Feng Shui 101

Feng Shui 101

Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.

Our living spaces have more influence over our day-to-day lives than we realize. And if things aren’t going as well as they could be, it may not be you—it may be your home. The good news? It’s all fixable.

Feng Shui Master Kathleen Zemansky has spent the last 20 years helping businesses and individuals optimize their success. Here’s her advice on harnessing—and enhancing—the energy of your space, inside and out.


What’s the biggest misconception about Feng Shui?

There’s a perception of professional organizing and interior design as Feng Shui. They augment it, but it’s not the same thing. Feng Shui originated as a war tactic and strategy, and up until the 1960s, it was prohibited by law unless you were part of the imperial family—it’s that empowering. What I do is work with interior designers to do an energy blueprint and they’ll design around the space.


What can Feng Shui do for you?

Feng Shui is a reflection of you, what’s happening in your life, and what possibilities you have. It incorporates a person, space, and time. It’s more than the energy and harmony of a space—it’s about empowerment and success in your life. If the Feng Shui of your space is not good, you could be making poor decisions and encountering obstacles.


How does it work, exactly?

I start by getting to know the client’s unique energy.  Once I have that, I can then superimpose it over a floorplan of the living space to optimize the environment. If things are going well, you’re tapping into the good spaces. If things are not going well, the environment could be hurting you. So I look at certain areas to balance and enhance. The last part is taking action—Feng Shui is not about putting a few trinkets here and there and expecting money to fall from the sky. There are long- and short-term approaches to harness the energy.


What’s the first thing you look at?

Feng Shui starts outside the home, so stand at your front door and look out at the street. Is there a tree or a pole blocking the front door?  Take a walk completely around the building and look for things that might be affecting the energy. Are there any corners dissecting important parts of the building? We call those poison arrows—they slice through the energy of a space.


How can you protect your home’s energy?

Focus on your front door. Think about luxury hotels: their entrances are very wide and open to welcome in energy from the outside. Your front door should be the same way—it should move freely and not be blocked by junk. Get a level and put it at your door so you can see which way the energy is going. Figure out where it’s coming in, grab it, and bring it inside. For example, if you’re on a hill, put a potted plant on the side that’s lower. That will collect the energy and direct it into your home.


What about inside the home?

Look front, back, side to side, and up. What’s above your head can influence productivity. Beams, split ceilings, or low ceilings can create headaches or distractions—you don’t want to be sleeping or sitting directly below them. Look out the window. If there are corners from outside buildings slicing your energy, you need a remedy for the space—window coverings are a band-aid that can help. Look at corners inside the rooms where you spend a lot of time. Are there things that are broken, jagged, or sharp? Can you move them out of the way or rearrange your furniture? Look at the center of your home—you don’t want fire, water, or stairwells. And ideally, your home should be a complete square. When you have missing corners, you could have problems.


How can you fix these things?

Focus on what’s positive in your space and avoid the bad. You can’t do anything about what’s outside, but you can enhance what’s inside and follow the positive energy. It’s all related to the five elements: wood, fire, earth, water, and wood, which all have colors, shapes, manifestations, and seasonal attributes, plus there are directions, organs, and people matters associated with each. The elements interact with each other in a productive, weakening, or controlling way. Again, it’s not hanging trinkets; it’s using the elements to harness energy and ride that wave.


Use Feng Shui to enhance the positive aspects of your space.

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