Did you know that, according to feng shui design principles, choosing the best paint color for a room in your home depends on what direction that room faces? We didn't either, that is until we spoke with feng shui expert Robert Brown, MD, author of Toxic Home/Conscious Home. Having studied mindfulness at home at length and in a holistic way, Brown knows exactly how to apply feng shui principles to achieve a healthy and happy home.
"Feng shui emphasizes the harmony with one's internal and external environment and the world at large," Brown explains. "Creating this harmony is particularly important when assessing the color of one’s home office, the place in the home where wealth and abundance are of paramount importance." So how exactly should you choose the ideal office colors, according to feng shui? Brown recommends answering one simple question: Which cardinal direction does your home office face?
According to feng shui, a room's ideal color should align with the cardinal direction it faces. To find it, "Stand in the center of your home and with the aid of a compass, find the direction of your home office," Brown explains. Then, choose colors harmonious (meaning a balance between earth, water, fire, and metal elements) with that direction.
Ready to find the paint color for your workspace that will bring you productivity and prosperity? Scroll down for Brown's feng shui tips for your ideal office colors, according to whether your office faces North, South, East, West, and the directions in between.
If Your Office Faces North
If your office faces north, your room is associated with the water element according to feng shui principles, so any and all aquatic shades are your best option. "Consider pale shades of blue and green to accent the water element," says Brown.
Accent your office with bolder shades of blue or green.
If Your Office Faces South
"Choose reds, oranges, and yellows," suggests Brown. "These colors represent the energy associated with the fire element."
Avoid This If Your Office Faces South
For southern-facing offices, Brown also recommends avoiding any blue shade in the room. "The water element will dampen the energy inherent in the fire position of your home."
If Your Office Faces East (or Southeast)
The ideal colors for an east or southeast-facing room are browns, tans, and greens. "These color choices represent the stability of the wood element."
Avoid This If Your Office Faces East (or Southeast)
"Do not place reds, oranges, or bright yellow colors in east or southeast facing rooms, since they will over energize the room and burn up the stabilizing energy provided by the wood element," advises Brown.
If Your Office Faces West (or Northwest)
"West and northwest[-facing] rooms are energized by the metal element," explains the feng shui expert. "These rooms should be white or gray."
Add This to Western-facing Offices
Brown also recommends adding metallic accents throughout the room to enhance prosperity.
If Your Office Faces Southwest (or Northeast)
Southwest- and northeast-facing rooms accentuate the earth element. "These rooms should be light yellow, light brown, or shades of beige and tan," explains Brown. In other words, earthy tones are your best options for this type of home office.
Adding color to your home office emphasizes feng shui's symbolism. For example, the color green promotes growth, new beginnings, a through line to nature.
In feng shui, shades of purple are most associated with the fire element. This intense shade represents power and mystery, though softer shades of lavender promote calm, imagination, and clarity.
Considering Earthy Tones
Browns, tans, and other natural colors can help ground an office space, as well as facilitate an inviting atmosphere.
Blue is a fluid color associated with the water element and can offer feelings of healing and safety.
Opting for White
In feng shui, the color white is a high energy color that symbolize possibilities, focus, and cleanliness. Too much white may be unsettling, so feng shui experts recommend using white as an accent color in your home office.
Emphasize Yang Energy
For home offices in particular, Brown recommends emphasizing yang energy, meaning more energetic and proactive elements, over yin, which is known to be softer and more passive. "Home offices should be more yang energy than yin energy," explains Brown to conclude. Think: Bright, spacious, angular lines.
Think Bright and Light
According to Brown, "Make sure there is bright lighting suitable for detailed work, and hang lively and inspiring artwork on the walls."
"Placing metal objects, such as a jar of coins in the west or northwest corner of the room, will also enhance prosperity,” says Brown.
Next up: A feng shui expert would never lay out their home office this way.