Living As If
It’s been six months since our project Living As If… and I’m just curious to know if anyone has tackled any of the DIY and how-to’s we explored. I think it was our most informational project, packed with lots of great tutorials and ideas for how to turn your house into something comfortable and wonderful even if you don’t have a lot of money.
I’d love to hear any feedback anyone would like to share. Here are a few questions to get us started:
- Did you try any of the do it yourself projects?
- If so, how well did they work for you?
- Did you try any of the recipes?
- Were they yummy?
- Have you implemented any of the feng shui principles in any of the rooms in your home?
- If so, have you noticed any difference?
- Anything else you’d like to share?
This post provides links to pertinent aspects of the Living As If… project, so that you won’t have to sift through the archives to find out what you want to know.
The original idea, basic concept, and statement of intent is here:
If you would like to try this project for yourself, you can start on day 1: Our First Exercise. One easy way to keep track of your progress in the project is to bookmark this post, and come back daily to continue on thru to day 30. Or, you can pick through the posts, finding what seems interesting and useful.
As you work with the Living as if… ideas and projects, we encourage you to post your thoughts, ideas, results, joys and disappointments as you go. This is an active blog, and if you post, we will notice and reply, and give you the benefit of our own experience and support if it seems pertinent or appropriate.
If you are curious to know how well the project worked for others, or if you’d like to post your own experiences, visit: Are We Living As If?
This project was the most visually intensive we’ve ever had, and there was so much information that I compiled a number of different galleries to help us find our way around. They include the following:
There is also a post covering links to the Feng Shui information:
Here is the complete listing of the daily posts for the Living As If… project:
- Day 1: Our First Exercise
- Day 2: Morning Coffee Magick
- Day 3: Getting Mugged
- Day 4: The Front Door
- Day 5: Leave Your Troubles At The Door
- Day 6: Let’s Clean Up Our Act
- Day 7: Deliciously Aromatic Cleaning Products
- Day 8: In The Closet
- Day 9: Out of the Closet
- Day 10: Back In The Closet
- Day 11: Tea and Crumpets
- Day 12: Let’s Have A Tea Party!
- Day 13: Stopping To Smell The Roses
- Day 14: Luxuriously Delicious Ideas For The Bath
- Day 15: Feng Shui In The Bathroom
- Day 16: For A Well Organized Kitchen
- Day 17: Colorizing the Kitchen
- Day 18: Kitchen Feng Shui
- Day 19: Aromatherapy for Prosperity
- Day 20: Almost A Vacation!
- Day 21: Refurbishing The Dining Room
- Day 22: Dining Room Feng Shui
- Day 23: Let’s Go Outside!
- Day 24: Letting The Outside In
- Day 25: Is it nap time?
- Day 26: Bedroom Feng Shui
- Day 27: Come On In And Have A Seat
- Day 28: Living Room Feng Shui
- Day 29: Clean and Clear
- Day 30: Let’s Go To The Opera
Our project has come to an end, and what a wild ride it was. I feel like I took a crash course in feng shui and diy home decor. This is our feedback post giving anyone who wants to say something about the projects, the ideas, the concepts, or anything else related to Living As If…
My own personal experience was that I now have a really clear idea of what I want to do with most of the rooms in my house, and I have ideas on how to actually accomplish most of it. Now it’s just going to come down to the actual doing of it. Which is, of course, the hardest part.
What about you?
- Did you enjoy the project?
- Get inspired to do some home improvement?
- What was your favorite part?
- Did you actually tackle any of the projects?
- Do you plan to?
- Anything else you’d like to add?
We explored a wide variety of home interiors over the 30 days of this project. I thought it might be fun and interesting to see them all in one place. I also included some of the “outdoor rooms.” There were so many images that I may have missed one or two when compiling what might be one of the largest collections of home interiors in a single post! LOL. Enjoy!
So many wonderful paintings took part in our Living As If… project. Here’s a gallery of the art we enjoyed!
Good Golly! That’s a lot of art! Wowsers! And it’s even possible that I may have missed one or two paintings when I was compiling this gallery!
There was so much information packed into each of our Living As If… project posts, and it occurred to me that going back to find a specific how-to might be more than a little bit challenging! So I thought it would be a good idea to provide the images as a sort of DIY gallery and sneak peak.
- From our post: Deliciously Aromatic Cleaning Products
Recipes for cleaning products that not only do a good job of cleaning, but also are easy, inexpensive, and smell great!
- From our post: Let’s Clean Up Our Act
This wonderful little printable list makes all those overwhelming household chores seem easy by putting it into a schedule that makes sense.
- From our post: Getting Mugged
In this post, we explored how to decorate mugs using sharpie pens. There is a detailed how-to and a bunch of useful tips from people who have tried it.
- From our post: Leave Your Troubles At The Door
This post is all about leaving your troubles at the door, and one of the things we learned was how to make a dream catcher with a doily and an embroidery hoop. Super easy… and it looks great!
- From our post: Out Of The Closet
We cleaned out our closets, and then found a boatload of cool ways to upcycle all of our old t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, and yes… even flipflops and crocs. This post is loaded with ideas and how-to’s.
- From our post: Back In The Closet
This post was all about how to use cardboard to easily and cheaply create sturdy, practical, and usable storage spaces in your home and closet. Lots of great ideas here!
- From our post: Tea and Crumpets
This post features a recipe for crumpets, and a tutorial for making a great pot of tea.
- From our post: Luxuriously Delicious Ideas For The Bath
This post was jam packed with ideas for the bath, recipes, and how-to’s. Among other things, we learned how to make bath bombs and milk baths. There is a bunch more on the post itself.
- From our post: For A Well Organized Kitchen
These are some super cool printable ideas for kitchen organization.
- From our post: Almost A Vacation
In this post, we learned a very easy way to make a super simple hammock. Plus we discovered an amazing recipe for a picnic basket pie!
- From our post: Let’s Go To The Opera
A great recipe for opera cake! Looks super yummy if anyone has the courage to try it!
- From our post: Clean and Clear
A detailed how-to all covering ways to easily clear the energy in your home.
- From our post: Refurbishing The Dining Room
Ranging from making cool embossed tin (or aluminum) ceiling tiles to how to re-cover a dining room chair. The diy projects in this post were all about creating a super cool dining room.
- From our post: Let’s Go Outside
As part of this project we explored outdoor fire pits and also some cool fountain ideas… along with a bunch of other cool and interesting stuff.
- From our post: Letting The Outside In
These are some of the visual tutorials on making cool beaded curtains, and a couple of other things as well. The ones shown here are pretty complete in and of themselves, but there is a step by step tutorial on how to make a beaded curtain in the post.
- From our post: Is it nap time?
This post was all about getting a good night’s sleep, and included a cool LED optical fiber ceiling project. It’s not a step by step how-to, but it does give the basic idea of what’s involved.
- From our post: Come On In and Have A Seat
This post was all about the furniture, covering it up, reupholstering, and also painting it. Here is a collection of the how-to images. I didn’t include them all, just enough to give an idea of what’s involved. For the complete tutorials, you’ll have to visit the post.
This latest project, Living As If…, has been jam packed full of great information. I thought it might be helpful for those of us who are interested in the Feng Shui aspects of the project to have a quick list of everything we covered over the last 30 days.
Some of these posts are devoted exclusively to the principles and practice of feng shui, and others just have feng shui information included within them.
- The Front Door
- Clean and Clear
- Living Room Feng Shui
- Dining Room Feng Shui
- Kitchen Feng Shui
- Bedroom Feng Shui
- In The Closet
- Back in the Closet
- Let’s Go Outside
- Stopping To Smell The Roses
- Is it nap time?
- Feng Shui in the Bathroom
If you are looking for something specific and don’t have the time or inclination to sift through all those posts, you can follow this link: Feng Shui. It will pull up excerpts from every single post here on The Prosperity Project that mentions feng shui.
They say it isn’t over until the fat lady sings. And since our project is winding down, I thought it might be a good idea to go to the opera. Never been? No worries. From Huffington Post we have this great guide.
