The Art of Feng Shui:
The 5 Keys to Balancing the Energy in
Your Home For Increased Abundance,
Health and Joy


feng-shui-home-elements-plants-organicwhen you feng shui your house, you literally change the energetic flow of the space, inviting greater abundance, harmony, health and joy. photo: tina floersch

What Are the Five Elements of Feng Shui and How Do They Play Out in the Home?

The five elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Throughout this article, you will learn how each element is expressed not only on the planet but also you, your home and how it relates to feng shui. The five elements system is

based in the Daoist premise that we are all One, and everything is made up of these same five energies. The galaxies, planets, rivers, mountains, animals, plants, and humans all consist of these elements, and each is interdependent on another for sustaining life. In other words, we humans are made of the same energy components as the trees, the sun, rivers, the earth, and mountains.

Each element has its own unique characteristics as to how it is expressed in the world. Each element also plays a vital role in the cycle of life. All living beings experience the cycles of birth and rebirth, waning and waxing, growth and death, and yin and yang. This process is referred to as the five elements cycle, and it can be seen in all aspects of life including the seasons, time of day, age, moon cycles, planetary orbits, and of course literal birth and death. We as a society tend to forget or at least overlook the importance of death. Nature however knows that birth would not be possible without death, just as light would not be possible without the dark. Again, it is all about balance where the labels “good” and “bad” have no relevance.


“If there is an energy imbalance in our home, the effects of that imbalance will show up somewhere in our life.”


Untouched nature is our best example of the five elements cycle. We can see nature finding balance of birth, death, and rebirth in the animal food chain, trees competing for sunlight, seasons promoting growth and death, and even in drastic compensations in the form of forest fires and volcanic eruptions. All are necessary for survival of the species, and in the end it is about the sustainability of our planet earth. After all, without Earth maintaining its balance, all species would perish.

It is easy to think of natural disasters as bad; there are tragic consequences when human lives are lost. But natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are Earth’s way of achieving balance to prevent even larger catastrophes later on. Just as we go through occasional emotional upheavals in our lives, so too does our planet. The earth is a large living organism that emits energy and takes on our human energy. It must heal the trauma that has been afflicted upon it just as we must.

Why Use the Five Elements?

The best way we can positively contribute to achieving balance on the planet—clearly so much larger than ourselves—is to take care of what we do have control over, that is, our own spaces: our body and our homes with the art and science of feng shui. We each have our own cycle of the five elements taking place within ourselves constantly striving for balance. For example, the specific goal of acupuncture is to correct imbalances of the five elements within us and to properly promote the flow of chi throughout the body. Each organ system and meridian line correlates to one of the five elements.

Aware of it or not, we are constantly attempting to strike a balance in the five elements cycle within ourselves through the kinds of food we eat, the amount of sleep we get, and the types of relationships in which we engage. An imbalance of our internal five elements cycle can result in diseases, aches and pains, mental and emotional disturbances, or virtually any ailment a Western doctor would treat.

feng-shui-elements-of-the-home-woodthe art of practicing feng shui in your house is an ancient daoist practice dating back thousands of years.

This same balance (or imbalance) takes place in our living spaces as well. Achieving balance within spaces is not only important for the healing of the space and the land it sits on, but also for the occupants residing in and using it. Feng shui is the science of balancing the energy in our living spaces in accordance with nature. While there are many facets of feng shui including furniture arrangement, the Bagua Map, space clearing, and even the modern practice of clutter clearing, the five elements are one of the primary tools used to balance the energy in spaces. The five elements connect us with our homes and our homes to nature and beyond.

Living spaces are in essence living beings and thus the five elements cycle applies as well. Spaces, especially our homes, are living and breathing beings just as we are. The front door is the mouth of energy being inhaled through the front door and exhaled out the back door, according to the wisdom of feng shui. Our energy and that of our homes is so interrelated that each aspect of the home is a symbolic representation of us. This was discussed in detail in my 2013 book, Mind, Body, Home, where I relate each aspect of a house to the physical, mental, and emotional counterparts to ourselves.


