By applying the most basic of feng shui principles, you can turn your home or office space into a balanced, harmonious retreat

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you have any “before and after” pictures of a home that you have consulted on? I am interested in seeing the difference feng shui can make. I am just about to work on a room in my house and am looking for some guidance and ideas.

Unlike an interior designer or decorator, I take no before and after photos and rarely get to see what my clients have done after I leave. Moreover, many of the changes I suggest are subtle and energetic versus blatant and visual and would not show up in a photo.

However, shortly after receiving your email, I came across the photos of my office before I moved in and felt that they would be of benefit to you if I detailed what I did to make my space harmonious and pleasant according to the principles of feng shui.



My office “before” feng shui


When I signed my lease, my office was a 300-square-foot rectangle with gray carpet and white walls. It felt boxy, cold and sterile, especially with the florescent lighting. I wanted my office to be a warm, welcoming, peaceful space where my clients would feel safe and nurtured, and where my business would have a good foundation for growth. I went to work creating this vision for myself.


When people ask me what colors to use, I always say, “When in doubt, use colors found in nature.” By following this advice, your space will always feel good. Using nature colors brings peace, movement and a sense of regeneration to an indoor space. So I used green for the carpet, bringing in the serene yet vital energy of grass and young leaves. I used shades of brown for the furniture, bringing in the stable energy of earth and tree trunks. I painted my walls two shades of gold, bringing in the warm energy of sunshine, and added touches of red, bringing in the aesthetic and vital energy of flowers.


The balancing of elements is important in feng shui. Elements can be represented by color and shape, and sometimes you can use the elements themselves. I made sure to balance all the elements. For example, a fountain by the door represents water. Trees and plants symbolize the wood element. Candles and bursts of red represent fire and, as noted above, shades of brown in the furniture represent the earth element. Finally, white lanterns and a white ceiling represent metal.


I often talk about “the power position.” In my case, I made sure that my consultation table was situated so that both my clients and I are out of the way of, but can comfortably see, the door. I used the same positioning concept for the Papasan sofa on the other side of the room. In this way, no matter where we sit in my office, we can see the door, creating a sense of power and safety.


It is necessary to have both straight lines and curves in a space so that those in the environment feel balanced. Because we started with straight lines in a boxy room, I consciously added curves in the form of a round table, an oval Papasan sofa, a curved corner shelf, and round lamps.


I minimized the look of sharp corners in the room by angling my furniture or putting curved shelving in the corners. I also placed two standing partitions in such a way that they curved around the consultation area to give the client the feeling of being “hugged,” creating a feeling of comfort and nurture.


Instead of harsh overhead fluorescent lighting, I brought in three floor lamps to warmly light my space, creating a cozy, comfortable feel while providing enough light to read documents.

Wall Images and Decor

For my walls, I selected images of nature scenes or others that spoke to me on a deeper level, evoking feelings of love, peace and harmony. I placed decor around me that had the same message and, to avoid a cluttered feeling, I made sure to keep knickknacks to a minimum.

To keep the main space free from overwhelm, the storage area for my book inventory, presentation equipment and office supplies is positioned and organized in shelves behind the curved bamboo screen.


The Result

By using the most basic of feng shui principles, I easily created a space that matched my intent. If you want to create something similar, follow the principles outlined above and turn your space into a balanced and harmonious retreat. It is entirely doable!


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 to read her blog, sign up for her newsletters and download useful feng shui tips.