Your Definitive Guide To Going To The Opera
Opera can be a little intimidating.
Luca Pisaroni in The Enchanted Island
But underneath the grandeur (and layers of makeup), are poignantly human stories to the tune of beautiful music. Because opera is not a mainstream form of entertainment, it is often regarded as a pretentious one, something untouchable. However, if you give it a fighting chance, you’ll find that opera can be enjoyed by classical musicians and complete newcomers alike — old to young. Here’s our guide to making that happen:
Warrior Woman of Yang – China National Peking Opera Company
Picking An Opera
When deciding on an opera to see, think about what type of movie you like (or, what Netflix would suggest for you). Rom-com fan? Try “Don Pasquale.” Psychodrama? “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Bawdy humor? “The Marriage of Figaro.” More into big explosions and theatrics? You’re probably better off with some Wagner. Then there’s always the classic ABCs of opera: “Aida,” “La Boheme” and “Carmen.”
If you want to see an opera live, you have to look into what’s being performed at your local house (or movie theater). Then do a little research — even just the first sentence on a show’s Wikipedia page will help — on an opera’s plot and genre. Don’t research too far — you don’t want to spoil the ending, do you?
Opera tickets can run expensive, but there are usually cheaper options to be found — think about it like a Broadway show or a football game. Aside from standing room and top tier seats, look out for rush tickets and programs for students or seniors, as well as special promotions from places like Gilt. Programs vary at different opera houses.
What To Wear
No, men, you do not have to wear a tux. And unless you ladies plan on going to an extravagant ball later — or you rabidly enjoy dressing up — there’s no reason to whip out a long gown.
For men, slacks (or, if you’re in a pinch, a nice pair of jeans) and a button-down shirt will do. Jacket and tie optional. Please don’t wear your dirty gym sneakers.
For women, dress pants or a skirt and blouse work, as does a cocktail or work dress. Heels if you feel like it.
If you’re into dressing up, have fun with it and use it as an excuse to get creative. If not, don’t worry about it. Just wear something generally presentable and you’ll be fine. Oh, and probably layer up, you never know what the temperature will be like inside.
Before The Curtain Opens
You’ll probably want to eat something before you get there — operas feel extra long when you’re hungry. Ditto for getting a coffee and using the restroom before you take your seats.
The ushers are there to help. Don’t be embarrassed asking them to direct you to your seats. The ushers will also hand you a playbill. The playbill has information about the singers and conductor, which is usually pretty interesting if only to see all the different countries from which everyone hails.
The playbill also includes the synopsis, broken into acts, as well as information on intermission(s). Reading the synopsis will help you understand what’s happening in the upcoming act, but if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like plot spoilers, tread carefully.
Check about fifty times that your phone is on silent — or, better yet, off.
After the lights dim, if the audience starts mysteriously applauding, it’s because the conductor is walking out to his or her stand. You should always applaud for the conductor: they’re the one running the show, after all.
The right times to applaud can get confusing, especially depending on what you’re seeing. The easiest approach is to wait for someone else to start clapping, and then join along. A brief silence after singing doesn’t always mean it’s applause time.
Yes, most operas are sung in languages that are not English, and even English is hard to understand in operatic form. No, you do not have to know Italian/German/French/etc. to understand what’s going on. All opera performances will have some form of subtitles for every line. Sometimes it’s a projection to the sides or above the stage, and in other places it’s a screen on the seat in front of you. If it is a screen, make sure you hit the appropriate button for your subtitles to show up.
Depending on the length of the opera, there could be an intermission or two. During intermission, get out of your seat and stretch out some. Wander around the opera house. They tend to have art and old opera artifacts and portraits hanging around, which are neat to see.
Stop by the bar and get a drink or snack, if you’d like. And don’t be embarrassed if you feel the need for a coffee — it’s better to drink a coffee during intermission than fall asleep during the performance.
There will be some indication — flickering lights, chimes — that the show is going to start soon, so head back to your seat.
Oh, The Drama
Opera can inspire a lot of emotions. As Kasper Holten, director of opera at the Royal Opera House in London, said, “In one evening, you go through in two and one-half hours what the rest of us spend our whole emotional lives living through.” What you see on stage may not look like real life, but it’ll feel like it.
Verdi’s Il Trovatore – Metropolitan Opera.
Our best recommendation is that if you feel yourself getting swept away, flow with it. Operas can be hysterically funny (even by modern standards), devastating, devastatingly gorgeous (musically or visually), sexy, thrilling, tense, poignant and — it happens — boring. If you don’t enjoy one opera, that doesn’t mean you should completely write all opera off. That would be like saying you didn’t like one TV show, so now you’re never going to watch TV again.
But if you do get caught up in it all, go on ahead. Cry, laugh, gasp and shout — we can assure you that you won’t be the only one doing so.
Just don’t throw tomatoes; we don’t do that anymore.
When It’s All Sung And Done
If you enjoyed what you saw, keep the momentum moving. Most young opera “aficionados” know so much about the opera thanks to nothing fancier than the internet. Check out videos of a certain aria or a certain singer on YouTube, find the snarkiest review of a show that you can, and get lost in singer gossip.
Here’s a cool example of what can be found on YouTube:
“It’s Diana Damrau with her most famous rendition of the Queen of the Night’s “Der Hölle Rache”, in HD. All hail to the Queen! I always wonder if the people in that room were aware they had just witnessed perfection.”
If you have a friend who’s super into opera, they would love answering any question you have and talking all about the art form. And of course you can always pick up books on the subject.
What is Opera?
From Opera Europa we have this great informational article that explaines opera.
- Opera, the art of emotions
Opera is a total art form which joins music, singing, drama, poetry, plastic arts and sometimes dance. In each work, all the components of opera combine their expressiveness and their beauty.
This complex alchemy makes an opera performance an extraordinary show, monopolizing the sight, hearing, imagination and sensibility of the audience, where all human passions are at work.
- The libretto
The libretto is the ‘script’ of an opera. It can be an original creation, sometimes written by famous poets or novelists (as Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Stefan Zweig for Richard Strauss’s works), but often it is an adaptation of plays (Shakespeare was a great source of inspiration for librettists), tales or novels. The subjects developed in libretto are various: forbidden love, infidelity, revenge, craving for power, war, ancient myths or historic events…
With such subjects, opera inhabits a universe where human passions explode. Love, Tragedy and Death are often at the heart of the plot. The characters, sometimes torn between their feelings and their duty, are confronted with extraordinary situations and are carried away by heightened feelings.
This excess burns them, leading them to commit acts of violence and sometimes to death. Love at first sight, sacrifice, enchantment, courage, suicide and murder appear together in the libretto. Some characters are punished for their crimes, other find redemption or are stricken with remorse… and sometimes there is a happy ending!
- The singing
Unlike most theatre, the text is sung by the artists in operas. The emotion and the intensity of singing have an impact on the weight and the meaning words.
There are different voices classified in six principal categories, from the more high-pitched to the lower: soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto for women; and tenor, baritone and bass for men. Moreover, voices are characterized according to their power and agility: they can be light, lyric or dramatic. A light voice is not very powerful but can easily reach the high notes and vocalizes, unlike a dramatic voice which is powerful but less agile.
Voices are generally associated with types of roles. They emphasize some aspects of the characters like their personality or their nature. In Bizet’s Carmen, Carmen is a wild seductress who has experience of the world: so she is played by a mezzo soprano with a dark and warm voice. Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto is a lyric soprano: her clear and high-pitched voice symbolizes her purity, innocence and naivety.
- The music
Music expresses in another way the emotions and the action taking place on stage. In the mind of the camerata fiorentina(see ‘History’ page), whose researches and studies on Ancient Greek theatre led to the creation of the operatic genre, the music was at the service of the libretto: ‘Prima le parole, dopo la musica’ (‘The words first, the music after’). But this conception is questionable. It is an old and continuing debate: according to the eras, libretto and music have alternately claimed primacy.
Actually music does not only serve the libretto and the singing: it completes and exalts them by highlighting the intensity of situations and the characters’ passions and feelings.
