to be one of the first rooms that greets you upon entering," she explains. "This means that the presentation of your living room sets a certain feeling, emotion, mindset, and energetic frequency before you venture into the rest of your home."
Meet the Expert
Laura Cerrano is a Certified Feng Shui Expert and co-founder of Feng Shui Manhattan.
Read on for Cerrano's fail-safe feng shui living room tips, including the best placement for your couch and the one accessory every living room should have, no matter how small it is.
Before you start buying (or even moving) furniture, Cerrano advises that you first assess how you use your living room. To get the ball rolling, she suggests asking, "What activities will be taking place in the living room? Is it mainly used for enjoying leisurely activities, entertaining, working, or eating meals? Will guests use the space to sleep over? Or all of the above?"
"Understanding the function of the room will indicate what type of furniture (and how many pieces of furniture) you really need," says Cerrano. "Then you can decide on the best arrangement for the overall room."
To optimize feng shui, it's important to make sure the flow of movement to and around the furniture is accessible and unobstructed. Consider this before splurging on an expensive side table.
Identify a Commanding Position
No matter the function of the space, no living room is complete without a couch—and, as it turns out, its placement can have a big impact. "As with any room you are applying feng shui to, it's best to establish a 'commanding position,'" Cerrano explains. "In short, this means the occupants sitting on the couch in the living room have a clear vantage point of who is entering at all times."
Place Your TV Mindfully
After you select a commanding position for your couch, you'll probably want to know where to place your television. "Most TVs these days are so slim that you could mount it on the wall, which helps keep a more sleek and neat presentation," says Cerrano. When it comes to the question of whether or not you should you hang your television over your fireplace, Cerrano advises against it, if possible. "If that's the only location in the living room to place it, go for it," she says. "But if your intention is to create a space for greater connection and conversation with family, allowing the fireplace to be the main focal point is a much better option."
"Depending on which method of feng shui you are using, the best colors for your living room could be determined by the compass direction, the five elements, or the Bagua map method," says Cerrano. "Let's say your living room faces south. In general, the suggested accent colors are within the warm scope of options: Reds, red-oranges, yellows, or even pinks and purples."
Although Cerrano advises embracing color, she also cautions against using too much of it. "You don't need to paint your entire room one of these colors," she explains. You'll still reap all the benefits of a hue if you incorporate it into your space sparingly. "You could have a neutral wall color (creme or beige) and accent your living room with noticeably warm colors through light sources, artwork, an area rug, or accent pillows," she suggests.
Choose Accessories Thoughtfully
When it comes to accessorizing your living room, you want to curate a collection of items that are meaningful to you, according to Cerrano. "Make sure what you choose to put out on display conveys happy 'energy anchors,'" she recommends. "When you see these items, you should feel a smile in your heart or perhaps a sense of accomplishment, curiosity, or adventure," she explains. "On a conscious and subconscious level, our environment is always influencing us."
Hang a Mirror (Strategically)
For a particularly small living room, Cerrano recommends hanging a mirror—but placement is everything. "Mirrors have the capability to 'expand a room' by making it look and feel bigger," she explains. "Just be mindful of what the mirror is reflecting, as it doubles the energy of whatever it sees," she cautions. You should also "select a mirror size that allows you to see your entire head, shoulders, and chest line to ensure you 'capture your aura,'" according to Cerrano.
Liven Things Up
Plants play an important role in curating good feng shui in any living room because they "add 'life force energy' to the space," according to Cerrano. "They can also help to purify the air and give the room a splash of unique texture with the leafy patterns," she says. Common plants with positive vibes "include English ivy, peace lily, rubber tree, bamboo, succulents and the snake plant."
"One of the easiest feng shui principles to remember is to not let clutter accumulate in your living room or in any room for that matter," says Cerrano. "Some may debate this and say it doesn't matter, and yet science has proven the negative mental and physical effect excess clutter has on the human mind and body," she elaborates. "Whatever you do not need, use, or love, let it go."
Let There Be Light
Stimulate bright, uplifting energy with natural light and layered lighting. Energy efficient lightbulbs mimic natural light, and they'll last longer. Light is also associated with the fire element; one of five elements that should be represented in the room for harmony and balance. To improve feng shui in the living room, try to illuminate dark corners and shadows.
If feng shui is all about harmony, consider balancing décor materials so that one single material doesn't overpower everything else in the room. This might mean opting for a variety of textures and finishes. For example, if you've got a lot of metal going on in your living room, soften it up with fluffy pillows and throws, and a house plant or two.
And now, definitive proof that modern living rooms are warm and inviting.