The term “Feng Shui” comes from two Chinese words "Feng" and "Shui" meaning “wind” and “water". This concept came from an ancient Chinese poem that explains how human life is inherently connected with the environment around it. Using the concept of Feng Shui can be a wonderful way of arranging your home in a way that is harmonious with your needs.
Plants and flowers have been used for millennia to decorate, perfume, and lighten even the darkest, most cluttered of rooms. All across the world, people have used foliage to breathe life into the design of their homes. Nowadays, we live much busier lives and many of us don’t have time to water, prune, fertilize, or re-pot our plants regularly.
For this reason, more and more people are turning to artificial plants to freshen up a space, avoiding the added hassle of living plants. The artificial versions don’t require any sunlight or water, nor will they wither and die if left alone for too long. They can be placed anywhere in the home without maintenance, and they look great all year round! Artificial plants are ideal for busy people who still want the presence of some leafy friends in the home.
In this article, we will explore the essential principles of Feng Shui and what it means to decorate with Feng Shui in mind. We’ll also look at how you can use artificial plants to improve the Feng Shui of your home.
What is Feng Shui?
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that focuses on the juxtaposition of our living spaces with nature through careful and thoughtful spatial design. The main force behind Feng Shui is Qi (pronounced “chee”), which refers to the energy that connects us all. By employing certain design principles that encourage positivity and success, Feng Shui allows our energy to flow freely through our homes, improving how we feel each day.
Feng Shui sounds like a relaxed way of thinking, but the practice features several surprisingly strict principles. If we want Qi to fill our houses, we must pay attention to details – things like setting our furniture in precise places and choosing specific colors to paint our front doors depending on which direction they face! There are many versions of these principles, but let’s look at some common points that form this philosophy:
The Feng Shui Bagua Map:
The word “Bagua” translates as “eight areas” and refers to an energy map that can be placed on the floor plan of your entire home or each room separately. It is usually depicted as an octagon or three-by-three square with either health or self in the middle. Each section represents an element in your life. Some elements may need more attention than others, depending on where you are emotionally and spiritually. These areas represent things like love, family, knowledge, career, wealth, fame, children, and helpful people. The Bagua map is aligned either with the compass or, more commonly today, with your front door, placing this at the bottom of your map.
The Commanding Position:
This is the optimal position in each room for the best energy flow. The rule of the commanding position is the same whether you’re decorating a bedroom, living room, kitchen, or dining room. The commanding position is diagonal but furthest away from the door. Feng Shui refers to this as the dominant position in the room, so depending on the room, the bed, desk, or stove should be in diagonal alignment to the door if possible. Each represents an important part of your life: your bed represents self-care, your desk is a reflection of your work and career, and the stove stands for nourishment and health.
The Five Elements:
Earth, wood, fire, water, and metal are five interrelated facets of life that together create a complete system. Feng shui practice usually aims to balance these five parts of your life areas or Bagua. These elements also coincide with certain emotions, shapes, materials, colors, and parts of the Bagua map.
Those who wish to incorporate the five elements in their lives must establish where they want to focus their energy, looking at one or two areas of life they’d like to improve first.
Here are some associations made between the elements and certain qualities, colors, seasons, and shapes:
- Wood’s qualities are those of vitality, expansiveness, and growth. It’s associated with rectangles and columns, and the colors blue and green. As for seasons, it’s closely associated with spring, and people look to it for support with health, wellness, and family.
- Earth’s qualities are stable, self-caring, and grounded. Its corresponding colors are yellow, brown, and orange, and surprisingly, its corresponding shape is flat! It represents the transitional period between seasons, and people look to it for help with partnerships, knowledge, and general wellness.
- Metal is efficient and precise. It’s associated with a spherical or circular shape and is linked with metallic tones and white. Autumn is its season and it is associated with children and helpful people.
- The qualities of water are flowing, changing, and shifting, and it’s often linked with a wavy or curly shape. People connect it with the color black and the season of winter, using water to seek support in their careers.
- Unsurprisingly, fire is known as passionate, brilliant, and illuminating. It’s associated with a triangle shape and the color red. Fire’s energy is connected with summer and people use this element to seek recognition and even fame.
Yin and Yang:
Many of us know the yin and yang symbol but do you know where it comes from? This fascinating idea can be found in many ancient Chinese traditions and is used within martial arts, interior design, food, and medicine. The idea of yin and yang focuses on duality and the idea that opposite forces can have a symbiotic relationship, working together to create harmony.
