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Q: We recently had built-in shelving installed on both sides of our living room fireplace. It looked fantastic…until we actually put stuff on them. Any tips?
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Feng Shui Your Way to a Happy HomeTips on how to make your home feng shui-friendly. 


  

By successfully implementing feng shui (pronounced "fung-shway") in the home, enthusiasts believe that couples can harness a good flow of ch'i, or energy, and subsequent harmony and prosperity. Feng shui, meaning "wind and water," is based on the complex interaction between human beings and physical spaces and is drawn from a 4,000-year-old Chinese philosophy and practice.

Traditional practitioners always consult a Chinese compass before building or buying to help pinpoint not only favourable geography, but also the best placement for rooms and spaces within dwellings. For instance, a feng shui enthusiast would not buy a home where the front and back doors are directly aligned because it's believed that positive energy will flow through the front door and immediately exit out the back.

Feng shui consultant Christopher Cole begins each session by interviewing and studying his clients' personalities, professions and astrological charts, then offers custom solutions for paint colours, room and furniture positioning and even advice on which direction a client's home should face. "The best time to think about implementing feng shui is before you make any kind of change," says Cole. "By change, I mean anything from the big stuff--like buying a property or building a house--to smaller details, such as repainting rooms or deciding who gets which bedroom."

Two years ago, Lee Fairbanks and his wife, Patti, hired a feng shui consultant. The Hamilton, Ont.-based couple operate home-based businesses and were curious to find out how feng shui could help them. Lee says that he kept his expectations realistic and is happy with the results. "[One suggestion] our consultant offered is that we separate into two home offices and dramatically change the paint colour in each space," he says. "My bright new office keeps me focused and motivated." Overall, the couple says that the changes have left them feeling more "peaceful and serene."

If it's new paint colours you're after, Cole says that you should work with colours that benefit you and be careful of what you do with areas of your home that are associated with romance and relationship strength. In general, colours that improve an office space include navy blue (wisdom) and black (money). In the bedroom, many people use red (passion) as an accent colour to keep things hot. It's also critically important to ban work, clutter and electronics from the boudoir--according to feng shui, bedrooms are meant for rest and romance only.