The Feng Shui Anatomy of Home Living Room
There have been many adaptations as to the function and use of the living room. Traditionally speaking the living room was one of the three common rooms in the home, a place of family gathering and entertaining around the warmth of the crackling fireplace; featuring the finest of furnishing, artwork and accessories. Visually appealing the furniture was often austere and very uncomfortable and uninviting. I remember the covered plastic sofas and chairs; with factory covered foiled lampshades of my youth contradicted the intended use repelling entry. Standing at my friend’s foyer I couldn’t fathom why someone would create such a pretty room and not have it be in use. The only thing missing was a rope flanking the door barring entry like those at the movie theater to keep people in line. It was rooms such as this that conversation tended to be “proper” and “political”, rendering to debates and arguments between the men of the family while the ladies of the house minded the mending.
The focus of the living room gave way to gentile conversation with the invention of the television. It is this era that the focus on family values shifted and the attention became an external consumerism one. In spite of these rooms being pretty they were untouchable and in turn caused stagnation in the associated gua.
As homes became larger and basements became an occupied space family rooms replaced the living room and the central location of the television created abandoned and forgotten areas of the home as people migrated to the hypnotic influence of their favourite programs.
Although I still see homes where the living room houses the TV more and more people are opting to remove it from the space to create a more social environment, returning the living room back to being an occupied room where social and family gatherings are a place of celebration and communication.
In the growing trend of open concept homes, new builds and renovations the living room is often no longer a separate entity but united with informal dining rooms and the kitchen, where walls once stood separating the cook from conversation now flows openly creating unity. As the walls come down and the space opens removing all separation a sense of vulnerability occurs as the entire main floor can often be viewed by the foyer; giving little or no sense of safety or privacy to the rest of the home.
The challenge of open concept homes is that the kitchen is primarily the most utilized room and often the messiest due to continued use. I’ve had a number of clients who live in open concept homes who love to entertain but find it challenging to relax and visit with family and friends when the view from the living room is that of a counter and sink of dirty dishes. Instead of enjoying their time together they become distracted and anxious by the cleanup looming over them.
From a Feng Shui perspective some separation of rooms is best to provide the natural flow between aspects of everyday life and the living of it, quiet moments of reflection, communion, conversation and creation.
The trend of open concept homes creates many Feng Shui challenges for furniture placement. The living room generally speaking is the first room seen from the foyer and therefore, the command position is a key factor. In open concept living rooms the challenge is the placement of the sofa. In many homes where the TV remains in the living room the television is in the command position putting the occupants of the home in a less-than-excellent placement that of one of vulnerability with their back to the front door or a large picture widow. In cases where this is so the TV becomes the dominate creating a vortex in which all vital energy is sucked into. Conversation diminishes and relationships break down due to a lack of interested and interaction.
Take command of your life!
The sofa generally is the largest piece of furniture in the living room and therefore it best placed in a position that will put you in command of your life. When you place yourself facing the door to your home or the main entrance to any room you posture-self in way to receive all the many fortunate blessings the universe has to offer you.
It is very challenging to manifest your deepest desires when you have your back to the world which can be perceived as turning your back to infinite possibilities. How can you ever be in the moment and make mindful choices if you are always looking over your shoulder at what’s behind you.
Your home is your castle. You will never see a king or queen sit with their back to a door, so why would you if you didn’t have to?
Find your command position or power position!
- In order to define what the command position is in your living room walk around the space being mindful of what location provides a full view of the main entrance to the room if you were sitting on the sofa. Be careful not to choose a placement that will block the flow of chi from entering the space as illustrated below.
2. If possible it is best to position the sofa so that there is a solid wall behind it. This creates a feeling of support and security.
3. Avoid placing the sofa in front of a large window as this placement has the potential to create a sense of vulnerability putting the occupants in full view from outside.
If placement under a window is your only option to put you in command position, you can remedy the Feng Shui challenges it creates by;
– Hanging a Feng Shui round faceted crystal in the window to create a divide between you and the outdoors.
– Hanging curtains over the entire window will help create the feeling of being supported.
-If there is enough room the use of a sofa table set between the window and the sofa will create an energetic divide. Adorning the sofa table with a healthy vibrant plant and a lamp will aid in building barriers between you and the outside world.
4. If it is not possible to place the sofa in the command position and the only available option is to place it on the same wall as the main entrance to the room, it is best to hang a mirror on the wall opposite the sofa to provide a view of the door which in turn creates a sense of security.
(The mirror over the fireplace in the image below gives those lounging on the sofa a view of the door so that may see who is approaching from behind.)
Don’t turn your back on the universe and the universe won’t turn its back on you.
(photo credit Whitney Sieben)
Modified bi-levels pose a number of Feng Shui challenges one of them is the difficulty in assuming the command position. Contractors and designers think nothing of installing the cable and electrical boxes for the television and media devises in the middle of the one wall best suited to attain the command position. Often the only placement for the sofa is with its back up against the railing which blocks the view from the door, as wells as placing the home owners in a vulnerable position with their back to the stairs and the front door.
It baffles me every time I see this design flaw. Why bother putting up a beautiful railing only to black it with the back side of the sofa?
In modified bi-levels where this is the case the TV becomes the dominate feature and controls the space while reducing conversation.
When my daughter Whitey and son-in-law Mike first moved into their modified bi-level the resisted my Feng Shui recommendations to move the TV down into the re-room and put the sofa onto the feature wall, giving them the command position and which would open the space making it feel more welcome. (I know! Why would they not listen to the expert? Because that expert happens to be their mother. Regardless that the expert advice was free! :))
Loving to entertain my advice started to make sense and so a shift in the arrangement of their furniture became necessary to create a space that was conducive to their lifestyle needs. The TV went down stairs and the sofa moved into the command position. Replacing the TV console for a couple of comfortable, decorative accent chairs instantly made the room so much more cozy for visiting and reading while creating excellent flow for entertaining and intimate conversation.
The mirror over the sofa hides the unsightly cable and electrical plugins while reflecting the natural light from the picture window which raises the vibration of the entire main floor.
Take command of your life and see what the universe delivers to your door.
(photo credit Whitney Sieben)