1. Clear & declutter
If the aim is to let the energy (or 'qi') flow freely, it makes sense that a living room full of clutter isn't a good move feng shui-wise.
Whether you have too much furniture, too many knick-knacks, or your living room is simply a little on the untidy side (who else is guilty of leaving piles of magazines/bills/books on the coffee table?), clearing and decluttering is the first step to a good feng shui living room. File those old papers away (or better yet, chuck them out), put the books back on their shelves and feel the energy flow again.
Freeing up space will not only allow positive energy to flow through your living room, but also make smaller homes appear larger.
2. Use a Bagua map
We're getting a little more technical here, but the idea is pretty straightforward.
Mentally overlay the Bagua energy map (below) over your home and take note of which area your living room is in. Each area corresponds to a particular set of properties – you can use feng shui principles to invite more of these into your life by using the qualities of that particular area to boost the feng shui of the room.
The easiest way to do this is to decorate with the associated colour – so, if your lounge room sits within the 'knowledge and self-cultivation' area, for example, you might want to paint the walls blue or add blue cushions and throw rugs to increase these in your life.
3. Consider your layout
For optimal feng shui, living room layout is crucial – getting your couch, chairs and coffee table in the right spots is crucial for boosting that energy flow.
To invite positive qi into and throughout your living space, make sure that your furniture faces the entryway to the room. Position the couch and chairs in such a way that whoever is sitting on them doesn't have to turn around or stand up to see people coming into the room, and try to make sure seats are positioned so that people using them won't have their back to the door.
It's also a good idea to arrange seats facing in towards each other to encourage interaction.
4. Pick some plants
Living plants can help absorb negative energy, making them a pretty big deal in feng shui – plus, they help improve air quality, and who doesn't want that?
Place plants around your living room to add 'life force energy' to your space, purify the air and add colour and interest to your space. You might want to go for bigger potted floor plants to create a striking talking point, or a small herb garden by the windowsill – your choice!
If you're unsure where to place your plant for maximum feng shui benefits, try the right-hand side of the couch to boost lively yang energy, says certified classical feng shui practitioner from Home Heart feng shui, Jemma. It can help encourage stimulating conversation!
5. Balance the elements
There are five elements in feng shui, and each channels a different type of energy. Wood encourages peace and prosperity, fire is associated with passion, earth enhances stability, metal boosts focus, and water improves communication.
Whether you want to bring in just a few elements that you want to focus on or you want to have each represented in your living space, keep in mind you don't have to have the exact element within the room.
For example, if you want to increase communication, a water feature isn't essential – some blue cushions to represent the colour of water should do the trick. Leather represents fire, as would a white rug; or perhaps put an ornamental globe on a side table to represent earth.
6. Make the most of mirrors
From an interior decorating point of view, mirrors are a great addition to any room as they make the space feel bigger – an especially good trick for a small living room or apartment.
According to feng shui principles, having loads of natural light gets a big tick, and using mirrors to bounce light around the room is a must. Try to hang them near windows so they reflect the natural light, and position them so you can see the reflection of outdoor views to bring more beauty inside. feng shui dictates that mirrors double the energy of whatever you see in their reflection, so keep that in mind when positioning your mirrors, too. Avoid hanging mirrors directly opposite each other, and remember to keep them clean!
7. Be clever with colour
Okay, so you don't have to go all in with sunflower-yellow living room walls and a couch to match. But colour does have the ability to affect mood as well as the flow of qi in your lounge room, and adding splashes of colour by way of accessories and soft furnishings can help balance that energy.
How to choose to best colours for your space? You could look at the Bagua map we mentioned earlier, the five elements, or even the compass.
8. Choose your art carefully
Art is obviously a very personal thing, but there are ways feng shui principles can guide you in choosing the pieces you want to hang on your walls.
You might want to bring colours or even the elements into the room via a painting – for example, a piece of art that goes heavy on fiery reds and oranges will enhance energies of passion and recognition; blues and greens encourage healing, growth and new beginnings.
Be careful not to hang your pieces too low on the walls, as the energy will also be low. Be sure to avoid art that has a negative connotation for you. Whether it's a piece that was given to you by an ex-lover you'd rather forget or simply something you don't like, you don't want to bring this negative energy into your lounge room.
9. Be careful of corners
Corners are considered unlucky in feng shui – from the corners of rooms, where energy gathers and stales, to sharp corners on tables, bookcases and fireplaces, which shoot out negative energy into the room.
"Qi tends to stagnate in bare, empty and lifeless areas such as corners of rooms," says Home Heart Feng Shui's Jemma. "Bringing life to those areas with plants or artwork, or turning them into useful sitting areas with chairs or benches can get qi flowing again!"
Where you can, choose objects without corners – like a round coffee table – and try to avoid placing chairs in direct firing range of corners' negative qi.
10. Let the light in
A beautiful, light-filled space ushers in bright and uplifting energy, and can be achieved with a combination of natural and artificial light. Do away with shadows in dimly lit corners of the lounge room with lamps, and consider switching to energy-efficient bulbs if you haven't already – they're not only better for the planet, but also mimic natural lighting better, helping the flow of positive qi in your living space.
Want to go one better? Open up the windows during the day to let not only the sunlight but also the fresh air into your home. Leave them open for a minimum of nine minutes (the most auspicious number in feng shui) to usher old, stale energy out and invite fresh positive energy in.