The Elements of Feng Shui

The world is divided into five elements according to Feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. If a room doesn’t feel quite right, try rebalancing the elements to make it more comfortable. Each element evokes a different mood, resulting in a personalized space that suits your personality and goals. Here’s a look at each one and how to incorporate it into the design of your home, yard, or office:


Wood represents growth, birth, strength, flexibility, and intuition while harnessing the power of creativity and expansion. Too much wood can make you feel overwhelmed, rigid, stubborn, and inflexible, while too little can cause depression, ambivalence, and stagnancy.

Use shapes that mimic the vertical, column-like shape of tree trunks and the softness of leaves and flowers when designing with wood. Wood, like the leaves and the sky, has green and blue colors.

Boost your enthusiasm and leadership abilities by utilizing the fire element. Use this design element to promote expressiveness, inspiration, and boldness. An overabundance of fire can manifest as anger, aggression, irritability, and impulsive behavior, whereas a lack of fire can manifest as emotional coldness, lack of vision, inexpressiveness, and a lack of self-esteem.


Earth influences physical strength and order while instilling a sense of grounding, balance, and stability. People often notice a heavy sensation and feel more boredom, sluggishness, and seriousness when there is an abundance of the earth in space. People may feel disorganized, chaotic, and unfocused when there is insufficient earth.


Metal has an effect on mental clarity and logic. Personal characteristics such as organization, focus, righteousness, and analytical abilities can be affected by the presence of metal in a room. When you are surrounded by too much metal, you may be perceived as chatty, critical, and prone to speaking without thinking. When there is insufficient metal, you may experience a sense of quiet, caution, and lack of focus.

5. Water

Water’s domain includes spirituality and emotion. Water balance brings about inspiration, wisdom, and insight. Too much water can cause an unbalanced transition and the sensation that you are drowning emotionally. It can make you feel overly social and overwhelmed. When there is a scarcity of water, you may experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, stress, and pettiness.


Putting It All Together
Now that you understand the fundamental characteristics of each element, keep in mind one more thing: the objects in your home frequently reflect multiple elements. A red flowerpot full of white tulips, for example, would represent four of the five elements. The red pot represents fire, the clay pot represents earth, the flowers represent wood, and the tulips represent metal.

Begin by experimenting with the arrangement of elements on a small scale, such as an entry table or a dresser in your bedroom. Add your red tulip flowerpot and a few other items, such as a mirror for water and a collection of polished stones for metal.