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Alan Chong

Feng Shui
for Small Spaces
veers away from common perception that
feng shui is superstitious and religious in nature.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui for Small Spaces


Providing a fresh and modern perspective to feng shui
and its practices, this book is an introduction to home for Small Spaces
geomancy. It focuses on the fundamental concepts: An introduction to geomancy
the placement of furniture and lighting as well as the
organisation of space. Isometric 3-D illustrations accompany Alan Chong
the easy-to-understand text that explains the principles.

• Introduction to feng shui for homeowners


• Using feng shui principles to enhance small spaces
• Modern presentation of a traditional subject
• Simple and easy-to-understand information
to create harmony in your home
• An essential guide that makes an
excellent gift for homeowners

Marshall Cavendish

FENGSHUI
Editions

ISBN 978-981-4721-25-7

,!7IJ8B4-hcbcfh!

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Feng Shui
for Small Spaces

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Feng Shui
for Small Spaces
An introduction to geomancy

Alan Chong

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© 2016 Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Private Limited

Published by Marshall Cavendish Editions


An imprint of Marshall Cavendish International
1 New Industrial Road, Singapore 536196

All rights reserved

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or
by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission
of the copyright owner. Request for permission should be addressed to the Publisher, Marshall Cavendish
International (Asia) Private Limited, 1 New Industrial Road, Singapore 536196. Tel: (65) 6213 9300. E-mail:
genrefsales@sg.marshallcavendish.com. Website: www.marshallcavendish.com/genref

The publisher makes no representation or warranties with respect to the contents of this book, and
specifically disclaims any implied warranties or merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose, and
shall in no events be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage, including but not limited
to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Other Marshall Cavendish Offices:


Marshall Cavendish Corporation. 99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown NY 10591-9001, USA • Marshall
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Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Batu Tiga, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Marshall Cavendish is a trademark of Times Publishing Limited.

National Library Board, Singapore Cataloguing-in-Publication Data


Names: Chong, Alan, 1988-
Title: Feng shui for small spaces : an introduction to geomancy / Alan Chong.
Description: Singapore : Marshall Cavendish Editions, [2016]
Identifiers: OCN 927106641 | ISBN 978-981-4721-25-7 (paperback)
Subjects: LCSH: Feng shui. | Feng shui in interior decoration.
Classification: LCC BF1779.F4 | DDC 133.3337—dc23

Printed in Singapore by Sun Rise Printing & Supplies Pte Ltd

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Dedication

To my family, Chong Shee Mang, Khoo Hiang Lee and


Anna Chong with gratitude for decades of love, support
and belief, and to my partner Sarah Fun for her continuous
encouragement and support.

To my supervisor, Ms Candice Ng Ee Ching for advising


me and supporting my final year project, Bobilia Tay for
giving my inspiration for my project and Chua Sock Hoon for
translating some difficult Chinese texts.

Special thanks to Grand Master Tan Khoon Yong,


Master Goh Guan Leong, Ms Ee Wan from Way OnNet Group
for the kind responses and advice.

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Contents

Prefece 2.6 3.7


9 Family Members & The Floor Mats & Shoes
Eight Trigrams (八卦)
Introduction 3.8
10 2.7 Colour Theme
Positivism

2.8
01 Colours
04

Issues 2.9 Living Room


13 Five Elements (五行) 47

1.1 2.10 4.1


Shrinking Spaces Home For The Living Living Room

1.2 4.2
Spiritually Alienated 03 General Arrangements

4.3
02 Entrance Sofa Shapes & Placements
37

4.4
Basic Concepts 3.1 Ceiling & Colour
19 The Entrance Hallway

4.5
2.1 3.2 Clean & Simple
An Ancient Wisdom & Lightings
Belief
3.3
Height of Ceiling
05
2.2
One Subject, Myriad
Approaches 3.4 Kitchen
Ceiling Beams 59
2.3
Meander like the river 3.5 5.1
Paths in the Home Kitchen
2.4
What is Qi (气)? 3.6
5.2
Shoe Cabinets
Stove & Sink
2.5
Dialectic Theory

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5.3 7.4 9.2
Water Tap & Refrigerator Toilet Personal Auspicious
Direction

5.4 7.5
Window, Door, Stove Wardrobe 9.3
East Group House Chart

7.6
9.4
06 Dressing Table
West Group House Chart

7.7
Dining Room Lighting 9.5
67 Application (Overall +
Individual Rooms)

6.1 08 9.6
Dining Room
Application (Auspicious
Directions)
6.2 Study
Decoration & Mirrors 89
9.7
Reconciling Different
6.3 8.1 Auspicious Directions
Location of Dining Area Study
9.8
6.4 8.2 The Four Auspicious
Shape of Dining Table Placement of Directions
Work Desk
9.9
07 8.3 The Four Inauspicious
Circulation & Lighting
Directions

Master Bedroom 8.4


77 Bedroom & Study
Hybrid About the Author
110
7.1
Master Bedroom
09
7.2
Arrangement
Something to Try
97
7.3
Air-Conditioning
9.1
Eight House Feng Shui

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Preface

Contrary to common belief, feng shui is often misunderstood as being superstitious


and religious in nature which is just part of the picture. The subject is in fact, derived
from an organised system of science, rites and rituals (religion), religion (faith),
philosophy, astronomy (or astrology) and human affairs.
This project re-imagines feng shui culture and its practices in a fresh perspective.
It injects a fresh design direction through the use of isometric view illustrations
which are accompanied by easy-to-understand text explaining the principles.
The colour theme and design direction has been kept neutral to allow readers to
focus on the fundamental feng shui concepts: the art of placement, lighting as well
as the organisation of spaces.
As living spaces are gradually getting smaller, new homeowners have difficulties
in adapting to them. This book presents an alternative solution and provides
knowledge for new homeowners who have just received the key to their new
apartments as well as families who are moving to smaller premises.

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Introduction
Comfortable Living with Smaller Spaces...

Our personal space is getting smaller and the constraints on space become even
greater with a growing population. Some of us may just feel an imbalance of
temperament and moods while others are badly affected by it. The constraints on
space can have a diverse effect on our health, both physically and mentally.
Our homes and how we live, define how we grow up, our personalities as well as
the company we choose to be with.
Most people visit parks, gardens and reserves to enjoy nature and also for the
sense of space there. It is an escape from the rigidity and monotony of city living.
Many of us have forgotten how we should be living and thus, encounter many
difficulties in our lives. To live is to be happy and carefree.
These difficulties are primarily caused by our surroundings. They begin at home
and affect our mood. It is important that we maintain our environment to make
ourselves feel comfortable, instead of creating more issues to worry about.
This book discusses spaces based on generic public housing in Singapore, and
incorporates feng shui principles on managing our living space. However, these
basic concepts are applicable anywhere in the world. Contrary to common beliefs
that feng shui is for those whom are superstitious and religious, it is actually the art
of arrangement based on the cumulative wisdom of natural philosophy, the spiritual
understanding of the cosmic order and the experience of ancient Chinese scholars
and philosophers. It is said to mirror the natural order of things, and also believes
that the interior of a room reflects the personality of its owner.
As with everything we read or come across, heed the advice in this book with a
pinch of salt and keep an open mind!

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01
Issues

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01
Issues

1.1
Shrinking Spaces
Singapore has experienced tremendous ecomomic growth over the
years. The growth has gradually consumed available spaces and this
has in turn affected our living space.

Singapore is an island city state without the luxury of a lot of land. The only way we
can accommodate a growing population is by building upwards. Over time, new units
are built closer to each other and their sizes are getting smaller as well.
The constraints on space have delayed life planning for those who are younger,
increasing the number of family issues and even creating health risk. For all
of us, daily life is a sequence of events. The constraint of space means having to
reconfigure our quarters, what might seem novel at the beginning may end up with
many inconveniences, just to go to sleep or prepare breakfast before work.
In this case, residents might eventually stop folding up their furniture every day
and the space will start feeling even more restricted. For example, research has
shown that children living in crowded apartments end up becoming withdrawn, and
have trouble studying and concentrating. In these situations, modern amenities —
such as floor to ceiling windows, extra storage and a communal roof deck — will not
compensate for a fundamental lack of privacy at home every day.
Beyond the economic impact of building smaller apartments, our homes also
serve an important role in communicating our values and goals, or what scientists
call “identity claims”. We tend to feel happier and healthier when we can bring
others to our space to express who we are and what’s important to us. When we
think about micro-living, we have a tendency to focus on functional things, for
example, if there is enough room for the fridge. But an apartment has to fulfil other
psychological needs as well, such as self-expression and relaxation, that might not
be as easily met in a highly cramped space.