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Because our energy is so interrelated with our home’s energy, we are positively or negatively affected by the positive or negative of energy within our home. If there is an energy imbalance in the feng shui of our home, the effects of that imbalance will show up somewhere in our life. Our home is a mirror of ourselves. Imbalances in the energy of our home could show up anywhere from health issues to relationship problems. For example, have you ever experienced a sudden shift—good or bad—in your life situation as soon as you move into a new home?

As a feng shui consultant, I often hear stories from clients where sudden changes occur as soon as they move into a new space. Even if not familiar with feng shui, they can sense the direct relationship with something about the house affecting their luck, so to speak. The feng shui of the homes we choose to live in play an important role in our destiny while living there. The good news is that these imbalances can usually be remedied through feng shui. The five elements can be used as a remedy or a preventative medicine tool for you and your home. As you balance the five elements within a space, its occupants will receive the benefits. The healthier the feng shui of your home, the healthier you’ll be too.

The Three-Step Formula to Feng Shui Your Life

For years I have been coaching, assisting, and writing about the process and benefits of decluttering. I am happy to have the opportunity to assist readers in suggesting what can be added to their homes regarding decorating using the five elements. That being said, I want to emphasize that adding things to your home is actually the last step in feng shui.


“Our house is a metaphor for our life: It can only hold so much stuff. Even if we have beautiful, expensive art, we only have so many walls.”


The idea that feng shui is about adding things to your home has been perpetuated in our consumer-centric world. Be it frogs, roosters, ducks, crystals, or flutes, adorning one’s home with objects to bring good luck is a misconception of what feng shui is and its potential effects. Whether you are looking to overhaul your life or simply make decorative changes, there is a process. We often think that adding something new to our house or life will create needed change. But in fact, there are two steps before this. Otherwise, you will still have the current situation but with the addition of new things or situations. This is one source of clutter in our homes and overwhelm in our lives.

Our home is a metaphor for our life: It can only hold so much stuff. Even if we have beautiful, expensive art, we only have so many walls. Our walls will start to look chaotic and cluttered if we put too many paintings on them. This is the same case with our lives. If we took a job without quitting the job we had before it, there would simply not be enough time in the day to do both jobs. There is only so much time and space in our physical world. We have to prioritize, revise, and choose what we want to put on our walls, where we want to work, and with whom we want to be in relationship. Otherwise, we keep adding, adding, adding, until we have a nervous breakdown. This is also what causes our lives to stagnate: too much stuff to the point where energy can no longer circulate or move.

It’s important to note that cluttering is different than expansion. We are meant to expand. Our world is meant to get bigger with more experiences, more people, and perhaps even more possessions. But sustainable expansion only comes with contraction. Otherwise, we expand too much too quickly. This is what causes stress and anxiety. Before you can add new stuff to your life without becoming overwhelmed, there has to be a refining process.

Each week I go to the grocery store. I come home and place my grocery bags on the counter. Before unloading them, I clean out anything in the refrigerator that is no longer edible either because it has gone bad or I know I’m not going to eat it. I then move the existing items around so that there is some organization among what is left. And then I place my new, fresh grocery items in the refrigerator. This is the same three-step process to feng shui your house or anything in your life: Remove, Rearrange, and Energize. Let’s take a closer look at each step.


To create change in your life, you must remove what is no longer working; create space for new energy. This is the decluttering phase. In the five elements cycle, it is the Metal phase where energy is refined and purified so that rebirth can later take place. Clutter is whatever is no longer in your highest and best interest to keep and whatever takes up valuable space the new incoming energy needs. Only have in your home items you use or love. When I do feng shui home consultations, oftentimes this is the only step needed. In cases where there is too much stuff within a space, it simply needs to be cleaned out. In doing so, favorite items can stand out and be seen.


