Your home office should be an inspiring place to work, create and (when necessary) kill time on the Internet. When you hit a mental block or cannot find focus in your home office, it’s hard to pin down the exact issue and how to fix it. The Chinese practice of feng shui offers guidance for designing spaces with harmony and balance – which can help you improve the look and feel of your office. If that sounds like perfection, then close the door on chaos and use these office feng shui ideas to build a zen office space.
Bring Zen to Your Space
The most important element of office feng shui is your seating position – since it directly relates to your work habits and productivity. Many office layouts have desks facing a wall or a corner; this can cause you to feel claustrophobic and closed off from the other areas of your home. Avoid positioning your desk so that you have your back to the door.
Instead, place your desk in the “command position,” which means that you face the door with your back to a wall. The wide-open view is calming and allows you to see the door and all who enter. Energy, or chi, also flows best when you situate yourself diagonally from the door rather than directly across from it. Even better – position yourself with a window in view. Gazing into the distance is a proven way to relax.
Elemental Balance in Office Feng Shui
It’s common to decorate an office in one main color theme. At first, it does make the look of the room feel cohesive and put together. Unfortunately, too much of one texture, material or color is monotonous and uninspiring at best (and overwhelming at worst). Instead, cultivate a thoughtful and strategic balance of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – that represent specific characteristics in feng shui.
Use plants, wooden furniture and natural-fiber textiles to introduce the “wood” element and to boost your creativity. Enhance your sense of leadership or boldness with a fiery red day planner, scented candles or similar expressions of the “fire” element. Terra cotta planters and other natural tones and materials bring “earth” into the office. Metal reflects clarity and logic, so integrate chunky hardware, a metallic desk set or a sleek lamp into your scheme. A tiny aquarium or trickling fountain is perfect for incorporating “water” in your office, but a wavy, abstract print or mirrored gazing ball does the trick, too.
A Greener Place
You may ask yourself: Are plants really that beneficial in a home office? While plants literally add life to your home office, they’re also key components of feng shui. Healthy green plants impart positive energy and create oxygen. Plants with broad or rounded leaves are particularly feng-shui-friendly. An empty corner can impede the flow of energy; fix that issue with a hanging Boston fern or ivy plant, or choose a tall, lanky bamboo or ficus plant to fill a larger space. If space is at a premium, then create a tiny desktop garden with hardy, low-maintenance succulents. These require very little soil.
You can get all of the organization accessories in the world, but your desk still may not feel like everything is in its correct spot. When in doubt, apply the concept of the bagua – a type of map associated with feng shui – to your desktop to create a more zen office.
Mentally divide your desk into a nine-square grid. Starting at the upper left corner, moving clockwise and ending in the middle, the squares of the grid correspond to money and wealth, fame and reputation, love and relationships, creativity and children, helpful people and travel, career, knowledge and wisdom, family, and your health.
Another great solution to improving your desk layout is by moving the items on your desk in the areas you wish to protect or enhance. For instance, the upper left corner is an ideal place for a plant, as the wood element is associated with money. Display a diploma or special award near the top center portion of your desk. Place photos of friends or loved ones in the areas devoted to love and relationships.
Even if you’re a feng shui skeptic, there’s no reason not to carve out cleaner, greener, more inviting space in which to work. When everything has a place and a purpose, it’s hard not to feel pretty zen.
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