Feng shui, the Chinese system of orienting buildings to improve life and
productivity, is often incorporated into many of today’s most high-profile office
spaces. But you can exercise these same principles to create a home office of your
own, arranging your workspace for the greatest chance at happiness and success.
Find Your Spot
Feng Shui teaches that the energy in a home flows from the front door and spreads
itself upward throughout the house. Therefore, the ideal space for your home office
should be relatively close to the front door, on the same floor as the entrance or a
higher floor – never in a basement or subterranean level.
Keep A Lookout
Place your desk in a position that directly faces the door, not a wall or window. For
best positioning, try the farthest corner of the room, allowing you to see everything
in your new home office. Positioning yourself to see who enters will prepare you for
business to come your way.
In Your Element
The basic teachings of feng shui include five essential elements: earth, fire, metal,
water, and wood. Together, they work in congress to create a positive Chi, or energy
flow. For best results, incorporate all five into your office while emphasizing the
element that best corresponds to your job or personality.
For inspiration, add wood – the element that symbolizes loyalty and creativity.
Any wooden object, even your desk or the floor, will serve this requirement. The
colors green and brown also symbolize this element and are often recommended
for people in investment or law. For best results, position the wood in your office’s
For productivity, add fire. Fire is considered the most powerful of the elements,
aggressive and passionate. Fire symbolizes energy and must be used to encourage
productivity in your office. Red is the color most associated with this element and is
recommended especially for artists and therapists. For best results, place your fire
element in the southern corner of the room.
For balance and stability, add earth – the element that lays the groundwork for
building and strengthening relationships. Earth tones like light browns and oranges
best represent this element, and these colors are great for lawyers and accountants,
serving to promote wealth and concentration. Materials made of clay or ceramic will
also satisfy this element, which should be placed in the center of your office.
For money, add metal – the symbol for harvest and financial success. Silver or gold
colors will embody this element, and items made of gold, copper, or silver will
further serve to increase your results. Metal should be placed in the western corner
of your office. Despite your desire for financial gain, don’t overdo this element. Too
much of any element can throw your office into disharmony.
For help in communication, add water – the essential element of communication
and opportunities. Water flows free and serves to promote networking, travel, and
wisdom. Blue and black are water’s best colors, and are often used in the office of an
academic to promote concentration. Lawyers and doctors should also utilize these
elements to enhance trust. Water items that may be added to your office include
mirrors, small fountains, or even a fish bowl. Always place water in the northern
corner of your workspace.
With a little bit of reorganizing and thought, any home office can be turned into a
productive and balanced space.
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers
achieve financial Zen with NerdWallet.