As soon as you have decluttered, your tendency may be to immediately add new things. However, this second step is important! When I moved from Nashville to Los Angeles, I sold practically everything I owned to drive across the country in my car. I had thoroughly gone through the decluttering phase, but became discouraged when new things were not showing up yet. I realized that I had skipped this important step, of rearranging the feng shui of my new home. I was only in a temporary space living in an area that was only temporary. I was still getting my bearings, and a lot of rearrangement was needed as I lived in such a large city.

The rearranging step gives you time to organize and clarify what you really want. After you declutter, you may see your rooms in a whole different light. You may decide that a room needs an entirely different function. For example, after decluttering a guest bedroom, maybe you realize you would rather it be a home office instead. Or maybe after decluttering, you can finally move the bed to its optimal position with space to add nightstands. The point is to make any necessary adjustments in the feng shui of your house with what is remaining before adding new energy. This way, you will have more clarity about what new energy you want to bring into your space. Referring back to my refrigerator analogy, I probably should do the rearranging step even before I go to the grocery store to get an even better idea of what I want and need.


This is the step we usually want to jump to first. There is something exciting about adding new things to our home or life. However, when not done with proper timing, it can end up making us feel stressed and overwhelmed. Instead of creating positive change, we end up even more clouded and confused with mental, emotional, and physical clutter than before. On occasion I have been to clients’ homes that contained very few possessions, little to no décor, and a void of any energy. This is a rare example in which skipping the first two steps and jumping to the Energize step is okay. Metal or Water types would be the more likely candidates for this scenario because they are more attuned to refining and letting go of things, as opposed to accumulating.


“The healthier your home, the healthier you will be—physically, mentally, and emotionally.”


Once you have removed and rearranged, it is time to energize or enhance the space through feng shui. This can be done using the concepts discussed in the following chapters. You can use the five elements to decorate your home. You can enhance certain areas of your home in conjunction with the feng shui Bagua Map using the colors, elements, and personal items discussed. The more you are enjoying a space, the more it will be energized with positive energy. Our own energy is the most powerful and significant enhancer of our space. Making a room functional and aesthetically pleasing so that you spend more time in it is the best feng shui enhancement you can make.

Incorporating the Five Feng Shui Elements in Interiors

Just as our mental, emotional, and physical bodies are a microcosm of the Universe, so is our home. Our home is its own small Universe with its own set of energies swirling around. It is therefore important to have a balance of the five elements within the feng shui of your home and other spaces. As a result, the space itself will look and feel better. This is where you can really begin creating your sanctuary.

Our home is second only to our skin as an extension of our own energy. The spaces we inhabit hold our energy and we embody the space’s energy in tandem. This is why the health and balance—that is, the feng shui—of our home is so important to our own health and balance. If you live in an unhealthy environment, you will take it on. The healthier your home, the healthier you will be—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There are several ways to incorporate feng shui and the five elements in spaces. Ideally, spaces should have a balance of the five elements as a whole, within each room, and even in small arrangements, i.e., a fireplace mantle. In the following sections, you will learn various ways to apply the five elements and feng shui your home. Applying the elements in your home can be used in tandem with feng shui using the Bagua Map or room-by-room based on the room’s function. The five elements can also be used to help balance out your own energy based upon your elemental constitution.

What I love about using the five elements to feng shui your home is that not only will your home feel good and have a healthy balance, but it will also look great too. Once you learn how each of the elements can be used in your everyday accessories and finishes, you can turn your house into a showroom. When you look at well-decorated spaces, you will notice that they consist of a blend of the five elements. Most decorators and designers are not aware that they are balancing the five elements. Instead, they are intuitively blending textures, shapes, and colors based on design principles. However, you can accomplish the same result by blending the five elements. In doing so, your home will look amazing and be a healing sanctuary for its occupants.

In looking around your home with new eyes, you may notice areas where you have intuitively arranged the five elements without even realizing it until now. Common aesthetic touches naturally incorporate a balance of the elements, or at least a balance of yin and yang energy. For example, the pairing of a swimming pool area with an outdoor fireplace is a decorator’s dream. It combines the yin of water with the yang of fire. Flagstone, or a variation of stone, is often used to accent the area, which brings in the Metal element.