By playing with rhythms, tones, melodies, nuances, the composers exploit the extraordinary suggestive power of the music in order to create particular atmospheres that lyrics or staging can not create. Some authors use recurrent musical motifs to represent a character, an emotion or a concept. In the prelude to Das Rheingold, Wagner manages to relate the Rhine’s birth.
The opera begins with a unique triad which slowly emerges from silence and resonates in infinite depths: the Rhine comes out of original chaos. Little by little motifs add to this triad until creating a melody: first brass instruments, majestic, then strings, more ethereal, like sparkling waves on the river’s surface. The more the orchestra becomes animated and enriches the prelude, the faster the motifs become as the more the Rhine swells and stirs, until foaming.
Music is beyond words. It addresses directly the audience’s heart and appeals to its sensibility and imagination. Here’s a link to a video with the opening music. It starts off with silence, so you have to wait for it.
Before the 20th century, the theatrical dimension was marginalized: in the 17th century, opera productions were quite static and looked like a costumed concert. The staging became important when the programming of opera houses became more focused on an existing repertory than on new creation. Moreover, during the 20th century, the importance of singing and dramatic gifts began to be considered as equal.
But opera stages have always be an extraordinary place, with spectacular visual effects and big machinery. The possibilities of staging have benefited from technical progress, and now special effects, digital technology and image projections are used in many productions.
“La Traviata” von Giuseppe Verdi
A staging is not a simple illustration of a work: it carries a concept or meaning. The director proposes a view of an opera. This view may be close to the libretto and the author’s conceptions or a more personal interpretation of the work. Some directors transpose the action to another era, in another situation or in a timeless and immaterial context.
These transpositions bring out certain dimensions of the works and enrich their significance by disclosing some of their unknown aspects. For example, in a modern production, the themes developed in a baroque opera can be revealed as very actual. These perspectives adopted by directors change the way that audience sees and understands the works. Opera recreates and reinvents itself constantly.
Before the rise of the curtain, nobody knows what will happen on the stage. That is what makes opera so exciting.
Still Not Convinced?
Here is a small collection of scenes from various operas. They certainly tweaked my interest:
So now that we know a little bit about the opera, let’s have cake!
Make An Opera Cake
From The Splendid Table
It is hard to say exactly who invented the Opera Cake. Some sources claim there was a type of Opera Cake sold in Paris as long ago as 1890, and some think the Parisian specialty was created closer to 1950. But the point about which there is no controversy is the only important point: The greatest Opera Cake is made at Dalloyau. There, executive pastry chef Pascal Niau makes a cake as sleek and smooth as an opera stage and as gloriously delicious as La Boheme is affectingly beautiful.
The classic Opera Cake is a work in six acts. There are three thin layers of almond cake, each soaked in a potent coffee syrup; a layer of espresso-flavored buttercream; one layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache; and a topping of chocolate glaze.
Traditionally, the cake is decorated with its name written in glaze across the top and finished with a piece of shimmering gold leaf. It is obviously a rich cake, but it is surprisingly not a filling cake, and I’m convinced this is because Maestro Niau has orchestrated the cake’s elements so perfectly.
- A note on size:
This recipe makes a square Opera Cake that is a festive – and impressive – 10 inches (25 cm) on a side. If this is more cake than you need, don’t cut down the recipe – you won’t be successful with some of the cake’s components, particularly the buttercream, if you reduce the quantities. Instead, make the full cake, cut it into smaller size cakes and stock them in your freezer.
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (225 grams) ground blanched almonds
- 2 1/4 cups (225 grams) confectioners sugar, sifted
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled briefly
The coffee syrup:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (7 grams) instant espresso or coffee
The coffee buttercream:
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) instant espresso or coffee
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) boiling water
- 1 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) water
- Pulp of 1/4 vanilla bean
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces; 200 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
The chocolate ganache:
- 8 ounces (240 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces; 60 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
The chocolate glaze:
- 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 stick (115 grams) unsalted butter
1. To make the cake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line two 12 1/2-x15 1/2-inch (31-x-39-cm) jelly-roll pans with parchment paper and brush with melted butter. (This is in addition to the quantity in the ingredient list.)
2. Working in a clean dry mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. If you do not have another mixer bowl, gently scrape the whites into another bowl.
3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almonds, confectioners sugar and whole eggs on medium speed until light and voluminous, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat on low speed only until it disappears.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture, then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter between the pans and spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of each pan.
4. Bake the cakes for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and just springy to the touch. Put the pans on a heatproof counter, cover each with a sheet of parchment or wax paper, turn the cakes over and unmold.
Carefully peel away the parchment, turn the parchment over and use it to cover the exposed sides of the cakes. Let the cakes come to room temperature between the parchment or wax paper sheets. (The cakes can be made up to 1 day ahead, wrapped and kept at room temperature.)
5. To make the syrup: Stir everything together in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cool. (The syrup can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
6. To make the buttercream: Make a coffee extract by dissolving the instant espresso in the boiling water; set aside.
7. Bring the sugar, water and vanilla bean pulp to a boil in a small saucepan; stir just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook without stirring until the syrup reaches 255 degrees F (124 degrees C), as measured on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Pull the pan from the heat.
8. While the sugar is heating, put the egg and the yolk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until the eggs are pale and foamy. When the sugar is at temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour in the syrup.
Inevitably, some syrup will spin onto the sides of the bowl – don’t try to stir the spatters into the eggs. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the eggs are thick, satiny and room temperature, about 5 minutes.
9. Working with a rubber spatula, beat the butter until it is soft and creamy but not oily. With the mixer on medium speed, steadily add the butter in 2-tablespoon (30-gram) chunks. When all the butter has been added, raise the speed to high and beat until the buttercream is thickened and satiny.
Beat in the coffee extract. Chill the buttercream, stirring frequently, until it is firm enough to be spread and stay where it is spread when topped with a layer of cake, about 20 minutes. (The buttercream can be packed airtight and refrigerated for 4 days or frozen for 1 month; before using, bring it to room temperature, then beat to smooth it.)
10. To make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and keep it close at hand. Bring the milk and cream to a full boil, pour it over the chocolate, wait 1 minute, then stir gently until the ganache is smooth and glossy.
11. Beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy, then stir it into the ganache in 2 to 3 additions. Refrigerate the ganache, stirring every 5 minutes, until it thickens and is spreadable, about 20 minutes. (The ganache can be packed airtight and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)
12. To assemble the cake: Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Working with one sheet of cake at a time, trim the cake so that you have two pieces: one 10-x-10-inches (25-x-25-cm) square and one 10-x-5-inches (25-x-12.5-cm) rectangle. Place one square of cake on the parchment and moisten the layer with coffee syrup.
Spread about three-quarters of the coffee buttercream evenly over the cake. (If the buttercream is soft, put the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes before proceeding.) Top with the two rectangular pieces of cake, placing them side by side to form a square; moisten with syrup.
Spread the ganache over the surface, top with the last cake layer, moisten, then chill the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Cover the top of the cake with a thin layer of coffee buttercream. (This is to smooth the top and ready it for the glaze – so go easy.)
Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour or for up to 6 hours; it should be cold when you pour over the glaze. If you’re in a hurry, pop the cake into the freezer for about 20 minutes, then continue.
13. To glaze the cake: Bring the butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and clarify the butter by spooning off the top foam and pouring the clear yellow butter into a small bowl; discard the milky residue.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over—not touching—simmering water, then stir in the clarified butter. Lift the chilled cake off the parchment-lined pan and place it on a rack. Put the rack over the parchment-lined pan and pour over the glaze, using a long offset spatula to help smooth it evenly across the top.
Slide the cake into the refrigerator to set the glaze and chill the cake, which should be served slightly chilled. At serving time, use a long thin knife, dipped in hot water and wiped dry, to carefully trim the sides of the cake so that the drips of glaze are removed and the layers revealed.
