A closer look at the artwork in our homes may reveal spitting images of life experiences. Here are tips for placing supportive pictures around us

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I attended a presentation you gave last week and really enjoyed what you shared about the symbolism and the importance of paying attention to the pictures on our walls. When I looked closely at what I had on my walls, I saw that many items were not supportive and looked lonely, which is exactly how I feel much of the time. Can you elaborate more on this fascinating topic?

Thank you for your question! I notice that when clients speak to me about an issue they are having, it is often reflected subtly — and sometimes boldly — in their artwork or decor.

For example, a gentleman in his mid 40s consulted me because he wanted a relationship. He said, “I just don’t seem to meet anyone, and when I do, the person doesn’t stay around for long.”

In feng shui, the bedroom represents our relationships, and in his bedroom, only two pictures were on the walls — both clearly representing his love life. Above the head of his bed was a beautiful but desolate, black and white close-up shot of dried, cracked lava flow. On the other wall, was an image of an airplane taking off.


In-law reflection

In another consultation, as a client walked me through her home, she stated, “I feel as if I can’t get away from my in-laws. They drive me crazy and constantly meddle in our marriage!”

Upon entering the master bedroom, I immediately saw why. On the walls, photos of her husband’s family hung haphazardly, most noticeable was a large picture of his parents facing her side of the bed.


The problem may seem obvious to you, but she saw no correlation between the placement of the photos and her feelings. Family photos are fine, but the bedroom is your sanctuary, and in feng shui, the relationship area of your home probably is not the best place for pictures of your in-laws, regardless of how well you may or may not get along with them.

The chicken or the egg

In instances like the one above, I always ask myself, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Did my client always feel her in-laws were intrusive, or did she hang the photos and consequently “invite” the inlaw-meddling into her marriage? The photos were a visible clue to what was going on beneath the surface.

Your pictures are “speaking” to you

The sights and sounds around us “speak” to us, and we consciously and subconsciously take everything in. In our home, the artwork on the walls “speaks” to us, constantly pouring the energy of what is depicted into the environment.

When you want to improve the energy of your environment, make sure the pictures on your walls support, not work against you. Do the images in your home depict what you want in your life?

If not, consider replacing them with images that make a positive, uplifting statement in line with your visions and goals. Where images are concerned, here are some general guidelines to follow:

Let go of old times

If the images on your walls remind you of a time you would rather forget, or from which you would like to move forward, take them down.

Avoid violent or turbulent images

Scenes of battles, storms and raging waters are unsupportive, unless you enjoy never-ending conflicts and chaos at home.

Let go of “negative” fine art

If you have expensive art that has unsupportive connotations or an unpleasant past linked to it, ask yourself if sacrificing the energy of your home for this “investment in negativity” is worth it.


Use positive images


When in doubt, hang inspiring, uplifting and personally meaningful artwork — images that depict life force, abundance, vitality, peace, happiness and harmony.

Balance the size of the wall with the size of the image

The size of the image should be proportional to the wall space. To balance the yin and yang, or the passive and dynamic energy in a room, place large paintings in areas with a lot of space or group small paintings to fill a larger wall.

Here are some location guidelines:


Water is associated with the entry, because it enhances the flow of energy through the front door. Represent this element with mirrors, images of flowing water or abstract art in an undulating shape, making certain that the images appear to be flowing into the home.

Blocked walls

If a wall is within six feet of the entry to your home, open up the space with an image that has depth perspective. For example, landscape paintings draw the eye past the wall by symbolically “breaking it down.”

Top of stairs

On the wall at the top of the stairs, use bright artwork depicting fire colors (red, bright pink, orange) to help the energy “climb” the stairs.

Behind the bed

Mountain and nature scenes and stationary images depict support and stability. Avoid too much moving water (represents emotions) in the bedroom and incorporate harmonious pairs for peaceful relationship energy.

Our homes are a reflection of our inner selves. Bring your dreams and wishes from inside your heart and display them on your walls to better support your life.


Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment at Na Lama Kukui (formerly known as Gentry Pacific Design Center) on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U you’ll find dozens of inspiring classes all geared toward personal growth, helping you live a more purposeful and ease-filled life. Visit www.YourHappinessU.com.