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With so many people working from home now it’s imperative to make sure your space is optimized for productivity.  One of the best ways to do this is to create a Feng Shui office space.

What is Feng Shui?

Feng shui,” meaning “wind-water” when translated from Chinese, refers to the practice of manipulating energies to achieve internal and external balance. Feng shui is based on a series of calculations that are expressed through architecture, home design, color theory, etc. The practice encourages those who apply it to focus on orienting themselves and their environment in a way that best strengthens their “qi.” Qi (or “chi”) refers to the “vital life force” of a person or place “that makes up and binds together all things in the universe.”

Goals of Feng Shui in Design

In her article “7 Simple Ways to Use Feng Shui in Your Home” for Architectural Digest, writer Zoe Sessums explains that the goal of feng shui is to “invite positive chi into your home so that your life feels both energized and balanced.” These two elements are key to establishing healthy work-from-home practices. The goal of feng shui design is to prioritize a clean space, maintain an unobstructed entryway. It is also about adding balance through color and texture.

Lining Up the Layout

The first step in reorienting your office through feng shui is to alter the placement of large furniture. This can be achieved by assigning the “commanding position” to your desk.  The commanding position refers to the central position of the most significant piece of furniture in a room. In an article for Real Simple, feng shui expert Ashley Cantley explains that “the desk should face where you can see who is coming and going” as this places you in “’a power position.’” However, if your office space requires a different orientation, Cantley offers an alternate solution. “Hang a mirror in front of your workspace so you can see who is entering and exiting,” says Cantley. This placement allows you to best command your energy when interacting with the space.

Consider an l-shaped desk if you plan to share work surfaces with your partner, as it generally offers more space. All Modern’s Copenhagen L-Shape Desk offers an oak frame with spindly legs and white cubby system. The perfect solution for a contemporary Scandi-inspired worker. Place a double-duty mirror, such as West Elm’s Decorated Brass Circle Shelf Mirror, above your desk if it must face a wall.

Cutting Out Clutter

According to Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D., in her article “Why Mess Causes Stress” for Psychology Today, clutter “bombards our senses with excessive stimuli” and “draws our attention away from what our focus should be on.” It also “signals to our brains that our work is never done,” and “prevents us from locating what we need quickly.” Dr. Carter further explains that clutter mentally and physically closes a person in. She states, “It invades the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.”

Mind Body Green’s Feng Shui Consultant Marianne Gordon adds that “objects should be used, or their energy becomes unnecessary weight on your energy.” Gordon warns against keeping items “just in case,” especially in a utilitarian environment that should focus on productivity and useful engagement; “Belongings should be in use, or they should not be in your home,” notes Gordon. Remove unused items from your desk or workspace. Place these items in a filing cabinet, or in a drawer, away from view to avoid distraction. Consider one of the desktop organizers most highly rated by The Balance, including Bisgo’s Emerald Green Stockholm Desk Organizer from the Container Store or Sorbus’ Acrylic Desk Set, available on Amazon.

Mixing Materials

The five elements of feng shui (wood, earth, metal, water, and fire) are key to realizing balanced design in any space.  This is especially important in a shared office, where you need both focus and patience. According to Open Spaces Feng Shui, each element is associated with a separate goal or emotion, with wood representing “growth and renewal,” fire representing “your inner light,” earth representing “stability and nourishment,” metal representing “focus” and water representing “your ability to communicate.” Each element can be expressed through different décor items, from living plants to furniture to window dressings. Applying principles of feng shui color theory will complete the story.

To enhance the harmony of the space, engage in the five elements of feng shui. You can do this through a variety of textures and materials. Consider essential oils and natural candles to bring in fire and water. Throw in a few vertically growing plants, ideally in metal or wooden planters, for the earth element. You can also include triangular shaped elements for fire and square elements for earth.

As you design your office space, you might want to focus more significantly on the water element of feng shui. It can enhance communication and expand the mind creatively.

Choosing a Feng Shui Color Scheme

In her article for Real Simple, interiors writer Amanda explains, “the colors you choose should really depend on what kind of work you are doing.” You’ll want to incorporate the colors associated with feng shui that appeal to your work, personality, or your ideal environment.  Black (and other deep colors) and clear objects will reflect the water element of feng shui. White elements will reflect the metal element. Shades of brown and yellow will reflect earth. Red will reflect fire. And shades of green will reflect wood.

Regardless of your design aesthetic or career goals, applying the principles of Feng Shui to your home office will not only look more aesthetically pleasing, but it will also allow you to become significantly more productive.