February 23, 2012
By Lynn Taylor
Is there any feng shui advantage to keeping bedroom doors (or other rooms) closed or open when not in use? I like to keep doors open but my husband likes doors closed. I appreciate any insight you can provide.
Open and Shut Case
Dear Open One,
Getting full closure on this topic may not be possible. Here's why: Feng shui roughly translates as the words "wind" and "water." These signify flow and containment, respectively. Some areas are governed by flow, such as transition areas and hallways, where the ideal flow is not too fast, not too slow, but just right.
Other areas — bedrooms especially — are energy containers where energy (chi) can collect and maintain a reserve for nourishment of its occupants. This is really the chief function of a bedroom, so keeping the door open or closed, depending upon individual circumstances, is very important for it to act as a vessel of good energy with as few compromises as possible.
On the plus side of keeping doors open during the day, fresh air, light and vibration are all food for the bedroom and it deserves an open aperture, such as a door, in addition to windows. So why not keep the door open? Privacy? Houseguests? Pesky or incontinent pets? Roaming 2-year olds? A room in cohousing shared with undesirables? Or very desirables? This is where flow comes in.
The location of the bedroom in the overall layout of the house is important. If it's at the front and facing a street or public area, for example, a sense of closure may be more important than if it were at the end of a hall. And if it were at the end of a hall that funneled too much energy directly towards the bedroom, keeping the door closed would help mitigate that excess.
If the bed is right inside the door within a few feet it may just be more comfortable to keep the door closed and maintain a more specific boundary. If no particular circumstances dictate, then deciding to close the door may up the cozy index and perhaps enhance a sense of intimacy. For general purposes closing the door will shrink the room a bit and an open door enlarges it to the senses.
As a control issue a closed door is an implicit "do not disturb or even enter without an invitation" statement. I certainly wouldn't breach a closed door, but to those with a bolder, more inquisitive nature it may be an irresistible invitation!
In a business environment it implies status with the one who enters not at the top of the important category. The occupant is entirely in control. Want to take a little nap? Close the door and you will still seem important.
Your bedroom however, should be a container for you, gathering and holding and condensing beneficial chi to envelope and embrace you, allowing you to truly rest. It should render you off the "to do" grid. The door is an important control valve that allows you to regulate if you are energized or depleted and your ability to flow with ease.
I own an L-shaped ranch. I was thinking of building up with a second floor, but maybe I should build wide to close in the "missing" piece of the house inside the L. Are there any general guidelines on this?
Yes there are. I wonder, though, without seeing your house and the property, why you want to go up instead of fill in the open space horizontally on the ground level? Certainly it would cost less! I advise you not to build up. The L-shape is already a bit of an imbalance and to add a second floor to that will compound the issue.
L and T-shaped homes can destroy family life. Everyone feels disconnected and separate. You could even use the word dis-membered. T-squares create somewhat of a truncated set of runways. People will not share, much less coalesce around plans, goals and larger visions. Everyone is at arm's length, creating a stilted lifestyle at home or at work.
On the outside, the form needs to be completed to create a square, rectangle or balanced overview shape, as balance is the master healer. You can do this in a variety of ways including planting trees, bushes or a garden, installing a gazebo, gateway, patio, pool or lighting and pathways, perhaps guided by solar light. Consider a strong and significantly sized sculpture or stonewall. The goal is to create parameters that suggest inclusion — indeed existence — of that missing area. Dignify, beautify and simply pay attention to these outdoor areas, and when possible, unify them thematically so they are easy to recognize and made to feel a part of the house.
Inside your house, identify the "missing" sectors of your home from the outside applying a bird's eye view of the bagua, and pay special attention to strengthening these areas in each individual room. Is your self-cultivation/knowledge area missing? Is love/partnerships a gaping hole? Find those sectors in each room of your home and enhance them energetically in ways that are very pleasing to you and amplify their positive aspects. While outdoor work might seem more important to balance missing sectors of an L-shaped home, indoor work is also an absolute must.
If space permits and you are lucky enough to be able to build and expand on the first level to complete the form, go for it!
Dear Feng Shui Expert,
I have an urgent question for you. The house I intend to buy has a major problem: the front door opens directly onto the staircase leading straight up. I've read that this means the house chi will always fall out the front door or zoom up the stairs. Would it be better to move and relocate the front door over a couple of meters? Or is it best just to use the side entrance and never to use the front door again? Or simply look for a better house? Thank you in advance for your advice.
If you didn't really love this house I don't think you would have written to me. This staircase situation is very common in New England homes, both Victorian style and Cape Cod styles.
Do not do any of those elaborate changes to try to mitigate whatever problems the staircase location may or may not present. If your principle concern is that energy will go up the stairs instead of circulate throughout the home, make the entrance very grounded and a space all its own by installing an umbrella stand or shelf abutting the hall, a mirror reflecting the larger rooms near the front door area, artwork that is perfectly arresting in its beauty or uniqueness or whatever is a strong attention-getting piece. Forego worries about practicality and place an oriental rug just inside the door. In short, make this tiny area just inside your front door compelling and the energy going up or going down that stair will diminish.
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Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.Martin Luther King Jr.