For generations, poets have extolled the virtues of home: Its comfort, peace and security; its respite from the outside world; its power to restore the soul.
But if your home is more chaos than calm, try these tips from “happiness expert” Sophie Keller, author of How Happy Is Your Home? 50 Great Tips to Bring More Health, Wealth and Joy Into Your Home. Keller is a practitioner of feng shui, the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings to maximize the flow of good energy through a space.
“Obviously, feng shui is a broad discipline,” says Keller, who works with clients to make their homes and offices feel positive and balanced, “but there are a few simple feng shui rules you can follow to make your home immediately feel more serene.”
Make a great entrance
“Opportunity enters your home through the front door,” says Keller, “so make sure the entrance is uncluttered so that nothing blocks the smooth flow of energy through your home.”
That means no strollers, random shoes, piles of junk mail or anything else you need to maneuver around just to get into your home. The result? You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more peaceful when you enter your haven. If your front door opens onto a wall that blocks the line of sight into the home’s interior, adds Keller, hang a mirror to create a sense of spaciousness as you enter your abode. “The openness creates a feeling of expansiveness and possibility,” she says.
Keep bathroom doors closed – all the time
“Most bathrooms have three drains” – the tub, sink and toilet – “through which energy can escape the house,” Keller explains. “If you keep the doors closed, even when the bathroom is not in use, you’ll be surprised how it adds to a feeling of balance in your home.”
Center yourself next to a wall
In your bedroom, place your bed so that you have a view of the doorway but are not facing it directly, and be sure that the bed is set against a wall – though not under or against a window. “Otherwise you will feel exposed from behind,” Keller says.
This is called the “command position,” she explains, and it’s advised not just for your bed, but for your desk and sofa, too. Proper placement of these key furniture pieces puts you in visual command of the space – allowing you to feel a sense of ease and security as you face life directly. “If you don’t have a wall for your sofa, a table or open bookcase behind it will help you feel anchored and safe,” she says.
People don’t realize it, says Keller, but objects give off an energy of their own, and it flows toward us. “We need space and freedom to think clearly, so the more uncluttered our space is, the less we’re distracted from our own thoughts and creativity,” she says. “Our homes become places of openness and freedom.”
That’s why Keller advises her clients to do a “spring cleaning” every six months (no matter the season) and to keep their homes in good shape. “If something is broken, fix it,” she says. “If a wall needs a lick of paint, do it. Be vigilant about upkeep and de-cluttering.”
Your reward? A calm and serene haven you’ll be eager to come home to.
Want more tips to a happier life? Visit Keller’s website at www.howhappyis.com.
Ronnie Polaneczky is an award-winning columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Her work has also appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health and others.
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by Laura Gontchar