- Tips and tricks
Each element of the cake can be made ahead, as can the assembled cake. The cake can be kept in the refrigerator, away from foods with strong odors, for 1 day, or you can freeze the cake, wrap it airtight once it is frozen, and keep it frozen for 1 month; defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.
An American in Paris, I rarely play around with this classic, but when I do, it’s to add a little crunch to the mix by pressing toasted sliced almonds onto both the buttercream and the ganache.
From The Splendid Table
Everyone likes fresh, new and vibrant energy. When you understand the importance of space clearing for good feng shui energy in your house, you might wonder how can you actually space clear your home without too much time and hassle.
Space clearing is easy and very enjoyable, especially once you get into the habit of it. Ideally, you will have at least one major feng shui space clearing session a year, and then simpler versions of it weekly or monthly.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time Required: 15-20 min
Find a window of time when you will not be disturbed, ideally right after the house has been cleaned. Be sure you have easy access to all the required space clearing materials.
- Candle or candles
- Natural Incense
- Essential Oils Mist
- Sage Smudge Stick (optional)
- Music (optional)
Gather your materials on your dining room, or any other suitable space, ideally in the center of the house. Light the candle and the incense.
Use the essential oils airspray, or the sage smudge stick to go around the house in a clockwise motion and purify the energy. Pay special attention to the energy in the corners.
When finished, come back to the center and purify your own energy a bit by either misting your body with essential oils or letting the sage smoke purify your field.
Let the candle and the incense go out on their own. Take a moment to connect to your home and feel the difference in its energy. Yes, it is that easy.
At times, consider adding some elements of the deeper feng shui space clearing session to your daily or weekly routine.
It is always good to do the feng shui space clearing sessions in a calm and clear state of mind, so as to be able to perceive the subtle energy shifts in your home.
Feel free to modify and change your space clearing sessions, and make absolutely sure you enjoy them! Once you start enjoying the space clearing process, you will use it more often; your efforts will result in fresh and clear energy for you and your home.
At the beginning, you might have to schedule specific times for your space clearing sessions. However, as you get more comfortable and skilled at doing space clearing, you will notice you can just do these sessions “on the fly”, so to speak.
Whenever the energy in your space feels stagnant, low, or even negative, you can quickly reach for your space clearing supplies and refresh the energy in no time!
Major space clearing ritual
In feng shui, it is recommended to do a deep space clearing at least once a year. It is also recommended to do space clearing after an intense negative event, such as a divorce, for example, or before moving into a house that might have many negative energies (as in a foreclosure house.)
Don’t let the word “major” scare you. Just read to understand the principles and basic methodology of a deep space clearing session and see if you can do it. Maybe you would like to change some elements, or modify and omit some steps. Experiment and see what works, but do not avoid the process completely.
- Difficulty: Average
- Time Required: 45 min to 1 hour
Step # 1. Think of best timing, plan and prepare for your feng shui and space clearing session. Find the best day and time when you will not be rushed or disturbed. The optimum time for a feng shui space clearing session is in between 11 am and 1 pm. Do not start later than 3 pm.
Step # 2. Be sure you have all the materials you need (listed below). Also be sure to prepare a spot that will center the energies – an altar – on which you will place all the needed space clearing tools. This can be your dining table, or the fireplace mantel, or something similar with easy access to it.
- CANDLES: Several (at least one for each room plus the altar)
- SOUND/MUSIC: Uplifting, healing
- BELL(S): Ideally two or three with different resonance
- SAGE: A smudge stick is ideal
- INCENSE: Frankincense, or Nag Champa, or Sandalwood
- ESSENTIAL OILS: Lavender and/or Mint, Lemongrass
- HIGH ENERGY ITEMS: Fresh flowers, crystals, specific images, etc.
Step # 3. Be sure you feel balanced, be sure your energy is calm and clear. See what works best to put you into the right frame of mind: it might be an early morning walk in the woods or maybe a yoga class. You decide.
Take a shower right before the space clearing session, and be sure to wear fresh clean clothes.
Step # 4. Do your best to set up your altar as a beautiful, inspiring energy spot. The very minimum for a feng shui space clearing altar are candles and incense (purifying Fire element) and fresh flowers (Wood element).
The other three feng shui elements can be presented as following:
- Water as a small bowl with pure water;
- Metal as a clear glass candleholder, plus the metal bells used for space clearing;
- Earth as natural rock crystals.
Use your sense of beauty while creating your energy spot – the feng shui space clearing altar. Do not fret over the rules, experiment and see what works for you.
Step # 5. Turn on the music and place at least one candle in each room. Try to sense the energy in each room and connect to it. You can also go into each room with your incense stick to spread the gentle sweet scent in preparation for the session. Be sure to have at least one window open to allow stale energy to leave and fresh energy to enter.
Now you are ready to start!
Step # 6. Roll up your sleeves (you will sense the energy better this way) and do the following: starting at the main door and moving clockwise, clap strongly into each corner of your house. A clap from the lowest level to as high as you can reach to the ceiling. You will feel a huge difference in the quality of energy as the sound of clapping will be different depending on the accumulated energy.
Be sure not to omit any corners in your house, and be sure to clap as much as necessary; some house corners will require more time.
Continue clapping until you feel a clear difference in the sound (it will feel more crisp and clear when the energy is cleansed). When finished, be sure to wash your hands up to elbows in cool water.
Step # 7. Use your sage smudge stick on the same pathway around the house to purify any energy residues. Be careful not to stain your furniture or flooring, be mindful that the sage ashes can burn fabric or slightly damage the floors.
If you prefer not to do smudging/use the smudge stick, use an essential oil spray with sage or any other purifying essential oils, such as lemongrass, for example, or sandalwood and cedar.
Choose the best oils from what is available to you. Spray the essential oils around the house, especially in the corners. Personally, I like to do both the smudging and the essential oil steps.
Step # 8. If you decided to use bells, now is the time to ring the deepest sound/vibration bell into each corner, and wait slowly for the sound to really penetrate the space. You can ring a couple times in each corner, going in the same clockwise fashion. Then use the next, higher vibration bell(s) in the same way, waiting for the sound to completely dissolve until you ring again.
Take several deep breaths and do it slowly. The lightest vibration bell will feel like the sweet sound of faeries; this is the time to focus on spreading the good wishes for your home and infusing it with positive energy.
Step # 9. Technically, this is it! You’ve done the basic steps of a deeper feng shui space clearing session. There might be a lot of information about the house coming to you during space clearing, take the time to process and honor the info. Do not rush to finish the session, let the music still play for a while and let the candles and the incense burn on their own accord.
Just be in that clear space and see what else comes up. Maybe your living room needs more attention, or maybe it’s your front door. Pay attention. If all is well, then make yourself a nice cup of tea and enjoy a job well done!
I hope you enjoy the process of space clearing, and I know you will definitely enjoy the results!
Feng Shui Energy Tips for A Successful Space Clearing Session:
- Do not overdo the session and do not try too hard.
Your goal is to feel out the energies and purify your home. You might not do it perfect for the first time, but you will sure gain a greater awareness of the energies in your home. Be honest, be real and enjoy it; it is a beginning of a whole new level of awareness for you.
- It is Ok if you feel you have to do another session soon
There is no such thing as “too much” of space clearing. Again, feel free to experiment and try it as many times as you think it is necessary to purify the space; until you find your style and everything clicks, so to speak. You will have more confidence after you have done space clearing several times, as well as a know how often your house needs to be space cleared.
Source: The Spruce
Living rooms have always been an integral and important part of any home – be it an apartment or an independent house – and that’s because living room is the only place in your home where most of the social and family gatherings happen.
As a place of entertaining guests and a space of family chatting, gathering and relaxation, the living room is supposed to be lively and harmonious. The living room Feng Shui is related to personal wealth and health, as well as the peace and happiness of the whole family.
The living room is an essential part of a house and it is also one of the most vulnerable parts of a home. Vulnerable because, in majority of houses, living room is the first room that someone goes to once they enter from the main door and Qi energy isn’t an exception.
