Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra (Sans the Spiritual Stuff)

The core principles of these ancient domestic practices offer smart decorating solutions even skeptics can appreciate

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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge ; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
The core principles of these ancient domestic practices offer smart decorating solutions even skeptics can appreciate
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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge ; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Create an optimal passage for energy (and people) with a light-filled tidy foyer. “Clear the clutter from behind the door,” advises Jayme Barrett, author of . “Dust the furniture, sweep the floor, and clean the mirrors in the entry.” In short, housework is required to jump-start your ch’i.

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Photographer: John Reed Forsman

This sleek and space-efficient cabinetry stores clothes and doubles as a combo headboard/nightstand with a built-in shelf. “A room’s simplicity reinforces the function of the bedroom and of sleep,” says Kathleen Cox, author of . She adds that empty walls prompt the sleeper to empty their minds—the first step toward a restful sleep.

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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
Clearing Clutter

Grouping small accessories is more impactful and less cluttering than spreading them out all over the room.

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Clearing Clutter

Like building blocks for grown-ups, West Elm’s Modular Storage Collection ($59-$129 per section) can be assembled in a variety of configurations so it’s easy to create a custom look that efficiently organizes bathrooms of any size.

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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge ; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

“A red living room activates energy and stimulates your pulse, promoting lively conversations, social interaction and family activity,” says Jayme Barrett, author of . But as you can see from this buttoned-up plaid wallcovering, red doesn’t have to mean fiery.

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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

A change in fortune may be just a paint can away. “Traditionally, a red front door symbolizes good luck and financial abundance,” says Jayme Barrett, author of . And if nothing else, we think a red door shows cheer and confidence.

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Photographer: Grey Crawford
Color Cues

This cozy alcove surrounds its sitter in restful hues of green (harmony), violet/plum (peace), and brown (warmth) from the Feng Shui color wheel.

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Not only would this pair of down-filled pillows ($75) add a luxe touch, they would fill the room with Feng Shui hues of happiness (pink) and harmony (green).

Dalia and Poppy Pillows, $75 each; Blissliving;

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Photographer: Colleen Duffley; Credit: Courtesy of Hay House, Inc.

Create good ch’i—and lively conversation—with a stimulating red chandelier that, like the furnishings beneath it, has a rounded form. “Protruding sharp angles and corners are considered dangerous,” says Terah Kathryn Collins, author of .


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Photographer: Grey Crawford
The Right Lighting

This intricately beaded chandelier is a Vastu Shastra-based example of the power and quality of changing light. By day, it’s a subdued artful unifier of color that takes a back seat to natural light that floods the room. At night, the shade diffuses light and gives the room a soft and soothing glow.

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Photographer: Frans Van Der Heyden
The Right Lighting

Not only does this light fixture hit the Feng Shui mark for its rounded shape, its positioning symbolically fills the sofa’s L-shape which, otherwise, would cast a sense of unbalance and incompleteness according to the spiritual philosophy.

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Fire-resistant recycled fabric is crafted into Dervish light sculpture ($550), which will add an artful touch to any room. It casts a calming glow.

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Photographer: Mali Azima

A chandelier formed with cuttings from a neighbor’s tree, branches out as an artful tribute to nature. “Nature objects can be very ch’i-enhancing when they connect you to the special experiences you’ve had outdoors,” notes Terah Kathryn Collins, author of Home Design with Feng Shui A-Z. “The memories associated with nature objects keep you connected to the natural world even when you live in an urban setting.”


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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge ; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

A dramatically scaled leaf creates a striking focal point as it infuses living energy into the room.


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Photographer: Jonn Coolidge; Credit: Courtesy of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

A mass of tulips fills the air with a heady scent and brings a muted room to life.


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A spectacular display of light and shadows are cast from Roost Round pendant lights ($725 to $2,050 each) that are hand-woven of sustainably-harvested bittersweet vine, grape vine, hand-dyed reed, willow and datu.

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