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Introducing Color & Playing with Fire

It’s no secret that color plays a critical role in the interior design process. I often get asked about how I begin developing color schemes that not only look good, but also support and nurture my clients on an energetic level. As a Feng Shui practitioner, I always start with the Five Elements Theory and colors that relate to the personalities of those who will be inhabiting the space.

Everything starts with the Bagua (click here to learn more about incorporating the Bagua). After laying the Bagua over the floor plan of the space, I take into consideration the areas of the home that need to be augmented to make up for deficiencies in the architecture or layout. That being said, when a client tells me that they love, and want to use, a particular color scheme, I work to embrace and incorporate that color into the design. Our bodies have enormous wisdom that often doesn’t translate easily into words, specific rules or guidelines. Working with colors that my clients are subconsciously drawn to is a key part of my process.

Once I understand the elemental deficiencies of a space, I layer in items to help balance each of the Five Elements (think of it like balancing a chemical equation in high school chemistry class). The Five Elements (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood) are represented by the patterns, colors, materials and textures of the items we introduce.

As an example, let’s explore how to introduce and utilize the Fire Element in a space:

Fire represents the “fame” and “reputation” area of the Bagua and sits facing south. Fire works to invigorate our work and personal lives when we’re feeling low, unheard or unseen. It helps ramp up the energy of a space, and can be used to increase productivity in a home office, or romance in the bedroom. Feng Shui colors for Fire are: red, purple, pink and can also include strong oranges and yellows in certain contexts. It's best to avoid dark blue and black when you are trying to ramp up Fire, as these both represent Water, which douses, diminishes and “extinguishes” Fire.

So how do we decorate with the Fire element? Remember that every hue has a myriad of tones and vibrancies – find the one that works for you! The tones that surround the main theme offer balance to every element. The best way to bring the color red into to your home, if it hasn’t already been introduced, is through accents. Depending on the style of your home, as well as the existing décor scheme, you may have to invest some time searching for the “perfect red.” It might be a plum red, purple red, or fire engine red – who knows? Experiment with reds until you find a shade that compliments your existing home décor the most. The “right red” always creates a happy, vibrant, energizing feeling – something that every home needs in one way or another. Layer in your red with vases, lighting fixtures, pillows and rugs. Luxurious red curtains are a great way to create a dramatic focal point! In this way, we can take control of the amazing, vibrant energy we introduce to a space. Over time, your energetic needs may change; using easy, movable pieces will allow for an easy transition later down the track.

Using red in a kitchen (through appliances and cookware) or dining room (candles, centerpieces and napkins) works well too (unless, of course those rooms are facing south/south-west). Sounds a little tricky? Don’t stress. Remember, an experienced interior designer can help guide you throughout the process, ensuring you find the right red, introduce it to problem areas correctly, and balance the other elements in a way that promotes health, happiness and harmony. After all, that’s what we’re here for!

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