Now, imagine a house, in which the Qi entering the home – obviously via living room – is very fast and agitated (fast moving Qi in feng shui is called as Sha-Qi and it’s very inauspicious) or extremely slow and almost still (which is, again, very inauspicious); this Qi will – definitely – interact with family members and bring all sorts of unwanted, unexpected and tormenting situations in life; below is a list of a few – in fact very few – such situations.
- Loss of wealth, money and even leading to bankruptcy.
- Degradation in health and lethal medical conditions.
- Defamation of social reputation.
Now, a feng shui living room is the one that has the ability to transform any type of Qi (extremely fast or dead slow) in to positive Qi (a steady and calmly moving one). The positive Qi is believed to attract wealth, health, good luck and lots of name and fame, which is – after all – what we all want to have. This is – without a doubt – the number one reason to make the living room in your home a feng shui complaint one.
To make it really easy for you to understand and achieve a feng shui living room, we’ve divided the process into steps.
Basic do’s for good feng shui in the living room:
- The living room must be roomy, comfy and pleasing.
- It must receive ample sun light and must be ventilated.
- Place the sofa against a solid wall; it doesn’t need to touch the wall, you can keep 1-2 inches distance.
- While sitting on the main sofa, you must be able to see the main door. If entrance isn’t visible then use a mirror to see the door.
- Place a bowl with crystals, coins, and various wealth symbols on coffee table.
- If there’s a beautiful landscape outside your home, then hang a mirror in such a way that it reflects that landscape. This brings in the positive Qi energy.
- Hang images, posters or pictures that are lively and positive such as a pleasant landscape or smiling faces etc.
- Make sure to cover the TV screen when it’s off else it becomes a sort of mirror.
- Place 2 Foo Dogs on either side outside the main door, as if guarding your home.
For north side of living room
- An aquarium in north brings wealth and auspicious opportunities.
- Keep eight red and one black fish in aquarium.
- Square or rectangular shaped aquariums are best; round ones will also do.
- A water fountain in north also attracts wealth and luck.
- The fountain must flow towards the room and not outwards.
- Hang picture of beautiful water body such as meandering river or a boat/ship sailing (make sure the boat/ship sails into the room).
- Try to use black and blue colors in north.
- TV in north attracts good luck in career.
- Avoid keeping any plants in north side of the living room.
- Avoid placing a fireplace in north side of the living room.
For south side of living room
- Place candles, wood furniture and other wooden décor items.
- You can locate a fire place in south.
- Try to use more of red, pink, orange, and green colors.
- Place TV or plants to get fame and respect.
- Avoid aquarium or anything related to water in south side of the living room.
- Avoid placing mirrors on the south walls.
For east and southeast side of living room
- Put wood items like picture frames, lamps, book shelves etc.
- Hang coins tied with red ribbon in east corner (brings wealth and money).
- Hang dragon painting (looking in to the house) on east wall to bring wealth.
- Place dragon headed tortoise with coin in its mouth in southeast corner (this brings wealth).
- Place a three legged money toad in southeast; it brings money and wealth.
- Use more of green and brown colors in east or southeast.
- Plants in southeast bring wealth and money.
- Plants in East direction attract health.
- Keeping an aquarium in southeast attracts wealth and luck.
- Avoid having a fireplace in the southeast side of your living room.
For west and northwest side of living room
- Keep metal décor objects such as bowls and trays.
- Put metal figurines, furniture, candle holders, photo frames etc.
- Use blue, gray, gold, tan, and bronze colors.
- A family picture in metal frame on west wall brings luck.
- Avoid aquarium or anything related to water in the west or northwest side of the living room.
- Avoid placing mirrors on the west walls.
- Avoid having a fireplace in the west and northwest side of your living room.
For northeast and southwest side of living room
- You can place crystals and other minerals objects.
- Keep pottery and ceramics, such as show pieces, pots, bowls etc.
- Mustard, clay, brown, tan and russet toned colors are best.
- Cut glass and hand-blown glass objects can be kept.
- A fire place in southwest enhances romance and love.
- A fire place in northeast helps in peaceful thinking; also brings luck in education.
- Avoid keeping any plants in the southwest or north east side of the living room.
What you must avoid in the living room
- Avoid windows behind the main sofa.
- Never place the sofa under a beam; this brings head related medical troubles.
- Avoid L shaped sofas.
- Any mirror shouldn’t reflect clutter, dirt or anything negative as that negativity will be attracted to your home.
- Make sure that your image isn’t seen in the mirror while you’re standing at any door.
- Avoid hanging pictures that depict negative emotions such as a weeping girl, vicious animals, war, crime, loneliness etc.
- Avoid clutter and mess in living room (actually this should be avoided everywhere).
- Avoid having a door directly facing the door of living room.
- Avoid turbulent or rough sea paintings as they depict struggle.
Decorating the Feng Shui Way
In feng shui terms, the main challenge with decorating a living room is to create a space that has the ability to not only be beautiful and practical but also have a strong, fresh, clean, and happy energy. A living room that is beautiful and works well on a practical level usually takes quite a bit of planning and persistence (along with the desire to decorate, of course!)
A living room that is clean and clutter free is the only foundation for good feng shui. Yes, we know you might have heard that many times, but this essential first step has to be emphasized again. There can be no solid and good feng shui energy in a space that is infected by clutter, the two of them cannot co-exist; it is either one or the other.
- Air and Light
The next step in good feng shui living room decorating is to be sure your room gets as much natural light and good quality air as it possibly can. Good quality air and good quality light create the foundation of good feng shui energy, and there are many ways to help you do the best with this feng shui step. For example, if you have only a few small windows, decorate with mirrors to bring more natural light, as well as be sure to layer your indoor lighting.
A bright and sunny living room will bring prosperous family luck to the family. Dark colors should be avoided in the decoration of the living room, as it may bring bad luck to the family.
- What does layering your lighting mean?
Simply stated, it means you have several different levels of lighting. So, in addition to a ceiling fixture, you will also have a floor lamp and several table lamps, for example. If you limit your living room lighting to just your ceiling lamp or just a floor lamp, this will tend to create a sad and potentially depressing quality of feng shui energy in your room.
- How about fresh air?
The benefits of fresh air to your health are obvious, so along with opening your windows often we highly suggest you go for a good quality aromatherapy diffuser to benefit from the healing power of pure essential oils. Stale air and poor lighting are big enemies of good feng shui, so be sure you pay attention to the quality of air and light if you want to have good feng shui in your living room.
- Be Practical
Having a welcomed, relaxed (and beautiful!) space for both children and adults to spend time in can be a challenge. Well, we should include pets, too. It is important to know that you can create a very beautiful living room, but if it does not work on a practical level and you keep worrying about your kids messing it up or do not want your pets to be there, then no matter how beautiful your room is, this is not good feng shui.
Basically, a good feng shui space is a space that does the best job for its specific purpose, and beauty at the expense of practical use is just not good feng shui.
Contrary to the popular belief, children can help you with keeping the living room clean, it is just a matter of clear organization and clear communication, of course. If each item in your living room has its own space, the possibility of mess and clutter is greatly diminished, and everyone can feel happy and enjoy good feng shui energy.
Ok, now that we are done with the basics – no clutter, good organization, good quality air and light plus practical beauty, let’s move on to the more specific feng shui decorating tips for your living room.
We start with the color scheme, of course, because color is an expression of light and it has the biggest impact on our mood. It is also very important for good feng shui because each color is an expression of a specific feng shui element.
- Feng shui elements
In feng shui, each color is considered to be an expression of one of the 5 feng shui elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each of these 5 elements “governs” a specific area of your home (according to the feng shui energy map of your space called bagua). When your choice of color is focused on strengthening and nourishing the feng shui element of the area you are decorating, this results in good feng shui energy.
This feng shui color guide will help you choose best colors to create a harmonious feng shui home. Choose the feng shui colors according to the energy you need and bring them into your space with the wall color, art, photography, or various decor items.
Choosing a good feng shui decor scheme for your living room usually requires a bit of work. It is best to start with understanding the feng shui bagua, or energy map of your home. This is our next step.
