feng shui design tips

A Simple Guide to Adding Feng Shui to Your Home

Feng Shui. You’ve probably heard of it. But do you really know what it means? It can feel like a complicated topic to dive into—and even more complicated practice to implement in your home. To help unpack the idea of feng shui decorating in your home, we’re walking you through the main pillars of feng shui and what it looks like to bring more harmony and balance into your home.

What is Feng Shui?

First, a definition. Feng and Shui are both Chinese words, meaning “wind” and “water,” respectively. Holistically, feng shui is a philosophy and practice that involves arranging your living space to create balance with the natural world. It involves harnessing energy, or chi, in your home through scientific calculations. The goal? To harness forces and establish harmony between you and your environment—specifically, your home.

Bringing feng shui into your home involves mindfulness. It’s about slowing down and taking time to notice the details while being grounded in the present moment.

The Origins of Feng Shui

This philosophy is derived from an ancient poem that talks about the connection between human life and the environment. In Asian cultures, the practice of feng shui is actually called Tao, which literally means “the way.”

Making Feng Shui Work in Your Home

Despite meaning “the way,” here at Modsy we don’t believe that feng shui is the only way to decorate, and we’re by no means experts in this ancient practice. In fact, many people don’t consider it at all in their home’s design, and other people appreciate incorporating some aspects of this philosophy into their homes while leaving others behind.

If you choose to implement feng shui decorating principles in your home, how you do it really depends on the size of space you have and how strictly you want to adhere to its principles. The big thing to remember? Decide what works for you and your space. If that means a 100% feng shui home? Great! If not? Also great.

Read on to learn about the basic principles of feng shui and design tips to help you incorporate them into your home!

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Understand and Establish Your Commanding Positions

Every room has a “commanding position.” And this is the first thing to become aware of when seeking to implement feng shui in your home.

What is a commanding position in feng shui?

A commanding position is a place in the room where you place the largest focus (like a bed in a bedroom or a desk in an office).

How do I know my room’s commanding position?

You can establish the commanding position by locating the spot in the room that is the farthest from the doorway but not in line with it. Ideally, you position these focal points to benefit the overall function and flow of a space while honoring the simple rules of feng shui.

Consider and apply the commanding position to any area of a space that you spend the most time in—from bedrooms and home offices to open living/dining areas or basement family rooms.

feng shui design tips

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How do I create a strong commanding position?

Strong commanding positions have a good “backing,” or strong support behind you, like a wall.

For example, in a bedroom, place your headboard against a solid wall, like in the design above. Good backing might not feel as natural in a room like a home office, where many people place their desk against a wall. Instead, in a feng shui office, you’d want to float your desk away from the wall, so that when you sit, your back is facing the wall. But strong support behind you also means being “supported” by walls—not windows. You’d never want to position your desk (or bed) with your back against a window.

Strong commanding positions also have a good view of the room’s entrances/exits (you wouldn’t want to position your bed facing away from the door) and do not block a doorway or walkway.

feng shui design tips

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Add Life and Balance With the Five Elements

Feng shui design encourages decorating with plants, flowers, and other elements of nature. Plants embody life energy, so bringing these elements into your home brings that energy too.

What are the five elements in feng shui?

Another way to add life to your home is by bringing the five elements into your home. These five elements—earth, wood, fire, water, and metal—can be physically brought into your space through furniture and objects that are made out of these materials (like a wooden table, a fireplace or candle, a metal statue or side table).

But you can also bring the spirit of these elements into your home through colors. Bring the fire element in through the use of warm tones like reds and oranges or the water element through the use of blues. In fact, the use of color in feng shui is very directly correlated with the five elements.

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Which of the five elements should I bring into my home?

Whether you go literal or symbolic, either way, the idea is to create balance and harmony through the use of all five elements. And if there’s an elemental energy you need more of in your life, bring in symbols of that element in a larger way.

  • Need more clarity and precision? Bring in the metal element.
  • Struggling with aggression? Pare back on the fire element. Or bring in more of the fire element if you need a boost in motivation.
  • Ground yourself and focus on stability with the earth element.
  • Or invite more wisdom into your home with the water element.
  • The wood element helps bring new beginnings and bring life energy to a space.

