Feng shui and home design: The Water Element

The hustle and bustle of our everyday lives lends itself to many stresses that hopefully, fall away as we walk through the door of our home. But creating that peaceful environment can sometimes prove stressful itself.

Feng Shui, a system that sets about achieving harmony between people and their environment through design and specific placement of objects from the five elements – wind, fire, water, metal and earth – can be the answer in creating that sanctuary.

Today we will be talking about the water element of feng shui.  In Feng Shui, water symbolizes emotion, therefore the water in and around your home should be flowing and clean in order to have the best effect on the “chi” or life force.   Since water holds chi, if that water is stagnant it is said that there can be problems within relationships as well as have an impact on wealth and prosperity.

To create an environment that promotes prosperity and well being, there are a few things you can do.  Fountains are a great way to add the water element indoors if you live in a place where you don’t have your own yard or can’t have a garden.   To be the most beneficial, the fountain should be made of a metal material so as not to absorb or block the benefits of the water like a clay material.  Although stone is also an acceptable material as long as the shape and position are in accordance

If you do have room for a fountain, one of the best locations is to place it near the front door on the left as you are looking out.  It should face towards the house as to not let the chi be dispersed away from the home.   A circular shape is considered the best but if you do choose a square or rectangular fountain, placing polished, round stones in the bottom will help.  Outdora sells a beautiful  selection of both indoor and outdoor fountains.

Another great way to represent the water element is by using something that has the shape we commonly think of when we think of water.  A piece of art with a wavy pattern or a picture depicting water, are both great ways to add the element without needing the space for a fountain.

Other ways to represent the water element in your home and garden are:

  • Fish tanks –same principle as the fountains but beware in bedrooms and kitchens as it can cause you to have restless sleep or overeat by rousing too much chi.  The best area of the house for water elements such as fish tanks is the north.
  • Wind chimes – they can represent water or waves by their shape or color. Black, very dark greys and blues are the traditional colors associated with this element. Glass  wind chimes are a good example of chimes that represents the water element.
  • Mirrors –just as you see your reflection in water, mirrors symbolize the water element for the same reason.  Used at the end of a hallway is good feng shui but do not place the mirror where it reflects either a door – because it deflects any positive chi coming in – or a bed – because it is said to deplete your body of its energy during its most important healing time.  Mirrors work best in the east, southeast and north areas of the home.

Be sure to reference the feng shui bagua chart below to find which elements and colors work best in different areas of your house.

Bagua Chart


Lisa Donovan was a student at the American Feng Shui Institute and worked with Certified Master Gongthong Stuart.

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