Another example is blending the yang energy of a lit candle with the yin energy of a dimly lit room. There is a reason these stereotypical decorating touches work. They balance yin and yang energy and the five elements, bringing the feng shui of your house into balance. Now that you have an understanding of how the five elements show up in indoor and outdoor spaces, you can be your own decorator. When furniture shopping you will recognize the energetic differences between shapes, colors, and finishes in terms of the five elements. For example, if you have a predominance of Metal elements in your dining room, you may opt for a wood table to balance the room, or, vice versa, if there is a predominance of Wood elements.

Each of the five elements appears in nature in their literal form. For example, the Water element in its purest form is literally water. The same is true with the Fire element and all the other elements. The elements can show up in our spaces in their literal form or in a symbolic form as well. Each of the five elements has a particular shape and color associated with it that symbolically represents its energy. This is a great way to bring in the elements into our décor if the element in its natural state isn’t accessible.

For example, you could have an indoor water fountain as part of the feng shui in your home to bring in the water element. But you could also incorporate a wavy shape into your accessories to represent the Water element. In the following sections, you will discover creative ways to bring in the five elements into your interiors. In fact, you will soon realize that everything in your home is already composed of one or more of the five elements and start seeing the items in your home in a completely new way.

It’s important to note that most furnishings and accessories are comprised of one or more than one element, depending on their complexity. For example, a square mirror will have properties of the Wood element (square) and the Water element (mirror). Some items that have an arrangement of colors, shapes, and textures may even carry the energy of all five elements. For example, the image of a potted bamboo plant is often used to exemplify the five elements. The bamboo is the Wood element, its container is the Earth element, the rocks are the Metal element, and the water is the Water element. To complete the five elements, a decorative red ribbon or string is usually added to represent the Fire element.

Artwork is another way to bring any of the elements into the feng shui of your home. Whether it is an abstract painting of a landscape with trees or a photo of the Redwood National Forest, either way the Wood element is coming through the artwork and into the room it is displayed. Imagery is very impressionable to our subconscious mind and therefore an extremely effective way to transfer the elements into spaces. The colors, shapes, objects, and even the mounting materials used for the art piece all play a role in what element or elements are being projected.

In the following sections, you will see the various ways that each of the five elements can be incorporated into your home’s décor. Each element has a particular shape and color associated with it. A list of common examples is also included, although it is by no means an exclusive list.

Wood Elements in Interiors

The Wood element is a very common element used in interiors. Trees provide us with an abundance of wood that is used to create common furnishings in interiors. Because Wood is extremely sturdy, while also malleable and easy to shape, it is used in many forms within a home, from the framing of a house to the furniture to the flooring. In areas where trees and lumber processing are more easily accessible, homes are often made of wood, called stick construction.

Wood is a favorite material for furniture makers too because of its strength and ability to shape. I have always been amazed at how wood can maintain its strength and structure even after it has been chopped down and removed from its energy source. In fact, wood is composed of a protein that becomes stronger as it becomes dryer. Most living things lose their strength when it is dead, but wood only gets stronger.


The shape associated with the Wood element is columnar. Anything vertical-shaped embodies the energy of the Wood element because it expresses the energy of growth and expansion. Columns are a Wood element that is an architectural feature built into the feng shui of homes for structural or aesthetic purposes. Artificial or real bamboo stalks are another example of the Wood element. Tall furniture is another example. Because the Wood element is yang in nature, it will naturally draw the eye up as opposed to down. The number one is also an expression of the Wood element. The shape of the number one is columnar and represents independence and leadership, all qualities of the Wood element energy.


The color green is the color that represents the energy of the Wood element in feng shui. Its not surprising that green is the color associated with growth, nature, trees, and plants.