So, take stock of what you need more of in your life, and bring in a little extra of that element—but focus on striking a balance with all five, as this represents a balanced emotional life.

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Promote Energy Flow in Entryways and Passageways

In feng shui, the belief is that energy enters your home through the front door. So, your entryway is incredibly important for setting the tone for the rest of the house. Read our best entryway design tips!

Create Energy Flow

Maintain a strong area of energy flow by unblocking entrances. This may mean decluttering and paring down your entryways, hallways, and doorways. Establish and maintain minimalist interior design in these spaces.

Pause Energy Flow

You could also consider adding an element of “pause” in passageways, such as a small area rug in an entrance or artwork in a hallway to slow down the energy of the flow. Art is a natural element that inspires pondering. This creates a moment of considered intention within the space’s design.

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Remove Obstacles & Maintain Clean Lines

To keep the energy flowing throughout your home, it’s important to remove any obstacles that could block the flow. Create movement throughout your space by using clean, distinct lines in the walkways of a room and between “zones.”

One of the key ways to do so is keeping passageways and walkways clear of clutter or obstructive furniture. Large area rugs are also a great way to create definitions and distinctions between zones in an open layout.

Read Next: Want to bring feng shui into a small living room layout? Check out our layout guides for creative solutions to tricky layouts.

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Reduce Clutter

Clutter can interrupt positive energy, clarity of thought, and productivity. So, to promote positive energy and flow, it’s important to reduce clutter. Focus on putting organizational systems in place, so that everything in your home has a specific function and place. Furniture with hidden storage is a great way to do this!

That doesn’t mean you can’t have superfluous decor (sometimes an object’s only function is that it brings joy!), but it does mean seriously considering each thing you bring into and keep in your home. (Think: Mari Kondo, a huge proponent of feng shui.)

Make an effort to tidy up your work and living spaces each day. This brings a sense of order into the chaos of the every day, and it gives you a clean slate to start with each morning. All of this will result in a happier, healthier environment.

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Design “Up”

Create a sound and soothing space by designing up—AKA using design tricks to help make your space feel larger than it is.

One great way to design up is to use tall bookcases or other storage furniture—whether built-ins, wall-mounted bookshelves or standalone pieces. Or, if you don’t have space for freestanding bookcases, try a wall-mounted shelf or two.

Designing up can also be achieved through hanging curtains higher than window frames—another great trick for drawing the eye up. And finding lamps where the light flows upward or adding a tree to your room’s design are also great ways to design up.

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Honor Natural Light

In feng shui decorating, it’s so important to honor natural light sources. Designing around these light sources, like large windows, can help to create a natural balance and symmetry in your space.

Be careful not to block natural sources of light, whether windows or doors, with pieces of furniture. Of course, the use of curtains is permitted. You can also use mirrors in your space as a way to reflect natural light and bring more light into the room.
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Remove Negative Symbolism

Symbolism plays a huge role in the art of feng shui. So, to keep positive energy in your home, you want to be mindful of any negative symbolism.

Our homes are, ideally, places of peace and rest. But in these spaces, we also encounter our fears and challenges—and too often we unknowingly reinforce these fears by including their symbols in our homes.

  • Clutter can be symbolic of a lack of clarity.
  • A home is filled with single imagery—like artwork with solo figures, or even a single vase or chair—can be symbolic of loneliness and solitude.
  • Maybe that rug you love reminds you of a past relationship that you’re holding onto.

Take time to evaluate the challenges you’re facing in life and identify if you have any negative symbolism of those struggles in your space. Remove them, then replace them with symbols of your goals or something that brings you joy.

Ready to rethink your home’s flow?

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3 Ways to Style Your Nightstand: Bring Some Style to Your Bedroom

styling your nightstand

Whether you have one or two, a well-styled nightstand is a surefire way to make your bedroom feel personal and put-together. To help you get inspired to design yours, we challenged our designers to take one nightstand and style it three ways.

We chose one of our favorite nightstands as a base: the Audrey Nightstand from West Elm. We love the Mid-Century shape and the textured front. It is the perfect combo of retro and modern! The two roomy drawers are great for hiding midnight snack wrappers, tangled electrical cords, and that retainer you never wear.

