Disclaimer: Just so you know, if you order an item through one of our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.
Once upon a time, back when I was a single gal, my bedroom was my private oasis; it was my getaway from lousy jobs, roommates, and sometimes just life in general. From the paint color I meticulously chose in the aisle at Sherwin-Williams to the bedding I scored during a Pottery Barn clearance sale, I designed my bedroom to be an inviting, calming space.
Even though I had no idea what it was back then, I was trying to create a feng shui bedroom: a place of positive energy where I could recharge. The ancient Chinese practice of feng shui goes way deeper than picking out paint colors, though. Here’s how to get a feng shui bedroom, according to the experts.
What is feng shui?
The term feng shui gets thrown around a lot to describe things that have a soothing effect, but the practice of feng shui goes so much deeper. It’s actually the ancient Chinese version of geomancy, the practice of using the earth’s energy to place structures and buildings to promote good fortune.
“Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art of moving energy, or chi, in order to create harmonious surroundings that enhance the balance of yin and yang energy both within a person and their surroundings,” explains feng shui expert Michelle Cromer.
Western feng shui has evolved over the centuries, Cromer says. Four thousand years ago, she explains, “the classical practice of feng shui was an outward-to-in approach emphasizing environmental aesthetics like geography and topography. But Western feng shui has simplified the process into tangible results.”
How to Create a Feng Shui Bedroom
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend almost 10 hours per day on personal care, including sleep. That’s at least one-third of your day! Between snoozing, getting busy, and relaxing, though, we probably spend much more than a third of the day in our sleeping space, which is why creating a feng shui bedroom is so worthwhile, even if you can’t feng shui your whole home.
“In feng shui, chi, or energy, enters and exits through all of the windows and doors of any space,” says Cromer. Before designing any feng shui bedroom layout, you’ll want to take note of where your bedroom doors and windows are located. Their location will make a big difference in how you position your bed, which is the most important aspect of a feng shui bedroom.
How you position your bed is the most important aspect of a feng shui bedroom.
Place your bed in a commanding position.
For the best flow of energy, place your bed in a commanding position—a powerful spot where you can clearly see, but are not in front of, the door. Put simply, the feng shui commanding position is all about putting you in a position of power, regardless of what room you’re arranging.
For example, in your office, you don’t face your desk away from the door toward the wall. Instead, your desk should face out, looking toward the door, putting you in charge when people enter your office. In a nutshell, that’s what you want in your bedroom. So what does this look like exactly?
Place your bed against a wall.
Ideally, position your bed against a solid wall that will provide a strong background to ground the room’s energy, diagonal to the entryway. The perfectionist in you might cringe, but in a feng shui bedroom layout, your bed doesn’t need to be centered on the wall. In fact, you want as much space between you and the door as possible.
Try to avoid placing your bed on a wall with windows, says Cromer, as windows allow the flow of energy into the room that could create a feeling of vulnerability. In a commanding position, you want to ground as much of the energy into your bed as possible.
Less is more.
Once you’ve found the commanding position for your bed, continue to ground the room with the rest of your bedroom furniture, and remember: Less is more. Place large furniture, like a dresser or chest, directly opposite the bed if possible to counterbalance the strong, grounded energy of the bed.
Choose a bed with space underneath.
This will allow energy to flow through the room. “We are intimately connected to the energy of our bed,” Cromer tells HealthyWay. “The energy needs to circulate around your body when you sleep, which is not possible if the bed goes all the way to the floor or if there are objects under the bed.”
Don’t place a mirror in front of your bed.
“Mirrors in feng shui have unique abilities. They can double or reflect energy, and they can be used as a water feature since they have reflective properties,” says Cromer. “Mirrors that face a bed can cause restless sleep.” Keep in mind that according to Cromer, TVs are also considered mirrors “since they have the same reflective properties.”
If you must have a mirror in your room—if it is attached to an existing piece of furniture, for example—Cromer suggests covering it at night with a pashmina so as to keep that energy out of the room as you sleep.
Anchor your bed to the floor with a rug.
“Feng shui really reminds us about the importance of a balance in life,” says Laura Benko, author of The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space. “The softness of a rug balances out the cold, hard floors.”
Aim for symmetry.
“Symmetry is a simple way to achieve visual balance and harmony. Since the bedroom can be a reflection of the partnerships between the people living in the home, its symmetry is critical,” Cromer emphasizes.
To achieve symmetry in the bedroom, Cromer says that both sides of the bed should look identical. If you have a nightstand on one side, you should have one on the other. Likewise with lamps, candles, chairs, and other objects in the room.
Don’t let your room get cluttered.
“Staying organized and having a clutter-free home is crucial and one of the major principles in feng shui,” says Cromer. “Clutter robs the inhabitants of vitality and slows down opportunities and creates health issues. Clutter stops the flow of energy and this has an impact on our internal energetic flow.”
To cut down on clutter in your bedroom, give Swedish death cleaning a try (it isn’t as ominous as it sounds, I promise).
