Design 101

The Elements of Feng Shui

Learn how a balance of wood, fire, earth, metal and water can bring balance to your space and your life.

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Feng shui divides the world into five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. If you have a room that doesn't feel quite right, try balancing the elements to make it more comfortable. Each element invokes a different mood, creating a customized space that's beneficial for your personality and goals. Here's a look at each one and how to incorporate it into your home, yard or office design:

1. Wood. Wood harnesses the power of creativity and expansion while representing traits such as growth, birth, strength, flexibility and intuition. Too much wood can make you feel overwhelmed, rigid, stubborn and inflexible, whereas too little can show up as a lack of creativity or depression, ambivalence and stagnancy.

When designing with the wood element, use shapes that mimic the vertical, column-like shape of tree trunks and the softness of leaves and flowers. Like the leaves and sky, wood's colors are green and blue. Consider incorporating the following types of objects:

  • fresh and silk flowers
  • plants and trees
  • cotton and other natural fabrics
  • wood furniture

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