Here’s our three favorite ideas for styling your nightstand:


Mid-Century Flair

style your nightstand

Geometric shapes, organic materials, and neutral colors make this one nightstand perfect for Mid-Century Modern enthusiasts. The geometric details on the Audrey Nightstand pair perfectly with the geometry of the Mason Table Lamp. The Sum Total artwork also brings a signature, mid-century graphic pop to the design.

Stylist Tip: Our rule of thumb for styling surfaces, is to think in threes. This brings both balance and variation to the scene, and makes our eye happy when we look at it. Try picking objects with various heights, such as vases for flowers and trays to hold your odds and ends.


Bohemian Chic

style your nightstand

For those who like a clean and earthy look, style your nightstand with a fresh and eclectic feel. The unfinished texture of the lamp harmonizes with the other natural elements in the scene, such as the Ibex Sculpture .

Stylist Tip: Use your lamp to help determine how high to hang your artwork. Because this lamp is taller, the Blue Cactus artwork is hung lower to balance the composition. Don’t be afraid to hang your artwork off-center if you want a more eclectic look!


Graphic and Glamorous

style your nightstand

Full of statement pieces, this more glamorous design is full of graphic patterns and gold accents. The stripes in the Changes Rug pull in the graphic lines of the Naomi Campbell artwork for a unified space. The gold accents in the accessory pieces bring out the finishes of the Audrey nightstand, pushing the look more Glam!

Stylist Tip: For a chic and unexpected twist, prop your artwork against the wall on the floor next to your nightstand.



Need Help Styling Your Nightstand?

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Our Favorite Wall Art to Refresh Your Space for Fall

Looking for an easy and affordable way to refresh your home for fall? We’ve rounded up our favorite pieces of wall art from our Fall 2017 collections to help with just that.

A new piece of wall art is a simple way to change up the look of any room. Wall art is also relatively easy to transport (compared to your sofa) so you can feel ok investing in a piece that will stay in your collection for years to come.

What’s more, wall art can be easily repurposed from room to room, so when you grow tired of a piece in your living room you can easily move it to your bedroom for a quick change-up.

Take a peek through these nine pieces of wall art, all under $500, and get ready to refresh your space for fall.


1. Stormy Summer, $206 (framed 24”x24” print)

Set the mood for fall with this abstract print by Brooklyn-based artist, Lauren Packard. We love these stormy summer hues, which easily invigorate a neutral space and work with any decor style.

Stylist Tip: Hang this work above a natural wood credenza or a camel leather sofa for a warm and inviting look.


2. Young Dancer Wall Art, $148 (framed 18”x20” print)

Add a touch of traditional elegance to your home with this portrait of a young ballerina. The warm yellow and ochre hues are reminiscent of fall but won’t feel out of place in your home year-round.

We especially love this print paired with the distressed gold beaded frame for a touch of old-world charm.

3. Evening Calm Print, $500

Keep it cool and collected with this watercolor washed painting by artist Rachel Pavlic. Painted with hues of greens, blues, and grays, this abstracted landscape is the perfect addition to any contemporary space.

Stylist Tip: Hang this work above a stone fireplace or against shiplap walls. We love the serene landscape as a mellow focal point against any textured backdrop.


4. Arranged Shapes Prints 1 & 2, $199 each

Inspired by the Bauhaus Art Movement, these abstract prints are the perfect modern additions to any home. We love the geometric shapes and warm palette, which feel seasonal now but will work year-round to warm up your space.

Stylist tip: You don’t need to have an ultra-modern style to make these prints work in your home. Try pairing opposites, like these abstract prints over a skirted sofa.


5. Through the Trees, $399

This photograph of a lush forest is the perfect way to bring a pop of greenery indoors for fall. We love the saturated color and texture of this print, which pairs especially well with any rustic or minimal decor scheme. If you’re looking to infuse some color into your space, give this print a second look!


6. No. 8 A in grey, $206 (framed 24”x24” print)

Add the perfect pop of abstracted texture to any room with this framed print. A must-have piece for any eclectic interior, we love this piece paired with a woven leather safari chair or over a carved wood credenza.

