Ever wonder what interior design and Asian themes have to do with the energetic state known as feng shui? Get the answers and more right here


QUESTION OF THE WEEK: My friends and I all love your column and when we get together, we can’t wait to talk about all the things you write about. As a group, we have come up with the following questions for you: How does feng shui relate to religion and superstition? Why are bathrooms considered “bad” feng shui and what do they represent in our homes? Also, is an Asian-themed look necessary for good feng shui? And finally, what is the difference between feng shui and interior design?

These are great questions and I’m happy to answer them. Thank you for reading my column!

Feng shui and religion


Feng shui is not a “belief” system and fits no religious or superstitious prototype. Nothing in feng shui goes against any religious belief that I know of. It is an energetic state that exists whether or not you are aware of its effect on you. Yet, feng shui is more than a “state of existence.” It is a body of wisdom that we can use to create a supportive environment for what we want in our lives. The practice of feng shui takes into consideration location, topography, buildings, shapes, interior balance, furniture placement, predecessor energy (who occupied the space prior to you), colors, elements and energy flow. When a space “feels good,” its feng shui vibratory harmony is high — often referred to as “good” feng shui. When a space “feels bad,” its vibratory state is likely chaotic — often referred to as “bad” feng shui.

Feng Shui and bathrooms

Bathrooms are generally thought of as “bad” feng shui because they have more than one drain, and water, representing flow and abundance, is flushed away or goes down the drain in almost everything you do, whether using the toilet, washing your hands, bathing, showering, or brushing your teeth.

Although bathrooms are energetically draining, they also offer a respite from the stress and tension of our daily lives. In that sense, bathrooms are intimate transitional rooms, where a dirty body is transformed into a clean one or a plain face is transformed into a radiant one. In the bathroom, we let go of the old, releasing toxins and sometimes our tears. Ultimately, whether in the home or in a public space, the bathroom is the room that provides the most privacy. After a long day, we look to the bathroom to unwind, perhaps by soaking in a hot tub or taking a refreshing shower. So a lot of emphasis is placed on creating a comfortable, supportive and peaceful environment in the bathroom.

Feng shui and Asian themes

The idea that feng shui requires an Asian theme is probably due to mainstream marketing of this ancient art, showing images of Zen gardens, lotus flowers, shoji screens and meditating Buddha figurines. Feng shui originated in Asia, so Eastern themes can and do come into play; however, at its core, feng shui is a universal nature-based philosophy, focused primarily on our feelings and our personal resonance with the environment.


If your religious or spiritual beliefs include Jesus or angels, you can place those figurines around you to create a feng shui environment that works for you. Asian-looking bamboo fountains or European-looking resin fountains, perhaps with cherubs pouring water, have the same function in feng shui. You can replace lotus flowers with roses, Jesus with Buddha, and scenes of a bamboo forest with scenes of a redwood forest and still create “good” feng shui. The bottom line is that feng shui requires whatever resonates with you.

Feng shui and interior design

While both feng shui and interior design consider aesthetics, feng shui goes one step further to nurture the people in the space by using nature-based principles to honor the universal energetic component that links “All That Is.”

Feng shui is based on the concept that everything in this universe is connected by an unseen energy, or force, often referred to as “chi,” animating all living things. This energy connects human beings to “All That Is,” from the tiniest quark to the vastness of the cosmos. With this understanding, feng shui recognizes that, when changes are made in the home, changes are made outside the home and in the life of the individual occupying the space. This intention and understanding permeates all aspects of feng shui, and, in this one very important way, sets it apart from interior design.

Go with yellow

If you have had a long week with lots of drama or simply feel exhausted by the small challenges of life, stress can easily creep in. Bring in some yellow and amp up the sunshine! In feng shui, you can balance your personal “center” by using yellow, which symbolizes bringing the sunshine indoors and creating overall health.


Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant, and offers a series of instructional DVDs on feng shui, as well as her award-winning books on feng shui, happiness and spiritual life wisdom. Visit www.aliceinspired.com.