Remove EMF pollution.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) are invisible fields of energy emitted by electronic devices, like microwaves and cell phones, and they can negatively impact your chi in a big way, says Cromer.
To keep EMF pollution at a minimum, try to keep devices—like your phone and other screens—out of the bedroom. If that’s not possible, then charge your device as far away from your bed as possible, Cromer advises.
Feng Shui Colors
In feng shui, different colors are associated with the five feng shui elements: earth, water, wood, fire, and metal. Colors, then, are ultra important in setting the feng shui tone for your bedroom. But if you’re waiting for a feng shui expert to tell you exactly what color to paint your room, you’re out of luck; there are no right or wrong feng shui bedroom colors!
Essentially, you want your room to feel safe, secure, and serene. For me, that color is a pale, beachy blue. But for you, that color might be a warm, earth-toned terra cotta.
The only color you don’t want in your feng shui bedroom? Too much red, says Benko. “Fiery tones of red and orange are too stimulating for rest and relaxation. Keeping the bedroom in white, creams, pastels, or muted colors [is] more conducive to a good night’s sleep.”
But that doesn’t mean red is completely off limits in your feng shui bedroom. According to Cromer, if your room needs more passion, pops of fiery reds, like in your rug or decor, can add just the right amount of emotional energy.
As for decorating, feng shui is all about simplicity, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own style. “Feng shui of today is not about a banal palette of neutrals; it’s not about using zen-like decor, nor is it about filling your home with culturally rich tchotchkes of Foo dogs and dragons,” says Benko.
Instead, for feng shui decorating, think about what moves and inspires you. Don’t clutter the walls, but place a few carefully chosen pieces of art that represent positivity, creativity, and good energy.
Feng Shui on a Budget
“Feng shui is never about spending a lot of money,” Benko tells HealthyWay.
“Because feng shui is the art of placement, repurposing items a person already has is normally all it takes,” Cromer adds. “Painting a room or a wall is oftentimes the only expense a person may have when incorporating feng shui into their space.”
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, but you still want an in-home oasis, here are Benko’s favorite tips for getting a feng shui bedroom (and they don’t cost a dime!):
- Declutter, pare down, and surround yourself with only the items you absolutely love and use regularly. Get rid of items that are broken, in disrepair, or that you feel obligated to keep.
- Get fresh air circulating. Let the sunshine in and keep your surfaces clean and clear.
- Make your bed every day. It sets the tone for a prepared day and will give you a mental health boost.
Picking and Choosing Feng Shui Principles
“Good feng shui starts from the inside out. The changes you make in your space will support the changes inside of you and vice versa,” says Cromer. “So I don’t believe in bad energy, only misplaced energy.”
Cromer says you shouldn’t worry if you can’t go all the way with a feng shui bedroom because you rent or your bedroom doesn’t have a lot of options for rearranging furniture because you won’t be creating “bad” energy within your home. You can still create a feng shui oasis in your bedroom with these simple tips:
- If you rent, you don’t have to be stuck with the bland, beige paint your landlord chose. Use peel and stick paint (I like TemPAINT) to get the feng shui bedroom color of your dreams.
- If your bed can only be positioned against a wall with a window, or if your bed cannot be placed flush against a solid wall, recreate one by placing a folding screen or decorative room divider behind your headboard to help anchor the bed.
- Get organized to keep clutter at bay behind closet doors. Invest in inexpensive closet organization so you’re not tempted to throw all your clothes on the chair (you know what I’m talking about, ladies).
“Good feng shui starts from the inside out. The changes you make in your space will support the changes inside of you and vice versa.”
Benefits of a Feng Shui Bedroom
Not a whole lot of scientific research has been done to prove whether feng shui actually does have health benefits. But it would seem that many of the individual tenets of feng shui actually are beneficial to your health.
For starters, feng shui eschews clutter and disorganization. While it didn’t involve feng shui specifically, a study conducted by researchers at Indiana University found that individuals with tidy, clutter-free homes were more active and healthier overall than messier individuals.
Feng shui principles hold that blues, greens, and earth tones are more conducive to calming environments—and they may make you more productive as well. Another study, conducted by Nancy Stone at Missouri University of Science and Technology, found that students who studied in rooms painted red performed poorly on assigned tasks compared to students who studied in blue carrels.
Additionally, a study out of UCLA found that women who live in cluttered homes have higher cortisol levels, which Stanford University reported led to a decline in self-esteem. (On the other hand, the UCLA study showed that the women who had a home they described as “restorative” actually lowered their stress levels.) People with higher self-esteem, according to one study, tend to have more satisfying romantic relationships. So it’s not too much of a stretch to say that a feng shui bedroom may even help improve intimacy between you and your partner.
Cromer says that the practice of feng shui works because it can help make sense of our energy flows. The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the home, so creating a space where you can momentarily block out life’s stressors and soak up all the positive energy your feng shui bedroom oasis has to offer is critical self-care.