Feng Shui_ gunning for good chi by mjdeschamps


									Interior design supplement

Thinking it through...

Psychology of space: matter over mind


The student bedroom is the multipurpose mothership for the basics of student life — eating, sleeping, studying and partying. But how is that bastion of unwashed clothes, dirty dishes and trampled notebooks going to make the switch from book barn to party town? It’s all about feeling comfortable in the space, and when it comes to colour, your walls could be sending out subliminal messages. These colours can help you concentrate or increase your appetite, but for best results, they should be a reflection of you. “There’s a lot of information coming through our senses,” said Owen Kelly, a professor of abnormal psychology at Carleton University. He cites aromatherapy and music, both of which use the senses to elicit positive or negative responses. Colour comes through the senses visually and can create the same variation in responses. “There are several factors that can influence what impression a colour will have on a person, such as visual and sensory perception, as well as a person’s personality and experience,” said Sophie Bergeron, colour and design spokesperson at Benjamin Moore. Benjamin Moore has a colour council which researches colour trends and provides the results on the company website. “Colour has been the focus of research for thousands of years, and all colour theories that were developed agreed colour elicits specific kinds of responses,” said Bergeron. Red typically symbolizes passion, anger, and love, and is known for increasing appetite, making it a popular colour in dining rooms. Orange is known as a happy, social colour which increases energy. Yellow is sometimes overwhelming, but it can also be a warm, cheerful colour that encourages nostalgia. Green is friendly, warm, balanced and can increase focus and concentration. Blue is cool, distant and can help lower blood pressure and decrease appetite, which


Environment has a significant impact on state of mind. De-clutter your environment to affect a de-cluttered head space. makes it a popular colour in bedrooms. Purple is associated with spirituality and is viewed as artistic, calming and good for easing insomnia. Black is viewed as sombre and heavy; white as cool, pure and refreshing. However useful generalizations may be, in the end you will respond best to colours you absolutely love. “People definitely have a favourite colour,” said Cheryl McKay, an interior designer in Calgary. Unsure where to start? McKay suggests taking a look in your closet at what colours you surround yourself with everyday. If you are still unsure, “blue is the favourite of all favourites,” said Bergeron. A lighter blue will help you concentrate, while a darker shade can create a mellow atmosphere ideal for relaxing with friends. When considering painting your room, remember to consider the type of lighting you will use. Fluorescent lighting is harsh and unflattering, and incandescent light bulbs are soothing but not very energy efficient. Halogen lights contain the full spectrum of colour and emit a whiter light that closely resembles natural lighting. They also last longer and are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. Try to layer lighting around your room with light from natural sources, overhead lights and lamps, which allow for a soothing atmosphere and flattering palette. Good paint will be developed with lighting in mind. Paint contains several different tints, and better paint will have more — this allows the shade to change throughout the day depending on the light. Bergeron encourages people to review their paint chips in the light when the room will be used most often. If you are stuck in a shabby residence room or a rented apartment with no opportunity to stick a paint brush to those dingy walls, there are still solutions. “Fabric can be like cheap wallpaper,” said McKay. She suggests a trip to Ikea for cheap fabric to stretch over large frames. These frames can vary in size to create blocks of colour mounted on the walls, or layered tones or patterns. For a full wall, use a “friction fit” by fitting fabric to a wall and wedging it into the corners. Accessories can also add to a room by integrating colour into your drapes and linens, layering pillows and using different textures, like bamboo window slats. “Find some really cool stuff in your garage,” said McKay. Your parents’ home decorating cast-offs might be so old they have new retro appeal. The final product should be a room that you want to spend time in and one that reflects your personality. “Whatever the decor or style we want to create, we always borrow from our feelings, moods and personality to make it our very own,” said Bergeron. K

Feng Shui: gunning for good chi


As it turns out, your mother wasn’t just trying to nag you when she told you to clean up your room. While it is hard to find the motivation to put away the growing pile of clothes on the floor, those who practice Feng Shui say there is a much greater benefit to cleaning up than finally being able to find your textbooks. The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui, which literally means “wind” (feng) and “water” (shui) is an important part of interior design. It has a much greater significance than simply re-arranging furniture. Feng Shui is the careful art and science of understanding nature. This involves incorporating elements that blend well together into an environment and removing those that clash. “Everything is about molecular science in Feng Shui,” said Sharon Hay, a certified Feng Shui practitioner and director of the Canadian School of Feng Shui. “Everything is actually moving.” “A lot of people call me because things

aren’t going right in their lives — they seem to be hitting a wall every time they try and move ahead . . . with a relationship or career. This has to do with an energy blockage in certain rooms in their houses or offices.” Feng Shui encourages people to live in harmony by promoting the flow of positive energy and avoiding negative energy that often comes from clutter in a space. “Don’t be afraid to throw out old stuff,” said Hay. “Stale energy exists in your house if something is just sitting there. If you want a change in your life, you can’t be looking at negative things every day.” Ottawa Feng Shui consultant Ingrid Hauck said she agrees that clearing clutter in a room is the most important first step to take to achieve Feng Shui. She encourages students to take the initiative. “For students in a dorm room, [Feng Shui] is really important because your whole life is contained in that room — it’s where you do everything,” said Hauck. Traditionally, Feng Shui promotes the bedroom as the primary location to achieve

supportive energy. “If your room’s a dump, what you’re going to get back from life is life dumping on you,” said Hauck. Hauck suggests that in addition to tidying up the mess in your room, people should consider furniture placement. Students should re-organize pieces such as their bed or desk to point towards the door. “Make sure the direction of your headboard or desk chair gives a commanding view of the door so that you’re not facing a wall,” said Hauck. “The door is where opportunities, energy and chi come from.” While some people assume Feng Shui is superstitious, Hauck insists it is acting upon us whether we believe in it or not. Not only does Feng Shui affect you as an individual, it can also have an impact on your relationships, she said. Everyone has their own personal Feng Shui, and what is right for one person might not be for the next. It is about what feels positive for each person. Once you find that positivity, it can help


A Luopan Compass is used to determine the flow of good chi, an integral element of Feng Shui design. you discover even more about yourself. “Feng Shui completely changed my life,” said Hay. “It’s just another tool for getting your path in life cleared.” K the Charlatan • January 31, 2008


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