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01
Issues

1.2
Spiritually Alienated
Technological mastery has led to a neglect of the physical aspect of
communication with others, ourselves and to nature. We are well
connected yet disconnected...

Even though Singapore claims to be a garden city, we are in fact disconnected from
the natural world. It is commonly argued that we expose ourselves to a polluted and
toxic environment, which drains our natural energy.
With industrialisation and modernity, work processes have become increasingly
specialised. People move from small communities with intimate contact into cities
with entirely new lifestyles and social relations. Thus, from living in organic units
with a great measure of coherence, people experienced a growing fragmentation in
both their working and social life.
This was the theme of early sociology as represented in the writings of Max
Weber, Emile Durkheim and Georg Simmel in the early twentieth century. With
the advent of post-industrial or post-modern society, these processes were further
accelerated, and have impacted us greatly. Individual work procedures are reduced
to such an extent that the individual cannot see the meaning of the whole. Their
social life is further fragmented with the breaking up of conventional family units
and morality becomes divorced from everyday life.
As humans, we are not mere passive subjects in this vast drama of revolutionising
daily life, but persistently striving to hold on to meaning, values and people. This
condition has led to a heightened awareness of the human psyche to show empathy
and concerns towards environmental and ecological issues. Important writers from
diverse fields such as philosophy, science and sociology have noted this: a return
to ‘reason’ as opposed to technical rationality, the need for new perspectives that
allow unity (David Bohm) and the general direction towards de-secularisation —
that is, the returning of prominence of religion.

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02
Basic
Concepts

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02
Basic Concepts

2.1
An Ancient Wisdom & Belief
Feng Shui was an ancient practice formulated by Chinese scholars and
philosphers. It was only accessible by the Emperor and imperial families.

Feng shui, means wind that cannot be seen with the naked eye, nor can it be felt and
it cannot be grasped as it is as elusive as water. The word feng shui first appeared as
a technical term in a guide to funeral rituals called the Zhang Shu (葬书) or The Burial
Book. This passage about the burial principle is regarded as one of the classical feng
shui works and was attributed to and was attributed to Guopu (郭璞), a Chinese writer
and scholar of the Eastern Jin Period.
There is a frequently quoted Chinese text that reads: “夫陰陽之氣,噫以為風,升
而為雲,降而為雨,行乎地中而為生氣,氣乘風則散,界水則止,古人聚之使不散,行之使有
止, 故谓“风水”。 The rough translation is as follows. Regarding the qi of Yin and
Yang, it is conceived in the wind, then rises to become the clouds and descends as
rain. Upon its contact with the ground, the lighter components become vapour and
disperses in the wind while the heavier ones are absorbed in pools, the ancients were
able to accumulate it and prevent it from dispersing, thus it is termed as feng shui.
The basis of feng shui lies in the concept of qi. The basic premise of feng shui
theory is that Man, both living and the dead, is under the influence of qi that is
prevalent in Heaven and Earth. It also acts as a conduit related to change and
growth. The interaction of two contrasting binary forces of yin and yang gives rise to
all phenomena in the world. All exists under the influence of the cosmic force of qi.
If this qi is not properly managed, the lives of Man along with his environment
will be affected. Chinese tradition believes that the currents of qi and its presence on
Earth are visibly linked with the geographical features of mountains, watercourses
and nature. Therefore, the term geomancy refers to the observation of the movement
of qi below the surface contours and configurations of Earth. (Ancient text also refers
to mountains and rivers as mountain and water dragon 山龙水龙).

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2.2
One Subject, Myriad Approaches...

The development of feng shui principles and theories was a cumulative wisdom
passed down by wise sages of Chinese culture and have been around since
1046–256 BC where it all began with divination by scapulimancy (predictions that
uses the shoulder blades of oxen). Little is known as to how the concepts came about,
but what was recorded was during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Many
fundamentals concepts such as as Yi Jing (Book of Changes), Daoism, Five Elements
(Wu Xing), Confucianism, theories of Yin and Yang and Ba Gua (Eight Trigrams)
became popular.
The first written records of feng shui consultations date from the Han Dynasty
(206 BC-220 AD) and from it, various schools of practice and approaches came about.
The two schools of feng shui that are still being practiced till today are landform or
form school (峦头) and compass school (理气). The former is based on the verification
of the physical configurations of the site and classifying the xing (形) into various
categories of elements (5 phases). This school is said to have been derived from
the teachings of Yang Yun Song (楊筠松). The latter, as the name suggests, utilises
a compass known as luopan (罗盘) to analyze the relationship of the eight cardinal
directions of the given site with the Five Phases (fire, earth, metal, water, wood), Eight
Trigrams (八卦), Heavenly Stems (天干), Earthly Branches (地支) and Constellations. It
is believed that the school is based on the metaphysical aspect of Song Dynasty neo-
Confucian cosmology developed by Wang Ji (王伋).
In our current times, the lines have been blurred between the compass and form
school. The techniques of both schools are sometimes used to analyze a site as
apartments are gradually becoming more complex with layers of criterias to assess,
such as the window view within the apartment to check if there are any incoming
inauspicious qi and determining a favorable location for the bed facing etc...

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02
Basic Concepts

2.3
Meander like the River

Household feng shui principles caution us against protruding corners which can
create vertical sharp corners that “send” out negative energy and decrease the
“luck” of family members with prolonged exposure. Presently, corners at awkward
places cause an irritable sight, which is similar to having a cupboard blocking half of
the entrance, making exit and entry difficult.
A favourable setup would be to transform any awkward shapes into regular
ones such as a square, rectangle or circle. The goal of feng shui is to arrange
the home in a way that allows qi to meander and linger, creating a sense
of a balanced and conducive environment. The qi is believed to flow in a
wave-like or in a circular pattern, and the home must admit its natural
flow by emulating nature and avoid sharp corners and straight lines
— which is similar to that of a meandering river.

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Alternatively, installing bright lights to “lift” the energy in the
space may help too. In feng shui manuals, the instructions regarding
house forms and arrangements are associated with certain features of
Chinese rites and the Confucian moral system. For instance, the house
should not posses a sharp or inclined silhouette or else it may reflect
the unfavorable habits of the home owners.

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02
Basic Concepts

2.4
What is Qi (气)?

The concept of qi — also commonly called breath, vitality, the ether or cosmic
breath, breath of life/nature — is fundamental to Chinese natural philosophy. It is
said that qi is prevalent in Heaven and Earth; and it is believed to flow underneath
the Earth as a conduit and is related to the growth and change of all the phenomena
in the world.
In early Chinese philosophy, qi exists in both the tangible and the intangible
plane of our world and the universe. According to the Han Dynasty, philosophical
treatise from c. 200 BC, the first original qi was born of the continua of space and
time. This qi was heavy and stable, but its lighter parts rose and formed the sky. Its
heavier counterparts gathered to form the earth. After that, the qi of sky and earth
met to become Yin and Yang.
The idea that qi gave rise to material substance is also reflected in Daoism.
The philisopher Laozi described Dao as one of the basic manifestations of qi: the
beginning was undifferentiated chaos, shape without form, form without objects.
Dao was the origin and principle of all things, from which the Yin-Yang duality rose.
Yin and Yang combined to become plurality, and from that, individual things came
into being.
Generally, the concept of qi is borrowed from Chinese cosmological thought. It is
ambiguous and all-inclusive. It can be a physical existence but also a psychological
feeling. Therefore, it brings about a mysticism and sometimes, magical atmosphere
to feng shui practice and to the assessment of the dwelling. This is the relationship
between people and the pedological qualities of soil temperature and soil moisture.
In the context of modern society, it refers to the characteristics of the immediate
environment and the quality of house formulations. If anyone can practice the concept
of “藏风纳气”, which roughly translates as keeping the qi (wind) and cultivating it
(well-ventilated), it can be be remotely termed as feng shui. This type of qi should not
be too strong or weak otherwise, it would be problematic for the building eventually
resulting in psychological problems for the people living there.

