Feng shui is an ancient and sometimes complex Eastern philosophy focused on using object placement, room orientation, and architectural layout and design to create a harmonizing atmosphere conducive to positive chi, or life force.
It’s important to know that in this philosophy, which may have its origins in Taoism, chi is all around us and through us, and it can be positive or negative. Using basic feng shui principles can ensure the flow of chi is uninhibited and favorable. Likewise, having a balance between the poles, often thought of as yin and yang, can help maintain positive energy.
Perhaps nowhere is it more important to have this positive energy than in your bedroom. Your bedroom is a sacred place where you unwind at the end of a long day, enjoy intimacy and love, and recharge for future endeavors. It’s a prime space to meditate on past and present experience and how they can direct future choices.
In Western design, we know that certain color combinations are pleasing to the eye, and we apply these design principles to our decorating attempts. However, with its focus on balance and harmonization through consideration of the five elements (wood, earth, water, fire, and metal), feng shui uses a different paradigm as its starting place. Using feng shui bedroom colors does more than just create a beautiful space; it creates a functional one as well due to the positive chi.
What Is Color in Feng Shui?
What we see and what our brains register as colors — red, blue, green, and really any hue of the rainbow — are actually just light waves that we perceive as color. Light is still quite mysterious, and it makes sense that it would play a prominent role in feng shui.
The debate on whether light is matter or energy rages on, but we do know that light comprises energy-packed photons. When these photons express themselves as certain colors, the energy force is in balance.
In feng shui, each of the five elements carries with it a certain set of colors. For example, the wood element is represented by the colors you would find in a tree: browns and greens.
As expected, fire includes reds, oranges, purples, pinks, and strong yellows. While you might suspect that earth is similar to wood, in actuality, earth colors are more sandy browns and buttery yellows. The water element includes blues and blacks while the metal element carries with it more neutral grays.
Although the principles of feng shui are often thought to be more architectural or positional in nature, sometimes we don’t have a lot of say in the layout of our home.
For example, unless you are building a house from the ground up, you may find yourself in a space where the rooms aren’t ideally placed according to their chi. However, color choices can also entirely change the energy of a room, also using the principles of the five elements.
Incorporate Fire Element Into South Bedrooms
If your bedroom is in the southern part of your house, it’s in a great place for fire colors due to the southern direction being linked with fire in feng shui. This means reds, oranges, strong yellows, and even pinks and purples can work well.
Because the fire element is also associated with passion and love in both the East and West, these colors are particularly well-suited for the bedroom. If you are to place a fireplace or even a digital fireplace on the southern wall in this room, it can further enhance the chi.
Although using reds in this room if it is in this part of your house (or even if it isn’t) is a good idea, remember that feng shui is all about maintaining balance. An entirely red room would be overwhelmed by yang, so consider incorporating neutrals from the earth and metal elements as well.
You’ll want to steer clear of the water element due to water’s power to distinguish fire’s strength. The idea is not to overpower the room’s passion with a more draining force but to complement and energize it further. Consider a red or burgundy accent wall or choose red throw pillows and décor items to go with a more neutral paint, bed frame, and bedspread.
Use Softer Tones for Bedrooms in the Southwest Quadrant
The southwestern area of the home still falls into the fire element area, but bedrooms here can benefit from a softer touch. Consider pinks, peaches, and more muted versions of the fire colors complemented by neutrals from the metal element, such as whites or grays.
Bring Serenity to Northern Bedrooms
If your bedroom is located to the north of your home, it falls squarely in the water element area. Remember that you can use color alone to alter the energy of the room, and if you have a northern bedroom that you want to have fire colors, that’s fine — just avoid combining fire and water.
Feng shui bedroom colors associated with water are blues and blacks. Blue is the color of peace and serenity, but it can also be a color that signifies mourning. For this reason, balance is especially important when designing with the water element.
Just as metal draws water in nature, the metal and water elements enhance the chi of a room. Balance a black accent wall or bedframe with silver or gray sheets, picture frames, lampstands, or side tables. You can use artwork, such as framed watercolor paintings of ocean scenes, to further bring calmness to this space where you refresh and recharge.
Enjoy Growth in Eastern Bedrooms
The eastern part of your house is in the wood element’s area. To activate this element, carefully select greens and browns for your décor items as well as wooden furniture.
Adding plants to the room, provided you are able to care for them, will also enhance the area’s chi. Because the wood element relates to decisiveness, activating the element in an eastern bedroom could help with difficult dilemmas you are facing.
Although your focus here is color, you can also incorporate other principles of feng shui even if you don’t own or didn’t design your home. As an example, in the bedroom area, it’s important to avoid facing the foot of your bed toward the doorway, as this is connected with an ancient practice of carrying caskets out of a room feet-first.
Conjure Feelings of Creativity and Helpfulness in Western Bedrooms
Again, keeping in mind that your direction and color choices don’t have to align to awaken positive energy, you may want to focus on the neutral grays of the metal element to activate the helpful chi of an area in the western part of the house.
If your bedroom is here, using grays for your bed, pillows, and accent pieces can also awaken creativity and help you to come up with some of your best ideas during bedroom meditation or reflection.
Adding colors of the earth element, such as yellows, can complement the metal element by adding warmth and more positive cheer, as gray itself tends to be a soothing neutral.
Create a Stable, Nurturing Environment in Central Bedrooms
If your bedroom is centrally located in your home, it’s in a prime area for activating the earth element. Think of what it’s like to take a long flight and then step out of the plane. You suddenly feel much more grounded and stable.
These are the emotions that are also evoked by the colors of the earth element, yellows and sandy browns. As an added benefit, yellow also adds to the happiness energy of the room, making it more likely that you’ll begin each day with feelings of joy.
Mixing Elements for Complex Energies
Your bedroom doesn’t need to incorporate just one element, and it doesn’t need to use the colors associated with its directional element in order to activate certain energies. For example, using a peach or salmon color that combines fire (orange) and earth (yellow) creates a space that contains energy of social warmth and abundance.
Likewise, just as water nurtures wood, a blue/green combination in the form of a color such as turquoise maintains the calming energy of water while incorporating the growth element of wood. This helps create an environment where you can grow without becoming overwhelmed by or fearful of the pace of change.
Remember That Color Is Light and Light Is Color
A final guiding principle when it comes to feng shui bedroom colors is the presence of natural light. Rooms with proper lighting have more balanced chi, so make sure to use air window coverings that are open during the day to bring as much natural light in as possible.
Other ways to play with light in the room are to hang one or two well-placed mirrors and use light-colored walls. Avoiding heavy, non-functional pieces such as footboards opens the room up and allows more of it to be filled with energy-giving light.
Using feng shui bedroom colors together with light is a superior way to change the whole chi of your most private and sacred room. Using these principles, you can restore positive energy and harmony for maximum tranquility, growth, passion, and joy.