- Define and use the bagua
The bagua is the feng shui energy map of your space. In order to create best feng shui energy in your living room, it is best to define the bagua of your home first. Once you know the feng shui area of your living room, you will have clarity on the best choice of colors, shapes, and materials based on the feng shui element that needs to be supported there.
For example, if your living room is in the South feng shui bagua area, then it is excellent to decorate your living room with colors of the Fire and Wood feng shui elements. So colors red, orange, yellow, purple, along with green and deep brown will all create excellent feng shui energy in your South facing living room.
By the same token, a black or blue color scheme is not recommended for a South facing living room because it will create a weak feng shui energy due to the clashing effect of feng shui elements (blue and black colors are the expression of the Water feng shui element that puts down the Fire needed in the South area).
If this all sounds too complicated for now and you just want a shortcut to the best feng shui colors for your living room, here they are:
- East room colors:
If you are looking for best colors for an East facing room, be it a living room or a child’s room, then the colors of the Wood element – green and brown – are your best friend.
Blue and black colors are also good feng shui for an East room. Limit red and purple colors.
- Southeast room colors
Southeast area rooms love the same colors as the East area – green, brown, blue and black, with one addition – golden tones, as traditionally Southeast is considered to be the Money area in one’s home, so bring some gold colored treasures into a Southeast living room or dining.
- South room colors
South rooms have a lot of fire and they love it! Feng shui-wise, best colors to create good energy in your South facing rooms are the Fire and Wood element colors – red, orange, purple, pink, strong yellow, as well as green and brown. Try to limit a strong presence of blue and black colors in your South facing rooms.
- Southwest room colors
Best feng shui in Southwest facing rooms is created by the warm and nourishing earthy colors – meaning colors of clay, pottery, earthenware, bricks, etc. Fire colors are also excellent for a Southwest room, so you can also go for warm red, pink or coral.
Considering that this area in feng shui in connected to your love and marriage energy, add a touch of romance with a floral print or some sensual fabric in blush skin color tones.
- West room colors
A West facing room needs (and loves) a strong presence of the Metal feng shui element, which is expressed in colors gray and white, as well as all metallic finishes. It also loves the warmth of nourishing earthy colors.
Avoid a strong presence of fiery colors, deep blues and blacks.
- Northwest room colors
Northwest area rooms also love the Metal feng shui element, so the same colors are good here: grays, whites, all metallic finishes and warm earthy colors from nature. Avoid fiery colors, avoid black and blue colors. As this is the area connected to Heavenly Blessings in feng shui, a small metal Buddha statue can work very well here.
- North room colors
North loves water, water and more water! So, all shades of blue and black colors are excellent here. White, gray and all metallic finishes are also helping create good feng shui in a North facing room. Avoid a strong presence of earthy colors.
- Northeast room colors
A Northeast facing room loves the Fire and Earth feng shui elements and is connected to the energy of spiritual growth and cultivation.
This golden Buddha wall mural expresses perfectly the best feng shui energy for the Northeast location. Color-wise, all earthy colors plus red, oranges, purple, magenta, as well as golden finishes are excellent here.
- Fire Element Colors
A balanced fire feng shui element in your home or office will bring supporting energy to all your career efforts and will help achieve recognition. Fire element also nourishes one’s sexual energy and inner warmth.
Fire is the dominant feng shui element of South bagua area of your home or office. Northeast and Southwest feng shui areas also benefit from good fire element energy in your decorating.
Fire feng shui element colors are: Red, Orange, Purple, Pink, Strong Yellow
- Earth Element Colors
A strong and harmonious feng shui earth element in your home or office will help create stability, nourishment and calm protection for all your relationships. The earth element is also needed to maintain one’s health and inner balance.
Earth is the main feng shui element of Northeast and Southwest bagua areas. The center of your home and office is also governed by the earth feng shui element.
Feng shui earth element colors are: Light Yellow, Beige/Skin Color, Earthy/Sandy Colors
- Metal Element Colors
Feng shui metal element brings the qualities of sharpness, precision and efficiency; its balanced presence will help you live with clarity and lightness. A good presence of metal element in your home or office will help sustain the energy of calm, crisp clarity and eliminate distractions.
Metal is the dominant feng shui element of West and Northwest bagua areas. North bagua area of your home or office also benefits from the presence of metal element.
Feng shui metal element colors are: Gray, White
- Water Element Colors
A harmonious feng shui water element will bring a refreshing energy of calm, ease, purity and freshness. Water element is also the ancient symbol of abundance, thus a potent feng shui cure for wealth. This related to the use of fountains and mirrors as wealth feng shui cures.
Water is the feng shui element of North bagua area of your home or office. East and Southeast bagua areas also benefit from a strong water element.
Feng shui water element colors are: Blue, Black
- Wood element Colors
Lush and healing, the feng shui wood element brings the energy of vibrant health, vitality, and growth. Wood element is also an expression of abundance, thus it is used as a feng shui cure for wealth and prosperity. This is related to the use of plants and the money tree in feng shui.
Wood is the feng shui element of the East and Southeast bagua areas of your home. South bagua area also benefits from a strong presence of wood element.
Feng shui wood element colors are: Brown, Green
- Some thoughts about color
Color is like music, nourishing and uplifting, and the more colors you harmoniously absorb throughout the day, the higher your sense of well-being. Do not be afraid to bring vibrant colors into your space as color is light, and light is our number one nutrient.
Shapes and Materials
Just as there are specific colors that will help you create good feng shui energy in your living room, there are also specific decorating shapes that can strengthen the desired prosperous and happy feng shui energy in your living room.
Each shape is an expression of a specific feng shui element, so choose the best shape based on the bagua area of your living room. For example, if you have a North facing living room, then wavy shapes resembling the flow of water can create wonderful energy.
The same principle applies to various decorating materials. To continue with the example of a North facing living room, best feng shui decor materials for it would be predominantly metal, glass or mirror-like surfaces. The materials to avoid (in excess) in a North facing living room are Wood furniture or decor items, as well as a lot of earthenware. Because plants belong to the Wood feng shui element, too many plants will weaken the feng shui energy of a North facing living room, so choose wisely.
- East Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: The decorating shapes you can freely use in an East facing room are square, rectangular, wavy shapes and organic nature shapes such as pebble shape, for example. These shapes stand for specific elements that are good for the main feng shui element of the East area (Wood). Avoid a strong presence of round or triangular shapes.
Materials: Wood furniture and decor elements are the absolute best choice for the East area. Mirrored surfaces, tiles and brick surfaces, as well as all natural fiber rugs can also help create good feng shui energy. Avoid a strong presence of decorating items made from metal.
- Southeast Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: Rectangular, square and wavy/flowing shapes are all good for a Southeast area room. As in the case with the East area, avoid too many round or triangular/fiery shapes.
Materials: The materials you can freely use in a southeast facing room are wood, natural crystals, earthenware, mirror-like surfaces, natural materials and rugs such as jute, sisal, etc.
- South Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: The decorating shapes you can freely use in a south facing room are triangles, stars, pyramids, diamonds (all shapes associated with the fire feng shui element) and rectangular shapes. Avoid wavy/water like shapes and too many mirror like surfaces. Also best to limit a strong presence of square shapes (as in a big square coffee table, for example).
Materials: Wood furniture, all natural fibers such as jute, sisal, linen, etc; fireplace and candles are all good for a south area room.
- Southwest Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: Sensual, receptive/yin energy shapes (as pictured above), as well squares, triangles, diamonds, pyramids, stars (fire feng shui element shapes) are the absolute best choice for the southwest area.
Materials: The materials you can freely use in a southwest facing room are: all earthenware, rock crystals, as well as candles and/or a fireplace. Avoid too many mirror like surfaces or a strong presence of wood furniture pieces and decor items.
- West Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: Round and square shapes are all good for a west area room. Avoid too many fiery shapes (triangles, pyramids, stars, diamonds).
Materials: The materials you can freely use in a west facing room are metal, glass and all earthenware and rock crystals.
- Northwest Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: Round, oval and square are the absolute best choice for the northwest area. Avoid a strong presence of triangles, diamonds, stars and pyramids in your decor pieces.
