With travel restrictions and social distancing rules still in place, many of us are staying home much more than usual which in turn, drives us to be present within our living space. We speak to Feng Shui designer Thierry Chow on how you can maximise your space into one that inspires positivity.
Although some may deem the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui as an ancient and outdated practice, Thierry Chow insists that it is still largely relevant in this day and age. “Feng Shui is all about raising awareness with ourselves and our environment — to remind ourselves that we are closely affected by our surroundings. Now more so than ever, as we stay at home more often, we will find that our physical and mental wellness can depend on the wellness of our space. This can affect our moods, emotions, perceptions, body and even our energy level.”
The daughter of famed Feng Shui Master Chow Hon Ming, Chow spent years as his apprentice, before branching out to offer her own consultations on how to use and organise your space. Thereafter, Chow streamlined this method into eight steps – something she calls the “Go Lucky” method – to transform your home into a more comfortable, efficient and enjoyable space. These simple steps include intuitive but often overlooked gestures such as incorporating cheerful and fun colours to brighten up your home, as well as displaying decorative objects that bring elation. Chow advises that green is calming and reminiscent of nature, thus suitable for places such as the living room where you might choose to lounge, relax and unwind.
In addition, it is also important to be intentional and select a style for your home that reflects who you are. Having different styles within one space can be a bit jarring, making it hard to focus or concentrate. Therefore, whether it is Scandinavian, bohemian, urban modern or shabby chic, it’s best to stick to one. What’s more, the placement of your furniture can also make a difference. Obstructions or objects that jut out can interrupt your space. In Feng Shui, qi is a type of energy that can affect us physically and mentally. Ensuring qi can move through freely within your space allows it to flow into the right directions of your life. In this vein, you may consider incorporating elements from the natural world such as plants, metals and water in the form of fountains or fish tanks, which can also make your home a more comfortable space. Humans are not separate from nature and one should not underestimate its powerful healing properties. Plants for example, are proven to reduce stress and metals such as copper or bronze are known to kill bacteria.
According to Chow, it is also advised to invest in diversified lighting. “You see a lot of fluorescent white lights that make a space rather clinical in Hong Kong. Instead, one should opt for a variety of lighting that can reach every dark corner. It should also have a good balance of Yin and Yang; neither too bright nor too dark, neither overly warm or cold.” This enables you to alter the lighting according to your mood and the time of day. For instance, it can be brightened in the morning, softened in the afternoon and made ambient in the evening. It is also important to remember to incorporate natural sunlight into your space, this can do wonders for your mood. Chow stresses the importance of being mindful of your space as it affects your wellbeing. Your home should be your refuge, a place that doesn’t drain you. Whether you want to rejuvenate, relax or focus, your space should allow you to connect with yourself immediately and effortlessly.
Lastly, Chow reminds us not to forget to purge and declutter. “It’s natural for everyone to collect emotional debris and that’s why people feel better after letting go of old, unused items and clothing as it makes room for something new.” Your space reflects your mind, and by getting rid of things which are not useful to you anymore enables you to feel less burdened.
As an avid fashion lover, Chow herself has an impressive collection of clothes. However, as a way of decluttering, she often donates clothing and advocates shopping sustainably. In fact, much of her clothes come from thrift and vintage stores. She believes this is a good way to source unique clothing that can make her stand out from others, and allows her to responsibly recycle while being kinder to the environment. Moreover, Chow recently participated in a meaningful project with upcycled fashion brand, The R Collective, and denim brand Levi’s in which Chow, along with other fashion influencers, repurposed leftover denim from their inventory to create their own denim pieces.