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02
Basic Concepts

2.5
Dialectic Theory

The basis of feng shui, along with its various practices such as traditional Chinese
medicine (TCM) or divination, involves an art of logical deduction by observing the
positive and the negative; this theory is also known as the Yin-Yang (阴阳) theory.
There are no definitive answer to eastern metaphysics as there is to the western
logic which was mentioned by Aristotle’s law of excluded third (tertium non datur),
“no third (possibility) is given”. However, in Yin-Yang theory, there is always a
third reconciling aspect. The motion of cyclic change produced all things, and takes
place around an unmoving centre, just as in a wheel. The symbol of taiji is a circle
divided by an S-curve into two interlocked halves, a light portion representing the
Yang and motion and a dark portion representing Yin and rest (right side). Each half
contains a dot, dark in the light and light in the dark; symbolising the Yang is never
without the Yin nor Yin without the Yang, each portion contains the potential or the
seed of the other, ready to grow when the principle containing it reaches its apex and
begins to wane.
Based on its theories, the formation of the universe as well: the Yin, being the
passive became the sediments and eventually earth and the Yang, bearing motion
and movement became lighter and formed the heavens. In the body and also TCM
theories, the Yin represents the organs and the Yang being the superficial that can
be seen with our naked eyes.
Therefore, this theory forms a fundamental basis of all discussion and discourse
in this ancient art of Chinese cumulative wisdom.

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02
Basic Concepts

2.6
Family Members & The Eight Trigrams (八卦)

Feng shui utilises a versatile system known as the Eight Trigrams. The Eight Trigram
is an octagonal table divided into eight segments and the eight individual characters
and symbols is derived from Yin and Yang, . In its basic monogram of Yin and Yang,
Yang is represented by an unbroken line, which is thought of as unlimited length,
with neither an end nor beginning, thus being an appropriate image of “indefinite
lengths,” which, like heaven and Yang, does not determine enclosure or definition.
Yang bears the image of the heaven and unity, whereas Yin bears the image of earth
and multiplicity; Yang’s unbroken line refers to the concept of unity and Yin’s
divided line is an apt description of earth’s multiplicity and lack of coherence.
The system involves calculations that enable practitioners to determine which
position or sector in the house is best suited for the family. It also enables the
practitioner to determine how auspicious the current year is and allow flexibility in
determining the colour and objects to be used to enhance the qi in the home.
There are two different types of coniguration of the Eight trigram: The Early
Heaven Arrangement by Fu Hsi (伏羲) and the Later Heaven Arrangement by King Wen
(周文王). It is held that the Early Heaven Arrangement refers to what is pre-destined
and the Later Heaven Arrangement refers to our cause and action. Traditionally,
this system was used to determine the burial site of ancestors and the quality of the
burial site directly affects the descendents i.e growth, wealth, health, academic etc.
The trigrams, according to the translated text of Richard Wilhelm’s translated
texts on the Yi Jing (Book of Changes), explains that each different image (see
illustration opposite) refers to a stereotyped element in nature. Going in a clockwise
direction, Li(离) Kun(坤) Dui(兑) Qian(乾) Kan(坎) Gen(艮) Zhen(震) Xun(巽), which, in
its context, refers to Fire, Earth, Lake, Heaven, Water, Mountain, Lightning, Wind
respectively. If read in clockwise direction, the concept of annual cycle of seasons
from spring to winter can be derived, starting from Zhen (震). This sequence is also
expressed on most contemporary feng shui compass known as luopan (罗盘).

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Southwest
Matriarch/
South Mother West
2nd Sister/ Youngest
Daughter Daughter

Southeast Northwest
Eldest Sister Patriarch/
Father

East
North
Eldest Brother
2nd Son/
Northeast Brother
Youngest
Son

Each compass direction corresponds to a member of the family. This is an


important role as it is believed to affect those who reside within the different sectors.
The northwest sector holds the position of the patriarchial figure which is
normally the father. Therefore, he commands the highest authority within the
context of the household. However, if the youngest son occupies that sector, he
may demonstrate an overbearing attitude towards his family members or even
towards his father.

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02
Basic Concepts

2.7
Positivism

Popular feng shui culture either explicitly or implicitly refers to personal problems
such as depression, anger and a lack of success. Typically, large sections in books
promise instant change to a reader’s life, but this does not happen. It is actually the
willingness to change, and which begins from small actions that eventually leads to
happy events. It also reflects the spirit of good morality that we need to constantly
adjust our outward perception of the world, keeping the good and avoiding the
bad. Hence, practitioners have a saying “一命二运三风水四积德五读书”which rough
translates as: the first step is to learn acceptance of one’s destiny, the second is to
cultivate our luck through feng shui (third), subsequently, it all boils down to our
virtuosity and our knowledge to discern what is good and bad for us.
Most books state a range of reasons why your personal life is not doing well.
Bad furniture arrangement, old things, collections of objects, photographs from
the past, fatigued relationships, annoying people, etc… are all impediments to
personal success. They also restrain the flow of vital energy around us and must be
removed mercilessly in order to gain new vitality.
Some interpret personal problems as being inherent, which may be addressed
and improved by means of adjusting the personal qi, such as conscious use of colours
in accordance to their Chinese zodiac and birth date.
On the other hand, psychological ailments may be addressed with colours as
proven through art therapy, such as alleviating depression by using green and red,
signifying hope and spring or happiness and liveliness, respectively. The general
message contained in feng shui is straightforward and its practice has assimilated
subjects such as environmental psychology and/or health sciences.

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2.8
Colours

Since space is limited in Singapore, much attention is devoted to colour in feng shui
using common colour charts or colour associations by means of colour schemes
built in accordance to the ba gua (eight trigrams used in Daoism). It is commonly
assumed that colours should be adapted to Singapore’s sunlight, the function of
the room and the personality of the inhabitants.
The ancient classification of colours fits in with the five elements (fire, earth,
metal, water and wood), comprising of red, yellow, white, black/blue and green,
respectively. This differs fundamentally from the modern conception of primary
colour combinations. They define what is and what is not; disclosure of the status
of our health and inspire a wide range of emotions such as vitality, pureness, awe
and danger. Colours are seen to influence the flow of qi, with the auspicious use of
colour for homes, clothing, cars, food, health, romance and so forth.
In line with western preference for tangible forces, the electromagnetic (磁场)
properties of the colour spectrum are often referred to and the colours interpreted
in accordance to the intensiveness of their energy.
The Chinese colour symbolism indicates different properties which are more
often than not, simple — green for vitality, red for intensity and love, white for
purity and space, and darker colours for groundedness. Common uses of colour
are inspired by the concept of harmony and balance, that is ‘taking nature inside’
by using earth-toned colours without any strong outstanding colours to affect the
harmoniously flow of qi.

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02
Basic Concepts

2.9
Five Elements (五行)

The five elements of traditional Chinese metaphysics are commonly interpreted as


phases of transformation or change; (火) fire; (土) earth; (金) metal; (水) water and
(木) wood. They are also sometimes referred to as “five phases” due to their inherent
nature of constant movements and never staying still. The creative cycle indicates
how each element creates and nourishes the next: wood feeds fire, fire yields
ashes of earth, earth pressurises into crystalline, metal is carried by water bodies
to proliferate, and water nourishes the growth of wood. Going counter-clockwise,
the elements weaken each other on the flipside of creation, the counteractants;
fire melts metal, metal cuts wood, wood weakens earth by its roots, earth contains
water, and water destroys fire.
The cyclical nature of the five elements is similar to the concept of Yin-Yang
dialectic theory. In order to achieve balance, feng shui practitioners use shapes or
colours that represents the five elements to either create, exhaust certain excess
elements of a type, or to avoid any destructive elemental cycles. This creates a
dynamic pattern of balance. The respective colours of the elements are as followed:
fire is red; earth is yellow; metal is white, silver or gold; water is black or blue; wood is
green or dark brown.
Each element also has their predetermined geometrical shapes; knowing about
their innate shapes and their symbolising element helps the feng shui practioner
derive solutions and use decorative objects to be placed in parts of the house that
may lack that particular element.

