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NYIAD Design Articles - Feng Shui Mexican Style

By Sarah Van Arsdale on April 24, 2010

One of the popular misperceptions about using Feng Shui in interior design is that it will involve making your home over in an Asian look — maybe you'll have to incorporate a lot of black lacquer, or install red Chinese lanterns in the front hall.

But as we explain to students in our Feng Shui Interior Design Course, one of the beauties of Feng Shui is that you can use its principles in many areas of your life, and in using it for interior design, you don't necessarily have to change the style of your home. The principles of Feng Shui are about encouraging the energy to flow through the room without getting stuck in spots and without rushing through other spots.

One of the ways in which Feng Shui works is in paying attention to balancing the elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood.

Let's look at this contemporary Mexican home in terms of its Feng Shui. It's the sort of home about which visitors — Mexican, American, or Canadian — say it harmonizes well. Come in the entryway, and you immediately feel your cares drop from your shoulders.

Feng Shui Mexican Style

How this achieved? Likely, it's at least in part due to the fact that it has "good Feng Shui." Immediately upon entering, the first thing one sees is this small wall decoration of a lizard. The background of this piece matches nearly perfectly the color of the wall; the brown of the lizard sets the tone for the color in the rest of the house. It is a small, uncluttered, decorative piece that the eye falls on first, rather than a jumble of books and papers and mail.

The next thing one sees — and hears — is a bubbling fountain set into the floor beside this woven chaise. This brings in the water element immediately, which helps to balance the rest of the house, which is built of stone.

One thing that is thought important in Feng Shui is the incorporation of living things in the home. Here, the towering, well-cared-for plants in the entry way make clear that this is a home with a great deal of life in it.

Feng Shui Mexican Style
Feng Shui Mexican Style

This home has many doors and windows opening to surprising moments in the structure, such as a tiny patio that's entered from the kitchen or the master bedroom, so there are plenty of living plants, and even birds that occasionally flit into an open-air hallway.

This ability to bring the outdoors inside is of course made easier in the climate of southern Mexico, but even if you live in a cold, northern climate, you can find ways to bring in more plants. Maybe you can't have a sunken fountain, but you could have a bowl of water that you keep fresh, with pretty pebbles in the bottom.

Feng Shui Mexican Style

Another element at work in this home is that the owner has incorporated the art that she loves. There is nothing extraneous here. And that can be a lesson to us all, no matter what style our home are: only have the things you really love around you, and it will show.

While this home relies on a neutral background, much of Mexican design calls upon the use of bright, vibrant colors, and Feng Shui is a great way to decorate with color, as each section of the bagua correlates to color. Mexico is alive with vibrancy of color, the terracotas, the greens, the blues, the reds, and yellows. There many decorative colors to use to design a harmonious home. Many homes and commercial spaces have wonderful color on their walls or within the décor. There are wonderful Mexican tile patterns that are alive with color and pattern. All of this vibrancy creates what we call uprising chi, which is aliveness, vibrancy, health.

Example, reds, terracotas, warm colors in kitchen — promote vibrancy, aliveness, stomach chi — healthy digestion.

The style of this home is distinctly Mexican, with the neutral tones, the stone floors, the plants. And yet, the principles of Feng Shui are clearly at work, illustrating how any style of home can be made to look — and feel — better with Feng Shui.