Feng shui is a Chinese system of organizing your environment so that it allows for the most optimal flow of qi (chi), which is the movement of life force energy which keeps us feeling healthy, balanced, and strong. The bedroom is one of the most important spaces to have a good flow of qi because we spend so much time there—it’s where our bodies and minds rest and repair, and possibly where we build and reinforce romantic bonds.
Here are some easy ways to transform your bedroom into a feng shui-approved, energetically-balanced space:
12 tips for a feng shui bedroom makeover
1. Place bed diagonally across from the door
Feng shui has a lot to say about the best placement of objects in your home, and your bed is no exception. Depending on the amount of space in your room, and the position of your closets, windows, and doors, you may find yourself limited to which wall you can situate your bed.
If you do have some options, the bed is best set diagonally across from the door. This allows you to sense the door while you’re asleep, without any fear of surprises. If your bed must be on the wall facing the door, set it offside so that your feet aren’t pointing straight to the doorway (feet to the door is the “death position” and is thought to be an unhealthy energy drain).
Setting your bed in the middle of the wall rather than pushing it into the corner also optimizes energy flow, and is less of a defensive sleeping position. Having the door behind your bed can trigger an instinctive feeling that you need to be on guard, and a window just above you can lead to a variety of strange lights, sounds, smells, and drafts, all of which can disrupt your quality of sleep.
2. Get rid of metal bed frames
In terms of the bed itself, it is recommended that you sleep on a bed with a wooden or fabric headboard, which anchors your space (the “control center”); metal framework or headboards are too energizing for restful sleep. It’s also best to avoid headboards that double as shelves—the stimulating mental energy given off by the books and clutter can interfere with restful sleep. When choosing a frame, find one that lifts the mattress well off of the floor so that air can circulate around the sleeping area, and use sheets made of natural fabrics with high breathability (pure cotton is a great choice).
3. Steer clear of vibrant colors
We all know how effectively color can alter the mood of a space. When designing a bedroom for balanced qi, steer clear of loud and vibrant colors, or noisy, patterned wallpaper. Choosing neutrals, pastels, or off-whites (crisp whites are too stimulating) will help to make the room feel much more relaxing. Select artwork for your bedroom that stimulates positive emotional responses, and keep the palate limited to those calming tones.
4. Don’t hang a mirror across from the bed
If you’re hanging a mirror, place it away from the bed and be sure that no part of the bed is reflected back to you while you’re laying in it. Reflections are very activating as they play with light and stir up energy in a space. If you need to have a mirror in your bedroom, you can cover it while you sleep to preserve more mellow and contained vibes.
5. If you must, go with a flat screen
Keeping the TV out of the bedroom may be a no-go for an assortment of reasons, but if you insist on a screen in your room and you’re looking to balance qi, choose a flat screen and place it in a position that will not reflect the bed (for the same reasons as the mirrors), or keep it covered at night. Unplugging the TV when it’s not in use will also help to reduce unnecessary emissions of light and energy. Keep your phone and your computer outside of your sleeping area—we all know how disrupted our rest can be when work/life obligations are only a ding away.
6. Water is out
According to feng shui, water should be kept out of the bedroom because it is such a strong, energizing force. Water features, fish tanks–even that glass of water beside the bed–have got to go. Make sure that you can’t hear water flowing while you’re in bed. If the bathroom pipes are running behind you, set your bed elsewhere if possible, and stay on top of any leaking toilets or dripping faucets in an en suite. Even the art you choose for the bedroom should be free from watery scenes.
7. Plants, too
Plants are also considered to be too yang (energizing) for bedrooms, as they are active and growing at night. If you want to incorporate some natural elements in your sleeping quarters, choose pussy willow or cotton branches—dried flowers bring the energy of death into the room.
8. Stick with natural light
Natural lighting is considered the best for the bedroom as it is a harmonious energy and the yellow light of candle flames (rather than the blue light from our gadgets) is easy on the eyes. Choose all-natural beeswax candles that are free from toxins and overpowering scents.
9. Reduce ‘what if it falls?’ anxiety
If you have a light directly over the bed, choose a fixture that is immobile and close to the ceiling. Those heavier, dangling chandelier styles can create a subconscious fear of it falling on you in the night.
Make sure that your furnishings are the right size for your room—any armoire, bookshelf, or chest of drawers should compliment rather than overpower the space. Keep the smaller contents of the room organized, as any clutter disrupts the flow of qi. Towering furniture, such as a very high bookshelf, should be kept away from the bed, again eliminating that “what if it falls” instinct while you try to get some sleep.
10. Nothing wrong with matchy matchy
Balance and symmetry are very important to a feng shui bedroom. Place similar night tables on each side of the bed, and set matching lights upon each one. Have two pillows side by side even if you sleep alone—the balance provided by the even numbers creates a sense of harmony, and it also opens up the energy of your space to the possibility of partnership—so if you’re single and looking, set out that extra pillow.
11. The book stack has to go
Clear your bedroom of any unnecessary items, and keep all surfaces orderly and dust-free. Piles of books should be neatly organized on a shelf or moved to another room, clothing picked up off of the floor and put away, and your night table should reflect the kind of state of mind you’re looking for—clear and uncluttered.
12. Clean out what’s hiding under the bed
The area beneath your bed should also be kept open and clear, so qi can flow freely around you while you sleep. Close your closet and bedroom doors to help make your space feel secure. Ideally, any windows in your room would be opened during the day to clear the air, but closed at night to minimize those unwanted disruptions. Black out blinds are also a great idea, so no matter what kind of light the street lamps or full moons are throwing, your bedroom will be a haven of rest.
With a few simple changes to your bedroom organization and design, you can create that feel-good sanctuary you’ve been looking for—a healthy, rejuvenating, and restful space to unwind… or to connect.10