I’m sure you’ve experienced how a space can affect your feelings, your mood, your thoughts and even your whole body – like when you get that creepy feeling when a space just doesn’t feel right! I've had my fair share of all sorts of spaces : dorms in snow fields in different countries, share houses, hostels, vans, units, apartments, small homes and large homes. And I'm sure you have too! It's so incredible to think back to all the places that have sheltered us over the years.
It doesn’t matter if you’re renting a place, paying off your own home (or own it) or are living in a van (the best!), these tips are a guide for any space and can easily be adjusted for your current living choice. Our home, whatever that is for you, is a direct reflection of us, and therefore the state it is in and the feeling it emits has a direct influence on our life. Essentially this is the theory understood by Feng Shui (Feng Shoe-ay). This is one branch of Chinese Medicine which encapsulates the ‘energy of our space or home’. Other areas of Chinese Medicine, like acupuncture and herbal medicine, qi gong, cupping, gua sha, dietary therapy and Tui Na (Chinese Massage) focus on the 'energy of the body, mind and soul'.
This theory is highly regarded and has been praised for thousands of years. Feng translates to wind and Shui to water and together they are chosen to embody this art for good reason. Wind and Water are 2 elements that require constant movement and create flow. Flow is what is needed for waxing / waning, changing, growing, essentially all aspects of life itself. If things stay still they are stagnant. Within the body stagnant energy creates blockages presenting as ill health, dis-ease and pain. Within the home stagnant energy creates blockages which then affect the beings in that space, including the life of the beings like their relationships, finances, work life, creativity, productivity and if there is balance and ease in life. Pretty potent right !
Luckily there are so many beautiful ways to making our home our haven and improving the energetic flow within our areas. From decluttering to organising our things, to styling, renovating and using tricks and tools to create spaces that aren’t just eye catching and woo worthy but are also functional, happy and healthy. Feng Shui marries all this together to create good flow of energy, and the results can be felt and seen, usually instantly.
There is so much to this field and this blog will just touch the surface (more on this soon!), however it will provide some basic foundational tips to inspire you to create a little sanctuary of your own. If you feel your space is just as you want it already, excellent! You can tune in the other way around by seeing how you feel and then tweak some things in your space accordingly to help support you. Play around with moving some pieces to a different area and see how you feel. You would honestly be surprised (I still am every single time) how many clients have stress, hormonal or digestive concerns, then we adjust some things in their space and there is a positive shift, in many areas of their life but especially their health (physical, emotional and mental). Fun Fact : the emotion of the bowels (large intestine) is to ‘let go’!! A happy and clean space supports happy and clean digestion.
So, let’s get started !!
D E C L U T T E R
I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, but it is by far The most important to-do when focusing on the energy of your home (or office). Less is definately more!!
Check in with what things you actually have. If you don’t know where to start, begin small and focus on one cupboard in one room. Then work your way around. Notice if any emotions or stickiness come up for you while doing this. Learning to befriend tidying your spaces is, I believe, one of the most liberating things you can experience. It is much more than some things within walls. Building a loving connection with your space (even if you are renting) will improve your life, promise.
Be really truthful with yourself as to whether an item is really needed. Let go of things that are weighing you down, holding you back and keeping you small. A dress you think you may fit into again one day .... A strange old side table your grandmother had but you really don't like and feel obliged to keep. (your grandmother wouldn't really mind if you didn't keep it, unless ofcourse it has strong sentimental value to you). If you are struggling to part with things try seeing why this thing means so much to you. Parting with material belongings that are not really serving us means they can create energetic clutter which can prevent us from thinking clearly, feeling light and joyous and experiencing abundance and new opportunities.
The rule of 3 piles is a great support. As you move through your belongings check in if these things are a) needed, b) still positively serving you and c) bring you joy (as Marie Kondo says). Once you’ve tuned into that you can decide which pile to add it to.
1. Has a different ‘home’ in the home e.g. a pen found in the linen cupboard but it belongs in the stationary section
2. To be gifted, donated or sold
3. To be removed from the house as rubbish (check if recyclable)
E V E R Y T H I N G H A S A H O M E
Finding a home for all the things, even basic things like a battery or watering can, ensures things can always be put back in the same spot. This is such a game changer to living a smooth and stress free life. Plus, ensuring all the members of your household know where most things live helps to maintain order and avoids you having to do everything, every time.
As you move around your space you can practice reinforcing the 'already' home of items and create new homes for things that may have just been stuffed into a random cupboard till now. Example : pens live in the stationery section, all linen lives in the linen cupboard etc. This is also very useful for décor. Work on set ways to make the bed, set ways to have the cushions on your lounge, a set way of displaying trinkets. If other people in the house use these areas they can help tidy them back up again to have them in their ‘set’ way of flow.
