Feng shui: How to make your home calmer
During the pandemic, a quick flick through the papers and just five minutes on social media will leave you feeling anxious and stressed. So how do we calm ourselves down and feel relaxed in our homes amongst all this chaos? Feng shui could be exactly what you need. Express.co.uk chatted to Kelly Bassett, the Interior Warrior (@ktheinteriorwarrior) to find out how to use Feng Shui to transform our homes into a peaceful sanctuary.
Kelly said: “During these unprecedented times we have found ourselves bound to our home more than we could ever have imagined.
“Now more than ever, we need a sanctuary to retreat into and areas to find calm.
“Our kitchen tables have become places to work, homeschool, prepare meals, and dine from, and our living spaces are now playrooms, places to exercise, and places to have virtual meetings with friends.
“Feng Shiu is a ritual that will help us turn our homes into a place of sanctuary.
“There is a cohesive connection between your home and your wellbeing.
“Your home is a positive reflection of your soul, and it enables you to function in life.
“It is refreshing to see that we are no longer choosing interior styles that are purely based on trends.
“We are looking for something to nurture us and trying out designs and styles that can enhance our lifestyle, the way we live, our vitality and wellbeing, and our environment.
“We are much more aware of where things are being produced, how things are being made, and striving for much more ecological and sustainable interiors.”
So what actually is Feng Shui, and how do we use Feng Shui to change the way our homes make us feel?
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What is Feng Shui?
Kelly said: “Feng Shui seeks to promote a belief that by arranging everything carefully we can affect the energy, also known as qi.
“By practising the customer, we can improve the energy flow through our homes and lives.
“The phrase Feng Shui translates to “wind and water”, which connects to the idea that the wind carries the qi- the energy of life.
How to make your home calmer
Close your eyes
Rather than meticulously looking at your furniture and throwing away everything you don’t like, employ Feng Shui to see where the problems lie.
Kelly said: “A great way to check on the energy in your home is to close your eyes, and image how water would flow through the building.
“Anything that wouldn’t get wet by the metaphorical water is a problem, as it is hidden from the qi. Blocked qi is the heart of the problem.”
Whether you live in a cramped studio flat or a palace, you will probably benefit from decluttering.
Kelly said: “Clear up the clutter to allow energy to flow through your home.
“It is really hard to let go of things, so decluttering can be very emotional.
“However, allowing yourself to get rid of things can be an emotional release as much as it is a physical one.
“Decluttering can really help to keep the home tidier, making you feel less anxious and stopping you from dreading cleaning.
“You will be able to find things more easily, and pay bills on time due to not having a stack of unread mail.
“De-cluttering can really draw you to being organised and feeling a lot more productive.”
She said: “Work through your home room by room, starting at the entrance.
“Your entrance hall is a huge energy area, and you want to make it feel as welcoming as possible.
“Put items that you don’t use in a box, and in six months’ time if you have not taken them out of the box you can let them go.
Take every single item out of the room and clean it.
“Clean the floors, the skirting boards, and wipe down all of the units.
“You are combining Feng Shui with a good old Spring clean.
“Open the windows, play your favourite music, and deep clean using natural products or make your own.
“Once the room is clean from top to bottom, start adding things back in. Only put back items that you use and need.
“Don’t neglect your wardrobe, either! Use boxes to organise things, label them, and fold items into drawers so that you can find them easily.”
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Once everything is in place, it’s time to start cleansing the room of bad energy.
Kelly explained: “I always start by burning dried sage in my home, which is also known as smudging.
“It is an effective way to cleanse the space from any impurities and negative energy, whilst also helping to neutralise dust and pollution.
“My clients love this part, as it is a great way to clear the air and bring in something new.
“I recommend using it to cleanse a house you have just moved into, your home before and after you have had guests, after an argument, or if someone in the home has been ill.”
Kelly talked us through smudging, step by step.
Light the end of a sage bundle with a match, once alight blow out the flame.
The tips of the leaves should smolder slowly, releasing a very faint smoke.
Direct the sage bundle around the whole of your room, reaching into the corners.
Have a ceramic bowl on hand to catch any ash, should it fall.
Allow the incense to linger in the room before moving on to the next.
Whilst cleansing the room with the sage you can set an intention.
It can be something like ‘I intend to create a happy and loving home’, ‘I intend to create a calm and happy space’, ‘I intend to create a fun home’, or ‘I intend to sleep well in this room’.
When you have finished with your rooms, place the end of the sage bundle in some sand or in some water to be sure that it has extinguished fully.
Allow the air to settle and then either light your candle or put on your diffuser.
Kelly said: “Scent is such a powerful thing, as it can transport you to a memory instantly.
“Many of us have a memory of somebody’s house by how it smells. A scent can really transform a home, making it feel warm and welcoming.
“I like to change the scent frequently depending on how I feel, which area of the house I am in, and the time of year.
“When choosing your scent, always think about how you would like to feel and what type of ambience you are looking to create within the space.
“Look for natural waxes with essential oil’s in them because they are definitely a natural mood boost.
“Brands I love are Seven-Seventeen, Neom Organics, and Self Care Co.”
You might not have your own garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some space from greenery indoors.
Kelly said: “We are not all lucky enough to have outside space, or be able to visit green spaces regularly.
“That’s why plants, flowers, and foliage are the perfect addition to our homes.
“There has been a huge trend for indoor plants over the last few years.
“On top of this, there is scientific evidence proving that indoor plants can purify the air, boost our mental focus, and improve our health and wellbeing. What is there not to love?
Kelly suggested four plants that will improve the Feng Shui in your homes.
The Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Delciosa)
Kelly said: “These plants can get very big and they grow fast, so if you have space in to fill these are great.
“The Cheese plant is great for air cleaning properties and are very effective in an air conditioned environment so perfect for office spaces.
“Due to the nature of the plant it is not keen on direct sun light, it prefers dappled light along with moderate watering.”
She said: “This plant is great in bathrooms, kitchens or a laundry room.
“It is great for removing mould spores from the air.
“Peace Lilles likes living in a shady spot, so keep the soil moist and avoid overwatering.”
Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s tongue (Sansevieria)
Kelly explained: “This plant releases oxygen at night helping you to breath easier, so it is great for the bedroom for a good nights sleep.
“This plant is very hardy, but it prefers plenty of bright light.
“Be careful not to over water it, as its roots will rot if the soil is too moist.
Kelly said: “I love the healing properties of this succulent. The gel inside the leaves is full of vitamins and natural anti -bacterial.
“You can snap off a leaf, open it up, and use it directly on your skin for minor cuts, sunburn and skin conditions such as Eczema and Psoriasis.
“It’s perfect in the kitchen, loves light, and doesn’t need much watering.”
Organised entrance hall
Kelly said: “For many of us, the entrance to our home may not hold its own space and it may be a shared entrance with another room such as the living room or kitchen.
“It is so important to create somewhere to have a place for our outer belongings, and it can be something simple like a side board, baskets that can make a home for shoes, hats scarves and gloves, a coat stand, or wall hooks.
“Having a clean and tidy entrance area will make life easier.
“Keep it simple by only displaying what you us. Larger coats and rain macs that are not being used can be folded and put away until they are needed.
“Having a mirror and a shelf in this space is ideal to reflect light, creating a different view, a place for keys, a house plant, or flowers.
“When space is very limited try to keep coats and shoes for that season out and put the others away.”
Kelly said: “It is said that if we live to 75 years of age we will have spent 25 years sleeping!
“To me this is the most important space to keep calm.
“So many of us have televisions in our bedrooms, but this is the one place that should be tech-free.
“Phones, televisions, computers, and tablets keep our brains alert, disturbing our sleep.
“The unnatural light stops the body from making melatonin, which is the hormone that allows us to drift off to sleep.”
Luxury and relaxing bedroom
“We all have been to a hotel that creates such a lasting memory about how we slept so well, so why not create the same ambience and luxury in your bedroom?
“The right bedding is essential, places like John Lewis, The White Company, M&S can all help you to understand the differences in thread count to easy care cotton.
“From finding your perfect pillow and duvet, to toppers and mattress protectors, there is a lot to think about.
“There are many different price points but bringing luxury into your bedroom will change how you feel and sleep.
“Always use a sleep pillow spray or a sleep pulse point oil, along with an eye mask.
“Adding softer lighting can also create a more relaxed feel, and it can be as simple as changing the wattage of the light bulbs or adding a dimer switch.”
If you struggle to sleep, you should adjust the position of your bed and mirrors.
Kelly said: “You sleep in a ‘yin’ state and are open to energies are you.
“The ideal bed placement is for you to see your bedroom door but not to be completely in front of in line with it.
“This will promote comfort and enable you to relax because it gives you a sense of security. If you have your feet in line with the door, this is thought to be a vision of a coffin!
“A simple solution to this is to add a footboard to your bed or a table to act as a buffer for the energy to flow.
“Your head should not be against a wall and ideally not under a window, so add a headboard to give you support.”
She added: “Mirrors bounce around energy and the positioning needs to be carefully chosen, otherwise it will deplete your qi.
“In Feng Shui, it is thought that a mirror facing the bed steals your personal energy when you are supposed to be repairing and rejuvenating.
“A mirror facing your bed is also said to bring the energy of a third party into your intimate relationship.
“You should drape fabric over the mirror at nigh to solve this.”
Kelly said: “The kitchen is the hub of the house, but they can often become a bit of a dumping ground with everything piled on the kitchen table.
“Having an organised and clutter free kitchen is key.
“Some people see cooking as a chore, while others are more passionate about it.
“However you feel, it is an important place to be creative.
“When you have everything around you that you need, you will be more tempted to cook wholesome meals.
“I love reusing glass jars for storage containers, as it is easier to find things when you can see them.
“You can buy larger ones for cereals, pasta and flour.
“My other recommendation even in a small kitchen is to find space to create somewhere you can sit down to eat.
“There are some great space saving tables and chairs on the market that will work in smaller kitchens.
“Burning a candle in the kitchen is another way to improve the energy.
“Choose a herb garden scent, like mint, to eradicate those strong cooking smells.”
Create space in the lounge
Kelly said: “The long is a space where quite a lot needs to fit in: a sofa, an armchair, a footstool, book shelves, a side table, a coffee table, a television, and a fire place.
“It is a room where we probably spend most of our time, other than the kitchen.
“The use of mirrors and wall art can make this space feel completely different.
“Doubling up a footstool as a coffee table can create additional space.
“Televisions are such a focal point these days, and many have a bracket so they can fitted to the wall or above fire places.
“You can even transform your TV to set a home screen that makes it look like a painting or a fire.
“Plants can fill corner areas to lift light and create a softer feel, and blankets, throws and cushions can really give a lease of life to an old sofa.”
Once you’ve done all of this, it’s time to upgrade your home a little more.
Kelly recommended: “Create a vision board of how you imagine your home, collect samples of fabrics, pictures from online or magazines.
“It’s time to go all out and make the space your own.
“I know most of us have Pinterest account but put it on a physical piece of paper and it will make all the difference.
“The most important part is keep it true to you, your home is your story.”
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