Materials: The materials you can freely use in a west facing room are metal, glass and all earthenware (clay, pottery, ceramics, etc), as well as natural crystals.
- North Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: Round, oval and wavy/resembling water movement are all good for a north area room. Avoid squares.
Materials: The materials you can freely use in a north facing room are metal, glass and mirror like surfaces. Avoid a strong presence of wood furniture pieces and decor items.
- Northeast Room Shapes and Materials
Shapes: Triangles, pyramids, diamonds, stars and squares are the absolute best choice for the northeast area. Avoid too many round shapes or mirror like surfaces.
Materials: The materials you can freely use in a northeast facing room are all earthenware (clay, pottery, ceramics), rock crystals, candles.
- Important Points
Please be sure not to overthink your decisions; read all about the feng shui guidelines and then follow your own energy as to what is best for your space. Feng shui is a complex art and science that works on many levels, and often your intuition can be your best guide!
Watch for Balance
While it is important to emphasize the colors and shapes that are most needed for good feng shui in your living room; to completely avoid other colors and shapes would be a mistake. An all-pink color living room in your love area or an all-blue color living room in your career area is not really good feng shui.
Feng shui is all about health, balance, and harmony, and we need all 5 feng shui elements in our environment in order to thrive and be happy. So, good feng shui in your living room is based on a subtle dance of all colors and shapes, with two or three taking the main stage based on the feng shui bagua requirements.
For example, you can still have a mirror (Water feng shui element) in the South bagua area (ruled by the Fire feng shui element) if you do not make it into a focal point. For this purpose, choose a mirror with a fiery shape (like a sunburst mirror) and Fire element material (gold finish is a good expression of the fire element).
Arranging the Furniture
Ok, we are done with the complex (but very important!) subject of choosing the best feng shui decor elements according to the bagua area your living room is located in. Now we can finally focus on the best furniture arrangement in your living room – something that many people actually start with.
The best feng shui living room arrangement is an arrangement where all your family members (plus guests) feel at ease and relaxed. This means there is enough breathing room for everyone, and the basic design principles are taken into consideration.
Working with scale and proportion, creating a good relationship between your furniture pieces, creating good conversation areas – these are all well known decorating principles that you are probably familiar with (and can easily find many online resources to help you). Feng shui agrees with the importance of all these principles with just one condition – there has to be a good Chi flow.
- Create A Flow and Go with It
The notion of Chi flow is one of the main principles of feng shui that has to be respected if one wants to benefit from good energy. The Chi – another name for Universal energy – has to flow smoothly in your living room, nourishing it and filling it with energy.
Chi flow can be viewed as water flow, so with this comparison in mind take a look at your living room arrangement and decide if the water (imaginary water as Chi flow) coming in from the living room door would flow smoothly and cheerfully about your living room. Will it get stuck in some areas? Will it easily escape through a big window without having the chance to actually nourish your living room?
Play and experiment with several furniture arrangements until you find the one that allows for the easiest and most graceful flow of Chi/energy.
- How To Check The Flow of Chi
One of the basic ways to check the energy flow in your home is to imagine Chi, or energy, as water. If water were to flow into your home – starting at the main door – where would it stop or stagnate?
Would the water flow harmoniously and smoothly to all areas of your home, gently refreshing it, or would it rush right out the back door in a forceful motion? For example, when you have big objects or specific home design elements in a straight line, the energy will flow more quickly and forcefully, which is generally considered bad feng shui.
One of the first things people remember about feng shui is the benefit of curved lines over straight lines. This is true not only for the outside of one’s home but for the inside, too.
So the first thing to watch for in checking the energy flow in your home is the presence of long, straight lines that create a harsh quality of energy. More often than not, they will contribute to a considerable leakage of energy, as well as an unfriendly, cold feeling in a home.
This is especially true if you have an opening, such as a door or a big window – at the end of the straight line.
The second thing to watch for is having blocked areas in your home, meaning areas where the energy just get drained, sucked in or pushed back. Stay with the image of water flowing into your space and ask yourself: “Would water encounter many blockages as soon as it enters my home?”
This can happen when you have a wall facing (and in very close proximity to) the front door, for example. In feng shui we call them blocking walls. This can also happen when you arrange the furniture in a way that blocks the energy from flowing smoothly into the room.
Other feng shui scenarios that can contribute to either the leakage or the blocking of a good Chi flow in your home are as follows:
- A Main Door or big window in Line with the Back Door
- A Mirror Facing the Main Door
- Stairs Facing the Main Door
Be sure to position your furniture in a way that allows for a smooth flow to all areas of your home and avoid any blockages and stagnant areas, such as cluttered closets, for example, as they tend to create bad feng shui energy (Si Chi).
A good flow of Chi will create good, healthy energy in your home.
Avoid Sha Chi and Keep Good Company
At any time during your living room decorating process, be sure there is no attacking energy – called Sha Chi in feng shui – pointing at areas where your and your family spend the most time. In your living room, Sha Chi is the attacking energy that can be created by sharp corners from furniture such as coffee tables or bookcases; architectural features such as the fireplace mantel or various decor elements such as big candleholders or modern lamp bases, for example.
To avoid the detrimental effects of Sha Chi, place your furniture pieces and major decor items so that no sharp energy is pointing directly at any seating areas (or play areas if you’ve created some in your living room for your kids).
Sharp objects, such as knives and swords, firearms and animal specimens, should not be hung on the wall because they will produce Yin and lead to quarrel or violence.
The living room should not be decorated with beast paintings but the paintings about flowers, plants, landscape or fishes, birds, horses, white cranes and other auspicious animals. However, if you prefer to tiger, eagle and other beasts, you should make the beast heading out to form a pattern of defense. Never make the beast heading inward, or you will be threatened and bring accidental disasters to your family.
Another aspect of bad feng shui energy is called Si Chi, which is basically low, sad, and depressing quality of energy. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with it! To prevent it from taking roots in your living room, be sure to use basic feng shui space clearing steps after a strong family argument, unpleasant guests, etc. Even better, make a habit of clearing the energy in your space regularly, this is easy to do and a pleasure to experience.
Here’s a how to: Clean and Clear
Mirrors are the #1 feng shui decorating must for any living room and in any bagua area. Why? Well, mirrors are such multitaskers – they bring more light, make the space look and feel bigger, add beauty and dimension to any space.
Feng shui-wise, mirrors also bring the water feng shui element – the energy of calm, freshness, and renewal. Mirrors are also the bringers of abundance, so go find yourself a perfect mirror for your living room!
Just remember that the sofa should not have a mirror behind it. When you sit on the sofa, this will expose your head to others from the mirror, which is ominous. It is okay if the mirror is beside the sofa.
Feng shui is all about bringing the outside in, meaning replicating the vibrant and potent energy of nature in our own often poorly designed homes. If you can find a big beautiful plant that can thrive in your living room, know that this is excellent feng shui! If not, go for a small artistic grouping of several smaller plants.
Below is a list of top 10 air-purifying plants, as defined by NASA research in the early 1980s. Bring them to your home, bring them to your office, and let them do what they do best – clear the air and fill it with oxygen!
- Scientific Name: Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens
- Removes: All tested indoor air toxins.
- Benefits: Very popular and easy to care for plant.
Leaves have a gracious flow that will soften the energy of any home or office space.
- Scientific Name: Rhapis Excelsa
- Removes: Most indoor pollutants.
- Benefits: One of the best plants to improve the indoor air quality.
Very popular and easy to care for.
- Scientific Name: Chamaedorea Seifrizii
- Removes: Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde.
- Benefits: Most resistant to insect infestation.
Adds a peaceful, tropical feeling to any environment.
- Scientific Name: Ficus Robusta
- Removes: Most pollutants, especially formaldehyde.
- Benefits: Will survive in dim light and tolerate cool temperatures.
Excellent ability to remove toxins from any indoor environment.
Dracaena Janet Craig
- Scientific Name: Dracaena Deremensis Janet Craig
- Removes: Most pollutants, especially trichloroethylene.
