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Dato' Joey Yap explains why artwork does not affect feng shui—and reveals which decorative items do

When decorating, does putting up the colourful painting you love from your favourite local artist or placing a sculptural metal vase on a console affect the feng shui of your home?

Feng shui master Dato' Joey Yap dispels the myths and gives practical pointers as to what decorative items actually make a difference to your home feng shui.

Is there any relationship between the art you put in your house and feng shui?

Usually, art and decorations do not have any impact on the feng shui of the house. These include paintings, figurines, knick-knacks and small statues. These things have no bearing on the Qi or energy of the house itself aside from psychological and emotional effects.

That is to say, if you were to decorate your house with mementoes and items that you have attachment towards, any effect it gives is personal. It neither improves nor affects the overall feng shui of the home in any way. So decorate as you like.

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How about paint and materials for the home?

As for paint and what colour you want your house to be is purely psychological. In the study of classical feng shui, the paint you use on your wall bears no effect. As for the materials for your decoration, it depends on the size of the decoration itself.

Small decorations do nothing to feng shui. A big decoration, however, does affect the Qi flow. How big, might you ask? It would be big enough for you to have to make some effort to navigate around it like a heavy vase or a tall plant. The effect of these things would depend on their assigned elements.

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How about items that have to do with the five feng shui elements: Wood, Water, Metal, Earth and Fire?

In 2022, Five Yellow, an annual star associated with disasters, resides at the centre of the house. From the perspective of the five elements, it is considered an Earth element.

One way to mitigate the adverse effects of this star is to place metal items where the Five Yellow might be. What this item may be doesn’t matter as long as it’s metal and in ample quantity.

The best feng shui set-up is space and time-sensitive. There aren’t a lot of install-and-forget if you are actively trying to pursue the best feng shui you could have.

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Does having plants improve feng shui?

Generally, it doesn’t improve feng shui. However, if the plant is big enough, you could use it as a natural feature to divert energy. In feng shui, orientation and direction play quite an important role. For certain houses, some orientations cannot be changed so some creative measures have to be employed and using plants is one of them.

For example, a room that’s facing an inauspicious direction can use big plants to divert one’s movement into the room itself. Think of it as creating a pathway, and this would become the new way you enter a certain area just for better flow in general.

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Does lighting (not natural light) affect feng shui? Are there any guidelines or tips to do or avoid?

Light can be divided into yin (dark) and yang (light). For living spaces, you’d want to make them bright and not gloomy. Natural sunlight is best, but artificial light works too as long as the area is not too dark or dimly lit.

The opposite rule applies to the bedroom, especially when it’s time to get some rest. While the living area has to be yang, where you sleep ought to be yin. This will ensure that you will be able to get a full night’s rest.

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How about home fragrances like diffusers or candles?

Diffusers in general smell good but ultimately do not play a role in feng shui. Nice to have, but not needed or required. Candles, however, may play a role in increasing the positive energy or decreasing negative energy in the sector. In the industry, we call this "fire activation", which is done on a specific date in some areas of the house.

Knowing when and where to do it requires some mastery in the arts of Qi Men Dun Jia and Date Selection which, by itself, is a very in-depth subject bound to the present annual energy.

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