Yin’s energy is passive, quiet, and soft, whereas yang is the bold, decisive, and assertive one. When we look at yin and yang in terms of interior design, we want to look for a balance of both soft and bold energies. Whether you’re redecorating a stale-looking room or moving into a new home, you can lean towards either one, depending on the room. Emphasize the yin in serene rooms like a bedroom, bathroom, or conservatory and the yang in higher energy, productive rooms such as a home office or kitchen.
Now that we know the basic principles behind Feng Shui, let’s look at how it can be incorporated into your artificial plant-heavy interior design!
How can artificial plants alter my home’s Feng Shui?
In Chinese culture, there are a lot of references to plants and flowers bringing auspiciousness, luck, and wealth. Here are some of the most popular artificial plants for good Feng Shui:
- The lotus flower, which symbolizes purity of heart and truth.
- Lucky bamboo, which represents longevity. People who want to live long lives tend to have a lucky bamboo in their homes, though other forms of artificial bamboo work well
- The chrysanthemum: this flower also symbolizes longevity, plus the balance of energy among living things.
- Monstera (also known as the cheese plant), which charges your home with positive Chi or life energy. The cheese plant is said to bring about good fortune with an inherent connection to Li (Fame) and recognition.
- Peony: this plant is often found in the homes of people who wish for love or have recently lost a loved one.
Other popular plants in China include jasmine, Chinese tea flowers, ginseng, lilies, and almond trees.
As we learned above, the Bagua energy maps decide how you should arrange your furniture. Once you’ve outlined your Bagua map, you will likely have a better idea of where to place your artificial plants in your home. You’ll be able to arrange your plants with intention and positivity.
House plants impact each Bagua area differently, but the idea is that they shift the energy in these areas when arranged correctly. One example of a plant that does this well is the Zamioculcas zamiifolia or the Zanzibar Gem (commonly known as the ZZ plant). This robust plant grows quickly upwards and so is often associated with luck and prosperity. The Zanzibar Gem possesses some of the most important Feng Shui principles, such as the five elements and the Bagua. This plant is strong and sturdy, linked with several Bagua areas such as Xu (abundance and wealth) and Zhen (family and new Beginnings).
The Zanzibar Gem is most energetically helpful when placed in a long room or hallway as this location can boost the positive energy that the plant provides to a room. It’s always worth doing a little research about the plants you’re about to buy- that way, you can focus on what specific qualities you’re looking for.
How should I start using artificial plants to impact the Feng Shui in a room?
Now that we know how important plant choice is when it comes to Feng Shui, let’s look at how to incorporate them into your interior design:
- Think vertically. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hang plants from every possible height, but thinking upwards can help you make the most of any space. Thinking vertically can be especially helpful if you live in a small space and want to make it feel higher! Integrate some vertical shapes and lines into a room to echo the feeling of growth and expansion. Add some lighting so that the light travels upward – this may mean under lighting a bookshelf, small tree, or coffee table. Make the space feel taller by working with what you have.
- If you have an open-plan home, use larger plants to divide rooms. Open-plan homes often feel airy and spacious, but sometimes you want to feel like you’re in a different room from everyone else! Use a big, leafy parlor palm, or cheese plant to unofficially divide spaces.
- Mix it up with plants of various shapes and sizes. The best thing about artificial plants is that you can place them anywhere in the house without worrying that they’ll dry out. If you’re a fan of succulents but you also love miniature cheese plants, why not place them together with pots of similar materials and colors? Not only will this tie a room together but it’ll also emphasize the energetic qualities you want to welcome in, through the use of specific colors.
- Create an artificial terrarium. This allows you to mix your favorite artificial plants in a big, beautiful bowl or glass container. What’s great about terrariums with artificial plants is that you can place two plants that wouldn’t usually get along side by side. There’s no worrying about one plant poisoning the other or sapping all the energy from the soil because they’re both artificial!
- Make your entryway feel deliberately designed rather than cluttered. If you tend to build up a pile of shoes, magazines, or umbrellas by the door, it’s time to minimize that mess. Instead of an unintentionally messy entrance, place an artificial plant in your entrance. A calathea or fiddle leaf fig can add a welcoming atmosphere to any home entrance, plus if you have a lovely plant to look at first, you’re more likely to keep that space clean and tidy.
Now that we’ve explored the basic ideas behind feng shui, we know how plants interact with the philosophy behind it. Everything in your home has its own energy, and artificial plants are no different. They can bring about a positive feeling to any doorway, coffee table, shelf, and entryway, and there’s no reason you should have to take care of real plants if you don’t have the time. So why not see how you can incorporate artificial plants into your home decor today? Explore our range of plants here.