Benefits: Best in Dracaenas family for removing home or office chemical toxins.
- Scientific Name: Hedera Helix
- Removes: Most pollutants, especially formaldehyde.
Benefits: Easy to grow, very adaptable, except for high temperatures.
Another hardy, very popular plant, often used in public spaces.
Dwarf Date Palm
- Scientific Name: Phoenix Roebelenii
- Removes: Most pollutants, especially xylene.
- Benefits: Can tolerate low levels of light.
A slow grower that can reach a height of about 5 to 6 feet.
- Scientific Name: Ficus Macleilandii “Alii”
- Removes: Most pollutants, especially formaldehyde.
- Benefits: Easier to care for than the Ficus Benjamina, can loose some leaves while adjusting to a new space.
- Scientific Name: Nephrolepis Exaltata “Bostoniensis”
- Removes: Most pollutants, especially formaldehyde.
- Benefits: Beautiful and lush, a favorite for any home or office.
It does require attention in order to thrive.
- Scientific Name: Spathiphyllum sp.
- Removes: Alcohols and acetone, Trichloroethylene, Benzene and Formaldehyde.
- Benefits: Beautiful plant with gentle white flowers, easy to care for.
Strong and peaceful energy.
The lucky bamboo is one of the most popular feng shui cures for home or office. You can see quite a few types of feng shui lucky bamboo in most floral shops nowadays. However, the lucky bamboo in feng shui applications is often one of the most neglected feng shui cures, too.
I have seen countless of feng shui “lucky” bamboo plants that are struggling to survive, have a poor neglected look, and the only luck in them is the “lucky to be alive” factor!
Even though easy to care for and a very tolerant plant, the feng shui bamboo still needs your love and attention, as it likes to look good, just like you do. Do not be afraid to touch your lucky bamboo and take good care of it.
Ultimately, the feng shui lucky bamboo is considered lucky because of its peaceful vitality and strong growth, so it is best to learn to take really good care of it, just like you take care of all your other plants.
- So why is the feng shui lucky bamboo considered lucky?
Bamboo in itself is an amazing plant that brings a very peaceful and wise energy into your home. It teaches the ultimate wisdom: how to be flexible and hollow (open) on the inside so that the spirit can freely flow and heal your being.
If you are lucky enough to have bamboo growing in your garden, you know how soothing, almost transcendental, the sound of it is. The same is true for bamboo feng shui wind chimes, as well as the energy of bamboo floors.
Generally, here is why this specific feng shui cure is considered lucky; this will help you see if the feng shui lucky bamboo you bought at the corner store fits into this category.
A little indoor bamboo plant is considered lucky in feng shui when it combines/represents all five feng shui elements, as these elements are considered to be the foundation of a harmonious universe.
The five elements in feng shui are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. Here’s how the feng shui elements are expressed in a lucky bamboo feng shui cure:
- WOOD: the bamboo plant expresses the feng shui Wood element (all plants do).
- EARTH: the rocks that create the foundation of growth for the lucky bamboo represent the Earth element.
- WATER: the water the bamboo needs for its vibrant growth is obviously representing the Water element.
- FIRE: the feng shui lucky bamboo plants usually have a red ribbon tied to them (red color is the expression of the Fire element).
- METAL: the glass pots that most lucky bamboo plants come with represent the Metal element. If your feng shui lucky bamboo is planted in a ceramic pot, it will usually have either a metal coin (Chinese coins for good luck), or a metal figurine, such as the Laughing Buddha.
The number of stalks in the lucky bamboo as a feng shui cure has a specific meaning that is taken into consideration when placing the lucky bamboo plant for good feng shui. You can sure have as many stalks as you feel will look good in your space, but generally, there are some guidelines to follow when you want to use the power of numbers for good feng shui.
Here are the most popular numbers of lucky bamboo stalks:
- 2 for Love and Marriage
- 3 for Happiness
- 5 for Health
- 8 for Wealth and Abundance
- 9 for Good Fortune.
Where should you place your feng shui lucky bamboo?
The best feng shui placement of your lucky bamboo plant is in your Wealth and Money or Health and Family bagua areas. If you are working with the classical feng shui bagua, these are the Southeast and East feng shui areas of your home.
Crystals are the absolute darlings of feng shui, and I mean the natural rock crystals, untreated and unfaceted. There is such a variety of crystals out there, many of them really affordable; all waiting to adorn your living room.
Natural crystals bring the grounding energy of the earth feng shui element, much needed with our modern lifestyle.
Displaying happy family photos is great feng shui for your living room. It creates happy, warming energy that spreads throughout the home and uplifts your mood on occasional sad or stressful days. East area of your room is the best spot to display family photos but anywhere in your living room is still excellent feng shui.
The serene and peaceful presence of Buddha can grace your home with more peace and real, meaningful moments. There are many Buddhas – from Kwan Yin to the Medicine Buddha, from White Tara to the Laughing Buddha.
There are also many specific Buddha mudras you can choose for your living room decor.
Fire and Passion
Fire is the element of passion, excitement, joy, warmth and love. It makes it easier to connect with your loved ones and truly enjoy their presence. A good and balanced fire feng shui element also helps you be genuinely present in this moment instead of being stuck in what happened a couple hours ago (or worrying about an imaginary future).
Be sure you find your own expressions of the fire feng shui element for your living room – be it with wall art, pillows, and throws or a beautiful rug.
Candles purify the energy of negative residues, as well as make any room more calm and peaceful. They also bring a quiet sense of romance and joy, so be sure to grace your living room with a few candles in beautiful candleholders. Of course, candles are also the expression of the fire feng shui element – the element that many of us need to keep and nourish in our relationships with others (and ourselves, too).
By fire energy I mean a solid, nurturing, warm, life-giving fire energy – not the destructive, hollow and angry one. There is a fine balance with all your feng shui decor solutions – you just have to play and experiment until you find the right balance for your living room and for your family.
- Should be visible as soon as entering into the door.
The living room should be visible as soon as entering into the door. According to Feng Shui knowledge, if the living room is behind the bedroom or kitchen, your life will have no privacy, leading to digression and mistakes in work or business.
- Should be in the center of the house.
As a place for the whole family, the living room should be in the center of the house. If a bedroom is transformed from part of a spacious living room, the living room will be the worst one.
- Layout should be rectangle or square.
The overall layout of the living room should be a rectangle or a square rather than the irregular or polygonal spatial pattern. The square living room will improve your luck in terms of both blessing and wealth, and also make the infinite positive energy staying in the home.
- Wealth Direction
You should pay special attention to the wealth direction which is generally at the oblique 45℃ position facing the living room as soon as you enter into the door. The wealth direction should be tranquil and avoid a water dispenser, audio equipment and other shaking items, or your will have your wealth affected and suffer from financial loss.
- Furniture Placement
The furniture should be placed properly. According to Feng Shui knowledge, the storage cabinet in the living room should cling to the wall and the sofa should face the door or TV, and never have its back to the door.
If the sofa backs the door, your interpersonal relationship will be disharmonious and you may easily encounter villains or have disputes with others.
- Avoid Beamed Ceilings
If the living room has a spanning beam, the ceiling should be covered with decorations, or the beam will bring you the sense of pressure and bad luck and make you nervous.
Here’s a nice fix:
- Floor should be even.
The living room floor shall not be uneven; instead, it shall be flat and avoid too many too many stairs or the sense of high and low. Some living rooms adopt the design of high and low partition to make the obvious change of high and low floor. However, this kind of design makes the family luck full of ups and downs.
- Living Room and Doors
If you are sitting in the living room can see the doors of all rooms, the privacy will be poor and you may feel open to the external world.
The living room should be decorated with the circular-shaped decorations since it is a family and friends gathering place requiring the lively and harmonious atmosphere. The circle is a symbol of Yang and dynamic, so the circular-shaped lighting, ceiling and decorations can create the warm and lively atmosphere.
But wait, there’s more!
Here’s a small gallery of living rooms that I didn’t find a place for in the post. Enjoy!
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