Common Wood Element Household Items

Plants and flowers
Wood Furniture, including chairs, tables, consoles, etc.
Wood flooring
Wood paneling
Wood cabinetry
Vertical blinds
Cotton (derivative of wood)
Rugs and carpet
Pillows, drapery, and fabrics

Fire Elements in Interiors

The most common Fire elements in interiors are the stove and fireplace. These are obviously related to the Fire element since they emit a flame, or at least intended to do so. In feng shui, the stove represents ones personal power because of it relationship to the Fire element. Candles are another common way to incorporate fire into interiors. Nothing sets the mood like lit candles. Not surprisingly, candles are best paired with a dimly lit room. The combination of the yin room and the yang candle make it a great combination because of the balance and contrast of the yin and yang energy.

Natural and artificial lighting is one of the best and easiest ways to bring in the Fire element into spaces. After all, the sun is the ultimate Fire element. Windows provide a portal connecting our interior spaces with the exterior world, particularly natural light. Without windows, we would be living in a closed box that would be extremely dark and yin. In most floor plans, as many windows as possible are built into homes for this reason. We are generally drawn to light because the Fire element is life force to us. Our home is our refuge from the rest of the world. The proportion of windows to solid walls will determine how much of a sense of public exposure, which is yang energy, to privacy, which is a yin energy, we will have.

Notice the lighting in your home. Does it tend to be dark (yin) or light (yang)? I’ve lived in spaces that didn’t get a lot of light and noticed that it affected my energy level. I was able to nest and take a lot of naps, but it was challenging to get motivated. Do your favorite areas in your home get lots of natural light, or do they tend to be more yin? Ideally, our spaces should have a combination of both for proper feng shui balance in the home when we need to rest and go inward and when we want to be energetic and productive. The Fire element through lighting is the best way to balance this. If a room doesn’t get adequate natural light, then use artificial lighting to make up for it.

Adjusting the natural light coming through windows is another way to control the amount of the Fire element. If too much sunlight is coming through, particularly on the South side of the home, then using drapery or blinds is helpful. On the contrary, to allow more natural light, open window coverings. At night, windows take on a yin quality because they create a black hole effect. They actually pull energy out of spaces, so it is important to close window blinds or drapes at night.

Pets are also considered Fire elements. Think of our furry friends as little balls of energy. This may be the case too if you have a two-year old running around. Accessories made from animals are also considered Fire elements, such as animal skins, feathers, leather, and animal heads. Below are some other ways the Fire element is represented.


The shape associate with the Fire element in feng shui is the triangle. The triangle shape is three-sided and represents expansion in its highest expression. A triangle has three points, the third of which is a byproduct of the two points. When two people need expansion outside of themselves, they will seek a third point in the form of a child, a project, another person, or a cause. The number three is also associated with the Fire element in feng shui because of the triangular shape.

Triangular-shaped décor items are not as common as other shapes. In fact, the points of a triangle can create what is called poison arrows. Poison arrow is the term used in feng shui for a sharp point of energy projecting into a space and results in inauspicious energy. However, if used intentionally, triangular or pyramid-shaped objects can add a positive spark of energy to spaces. For example, pyramid-shaped crystals can be used to enhance intention and focus in an office or meditation space.


The color associated with the Fire element in feng shui is red. The color red can be used to add a touch of the Fire element in spaces.

Common Fire Element Household Items

Light bulbs
Triangular lampshades
Red brick
Leather upholstery
Wool upholstery
Animal skin rugs or throws

Earth Elements in Interiors

The Earth element in interiors adds warmth to spaces, according to the philosophy of feng shui. The dirt or soil is what we commonly think of as what the earth is made of. When we feel ungrounded, one of the best things to do is to put your hands in the dirt, take a walk, or even lay on the ground. There is a grounding nature to the Earth. If you’ve been on a boat or plane for very long, it feels wonderful to simply feel the earth under your feet. This grounding nature of the Earth element is what adds a grounding energy to our spaces as well.

If you’ve ever been to the desert Southwest, then you are familiar with the Earth element. For example, a typical Santa Fe home is made of adobe because of the abundance of clay dirt. Weaved baskets and terra cotta pots are common accessories. The Southwest motif usually consists of a combination of squares and rectangles. Earth tones are usually used throughout the spaces to blend with the landscape. All of these are examples of the Earth element at use in the feng shui of a house. In Southwest décor, the Fire element is often used in tandem with the Earth element as the two elements pair nicely with each other. Wood beams and furniture are also used as a contrasting element.

