by William Spear
A few years ago, I visited the home of the London family, who were planning to move. They asked me to make recommendations to help sell their house — on the market for months without a buyer.
I teach, lecture and write about feng shui, a technique practiced for thousands of years in the Far East, and more recently in the West. Mrs. London had taken my classes and understood how feng shui can positively effect an environment.
Shortly after entering the home, I noticed the likely imbalance caused by the angle of the roof of the new house next door. The offending element was easily remedied, resulting in a five-minute consultation.
Determined to get her money’s worth, Mrs. London then invited me to her daughter Kara’s bedroom. “Is she having trouble sleeping?” I inquired after observing the mirrors covering louvered closet doors. “She has the most terrible nightmares, and she’s so withdrawn,” her mother replied. The mirrors, running parallel to the child’s bed, reflected her image as she slept, and broke her reflection into sections.
I suggested they experiment for two weeks: cover the mirrors with a blind that could be pulled down each night, mounted above the closet. If her sleep improved, then remove the mirrors, and install sliding wooden doors without mirrors.
Next, this determined mother walked me into her son Justin’s room. There, I saw bright red walls, vibrant carpeting in a “computer-chip” motif and a bed placed so that the boy’s back was turned to the door. The headboard was against a wall with numerous electrical cords protruding from it.
Recognizing the unsettling energy in such an environment, I commented that this fellow must be “quite a fire plug.” Mrs. London confirmed what the room had told me: Justin was always in motion and couldn’t relax unless he was exhausted. Again, the design of the bedroom was implicated. I suggested she repaint the walls a cooler color, move his bed, and change the carpet to one without a frenetic pattern.
Months later, I received a lovely note. “Kara slept soundly the first night we covered the mirrors, and she has since become more outgoing. Justin slowed down considerably when we toned down his room.”
While there are certainly other factors that probably contributed to Kara’s nightmares and Justin’s hyperactivity, the relationship between physical and mental health and the environment is very well established.
We spend more than a third of our life in the bedroom, making it perhaps the most important room in the house! Environmental psychologists and feng shui practitioners have observed similar truths, namely that a bedroom’s color, materials, shape and furniture placement strongly affect our emotional and physical well being. It thus makes good sense to bring more awareness into the feng shui for bedrooms of our children.
Making adjustments to an environment according to basic principles of feng shui can often result in significant behavioral improvements. As with dietary recommendations, each family’s concerns are different and must be considered in each individual circumstance.
The bedroom is primarily a place for relaxation, not activity. To maximize a child’s abilities, here are a few general points to keep in mind:
- Choose cooler colors and limit patterns. White, blue, green and beige are good for walls and fabric. Hot colors like red or orange are for accents. Don’t force a certain motif on your child. Even young children can participate in the design process.
- Use soft, flowing lines. Square or rectangular nightstands, tables, desks and dressers are acceptable if their corners are slightly rounded, making for a softer feel.
- Make the environment as natural as possible. Use cotton or wood, and avoid synthetic materials or plastic surfaces. Add small plants, shells, rocks, driftwood, leaves and flowers to bring nature in.
- Eliminate clutter. Clutter stagnates the flow of energy. Create a ritual to give away old toys, stuffed animals and games in order to clear space and help others in need at the same time.
- Place beds in the “control” position, opposite and away from the door, with the head furthest from and in full view of the entrance. A “controlled bed” allows for maximum control and feelings of security. Electrical currents can interfere with sleep.
- Combine general and task lighting with natural light. Cover bare bulbs with shades or install indirect lighting fixtures.
- Place mirrors where they reflect light from a window and give occupants another “opening” to more space. Mirrors should never reflect anyone in bed; reflections drain energy instead of restoring it, during sleep.
Experiment, and have fun!
P.S. The house sold two days after I visited.