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火 土 水
木 火 金 Earth
Fire

土 金 木
Metal



水 木 土
Wood 金 水 火
Water

Creative Cycle Destructive Cycle Exhaustive Cycle

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02
Basic Concepts

2.10
Home for the Living

Our home is a symbolic representation of the cosmic centre of a family that consists
of heaven, earth and man. When a family member returns home, they will feel
energised and recharged. This is one of the more obvious characteristics of a well-
managed qi energy within the home. On the other hand, some may experience
perpetual lethargy, lack of drive in their lives or fall ill easily due to the poor
management of qi within the home.
Qi can be managed with proper arrangement of furnitures and even the choice of
colour on the walls. When a balance is achieved, prosperity, wealth and good health
are just around the corner. However, achieving a balance is easier said than done.
Each room in the home can be regarded as part of a whole. Every direction in the
house has a corresponding place that “belongs” to each family member, locating
them accordingly in their right position is like fitting a puzzle piece perfectly in its
slot; just as how we would categorise a different sections in a departmental store.
On the other hand, each room must also have a semblance that fits its function,
if not, it will be confusing. Guests may feel disoriented and the family will be
“disoriented” in their lives as well.
The basic thinking is that all elements of our environment have an effect on
our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. The natural light in our rooms,
the colour of the walls, the style and shape of furniture and ornaments or even the
presence of plants.

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03
Entrance

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03
Entrance

3.1
The Entrance Hallway
The entrance hallway is like a friend that we have just met.
Based on its appearance, it provides a first impression and
from it, we can roughly gauge its personality.

The entrance hallway is known in Chinese as “玄关” (xuan guan) and “明堂” (ming
tang). It is the area leading into the home and is representative of the family’s future
and career luck. Upon entering, the decor of the hallway is a good indication of how
well the family is doing.
The entrance hallway is like a friend you have just met, the first impression
matters the most in terms of how they dress and present themselves. This area,
is similar to that of a first impression when guests enter your home. The entrance
hallway acts like a mouth of the house and welcomes positive qi such as the wealth
qi “财气”(cai qi).
Its arrangement and decoration is closely related to the family’s happiness and
social connections. The simplest way to create this space is by using dividers or
cabinets, however, this may restrict the space. In countries that experience seasonal
change, dividers are typically placed along the entrance hallway to prevent the cold
air from being directly blown into the home during winter as this will drain the
warm air within the home, while allowing for ventilation.
The choice of colours and materials for the ceiling, flooring, lighting or shelving
may also play a part in characterising this space. Regardless of the size, creating this
space is akin to welcoming benefactors into your life.

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03
Entrance

3.2
Lights

The entrance hallway should be well-lit as it symbolises the presence of strong


positive energy qi or yang energy qi “阳气” (yang qi). A well-lit entrance gives a
welcoming vibe to guests as well as family members returning home. The entrance
hallway is often the darkest area in the home, depending on the home’s orientation
and how well it receives sunlight. If this area is relatively dark as compared to the
other parts of the home, it is advisable to install lighting or use sandblasted glass to
allow natural sunlight from the window to shine through.

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3.3 3.4
Height of Ceiling Ceiling Beams

The entrance hallway and the living “穿心煞” (chuan xin sha) is a synonym
room should be distinguished from for a resemblance of a ceiling pillar
one another. In creating the entrance piercing right across the ceiling of
hallway, pay particular attention when the house upon stepping through the
building false ceilings. Ensure that the main door. It is considered one of the
room height is not overly low. If the most severe issues in feng shui. This
ceiling is too low, it may cause a sense may negatively affect the family’s
of oppression and mental stress to the performance in their careers or studies.
home owners. Imagine yourself being in For example, knowing that you are due
a space with limited room to manoeuvre. for a promotion but having someone else
Staying in that space will affect your beat you to it; always being a runner up
mood and cause undue stress. From the and not getting recognised even though
feng shui perspective, it is equivalent you have excelled; feeling over-worked,
to limiting your career and future stressed and unhappy.
prospects. The advice is to flatten the overhead
ceiling pillar so as to alleviate this issue.
However, some feng shui practitioners
may use crystal pillars to “support” the
overbearing effect or hang crystal
balls at the side of the beam.

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03
Entrance

3.5
Paths in the Home

There is a Chinese saying “喜回旋忌直冲” (xi hui xuan, ji zhi chong). The meaning
is to favour meanders while avoiding straight paths. This saying is in line with one
of the principles of feng shui which is to allow good qi to flow and meander within
your home.
Sometimes, the main door of the home faces the windows directly in a straight
path. We can see the windows the moment we enter the main door. This configuration
is unfavourable because it may result in “前通后通,人财两空” (qian tong hou tong, ren
cai liang kong) which roughly translates as being able to pass through on both sides,
i.e. unable to cover the loss on both sides, thus a loss in wealth. If this configuration
is caused by having transparent blinds, it can be easily resolved by using opaque
blinds to block off the direct line of vision or by using frosted glass for the windows.
Creating a hallway prevents outsiders from peeping into your home and also
provides a sense of secrecy. Without blinds to block the view
into your home, this configuration is known as “开门见庭” (kai
men jian ting), whereby anyone can look into your home and
monitor your every move, thus affecting your family’s luck.
Hence, you may want to enhance your family’s luck by
decorating your entrance hallway with paintings of flowers
or introducing a pleasant scent to that area.

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03.6
Shoe Cabinets

Sometimes homeowners place their shoe cabinets along the entrance hallway. Few
pointers to note when doing so, the shoe cabinets should only occupy the bottom
section of the space, with a surface to put objects on the top of the cabinet.
In feng shui principles, there must be a “heaven” (天) which is the top, the middle
which represents the “man” (人) and a bottom symbolises the “earth” (地). Apply
this concept to the arrangement of the cabinets, the top part can have wall hooks to
hang umbrellas or hats, the middle section is for miscellaneous and daily use objects
and finally, the bottom is for shoes as we step on the ground everyday.
Secondly, standing from the outside while facing in, the cabinet should be on the
left, and from within the home, the cabinet will be on the right. According to feng
shui principles, it emphasises on “左青龙,右白虎” (left azure dragon, right white
tiger) concept, in this case, the cabinet is on the tiger side.
The shoe cabinet may give off an unpleasant smell. To prevent this, place used
coffee powder sachets or an air freshener inside. The reason why shoes should not be
placed on the upper section of the cabinet are because it symbolises the “stepping”
on and shows disrespect of authority and to elders, encountering
unwanted backstabbers or creating communication issues
within the family.

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03
Entrance

3.7
Floor Mats & Shoes

The walls of the hallway should look clean and smooth. It is advisable to consider
both the durability and aesthetics when selecting materials to decorate the area.
Apart from building this space, it is also important to keep the entrance hallway
clutter free and to have the shoes neatly organised. This is because the Chinese word
for shoes is “鞋” (xie), sounds similar to “邪” translated as inauspicious. In feng
shui, this is also usually associated with evil forces. Having the shoes organised can
help to prevent bad energy and promote harmony within the family.
On the other hand, the floor mat symbolises a “bad luck” magnet. Upon stepping
on this magnet and entering the home, the bad qi will be left outside, thus it is
recommended to place the floor mat outside the main door.
Some homes may place too many “lucky” objects at the entrance such as the
wealth cat, gold coins or mythical beasts. This may “choke” the entrance and be less
effective. It is similar to walking into the perfume section in the department store
and being overwhelmed by the strong scents.

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3.8
Colour Theme

The entrance hallway is a place to welcome guests, hence any decorations that liven
up the place will give a sense of happiness and bliss. By looking at the entrance
hallway, it is possible to tell how well the family is doing as well as their social
relationships/status.
Colour has a great effect on the overall aesthetics. For example, darker hues
of black or red may give some guests a sense of uneasiness. Using warmer tones
are recommended as it creates a sense of cosiness and anyone who comes into the
house will feel comfortable and not be overwhelmed by the colours.
The colour of the floor in the entrance hallway should be darker, in shades such
as the earth tone. This colour suggests the presence of the earth component, which
is seen as strong and sturdy in feng shui’s perspective.
If a brighter colour is chosen for the floor, it symbolises “floating or drifting
without any aims”. The solution is to this is to use darker colour on the borders of
the floor or by adding a mat with a darker shade at the edge of the space.
There is a Chinese saying “开门三见” (kai men san jian), which means seeing
three objects upon entering the home. Having these three objects can improve your
family’s luck. Objects or paintings that contain a hint of red gives the feeling of
warmth and a season of spring. Objects or plants that are green gives us a sense of
refreshment and liveliness that can reduce stress from work. An elegant painting
that contains white luscious clouds, blue sky and river gives us a sense of relaxation.