The Earth element is the container for all the other elements and so baskets and pots are considered to be Earth elements. Even a house itself as a whole is considered to be an Earth element because it is in essence a container. If a space is feeling cold and sterile, adding Earth elements is a great to warm it up and make it feel cozy. Earth element people make us feel safe and secure and so does a space with Earth elements. However, in the same way that an Earth element person can make us feel smothered and constricted so too can an improperly balanced space with too many Earth elements.

Clay, which is a derivative of the soil, is used to create a variety of materials, such as adobe, tile, and pottery. When fire is used in conjunction with clay, it hardens and creates a more solid substance. This is how the interplay of the Fire element and Earth element work according to feng shui and Daoist principles. On the other hand, adobe architecture is not conducive in wet climates because the Earth element and Water element are not compatible and will result in mold and mud.

Brick is often used on the exterior of homes and as an accent finish in interiors. Brick is a composite of clay (Earth element) and sand (Metal element) and fired (Fire element) in a kiln. It combines all three of these elements. The color of the brick may help determine which element feels dominant. For example, red brick will feel more fiery, while a sand colored brick may look more like an Earth element, particularly with its rectangular shape.


The shape associated with the Earth element in feng shui is square or rectangle. Both have four corners and thus the number four is also associated with the Earth element. The number four is about grounding and foundation, which exemplifies the energy of the Earth element. If you look around your home, you will see that the square shape is quite common in interiors, i.e. tables, beds, and frames. This gives grounding to rooms and spaces.


The colors used to bring in the Earth element in feng shui are earth tones, such orange, yellow, and brown. Neutrals and monotones would also be considered Earth elements.

Common Earth Element Household Items

Flower pots
Square or rectangle tables
Terra cotta
Tile flooring
Tile backsplashes

Metal Elements in Interiors

True to its character, the Metal element gives shape and form to many household furnishings. For example, a metal base is often used to give support to a table. Lamp bases, chair legs, window casings are other examples. Metal is also used in building construction, particularly in multi-story buildings in the form of steel construction where strength is paramount. Metal is often used for appliances, such as a stainless steel dishwasher. Metal comes in a variety of forms, including aluminum, steel, and iron. Because of the functionality of the Metal element, it most commonly occurs in our spaces in its literal form as opposed to symbolically.

All variations of rock are also considered to be Metal elements in feng shui. Different composites of rock are used to create granite, slate, and marble finishes in homes. These finishes are often used as countertops because of the compatibility of the Metal and Water elements. For example, a wood countertop would soak up water, whereas a granite countertop is impervious to water and is able to maintain its integrity. This is the same reason metal is used for plumbing fixtures and even copper plumbing lines.

Metal is also used for decorative purposes in a balanced feng shui home. For example, metal art and frames are common. Accenting furniture and art with gold and silver is another way to bring Metal into a space. Including rocks in a decorative arrangement is a nice way to include the Metal element in an organic way. Crystals and gemstones are also Metal elements and can be used decoratively and/or to energetically charge spaces according to feng shui. Gemstones are known for having energetic properties specific to their color and composition and are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 16.


The shape associated with the Metal element in feng shui is round. I always think of a metal washer used in construction as an example of the round shape of the Metal element. Examples of round-shaped items include tabletops, clocks, mirrors, lamp or table bases.


The colors associated with the Metal element in feng shui are gold, silver, white, and pastels. Gold and silver are the most common associations with metal because base metals most commonly occur in this way.

