Feng Shui for Everyday: Healing Space and Hiding Recycle Bins

Dear Karen, A family friend was recently sent home to "be made comfortable" after her fight with brain cancer. Her living area surrounds her with white walls, white blinds and nothing to stimulate her or make her feel calm and comfortable. Could you offer some suggestions? Thank you. — Jessica

Increasing the presence of the wood element in your friend’s surroundings would be beneficial in this situation. The wood element, native to health and family issues, is enhanced by hues of green and blue, anything made of wood, columnar and upright tree shapes, and all wallpapers and fabrics that are plant-based. Consider adding some beautiful, low maintenance plants such as orchids and jade plants that will bring healing energy into the space as well as purify the air. A miniature, potted tree placed in an auspicious sight line in the room would also be an excellent choice. Too little wood energy can create a feeling of hopelessness and overwhelm, definitely not helpful attributes for the body to heal.

If possible, put some positive imagery on the walls to encourage your friend to heal. If she is able, have her make a collage of her healing journey, ending up with a complete healing. Consciously infusing her environment with positive healing images sends messages to the subconscious to act accordingly and provides a positive focus on days when healing challenges abound.

Add some colorful pillows, sheets and blankets to detract from the sterile hospital bed feeling and create a more homey, nurturing space in which to recuperate. Anything in the blue-green range would support the healing energy of wood. Consider enhancing the bed with a luxurious quilt and hanging some fabric tapestries to make the space more cheerful. Softening the harsh feeling of the room with comforting textures will go a long way to help your friend to feel more comfortable.  

Finally, it may seem obvious, but check to be sure there is some access to direct sunlight in the space. Optimal health conditions are created when our bodies are able to maintain their natural, circadian cycles guided by the rising and setting of the sun.

Consciously bringing the metal element into your friend’s surroundings may also aid in her recovery, helping to stimulate joy and creativity, and possibly attract supportive guides and mentors. Metal’s color is white — already in plenty of abundance here — but consider adding metal sculptures, beautiful picture frames or crystals and gemstones, whose pale and luminous colors glisten in the sunlight and always lift our spirits. Circular and oval shapes, as well as pastels are also symbolic of the metal signature. Perhaps there is a lovely round chair or small side table that be brought into the room and placed on a round scatter rug.

I wish your friend a speedy recovery!

Front Entrance Trash and Recycle Bins Solutions

Dear Karen, What are some ways to improve the feng shui of a mudroom? In our house the mudroom is off the kitchen and we use the mudroom entrance as the home’s main entrance. I keep our mudroom swept and clutter-free, however, for convenience, we keep our main household trashcan and recycling bin in the mudroom (both emptied weekly), and you pass by these daily, coming and going from the house. Both bins have lids and are in good condition. It would be impractical keeping these bins anywhere else. The walls of the mudroom are painted a dark red, the floor is slate, and the mudroom is at the southeast corner of the house in our wealth quadrant. Any thoughts for working with what we have? Thank you. — Rose

From your helpful description I understand your mudroom is your main entrance, which is also the most convenient place for your trash bins, unfortunately. Because you are coming and going through this area on a daily basis, it has an effect on your chi and your perceptions as you begin and end your day. Our subconscious minds actively respond to cues in our spaces.

Redirect your eye away from the bins with a few simple adjustments. Try placing artwork on the walls and if you have a window(s), add a pretty window treatment in a charming fabric to bring your eye away from the bins. Distraction is a powerful decorating tool. Energy flows to where we focus and you do not want to be focusing on the trash to start and end your day. Your walls are right in tune to add some wealth-oriented colors in blue, purple, and red. Think about what represents wealth for you — perhaps a few beautiful, meaningful objects on a pretty shelf would work.

A wind chime placed in this room would be auspicious in activating the positive chi associated with the comings and goings of vehicles and the opening and closing of the garage and mudroom doors. Certainly enough breeze would be created to coax a few lovely sounds from the wind chime, as well as alert others in the house about activity going on here.

Lastly, consider having inexpensive cabinets built for the bins with a lid and sliding door for easy access. You can paint it the same color as the wall so it will disappear into the walls and not stand out, allowing the space to be more intentionally devoted to triggers cueing wealth for you, rather than trash.

This is a great question, as many homeowners today tend to enter their home through a practical mudroom, rather than the home’s front door. Pay attention to using your front door as often as possible, even if it’s just to open the door and step outside. This will encourage as much nourishing energy as possible into your home; the house’s primary entrance is considered the mouth of chi.  

Karen Feldman is a certified feng shui practitioner and interior designer, and the owner since 1994 of Urban Eden, a full-service holistic interior design firm in Providence, RI. Karen helps her residential, commercial and corporate clients to co-create spaces that are beautiful, functional and in alignment with the best interests of their well being along with the planet’s. Send your questions to Karen at urbaneden@cox.net or visit www.karenfeldmanurbaneden.com.