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04
Living
Room

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04
Living Room

4.1
Living Room
The living room is viewed as the heart of the home as it directly affects
the family’s overall well-being in their careers, luck, fame, recognition,
family harmony and relationships. A favourable feng shui arrangement
in the living room can bring much prosperity to the whole family.

The living room is considered the heart of the home as it is the gathering place for
all family members. Thus, it is imperative to ensure the area has good air circulation.
As the heart of the home, the living room is the ideal place to improve the eight
common aspects of our lives. These are wealth and prosperity, a loving family
and relationships, health and long life, a happy marriage or love life, many filial
descendants, patronage of mentors, a solid education and a fine reputation.
In order to achieve the above, we need a conducive living environment which may
not be easy to introduce. For example, a well-decorated living room will encourage
guests to stay longer and create more opportunities for jobs or social gatherings may
emerge from the extra time spent with them. As feng shui maintains, one thing
leads to another as opposed to miracles spontaneously occurring.
Most importantly, the living room has to be the largest area in the house as it
represents the magnanimity of the owner who lives within. A home without a living
room is similar to that of a hotel as guests who come and go are ephemeral.

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04
Living Room

4.2
General Arrangements

Generally, the arrangement for the living room is recommended to be upright and
well-lit. Square or rectangular shapes are strongly recommended. However, this
may be difficult to achieve with the newer apartments which are small.
In recent times, living rooms are usually an elongated space, L-shaped or other
odd shapes. Preferably, formal living rooms should be square or rectangular in shape
as it gives a greater sense of uprightness and impartialness.
The four corners symbolises “四平八稳” (si ping ba wen) which means “in stability
it brings about prosperity”. A narrow-shaped living room may suggest that the
family is not accommodating or generous. An odd-shaped living room may cause a
sense of unease due to the lack of a structural closure, thus, anyone staying within
may feel restless.
There’s a Chinese saying “客厅方正,财官两盛;客厅歪斜,人丁不协” (ke ting fang
zheng, cai guan liang sheng; ke ting wai xie, ren ding bu xie) which applies to this. It
roughly translates as “if a living room is upright, wealth and success may proliferate;
if the living room is slanted and askew, discord and disharmony may occur”.

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04
Living Room

4.3
Sofa Shapes & Placements

Sofas should be placed against a solid wall while having the main door in its view.
Three-seater or L-shaped sofas are ideal and should be placed in such a way that the
main door is within view when seated.
This configuration allows family members to be in control of the situation at
home as having the sofa against a solid wall gives them a sense of security and
support. If the back of the sofa is facing the door or lacks a backing, it symbolises
that we have our backs turned against auspicious luck that flows into the home and
may encounter “小人” (xiao ren), roughly translates as nemesis or thorns in our side.
Consider placing cabinets to create an artificial backing known as “人造靠山”
(ren zhao kao shan). However, do note that the cabinets must be higher than our
heads when seated. If there is a space limitation, adding a set of blinds can serve as
a backing and create a sense of privacy.
Sofas without armrests are not good as they symbolise an over-extended arm
which does not have enough strength to support itself. This could be a reflection
of a family that is worn-out, with little or no successes. Ideally, sofa arrangements
should emulate that of a ship in harbour; with both sides having armrests to create
a “U” shape.
This configuration is similar to being protected and sheltered by two arms, and
at the same time, creating a cosy center that allows auspicious qi to gather. The
primary objective of practicing feng shui is to keep the auspicious qi circulating and
gathering in the house, also known as “藏风纳气” (chang feng na qi).

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04
Living Room

4.4
Ceiling & Colour

According to feng shui practices in Singapore, the living room ceiling symbolises
the sky (天), which is usually recommended to be white as that mimics clear skies
and rolling white clouds. The ground on the other hand, should be darker in hue to
mirror the ground or earth (地).
The Chinese saying “天轻地重” (tian qing di zhong), roughly translates to “light
as the Heavens and dense like the Earth”. In some apartments, the living room may
face away from the sun, resulting in a lack of natural light in the room. Installing
fluorescent lights at the edge of false ceilings may compensate as the effect is similar
to that of sunlight. At night, a hanging crystal lamp in the middle of the room along
with the fluorescent lights can increase brightness. When choosing a colour theme
for the living room or any of the other spaces, you can refer to a feng shui chart of
directions to determine the respective colour and element for each direction.
For example, if the living room is located in the south-west or north-east sector
of the home (use a floor plan as a reference, if necessary), use yellow hues or off-
white mixed with yellow as it is recommended for these earth-element sectors.
If the living room is located in the south-east or east sector, green hues should be
used as they belong to the wood element. Likewise, north sector is water, blue hue;
south sector fire, red hue; north-west and west is metal, white hues.

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The clouds represents the lightness of the heavens (天), the man (人), is where we
occupy within the house and the ground (地) is our form of support and from
which all foundations of emotions and harmonious living are built upon.

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04
Living Room

4.5
Clean & Simple

As the living room reflects the state of your family, the more complicated and
cluttered a living room is, the more frustrated and perplexed everyone will feel. Some
families tend to splurge on large sofas, big televisions, standalone sound systems,
wooden antique cabinets and glass cabinets filled to the brim with antiques, just to
portray their success in life. Like a compass that has lost its way and keeps turning,
auspicious qi that is meant to gather in the living room may eventually be lost due
to the clutter. For example, different objects are known to exert their own influence
in a space, which is interpreted as magnetic field “磁场” (ci chang). If a speaker or
television is too loud, it may overwhelm the natural qi that has been gathering.
As the living room represents the status and authority of the house, a good
arrangement is always a plus and may bring harmony to the family and increase
external affinity towards meeting powerful mentors and benefactors. Therefore, it
is important to keep one’s path within the home smooth and clutter free. Drawing
a parallel, if we have to resort to climbing over and tip-toeing over objects before
entering and exiting our home, how can we expect our encounters outside to be
smooth sailing or our home situations to be harmonious and without difficulties?

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05
Kitchen

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05
Kitchen

5.1
Kitchen
The kitchen is a place to prepare and store food for the family.
Feng shui draws a parallel between the kitchen and a wealth vault
and the women of the home. This is because food is a commodity
converted from money and homemakers were traditionally women.

Wealth is the main concept which the kitchen revolves around. Traditionally,
firewood “柴” (chai) was used to create fire. Its pronunciation is similar to “财” (cai),
which means wealth. For this reason, the stove represents the wealth position, and
along with fire which symbolises the continuation of life and its descendents.
As the kitchen provides both the usage of water and fire, it should be kept well-
lit, dry and clean, and have good air circulation with the purpose of attracting the
god of wealth and maintaining a good level of energy.
The kitchen’s primary purpose is, of course, to provide three meals for the family
and it also belongs to the homemaker — the matriarch of the family. In modern
feng shui, it is known that the kitchen directly affects all women who stay within
the household.
How well the kitchen is maintained can be correlated to the health of the female
owner within the household. The hygiene of the kitchen also affects the family’s
health, as a saying goes: “健康是财富” (jian kang shi cai fu), which translates as “our
health is our best asset”. If the kitchen is constantly embroiled in smoke from
cooking and reeks from the smell of rubbish, it will disrupt the good qi gathering in
the kitchen. This in turn will affect the family’s luck. Therefore, it is recommended
not to leave any unwashed dishes around and to dispose of filled rubbish bags to
prevent the smell from filling the kitchen.
When planning the layout of the kitchen, consider adopting the principle of
adequacy. This means that if the space is small, try installing an appropriately-
sized sink or using a single stove as compared to having one with more burners. This
leaves reasonable space for food preparation and other kitchen duties.

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05
Kitchen

5.2
Stove & Sink

As the kitchens in many new apartments have restricted space, be mindful of the
placement of the sink and the stove. The water outlet is fixed but not the gas, hence,
there is still some flexibility in where the stove is located.
Placing the stove and sink closely beside each other may initiate a destructive
cycle, known as “水火相冲” (shui huo xiang chong), which means water destroys
fire, and vice versa. This configuration may cause serious accidents. If this is the
situation in your kitchen, consider adding a wood element, such as a chopping board,
to alleviate this cycle; the new cycle is water grows wood and in turn feeds the fire.
Ergonomically speaking, whoever uses the kitchen must be comfortable; the
sink and the stove should be reasonably apart from each other. The stove and the
refrigerator must not be directly facing each other as this may also cause a destructive
cycle of water and fire. It may also cause inconvenience in terms of movement.