Eclectic not your style? Don’t hesitate to try this print for an infusion of texture and pattern into a more neutral space as well.


7. Lemons 1, $170 (framed 17”x14” print)

Want to preserve some springtime freshness into your home through the fall and winter? Give this sunny yellow lemon print a try. Painted on an invigorated pink background, we love this simple still life in a gallery wall or as a simple statement piece for your kitchen.


8. Blue Figure by Kate Worum, $199 (framed 18”x22” print)

A modern and calligraphic take on Matisse’s blue nudes, this print of a female figure is one of our fall 2017 favorites. The bright blue backdrop is highly versatile and will pair nicely with a variety of decor schemes. Prop this print atop your dresser for some morning outfit inspiration.


9. Cloud Engraving Wall Art, $199

A nod to a 19th century engraving techniques, this print of an engraved cumulus cloud will bring a touch of Renaissance sophistication to your walls. We love the intricate details of the engraved texture paired with the slim gold frame.

Stylist Tip: Have a little one on the way? Hang this artwork in your nursery for a touch of whimsy now, and then re-purpose it as a lovely piece for another room later.


See a piece you love? Try it on in your 3D room today!


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Bedroom Design Inspiration: 6 Ideas for the Wall Above Your Bed

over the bed decorating ideas

As with any focal point, the wall above your bed is a intimidating design challenge, and it is one that many of our customers have been asking about. We hear you!

Between deciding what you want to put there and imagining if it will work with the rest of your room, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

To help, we are using a little Modsy 3D to “try on” 6 of our favorite over the bed decorating ideas.

1. Wall Hangings

over the bed decorating ideas

Get knotty and add some texture above your bed. We love how these woven wall hangings keep it neutral and lend our bedroom some eclectic vibes.

Snag yourself this wallet-friendly option, or upgrade to this hand-woven wooly statement piece.

2. Print Trio

over the bed decorating ideas

Add a little rhythm with a series of three hung above your bed. We love these quilt-inspired prints, which look great framed or hung with washi tape (a bonus if you live in an earthquake zone)!

3. Vignette Style

over the bed decorating ideas

A spin off the standard art above the bed, we love the idea of hanging two pendant pieces above your nightstands. This option works well if you have a tall headboard or if you crave a little negative space.

Get our bedside tour of Iceland here and here.

4. Go Mobile

over the bed decorating ideas

Not just for your nursery, we love the idea of adding a little kinetic energy to your bedroom. Mobiles bring a note of whimsy to any space and are a great option for keeping small spaces open and airy.

Watch this antique brass mobile spin in circles above your bed. Or, if you’re a purist, grace your bedroom with this Alexander Calder-inspired mobile.

5. Juju Hats

over the bed decorating ideas

These spectacular, eye-catching plumes are the feather headdresses traditionally worn by Bamileke chiefs of Cameroon and are symbols of prosperity.

While we loving showing our appreciation of another culture’s art, we think it’s worth considering the implications behind turning these ceremonial objects into decor or DIY projects.

Instead, get the scoop on this pendant pair of authentic Juju hats here.

6. Quilt to Last

over the bed decorating ideas

Got a large space to fill? Hang an oversized quilt above your bed. These also work well as stand-in headboards if you’re bed doesn’t have one.

Flip the script and make your grandmother’s handmade quilt the star above the bed, or get your hands on this graphic quilted number.

Want to save your walls (and your wallet)? Try on your favorite over the bed decorating ideas in 3D!

Wallpaper Round-Up: Our February Favorites

Finding a wallpaper you love is easy, visualizing how it will look in your home, is hard. You probably wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, so why shouldn’t you be able to try on wallpaper before installing it?

A little Modsy Magic to the rescue: we’ve rounded up 6 wallpapers we are loving this month and installed them in a living room so you can see the end result – before committing your walls and your wallet.



Your February Wallpaper Round-Up:

Favorite Wallpaper Vizualized

  • Carved Ogee, Gray (Hygge & West): Go bold with this metallic gold ogee pattern on a charcoal grey background. We recommend this wallpaper for anyone craving a sophisticated look with an organic twist.


