Saturday, August 2, 2014

Lighting, Illumination and Inspiration: Feng Shui Lighting

Feng Shui is all about energy, and light is the strongest manifestation of energy. In fact, the light in your home - both natural and artificial lighting - greatly influences the quality of your home’s energy. Smart lighting and good quality air are the very basics of good Feng Shui, and should always be on top of your Feng Shui priorities for any space, be it home or business. 

Your body reacts to everything around you, and you either get nourished or drained by the energy that surrounds you. I strongly encourage you to become aware of the quality of light in your home or office and its influence on your health and well-being. 

Light is our # 1 nutrient and has been called the medicine of the future. Make a habit of paying attention to how much good quality light you actually enjoy throughout the day, as well as the quality and number of the indoor light sources in your home or office. 


Yin Lighting
Yang Lighting
Feng Shui aims to achieve a balance of the opposing characteristics in the world around you, which are known as Yin and Yang. According to the yin and yang theory, everything in the universe consists of two opposing, but interconnected, forces: yin, which is feminine, and yang, which is masculine. Yin qualities are female, soft, passive, nurturing, dark, while the yang qualities are male, hard, active, aggressive, and bright. The theory of yin and yang is one of the ways you can use Feng Shui to balance your interior surroundings. 

Lighting in the Kitchen

There are many benefits to having good light in the kitchen. As we prepare our food there and the amount of light determines how well we can see what we do. However, the quality of the light can also contribute a great deal toward how we “experience” the food and how we ultimately treat it. If you are working in a poorly lit kitchen, it is challenging to see the beautiful colors and quality of the food. The most vibrant colored meal will appear to be dull in poor lighting. What affect does that have on your mood? On the other hand, if the fruit, meat, or vegetables are glowing in a well-lit environment, they appear to smile at us and are proud to show-off. Wouldn't you rather eat a meal that looks happy instead of a meal that looks sad?

Working in a well-lit kitchen promotes healthy eating habits. It allows you to enjoy being in the kitchen, creates a positive eating environment, and therefore makes a valuable contribution to your health and increases your sense of well-being. In a poorly lit kitchen, the meals are unappetizing; we cook less, and then eat quickly and without much enjoyment. Who would have thought lighting could make such a difference to our health?


Lighting in the Bedroom

Lighting in the bedroom can be very influential on sleeping habits. Children may do well with overhead lighting as they can practically spring to life the moment they awake. Adults on the other hand need some time to fully adjust from the previous night's slumber. Table lamps and dimming switches have no better home than inside a sleeping chamber. Softer light is ideal for any intimate setting. Softer tones are also more relaxing and soothing making the transition from living a fast paced life to a peaceful night of rest. Soft light illuminates an idealistic venue for anybody to drift off to sleep. Bedrooms should be more yin – soft, soothing lighting.   

Lighting in the Bathroom

Have you ever used a bathroom in a rest area or train station? It probably left an impression on you, but I doubt that it was positive. These facilities usually have a bluish-cold lighting that causes us to keep our visit as short as possible. On the other hand, if you have ever had the opportunity to use the restroom in a luxury hotel, the experience was, more than likely, the complete opposite. Chances are good that you felt refreshed by the golden light and golden tones of the mirror there.

Gold tone mirrors may not allow us to see things as clearly, but the light flatters our skin and surrounds us with a shimmer of warmth and a touch of elegance. The choice of lighting we use in our homes can determine how much we enjoy our visit to the bathroom. Use warm lighting and gold tone mirrors to create an environment of relaxation, warmth, and elegance.


Lighting in the Corridor/Hallway

In some floor plans, the hallway runs through the middle of the home or apartment and subdivides the remaining areas into different rooms. Hall lighting fixtures are usually sad creations without any illuminating power or esthetics.


The center of any home corresponds to health, so hall lighting should be of the utmost importance. The light in the middle of the home has the function of a sun that wants to send power into all the adjoining rooms. The more radiant the sun, the greater the energy will be. Select a hall light that is bright and reminiscent of the sun at high noon.

Lighting in the Living Areas

You must experience a sense of well-being in the living areas. The light must correspond with the needs that you want in each respective room: quality lighting for watching TV, good and bright light for reading, and warm light for snuggling. However, the light should not be blinding. If you like halogen lamps, be sure to direct them so that no one is “blinded” when looking at them. Hanging lamps with bulbs that are not covered by lamp shades can also be changed and refined through the proper choice of a bulb.