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5.3
Water Tap & Refrigerator

As Chinese philosophy claims, “水为财” (shui wei cai), which translates as “water is
considered as a form of wealth”. In the kitchen, the water tap signifies both wealth
and romance.
Hence, it is encouraged to keep this source of wealth hidden from the direct line
of sight from the window, as well as, the main door. There have been instances
where an open concept kitchen has both the water tap and the refrigerator facing
the living room window directly.
In one example, the family living there experienced an immense loss of wealth,
as well as, getting mixed up with the wrong company. Remedies, such as rearranging
their refrigerator and covering their
water tap with a cloth when not in
used or facing the tap away from
the window, were implemented.
This helped to resolve their troubles
with wealth loss and their lives have
improved immensely since.

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05
Kitchen

5.4
Window, Door, Stove

As mentioned earlier, the stove is considered a wealth spot in the kitchen and also
affects the health of the females in the home. Therefore, there are a number of rules
that must be observed when deciding on the placement of the stove.
Firstly, there must not be a door behind the stove and secondly, there must not be
a window in front of the stove. Scientifically speaking, the heat from the stove will
be limited due to the incoming wind and this will result in a higher usage of gas. The
smell from the cooking may also exude odour into the living room which may cause
loss of wealth or “破财” (po chai).
If the stove can be seen directly after opening the main door or kitchen door, this
could signify the possibility of exposing your wealth to outsiders. As a result, this
may exert a negative effect on your wealth through experiencing unknown loss of
sums of money through channels such as bills or fines. A possible remedy is to break
the direct line of sight when entering the house either by keeping the door closed
during cooking or when having guests over or adding half curtains that block most
of the interior of the kitchen.

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In this illustration, the door to the stove forms a direction line of sight. Adding
a curtain or keeping the kitchen door closed may help break the line of sight.

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06
Dining
Room

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06
Dining Room

6.1
Dining Room

Food brings people together, this is why the dining area is


believed to be related to the happiness of the family as well.

The dining room is an important area where the family meet for meals and have
earnest conversations with each other.
A favourable environment enables everyone to enjoy their meal thoroughly as
well as take a break from their worries. Chinese tradition believes that with a proper
and sumptuous meal, we can then head out to work and earn more money.
If the kitchen is considered the first wealth spot in the home, then the dining
area is the second. As the dining area and living room usually share the same space,
there should be a clear demarcation of the two areas by a careful and deliberate
arrangement of the furniture.
When choosing colours, keep in mind that both spaces’ colour themes must
match so they resemble a coherent space. A well-arranged and decorated dining
area may bring prosperity and harmony to the family and its members.
The dining area should be located between the kitchen and the living room. This
makes it convenient to serve food and acts as a buffer in preventing the cooking
fumes from the kitchen to spread into the living room. In addition, this arrangement
will bring harmony between the matriarch and the rest of the family.

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06
Dining Room

6.2
Decorations & Mirrors

The dining room is a place for feasts and gatherings, hence, it is important to keep the
area well-lit, comfortable and spacious. Lighten the atmosphere by using coloured
lights or crystal hanging lamps if the dining area is big enough.
Some feng shui practitioners may recommend placing mirrors on the wall
facing the dining table. This act of doubling the food symbolises a prosperity due
to abundance. However, when using mirrors at home, be cautious and mindful of
where the mirror faces.
The television is also considered to be a form of mirror when not switched on,
but it should not be placed in the dining area. Watching television during meals is a
distraction that reduces communication between family members.
An alternative to decorating the walls of the dining area is to hang pictures of
fruits which enhances the dining atmosphere. In particular, peaches are ideal as
they symbolize longevity and health.

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06
Dining Room

6.3
Location of Dining Area

There are some instances whereby the dining area is placed right beside the main
door. This configuration is known as “开门见餐厅” (kai me jian can ting), this may
imply a “小破财” (xiao po cai). It roughly translates as being able to see the dining
area upon entering the house and this may cause us to lose wealth.
Some practitioners believe that this may cause you to encounter ungrateful
friends or friends and relatives owing you debts, therefore the loss of wealth.If this
situation is unavoidable, it would be highly recommended to use a rectangular table
and decorate it in such a way that it resembles a meeting table. Remove any snacks
from the table and observe its cleanliness at all times and the aforementioned
issue can be avoided.
The dining area and the bathroom should also be a significant distance away
from each other. The simple reason being that the smell of waste should not be
wafting towards our food, causing the family members to lose their appetites.

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06
Dining Room

6.4
Shape of Dining Table

Exceptionally sharp edges on an irregularly-shaped dining table are not


recommended. Elliptical-shaped dining tables should be used as they symbolise
good harmony among the family. If the dining table is square or rectangular, avoid
sitting right at the edge so as to evade the harmful energy in that position. However,
the shape of the dining table does not have much impact, only the homeowner’s own
preference for how much table space is needed.

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07
Master
Bedroom

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07
Master Bedroom

7.1
Master Bedroom
The bedroom is a place of privacy and intimacy. Hence, the treatment of
the bedrooms should be different from other areas in the home. It should
emphasise the ease of transition to sleep and providing a good rest.

An average person spends about one-third of their day inside the bedroom. It
acts as a sanctuary from their troubles and is also a refuelling pit stop for them.
Feng shui theories maintain three important factors for the home of the living,
“门,主,灶” (men, zhu, zhao), which are the main door, the homeowner and the
stove. By taking a closer look at these three elements will we be able to understand
the ups and downs of the family.
The main door is indicative of the family’s wealth; the status of the homeowner
reflects the harmony of the family as well as the income level; the stove indicates
the kitchen, which can determine the wealth luck of the family.
According to feng shui principles, the main door should not be located beside the
master bedroom. This may infringe on the privacy of the owners and may also risk
exposing their sources of income to undesired outsiders.
The master bedroom also plays a part in the lovingness and romance of the
couple, affinities with their descendants, as well as, the state of health for the
patriarch and matriarch of the family. In addition, the master bedroom also
affects the friendships and social reputations of the owners. Feng Shui emphasizes
“光厅暗房” (guang ting an fang), which means that the master bedroom must be dim
and romantic in its atmosphere, while avoiding glaring lights. Excessively bright
lights may lead to the owner encountering “小人” (xiao ren) outside his/her house,
marital problems occurring and also, health issues and disharmony in the family
may ensue.

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07
Master Bedroom

7.2
Arrangement

The bedroom is for us to unwind after a long day’s work, similar to returning to a
hotel room after a long and tiring tour. A bedroom must provide a sense of privacy,
shelter and cosiness. This ensures quality sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and
healthy, and being able to concentrate at work and build a successful career.
The head of the bed must be placed against a backing, similar to the placement of
the living room sofa. Ceiling beams and windows placed right above the head must
also be taken into serious consideration as their presence can cause sleep disorders.
So as to not affect the quality of your sleep, either side of the bed should not face
the door directly. The reason being that any slight disturbance just outside the room
could easily rouse you awake.

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7.3
Air-Conditioning

The location of the air-conditioning unit is most critical when installing a unit in the
bedroom. Two positions to avoid when placing the air-conditioning unit are above
the head of the bed and above the base of the bed. These two significant positions will
lead to consistent cold wind being blown directly at your head, resulting in illnesses
and the inability to make proper judgement calls. Some recently released public
housing units in Singapore have bedroom layouts that permit the air-conditioning
unit to be positioned facing the middle of the bed or above the window.

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07
Master Bedroom

7.4
Toilet

The master bedroom often has its own private toilet. If the toilet bowl can be seen
while lying on the bed, this could lead to possible sleep disorders, marital discord
and encounters with “小人” (xiao ren) or people who may cause us inconveniences
outside of your house.
A possible remedy for situations like these is to place a divider or curtain to cut
off this direct line of sight between the bed and the toilet bowl. This remedy can also
be applied to other rooms as well.

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7.5
Wardrobe

The wardrobe can be placed at either side or at the front of the bed. However, the
length of the wardrobe cannot be shorter than the length of the bed, where the
end-point of the wardrobe cuts halfway into the bed. This phenomenon is known as
“壁刀” (bi dao), which represents the wardrobe’s edge cutting into the bed. The same
principle applies when the wardrobe is placed at the front of the bed.

