Have you ever asked yourself why some places make you feel comfortable and others don’t? Personally, I strongly believe that interior design changes lives, because it changes how people feel when they are using a space. Our surroundings impact our general wellbeing and even our health.
In a public and commercial environment it is long considered the norm to pay attention to the design of a space. Hospitals are designed to support people’s healing process, offices are being re-designed in order to improve employee motivation and consequently their productivity and hotels and restaurants know that design plays a major role in the success of their business. So what about our homes?
During my Interior Design Consultations and when designing a space, I take a very holistic approach to a space and explain to my clients how each element plays a role and affects the overall look and feel of a space. Elements such as colour, style, space planning, proportions, ergonomics, materials, acoustics and lighting are all crucial to successful interior design. They all need to be in balance with each other in order to create a harmonious space. This applies to the home as well as to public and commercial spaces. In the latter it very much depends on who uses the space and on the type of clientele the respective business wishes to attract.
Wellbeing through Design
When I assist my clients with the re-design or refurbishment of their home, they are often astonished at how different a room can look and above all feel after the change. One of my clients once said ‘We absolutely love our new living room and enjoy spending time in it now, which wasn’t the case before’.
At the end of the day, a beautiful environment doesn’t just improve our quality of life, but it actually impacts our wellbeing, our health, our performance and even our interactions with each other. As an interior designer I always analyse my clients’ needs and requirements as well as their personalities in order to create the ideal space for them. Once I have all the necessary details of the building, the rooms and the people using them, I create a design concept based on these findings and by applying my general understanding of interior design, my knowledge about colour psychology and also lots of intuition.
I know that we can create more wellbeing through design, but in this post, I want to take it a step further and talk about Feng Shui, sometimes referred to as the ancient philosophy of placement. Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy that looks at the flow of energy (Qi) within a space and its impact on human beings.
I am not a Feng Shui specialist, but I trust that I intuitively apply some of its rules to the spaces I create.
For example I take into consideration colour psychology when choosing colours or advise my clients to remove any piece of furniture or decorative item that carries bad memories. Whether you are aware of it or not, your subconscious will register the negative energy. However, I know that the principles of Feng Shui are far more complex than that. I therefore decided to consult with Arianne Egli of Feng Shui Zurich and asked her for an interview. We met up for coffee and had a very interesting chat about Feng Shui and I am happy to now share what I have learned with you.
Q 1) What does Feng Shui mean and where does the name come from?
Feng Shui is all about stimulating good energy and reducing or eliminating bad energy within rooms. The name Feng Shui literally means Wind and Water. Energy rides the wind and gathers at the water. Wind moves, water is calm.
Q 2) How would you describe Feng Shui in a few words?
‘Feng Shui is all about the Qi (life energy) moving within a space and about the fact that our inner and outer world are connected. Feng Shui relies on certain principles, which are based on the following:
1) 3 levels called San Cai – Heaven, Man and Earth
2) Yin and Yang, which represents the connection between and interdependence of opposite forces
3) Yin and Yang qualities are then further divided into 5 elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water
Q 3) How can Feng Shui improve our quality of life?
By improving your immediate environment you can also improve your personal wellbeing, which in return will have an impact on your health, career, financial success as well as your relationship with yourself and others. Taking care of your home is an act of love for yourself and will positively affect various areas of your life.
Q 4) My favourite colour is turquoise. What is the meaning and effect of turquoise in Feng Shui?
Based on the 5 elements, most would probably associate turquoise with the element Water (Sea). However, the colour turquoise contains a lot of green and therefore belongs to the element Wood. Turquoise is a vibrant, uplifting and energising colour that promotes growth.
Q 5) Which area of life is mostly affected by improving the Feng Shui in a home?
This depends entirely on each individual’s needs and their respective issues. As mentioned earlier, Feng Shui affects all aspects of life and can therefore be applied to the area in your life that needs most attention. By directing the Qi within your home in the right cardinal direction you can support the desired area of your life.
Q 6) What do you like most about Feng Shui and why did you decide to pursue a career in Feng Shui?
I had a very positive experience with acupuncture, which motivated me to learn more about the Chinese philosophy. To me it explains life in a tangible, mathematical and logical way. However, I didn’t want to work with needles and the creative aspect of changing our environment by Feng Shui was more appealing to me. I like the fact that one can take an active part in improving one’s life.
Q 7) Can you give me a case study where Feng Shui had a positive effect on someone’s life?
One of my clients, a single mother who had just moved into a new flat was unable to sleep and couldn’t find peace. After a while, she was completely exhausted and started to suffer from anxieties. Since she works as a freelancer, she works from home and was unable to concentrate. She simply couldn’t bring herself to sit at her desk.
We moved her bed and repositioned her working area and also added a room divider to visually separate the bed from her work area. From then on she slept better, was less anxious and loved sitting at her desk again. This change had a positive effect on her personal and work life and she even managed to get a big assignment.
Our advice is to look around your home and at your belongings and then ask yourself how they make you feel? As the famous textile designer William Morris already said in the late 19th century: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’