Dead Corners

Every home has a “dead corner” somewhere. These are areas in which dust likes to collect. The energy cannot circulate freely in a corner and this area usually becomes limp. A standard lamp will work well in these areas, but using a crystal lamp is ideal. Add a few plants and a limp corner can be transformed into a comfortable retreat.

Treasures, Pictures, and Decorative Objects

Most of us have a few treasures and decorative items in our homes. Quite frequently, these precious things simply gather dust and their auras become weaker and weaker. You can use track lighting to showcase your treasures or create a space in a bookcase for a decorative object. When you additionally illuminate the object, you are activating the energy of joy. There are special lamps to install above the frames of pictures. Some rooms are completely transformed just by illuminating the pictures on the wall.

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice, which teaches an individual to live in harmony with one's surroundings, in order to increase the flow of positive energy and to have a positive state of mind. The followers of Feng Shui use a number of procedures to get an idea of the energy of the surroundings and then alter it to suit the people living there. This ideology can be used to ensure that energy or "chi" flows freely in the surroundings thus making the people in that place happier and more positive in their outlook. The principles of Feng Shui can be applied to lighting as well. Here are a few tips to follow to light your house based on these principles:

  • Shadows must not be cast while we read or cook food. So ensure that your study and kitchen is well lit with incandescent bulbs or halogen lights.
  • Paper and cloth lamp shades make the light appear softer and create a quiet atmosphere. 
  • Metal shades or shades that reflect light create an active atmosphere. Use these shades in different rooms according to the mood you want to create.
  • Soften sharp corners of a room using accent lighting. Softening of sharp edges increases the energy flow and crates a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Use up lighting to light up dark corners and beams so that the effect of negative energy is reduced.
  • In rooms with irregular shapes place a lamp in the area that is missing to allow positive flow of energy.

Follow these simple tips to change the lighting of your rooms and there will be an increase in the amount of happiness and harmony in your house.

The Five Elements

Another important principle of Feng Shui is based on utilizing the Five Elements with the eight directions of the Bagua. There are four main directions (North, South, East and West) and four secondary directions (NE, NW, SE and SW). Each represents a different life aspiration. By activating a particular direction in your home with bright lights, you are in fact activating the chi of that sector. 

Lighting courtesy of  

Earth = Square

Earth Element:

earth tones

Wood =  Wooden

     Wood Element  

Tall and narrow
made from wood
New Beginnings

Water = Black

Water Element

Reflective surface
Life Path

Metal = Round

Metal Element

Metallic colors
round or oval
White or pastels
Rocks & stones
Metal items

Fire = Triangle

Fire Element

Animal materials
Pyramid shapes

1. Identifying the sectors to energize 

The North represents your career and life path. The South brings fame and recognition. The East brings good health. The West brings inspires creativity. The Northeast is for wisdom & education. The Northwest is for making friends and mentors. The Southeast represents wealth and riches. And the Southwest is for love & relationships. 

2. Working with colors 

The energies are characterized by the five elements - fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Fire is red and associated with the South. Earth is yellow and associated with the SW, NE and center. Metal is white, and associated with the West and NW. Water is blue and associated with the North. Wood is green, and is associated with the East and SE. 

 3. Hard versus soft lighting 

There is also hard (Yang) and soft lighting (Yin). Generally, direct light or fluorescent lighting can be considered hard lighting, whereas indirect and yellow lighting is softer. Hard lighting is better suited for offices and work/study areas in the home. Hallways, landings and porches are also best when brightly lit. However, when it comes to the bedroom and rest areas of the home, using lights that are too bright will infuse the room with too much harsh energy, making it difficult to relax. 

When picking the lighting for your home, it is important thus to differentiate between these two different lighting effects, which can bring two very different and opposite feels to a room or space. If you are activating a corner within a room, it is best to use soft lighting in the form of a lampshade or lava lamp. Bright lights should be reserved for just the very public areas, or when used to widen a space such as a narrow corridor. 


The energy of the home starts on the outside and flows indoors. If you have an imbalance outside your home, you can often use lights to remedy any issues. We have many choices of outdoor lighting from floodlights, landscaping or walkway lights, or wall sconce.

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