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07
Master Bedroom

7.6
Dressing Table

The dressing table should be positioned 45 degrees diagonally across the room from
the door. In some instances, the dressing table’s mirror may face either side of the
bed. This arrangement could lead to possible sleep disorders, health deterioration or
marriage disputes in the long term. The concept is based on the mirror’s reflective
function which can reflect both good and bad energy and objects or people around
the room.
Sometimes if we are unaware, we may frighten ourselves and cause chronic
mental stress. Therefore, mirrors must be used with caution in the bedroom and one
should remain observant of the images it can reflect.
According to feng shui principles, the location of the dressing table and the
room window is related to the ability to find romance and boosting affinity between
people. Avoid placing the dressing table behind the room door, below ceiling beams
or the air-conditioning unit, facing the toilet door or facing out the window. These
arrangements are known to lower the chances of engaging in a good romance and
also, limit opportunities to meet benefactors or mentors.

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07
Master Bedroom

7.7
Lighting

An individual’s sleep pattern is a good indicator of the favourable position of


bedroom lighting. Some are easily disturbed from sleep by a very minimal amount
of light, while others are not bothered by it at all. With regard to the intensity of the
light, indirect lighting is recommended so as to reduce the overall brightness of the
room. If you use hanging pendant lights, avoid placing them directly above your bed
as this may cause “吊灯压床” (diao deng ya chuang), which may affect the health of
the person sleeping beneath it.
Psychologically speaking, having something hanging overhead may cause a sense
of stress, pressure, sleeping disorders, nightmares or shortage of breath, in the long
term. As these effects are psychological, they may not affect everyone.
The usage of indirect lighting and natural sunlight is highly recommended as
natural sunlight can fill the room with good energy and refreshes us in the morning.
At night, the indirect lighting can stimulate our brain to produce melatonin which
induces sleep and rest. With bright overhead lights positioned directly the bed,
it may confuse our brains to think that it is not yet time to sleep. Low levels of
melatonin production can hamper us from drifting off to sleep.
It is important to maintain a balance of natural and artificial light so as to keep
the room well-lit rather than brightly lit. Insufficient lighting or a lack of air
circulation in the room may cause one to be lethargic and temperamental.
When positioning the lights in your room, the “U” shape is ideal. The “U” shape
configuration should follow the perimeter of your bed, while leaving the head of the
bed free of lights.

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08
Study

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08
Study

8.1
Study

The study is believed to be related to our reputation and knowledge.


It affects our academic and career performance.

The function of the study is almost identical to that of an office working area. It
is a place for work and study and to enhance our “文昌” (wen chang) which means
intellect and knowledge. If your apartment has space for a separate study, it should
be cosy and elegant which is best for some down-time or concentration. The space
also promotes the academic position of whomever may still be studying.
Avoid cluttering the room with too many shelves or cabinets as it will make the
room feel claustrophobic and cause stress to the people using the study.
A good precedent to follow for the space is to keep it well-lit with comfortable
lighting and good air circulation. Do try to keep it quiet by reducing noise disruption
as it may affect productivity. The decoration of the room is to be elegant by hanging
paintings of flowers, displaying collectibles and having fragrance in the room to
emulate a pleasant-smelling environment. These steps can promote unbridled
thinking and increase brain productivity.

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08
Study

8.2
Placement of Desk

Most importantly, the study must provide a sense of security and stability to the
people using the room. The placement of the desk is key to ensuring the user feels
secure and comfortable to carry out his/her work. Similarly to all seating positions
in the home, the seat must always have a back.
The sole purpose of this practice is to give assurance to the users without them
worrying someone is glancing over their shoulders. Avoid placing the desk in front
of the window or with the back facing the door, as what most parents like to do. This
arrangement may cause the child to be distracted with the constant desire to go out,
play and procrastinate.
This may result in low productivity and poor academic performance. Should there
be a ceiling beam directly above the desk, look carefully at its width. If the width of
the beam is less than half of the work desk and it is not directly above your head
when you sit down to read or write, then this beam can be neglected.
If the beam is wider than half your desk, consider placing crystal pillars on both
sides of the desk to “support” the weight. There is no scientific proof that this works,
it is a method that is employed by feng shui practitioners.

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08
Study

8.3
Circulation & Lighting

It is strongly advised that air-conditioning units should not to be placed directly


above, in front or behind the work desk. This could lead to the same symptoms as
in the ceiling beams such as difficulties in performing well academically or in their
career. With the cold air constantly blowing at the back of your head when you are
working or studying, it can cause distractions or lead to illnesses.
The study should be well-lit, neither too bright nor dim. When installing lighting,
consider combining appropriately-placed fluorescent lights with natural daylight to
keep the room well-lit. In order to ensure the study is ideal for concentration, avoid
using coloured lights or spot lights as prolonged exposure to them can cause lethargy.

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8.4
Bedroom & Study Hybrid

In apartments where there isn’t a separate study, it would usually be incorporated


within the bedroom.
The first priority when arranging the seating is to ensure that the seat is directly
against a solid wall. If the space in the bedroom is limited and this cannot be done,
the alternative option is to at least have a wall behind the chair’s back, whether the
wall is further away or near the back of the chair. As long as the back of the study
chair is not facing the door, the ill-effects would not be too apparent.
This may be a less-than-ideal situation but at least there would be no openings,
like a door or window, in front or behind your desk to disrupt your thoughts. There
should also be a good distance between the work table and bed so as to prevent
procrastination and distraction.

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09
Something
to Try

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09
Something to Try

9.1
Eight House Feng Shui

Sometimes, you will come across people who talk about their auspicious direction
by facing or sleeping towards that direction. Although this method has no scientific
proof as yet, you can try calculating your own number and check where is your
auspicious direction. This is also known as “八宅风水” (ba zhai feng shui). Using this
method, the house is divided into eight sectors of 45 degrees width each for a total
of 360 degrees. This is based on the Later Heaven Arrangement of the Eight Trigrams
(Ba Gua) and is expressed on feng shui compasses.
To determine the macrocosmic direction of your home, take three to seven steps
from the main door and take note of the direction. This is because the main door, as
explained earlier, is responsible of breathing vitalizing qi from the outside and into
your home, hence, it is used as a fixed point to take your home’s direction.
For example, if your compass points to Southeast, then your house’s sitting
direction will be Northwest, which is diagonally opposite to where it is pointing.
Hence, the sitting and facing factors plays a vital role in determining your auspicious
direction. Taking your home’s main door and general sitting
direction affects your home macrocosmically, you may also
fine tune this by taking your room’s sitting and facing
direction and apply the same method.

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9.2
Personal Auspicious Direction

Upon determining your house sitting and facing direction, the next step is to
determine your personal favourable direction in order to face your auspicious
direction within the context of your home.

Step 1

Take the last two digits from your year of birth and add them. If the number is a
double digit, add them together to get a single digit.

Step 2

For males, subtract the result from the number 11.

For females, add 4 to the result. After adding 4, if a double digit number is obtained,
reduce it to a single digit again using step number 1.

Step 3

The above calculations are based on the solar calendar system. Therefore, if you are
born in January or February, be sure to deduct 1 year from your birth year as a new
year for Chinese culture begins on the Chinese New Year which is taken to be on
4 February (First day of Spring).

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Example for individuals born after year 2000

Female born on 6 January 2013. As the Male born on 23 May 2014. The date of
date falls before 4 February, deduct 1 year birth falls after 4 February, hence there
from it. The new birth year will be 2012. is no need to deduct.

Step 1 Step 1
(2 + 0) + (1 + 3) (2 + 0) + (1 + 4)
Add the first two and the last two of your Add the first two and the last two of your
birth year in 2 sets birth year in 2 sets

Step 2 Step 2
2+4=6 2+5=7
Add the two digits together Add the two digits together

Step 3 Step 3
6 + 6 = 12 9-7=2
Add 6 directly to the result Lastly, deduct this number from 9. The
resulting Kua number is #2

Step4
1+2=3
The resulting Kua number is #3

For female, if the result ends up as 5, For male, if the result ends up as 5,
automatically assume it as 8. automatically assume it as 2.

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Example for individuals born before year 2000

Example 01 Example 02

Female born on 6 January 1983. As the Male born on 23 May 1987. The date of
date falls before 4 February, deduct 1 year birth falls after 4 February, hence there
from it. The new birth year will be 1982. is no need to deduct.