Common Metal Element Household Items

Granite and slate countertops
Marble finishes
Aluminum finishes
Stone finishes, i.e. exterior of home, fireplace
Copper finishes
Salt lamps
Rod-iron railing
Metal chair legs
Metal table bases
Wall clocks
Metal art
Crystals and gemstones

Water Elements in Interiors

The Water element is most naturally present in interiors in the form of plumbing. In feng shui, water represents money. Ideally, you want a gentle flow of water whether from water fountain or depicted in artwork. Still water can have a calming effect, but could represent stagnation with regards to money. Rushing water could cause too much upheaval. In feng shui, bathrooms are not considered auspicious because of the flushing energy, particularly from toilets. For this reason, bathrooms can cause energetic problems depending on where they are located. Chapter 13 will take a more in-depth look at the placement of bathrooms with regards to the five elements and the Bagua Map.

In Jungian psychology, water represents our emotions in our collective consciousness. In my book Mind Body Home, more specific associations are given to the significance of water leaks in homes and how it pertains to our emotions. If you’ve ever had a water leak, a toilet overflow, or a pipe burst, then you know how quickly water can wreak havoc in our spaces. As discussed earlier, the Water element is unassuming in its power. This is such an example.

When water is controlled and used in balance, then it can have very positive effects on the feng shui of our house. The Water element adds a calming energy to interiors, which is why indoor water fountains are popular. Water is naturally purifying to the air and the sound of water can be very relaxing. This introspective quality is the gift of the Water element and can be incorporated into our spaces to provide a relaxing atmosphere.

The Water element can also be used symbolically in the feng shui of your home as well. Glass is the most common representation of the Water element in interiors. Windows, glass-top tables and desks, and glass accessories, such as vases and dinnerware, are common examples. Mirrors are also considered to be Water elements. The reflective quality of windows and mirrors mimics how water reflects light in nature.

When glass is used for dinnerware, for example a drinking glass, it is combined with the container shape of the Earth element. In fact, almost all Water elements in interiors will be combined with other elements for support. Water is usually used as an accent, in combination with at least one other element in a home with proper feng shui. For example, in the case of windows, the stability of wood or metal is necessary to support it. This is an example of how the elements work together in the five elements cycle.

The yin nature of water requires the support of another element to control or contain it, such as Metal or Earth. Otherwise, it will be uncontrollable and end up causing damage. For example, imagine drinking water without a glass to contain it. This is what happens with water leaks. The water becomes too much of a force and breaks through the Metal, Wood, or Earth boundary that was used to control it. The following are more ways in which the Water element is represented.


The shape that represents the Water element in feng shui is a wavy or curvilinear shape. You can think of the typical shape drawn for a wavy ocean. Patterns with curves, such as paisley or scrolls, are examples of the Water element. Tables or sofas with a curvature shape would be a Water element, most likely mixed with another element such as wood or metal.


The color associated with Water in feng shui is black and shades of blue. We most commonly associate the color blue with water, which is really a reflection of the sky. This is also why the color black is associated with Water as well. If you think of water at night, reflecting the night sky, it is black. Depending on the moon phase, it will also have a reflective quality too.

We don’t think about using black in our homes very often, but it can make a statement when used in moderation. For example, a black accent wall can really highlight colorful artwork. Also if used sparingly, it can actually make spaces seem lighter because of the contrast that it creates.

Common Water Element Household Items

Indoor water fountains
Bathtubs and showers
Glass vases
Glass bottles
Glass dinnerware and serving pieces
Glass top tables
Glass top desks
Glass pitchers
Mirror-surfaced furniture

Now that you have a good sense as to how each of the elements expresses themselves in everyday interiors according to the principles of feng shui, take a look around your home. Notice if you have a predominance of one or more of the elements. Notice what element(s) your favorite items or finishes consist of. You may notice that you will shop for home furnishings through a whole new lens.

This article on feng shui in your house and home is excerpted from Decorating With the Five Elements of Feng Shui by Tihsa Morris.

About The Author

Tisha Morris is a feng shui consultant, certified life coach, energy healer, and yoga instructor. She is also the author of Feng Shui Your Life (Turner Publishing, 2011) and Mind, Body, Home (Llewellyn, 2014). She is a Red Ribbon Member of the International Feng Shui Guild (IFSG). Visit her website:


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Enlightened Living Guide
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We respect your privacy. We will never sell or share your information.