Favorite Wallpaper Vizualized

  • Tourbillon (Farrow & Ball): These graphic brushstrokes will bring a touch of liveliness to any space. We love this pattern for anyone wanting to jazz up a contemporary interior.


Favorite Wallpaper Vizualized

  • Leaping Lemurs (Anthropologie): We love this playful pattern featuring our favorite Madagascan primates. Make your lemurs pop by pairing them with solid, bold colored furniture.


Favorite Wallpaper Vizualized

  • Peonies, Yellow (Hygge & West): Give your home a dash of countryside tranquility with this wallpaper. The sunshine yellow hue is sure to brighten up any entryway, bedroom, or even bathroom.


Favorite Wallpaper Vizualized

  • Tall Grass Wallpaper (Anthropologie): A moody twist on a floral motif, this wallpaper is as lovely as it is timeless. The dark background gives your space an edge while the wispy grass and butterflies keep it feeling sweet.


Favorite Wallpaper Vizualized

  • Procuratie e Scimmie (Cole & Son): Transform your walls into fine art with Italian designer, Piero Fornasetti’s “Procuratie e Scimmie” wallpaper. Featuring monkeys wandering through the ruins of classical architecture, this wallpaper brings a touch of humor design sophistication to your home.


Did we miss your favorite wallpaper? Tell us in the comments and we will show it to you in our living room!

 Try on Wallpaper in your home

Shop Your New Favorite Wallpapers

Hygge & West

Farrow & Ball


Hygge & West



Design the Perfect Reading (Or Napping, Or Daydreaming) Nook

Corners can be awkward dead spaces at the fringes of your living room, or with a little TLC they can be transformed into adorable nooks. These are great spaces to cozy up with a book, your beverage of choice, or simply quiet spaces to get away from whatever the kids are watching on TV. 

If you’re like us, and all the pictures of adorable reading nooks are giving you major nook-envy, it’s time to take action and design the nook of your dreams.

We want your nook to be as unique as you, so we put together a few different designs all showcasing nooks in different interior styles. Curl up with your blanket and get ready to fall in love with your perfect nook look!

Our favorite nooks…

6477_d41. Organic Sophisticate

A calming palette of moody pastels gives an edge to this organic space. Accented with glamorous touches, like that jaw-dropping porcupine quill mirror, we imagine this space being called home by someone like Gwyneth Paltrow. We love how the natural materials interact with the subdued glam finishes for a chic and organic nook.


collection_6477_design02_comp01_watermarked2. Mid-Century Minimalist

A nook for those who love Mid-Century Modern design and all the good things that come with it. A neutral color palette, organic shapes, and geometric forms envelope you as curl up in the Womb Chair. This iconic piece of Mid-Century Modern design was the result of a challenge to designer Eero Saarinen to make a chair Florence Knoll could curl up in. Even Modernist designers want to get cozy.


space_6477_design_01_modcam_005-copy3. Contemporary Californian

While you don’t have to be from the Golden Coast to enjoy this one, we just couldn’t help thinking of California with this reading nook. The palette of blues and neutrals along side organic elements evokes a particularly beachy vibe, while the clean lines add a contemporary flair. We love the pairing of our clean, white lounge chair with the organic textures of the jute rug and driftwood side table.


r6477_d5_wm4. Modern Rococo

If you find yourself drawn to classic formal pieces but don’t think you could live with all that ornamentation, our Modern Rococo nook is the dreamy corner you’ve been searching for. Old school forms meet modern accents in this Provincial-esque reading nook. We paired pieces that suggest a luxurious past, like the antiqued gold, oversized mirror, with contemporary accents, such as the white cowhide rug, for a look that feels both timeless and current.


6477_d65. Eclectic Urbanite

A warm and inviting nook for our urban dwellers. This space is a little smaller to accommodate tighter spaces (apartments need nooks too!), and features contemporary pieces with a slightly mid-century vibe. We think this nook came together over time, giving it a slightly eclectic look. We especially like the white wool pouf as an impromptu footrest for our leather swivel chair.

Need help creating your “Nook Look?”