Step 1 Step 1
(1 + 9) + (8 + 3) (1 + 9) + (8 + 7)
Add the first two and the last two of your Add the first two and the last two of your
birth year in 2 sets birth year in 2 sets

Step 2 Step 2
10 + 11 = 21 10 + 15 = 25
Add the two digits together Add the two digits together

Step 3 Step 3
2+1=3 2+5=7

Step 4 Step 4
3+4=7 11 - 4 = 7
Lastly, add 4 to the result. Lastly, deduct this number from 11.
The resulting Kua number is #7 The resulting Kua number is #7

For female, if the result ends up as 5, For male, if the result ends up as 5,
automatically assume it as 8. automatically assume it as 2.

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09
Something to Try

9.3
East Group House Chart

After calculating and obtaining your personal Kua number, you can refer to the
following chart to find out which is your luck sector.

East groupings contains numbers:

1 3 4 9

East grouping directions includes:


East, Southeast, North and South.

East Group
Kua Number 1 3 4 9

Sheng Qi (Wealth) SE S N E

Yan Nian (Affinities) S SE E N

Tian Yi (Health) E N S SE

Fu Wei (Growth) N E SE S

Huo Hai (Bad Luck) W SW NW NE

Wu Gui (Five Ghosts) NE NW SW W

Liu Sha (Six Killings) NW NE W SW

Jue Ming (Total Loss) SW W NE NW

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9.4
West Group House Chart

West groupings contains numbers:

2 6 7 8

Auspicious directions are:


West, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast.

West Group
Kua Number 2 6 7 8

Sheng Qi (Wealth) NE W NW SW

Yan Nian (Affinities) NW SW NE W

Tian Yi (Health) W NE SW NW

Fu Wei (Growth) SW NW W NE

Huo Hai (Bad Luck) E SE N S

Wu Gui (Five Ghosts) SE E S N

Liu Sha (Six Killings) S N SE E

Jue Ming (Total Loss) N S E SE

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09
Something to Try

9.5
Application (Overall + Individual Rooms)

Feng shui practitioners obtain a direction by standing at the door to determine the
home’s sitting and facing direction. The practitioner will then map it onto the floor
plan of the apartment and map out the rest of the direction. Certain homes may
be more auspicious and suitable while others are less so due to the apartment’s or
building’s facing and sitting direction. Feng shui practitioners may choose certain
potential inauspicious sectors to alleviate the effects it may cause.
Similar techniques can be applied as well in each room to fine tune the direction
that you face in individual rooms for greater accuracy and aid in planning for smaller
spaces. This is also known as “小太极” (xiao tai ji).

W NW N

BEDROOM 2 BEDROOM 3
LIVING/
DINING

W NW N

MAIN
SW SW NE
BEDROOM

S SE E
BATH BATH 2 HOUSEHOLD
SHELTER
AIR-CON
LEDGE

SERVICE YARD KITCHEN

S SE E

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9.6
Application (Auspicious Directions)

The diagrams below illustrates two groups of possible houses and their corresponding
auspicious directions.

W NW N
West Group
According to this example, the
house may not be suitable for
BEDROOM 2 BEDROOM 3
West Group residents as the

LIVING/ main door facing and location


DINING
are both found in inauspicious
SW MAIN NE sectors. On the bright side, its
BEDROOM

HOUSEHOLD
living room, main bedroom
BATH BATH 2 SHELTER
and two bedrooms are both in
AIR-CON
LEDGE auspicious sectors which can
SERVICE YARD KITCHEN
be advantageous.

S SE E

W NW N
East Group

In this example, the house


may be suitable for residents
BEDROOM 2 BEDROOM 3
whom belong to the East
Group due to the main door
LIVING/
DINING
and kitchen’s facing direction

MAIN
and location in the sector.
SW NE
BEDROOM
However, it may not be ideal
HOUSEHOLD
BATH BATH 2 SHELTER for the bedrooms as they are
AIR-CON in inauspicious sectors. This
LEDGE

SERVICE YARD KITCHEN can be avoided by further


going into each room and fine-
tuning the facing directions.
S SE E

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09
Something to Try

9.7
Reconciling Different Auspicious Directions

Situations may arise whereby the husband and wife of the household may belong to
different groups. A possible solution is to reconcile the Early Heaven Trigram and the
Late Heaven Trigram to attain a mutually beneficial direction or compromisation.

Early Heaven Late Heaven


Trigram Arrangement Trigram Arrangement

S
SE SW

兑 巽 乾 离 巽 坤
7 4 6 9 4 2

E 离 震 5 坎 兑 W
9 3 1 7

震 艮 坤 坎 艮 乾
3 8 2 1 8 6

NE NW
N

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Example:
The situation requires the Husband to compromise with Wife.

Wife Husband
Kua #3 Kua #7
Auspicious Directions: Auspicious Directions:
East West
North Southwest
South Northwest
Southeast Northeast

Starting with the Husband’s kua, which is #7, it resides in the West for the Late
Heaven Trigram. On the other hand, based on the Early Heaven Trigram, kua #7
resides in Southeast. Therefore, the auspicious direction for both Husband and Wife
is Southeast.

Early Heaven Late Heaven


Trigram Arrangement Trigram Arrangement

S S
SE SW SE SW
兑 乾 巽 巽 离 坤
7 6 4 4 9 2

离 坎 Reconciled Direction: 震 兑
E 5 W Southeast E 5 W
9 1 3 7

震 坤 艮 艮 坎 乾
3 2 8 8 1 6
NE NW NE NW
N N

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09
Something to Try

9.8
The Four Auspicious Directions
This method is named Eight House Feng Shui as it has four auspicioius
direction and four inauspicious directions.

01 Wealth 02 Love
(生气) Sheng Qi (延年) Yan Nian

Symbolizes good fortune and recog- Symbolize longevity and affinity with
nition. Hence, when you are sitting or friends and romance. It is also helpful
facing the direction that corresponds for those looking for romance or prosper
to this type, you will be able to enjoy in relationships.
prosperity.
Element: Metal
Element: Wood Signifier: Love & friendship
Signifier: Wealth

03 Health 04 Personal Growth


(天医) Tian Yi (伏位) Fu Wei

Symbolizes the direction that brings Symbolizes the excellence in academic


good health and is recommended for and career performance. This direction
family members to stay or face this also aids in clearer thinking and making
direction whom are prone to illness. good judgements.

Element: Earth Element: Wood


Signifier: Health Signifier: Personal Growth

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9.9
The Four Inauspicious Directions

The directions to avoid and their significance.

01 Bad Luck 02 Five Ghosts


(祸害) Huo Hai (五鬼) Wu Gui

This direction signifies minor bumps in No, this direction does not contain
your life and encountering obstructions ghosts nor spirits. It signifies frequent
in your endeavours. arguments, bad temper, unknown loss
of wealth and betrayals.
Element: Earth
Signifier: Bad luck Element: Fire
Signifier: Five Ghosts

03 Six Killings 04 Total Loss


(六煞) Liu Sha (绝命) Jue Ming

Anything that has got to do with The direction that may cause serious
friendships and also represents legal issues if not avoided. It may cause a
entanglements like bills or fines. Prone person to encounter difficulties in
to suffer from insomnia, lack of focus every endeavour and may suffer from
or lethargy. You can use a bathroom or depressions, mental illness or even
storeroom to negate this effect. accidents. Best to avoid.

Element: Water Element: Metal


Signifier: Six Killings Signifier: Total Loss

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About the Author

Alan Chong is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication graduate from the
Nanyang Technological University (2015), Singapore, and is currently pursuing
a Masters of Arts (Research). His research interest is in Chinese metaphysics and
philosophy. He seeks to understand the concept of duality in visual language that
underpins historical material cultures and iconographies.

Growing up within the compound of a Buddhist temple has exposed him to Chinese
cultures and it sparked off an intimate curiosity which made him pursue this subject.
A chance meeting with a feng shui practitioner led to his learning about its culture
and practices. This inspired Alan to propose a design brief to reimagine feng shui
tailored for Singapore context for his final year design project: feng shui for small
spaces in Singapore. He hopes to create a new way of presenting this ancient Chinese
tradition and practice in a contemporary setting through this new artistic direction.

He spends his free time with his black American spaniel and also enjoys aquascaping.

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