“A lot of people like to compare it to interior design, but for me, it’s almost like an energetic, spiritual connection with your environment,” Carrillo says. “Feng shui is also all about energetic flow, having positive relationships, and it’s a physical language, so whatever’s going on in the space is communicating what’s going on with you.”
So if your home is looking a bit drab and still weighed down by the dark layers of fall and winter, it may be time to consider a space refresh for spring, in order to really inspire a sense of renewal for own self.
“Spring cleaning is a really great reboot and a great way to edit and create transformation in your life,” Carrillo says.
Feng shui, the age-old art of room arrangement, dates back to ancient China and is about synthesizing the spacial balance of a room with your own decor aesthetic, as well as with your personal goals. To understand how to feng shui a room (or even a car, office space, or closet), it’s important to consult a feng shui bagua map first. This colorful grid explains what each quadrant of the room represents, to help you to figure out the proper placement of your furniture, art, and personal items.
Read on for 11 expert feng shui tips to refresh your home for spring, alongside some of our product recommendations to enhance your renewed vibe.
CLEAN THE SPACE
feng shui: cleaning supplies
1. Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes, $3, target.com; 2. Method Foaming Bathroom Cleanser, $5, methodhome.com; 3. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Concentrate, $8, mrsmeyers.com; 4. The Honest Co. Multi-Surface Cleaner, $6, honest.com
The first step of feng shui is a thorough cleaning of the space, because as Carrillo notes, you want to start with a clean slate. “Let’s say we move the furniture around and put everything in its proper place, but the room is still dirty,” she says. “The energetic flow is going to improve, but there’s this stagnant sense of dirtiness that needs to be cleared away first.”
Opt for non-toxic cleaning products when possible, and especially those with natural plant-or-herb-based fragrances for a more holistic tie-back to the intention of the process. “There are different essential oils that actually enhance the environment and subliminally impact your space because the scent evokes certain physical and emotional reactions,” she says.
More: 10 Beautifully Fragrant Candles For Spring
FIX WHAT’S BROKEN
feng shui: tools
1. HDX Homeowners 76-Piece Tool Kit, $20, homedepot.com; 2. Philips EcoVantage 100-Watt Equivalent Halogen Light Bulb Pack, $8 for pack of four, homedepot.com
Step two? Anything in your space that you’ve been neglecting to fix, whether it’s a burned-out bulb or a dislodged dresser drawer, either repair the piece or throw it out.
“When you have something broken in your space, depending on where it is in the room, that can translate to broken or stagnant energy in that area of your life,” Carrillo says. Once you’ve edited those items down, think about the emotional response you have to your other decor accessories. “Start editing out things that are ugly or unattractive, and if there is anything from your romantic past that is no longer relevant to who you are today, get rid of it! Open up the space to new romantic potential.”
AMP UP THE ENERGY WITH A SALT LAMP
Himalayan rock salt lamp
Himalayan Glow Ionic Natural Salt Crystal Lamp, from $20, bedbathandbeyond.com
Once you’ve cleared out the gunk and the junk, start implementing items that have a positive effect on a room’s atmosphere. Carrillo recommends starting with bringing in the rosy, warm glow of a Himalayan salt lamp.
“They have negative ions, which are really good for your health, so they can actually enhance the energetic vibration of a space,” she says. “They also just look really cool, they’re sort of fun and funky and they have mood-enhancing benefits.”
INVEST IN YOUR BED
West Elm Mid-Century Button-Tufted Bed, $1,099, westelm.com
If you’re starting fresh, furniture-wise, in a new space, there’s one major decor investment that Carrillo advises making: “I recommend getting a wooden bed frame as opposed to metal, and ideally one with a headboard, because a headboard in feng shui represents support in your relationships and in life.” The health and vitality properties of the wood element serve better as a support for your sleep space than rigid and disciplined metal does.
Carrillo continues, “The bed represents your romantic relationships, but it’s also where you’re going to renew and recharge your batteries at night.”
KEEP IT LOOKING LIGHT
feng shui: lamps
1. Dot & Bo Whimsical Tree Lamp, $119, dotandbo.com; 2. Crate & Barrel Ella White Table Lamp, $100, crateandbarrel.com; 3. Anthropologie Anchored Orb Task Lamp, $198, anthropologie.com
“Lighting is huge,” says Carrillo. “If there’s an area of your life that you feel unclear about, it’s good to take a look into that area of your home. You might notice a lightbulb is out, or maybe it’s just dimly lit.”
Try rearranging your table lamps, adjusting the kind of bulbs you’re using, or introducing a new floor lamp to shine into one of the darker or more unclear quadrants of your life, she advises.
FRESHEN UP WITH FLOWERS AND INDOOR TREES
feng shui bonsai and plants
1. Brussel’s Bonsai Pyramid Bamboo, $26, homedepot.com; 2. Brussel’s Bonsai Dwarf Jade Bonsai, $40, homedepot.com; 3. ProFlowers Braided Money Tree, $35, proflowers.com
What’s one common feng shui faux-pas that Carrillo sees in her clients’ homes? “Dead flowers. I know some people think that’s cool … but it actually represents dead chi (or dead energy). It is really bad energetic symbolism.”