K E E P F L A T S U R F A C E S T I D Y
This is such a powerful tip and it works instantly! Our eyes and mind are distracted and try to focus on all the things we see. In your mind – or in real – try to see what a clean long bench top looks like with some décor, fruit bowl etc at one end compared to all kinds of things covering the bench top surface (excessive dishes are the scariest). When we see clutter we can easily feel overwhelmed, flustered and stressed. In some cases if you are new to this you may not even notice how these cluttered flat surfaces affect you. Play around and just see how it feels
S T O R A G E
As mentioned in the previous point, every thing we see with our eyes we need to process with our mind. And actually, it’s our whole body that needs to do something with this information. Excessive eye distractions via ‘stuff’ means we are very busy processing all the things we are seeing which takes energy away from healing, feeling good and clear and feeling nourished. It’s like being in a busy city mall opposed to a cool calm stream in nature. Although the mall may be fun in ways it is definitely more distracting and not really a healing energy compared to the stream.
Utilise cupboards for neatly storing belongings. For smaller items, try little baskets, containers or tubs which are always helpful and keep things tidy and separated into categories. This also helps being able to find things again! If things aren’t in their right place it can use lots of time finding them and create unnecessary stress. Plus, too often we may buy the same thing we actually already have, we just didn’t know we had it or couldn’t find it. So this tip can actually save you money too !!
I personally Love baskets. I’ve always loved anything woven, already from a young age. Baskets are so aesthetic, add a depth to a space because they are usually made from natural fibres and are a practical storage solution. As a strong décor piece they can easily pull a room together.
I use baskets for : plant pot covers, storing Zahli’s dog toys, in cupboards for smaller items, for small gym gear like my skipping rope, small dumbbells, exercise band etc, for our underwear and socks (and my swimmers), for storing extra cushions and books in my lounge room, in our bathroom for holding things like my hairbrush, straightener and hairdryer, in my clinic for hiding my stationery things on a shelf and for storing the boxes of acupuncture needles I use– this is another example of a basket holding a lot of smaller things. I also use woven basket bins in my clinic for papertowels. They add such a soft and earthy feel.
If you have young kids you could consider a large woven basket trunk or chest (or several large baskets) to store toys. These are great for keeping things tidy and are easy enough for kids to put toys back in themselves ! Plus they look stylish. The options for baskets are truly endless and they are a total game changer. Play around with styles, shapes and colours. Several baskets I own I have painted white or semi painted white to allow some of the natural material to show through. This creates a great look and can add a little depth to the basket and lighten up a darker room.
D E S I G N A T E D D R O P O F F Z O N E S
Use large ceramic bowls for keys, assign areas for dirty washing to go before it lands in the washing basket (if if is not close by), somewhere to put down things in local spots which then get put away throughout the day or at the end of the day. We have a woven bench seat in our entry way which naturally is a drop zone. When I clean up I swish past this bench and re-home whatever is on it. I'm all for putting things back when you've finished with them but I'm also a realist. Sometimes I just want to throw something on a bench seat and get on with my day. This is an individual thing, so play around with how you enter your home and the things you do on a regular basis to help you determine your drop zones or how to make them more effective.
When a space isn’t utilised and filled appropriately the energy cannot be circulated and instead just leaves. You can think of it as creating a little path for the energy to freely move around.
B E O R G A N I S E D
There are so many easy tricks for feeling more organised – one of the main ones is containers. Baskets as mentioned, small inserts for drawers, clear jars and containers, basically anything that can keep things together and more contained.
Remember storage solutions are a big key in feeling organised. Get creative about finding other ways other than cupboards to create more storage options. Bench seats (you can make these too!), inside desks – opt for ones with a draw to keep random paperwork and pens out of site, outdoor benches, display baskets to store extra blankets and cushions etc
S T Y L I N G
Grouping décor items together can really bring an area together, opposed to having things spaced out in random areas on their own. Play around and see what looks and feels good. When clustering a few things together, work with height, textures and colours to keep it interesting.
I love layering and over the years I have really refined this and I totally get it now (I really didn’t for a very long time and wondered why my spaces just didn’t feel quite finished or cosy enough). Layering can be used for beds, couches or seating areas and décor.