However, fresh plants are still great for bringing in a lively, energetic mood. Since cut flowers have a short lifespan, it may be better to opt for hardier greenery. Carrillo continues, “There’s something called a money tree, which has long, thin leaves. And another great plant is the jade tree. They represent abundance and they’re great to have in your home’s prosperity corner, or on your desk.”
ADD WIND CHIMES TO INVITE POSITIVE ENERGY
feng shui wind chimes
1. Capiz Chandelier Wind Chimes, $80, pier1.com; 2. Dot & Bo Sounds of Summer Windchime, $57, dotandbo.com; Plow & Hearth Porcelain Whispering Bell Wind Chimes, $40, plowhearth.com
Upping the energetic vibration of your entryway is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your home as a whole, since in feng shui, Carrillo says, “it is the mouth of chi.” Doing this isn’t hard, however, since most of us already have one of these graceful chi-enhancers by our front door.
“A wind chime is an inexpensive item that you can bring to your home’s entrance. Even if you live in an apartment and can’t have one outside, you can always hang one inside by the door, and you can even ring it periodically,” Carrillo adds. For indoor wind chimes, opt for a chandelier style adorned with shells or other delicate materials for a look that keeps this accessory consistent and logical with the rest of your space.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF LOOSE INTERPRETATIONS
feng shui points
1. Pottery Barn Olivia Star Pendant, $159, potterybarn.com; 2. CB2 Porcupine Wall Hanging, from $50, cb2.com; 3. Target Burke Slipper Chair, $96, target.com
Each quadrant of the bagua map is associated with an area of life, highlighted in a different color. As you begin to rethink the placement of furniture in your space, you may come across some decor quandaries that don’t necessarily jive with your personal aesthetic. Luckily, feng shui doesn’t require everything to be taken so literally. Carrillo says, “For instance, if someone really hates the color red, but wants to bring a fire element into the room, then I would bring in a chevron print, because chevron is spiky. Anything spiky, or star-shaped, or anything with a point represents fire.”
REFLECT ON WHAT YOU WANT
feng shui mirrors
1. PTM Images Decor Nouveau Mirror Wall Art, $144, jcpenney.com; 2. Head West Reeded Wall Mirror, $140, kohls.com; 3. Horchow Rosemeade Mirror, $224, horchow.com
It’s a small-space trick that carries over into the realm of feng shui: mirrors can make a huge difference. Carrillo says, “If you want the space to feel larger, or if you want to enhance a gua (or area of life on the bagua map), you can put a mirror there to amplify that area of your life.”
But she does advise that mirrors are to be used with caution. “One of my pet peeves is having a full-length mirror that cuts your head off,” she says. “Because that’s symbolically cutting your head off!” And that’s not necessarily great for reflecting a whole, happy you, going into the new spring season.
Also, as far as placement goes, “mirrors are great almost anywhere but the bedroom. I don’t recommend a lot of mirrors in the bedroom, and if you do have mirrors there, you want to cover them at night because they have active chi.”
TAKE THE EDGE OFF
feng shui blankets and pillows
1. PBTeen Fur-Rific Faux Fur Pillow Cover, $30, pbteen.com; 2. Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Flannel, $48, coyuchi.com; 3. Land’s End Chenille Ribbed Throw , $69, landsend.com
In case you’re wondering which decor styles are most feng-shui-friendly, like a quaint shabby-chic, old-school industrial, or rustic nautical motif, know that your aesthetic isn’t as important as the textures within it. Carrillo says, “One of the big things in feng shui is comfort and safety. If something is beautiful, but it’s sharp and pointy and uncomfortable, that is not good feng shui.” If there was ever an excuse to indulge in a sleek accent blanket or a new bedding set, this would be it!
“Good feng shui represents things like a chenille throw, or a fluffy pillow, or anything that’s tactile and soft, and I also recommend organic bedding, or for anything that touches your skin. The healthier, natural fibers next to your body are really important.”
A QUICK REFRESHER
1. Juniper Ridge White Sage Minis, $11, juniperridge.com; 2. Aquarian Soul Incense Kit, $30, urbanoutfitters.com
Let’s say you’re not in the market for a decor do-over. Are there any feng shui hacks that you can quickly do to recharge your space with positive energy for spring? According to Carrillo, if you’re short on time, or you need to boost the space after a bad day, burning some sage will set you right again. “Clean your space thoroughly, and then sage. Open all of the windows when you do this, however — because what you’re trying to do is clear out that negative energy and you want to let it get out.”
Since the smell of burning sage isn’t for everyone, Carrillo also suggests burning Palo Santo sticks as an alternative. “It’s just really aromatic and smells like incense. Sage can spark sometimes, so you have to be careful when you’re burning it — whereas with Palo Santo, it just burns right from the piece of wood and it doesn’t emit a lot of ashes.”
This is more of a space-clearing exercise, a practice that goes hand-in-hand with feng shui, and it’s about focusing on the intention that comes with spiritually cleansing a home. Carrillo says, “the power of visualization, incorporated with a little spring cleaning and sageing goes a long, long way.”