For beds it is no secret that some extra care in the presentation makes all the difference for feeling like our bed is inviting, safe and comfy. Tune in and play around – add some back cushions, the main sleeping cushions and some scatter ones to create some great depth (see above). I opt for keeping bedroom decor simple because the reality is you have to take them all off and put them back on in the morning – so it needs to be practical too!
I love playing with textures – a nice throw and adding a little colour theme to pull it all together can make all the difference. For instance I love mustards, neutrals and whites with a little black and plants. Naturally adding little tones of any of those colours into a pattern or a textured fabric (sheets, cushions, throws, ornaments) will help all the items in the room to blend and flow with one another. I truly cannot vouch for this simple tip enough – this is what brought a lot of confidence for me in creating my spaces and my now home which I love. I have also noticed the strong link between styling a space and styling myself. And wow, that has been a serious positive shift. Using the couch image above as an example: a smooth white linen couch, with a smaller cream thick knitted / thick fabric weave (tassels would work well and I have several cushions with these), a square white embroided / pattern knitted cushion with a mustard fine weave throw (there are other feature cushions on the other side of the couch - the mustard marries with the warm tones of the wood floor and roof and the wicker hanging basket). In this example we have 4 different fabrics – they all have a different texture, shape and colour yet they all compliment one another.
Choose big statement pieces. Lots of small items becomes a space that is easily cluttered and very distracting – like an at home museum = not very restful. If you have many small items that you wish to keep you could house them all in a display cabinet but keep the surrounding spaces free and open. By going big I mean large pieces of furniture and décor. You will find this will give any space ‘style’ – instantly !! This is another tip I just didn't understand for so long.
Imagine a standard dining space with a small round table and 4 wooden chairs tucked all the way in with a teeny circle rug. Then imagine a large solid table with comfortable and inviting chairs with a back, a large rug to widely fit under the whole table and chairs and a long table runner and table décor bowl. Rooms want to be filled – not overfilled, but filled. When a space isn’t utilised and filled appropriately the energy cannot be circulated and instead just leaves. You can think of it as creating a little path for the energy to freely move around.
Aim to include mostly things that mean something to you or that you truly love the look or functionality of. This is really what makes it Your home, and not just a house with things in it or someone elses house. Remember your space is an extension of you. This can be memories from travels or gifts from loved ones, something you made or found at a flea market or something you’ve recreated yourself (I've upcycled many things from the tip shop or secondhand items like the plant basket and floor rug in this image).
The bowl on my dining table (above image) holds ocean tumbled pandanus seeds that I found at one of the local beaches near me, every time I look at them I smile. Fun Fact : my dining table is the family table of when I was growing up (it's 34 years old ! ) and with the modern chairs I paired it with it has come back to life and looks perfect in this space.
I love painting things, or changing them to make them my own. For example a new sofa I bought had legs I didn’t really like. So I unscrewed them and bought new ones from the hardware shop (they have lots!) and spray painted them black. The couch looks fantastic and much more sleek and stylish now.
Another example is making a wall hanging out of a clay plaque, old wooden beads I had and some cuttlefish shells and driftwood that I drilled a hole into and made a strand with. This ornament really means something to me opposed to something I just bought to fill some wall space. The options are endless with this – you can be as playful as you like. I do suggest the same rule as with other décor pieces though and that is to group smaller things together – in this case on the wall. So instead of hanging one small ornament, I often hang 2 - 4 small ornaments together, spaced out a little to create the big statement effect.
If you are working on recreating or refreshing yourself you can work on your physical space to help you gain momentum in this by being creative in the decor pieces.
Plants don’t just look good, they bring a whole area to life – literally !! They also purify the air in our space so we, and our space, can breathe better. How incredible is it that plants need CO2 and give us O2, and we need O2 and give CO2. Plus plants help to balance the energy and negative ions in a space. There are many plants that are easy to maintain even if you are a serial plant killer. Opt for succulents, figs, ficus and ivy and ensure you look at their labels to see what they like, and ofcourse, water them regularly or as needed. They also love a chat and grow better because of it (really) but I’ll leave that for another blog.
I hope you find these tips useful. I can truthfully say each of these has totally changed how I see and feel in my space, how I live my life and all aspects of my wellness. I love having a healthy relationship with my home and as with any relationship there is give and take.
I am excitedly working on something special to be able to share more on this fascinating field with you soon, stay tuned by subscribing to my newsletter if you're not already a part of the Nourished Fam and keeping an eye out ....
Also I'd love to hear how you make your home your haven ... any tips to add to this list !??!
For a personalised session to improve the energy and look of your home please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org. I take new clients for revamping their space most months. If you are interstate or overseas photos or short videos of your space are sent for me to easily see what needs to be realigned.