Feng Shui For Money and Wealth:
How to Apply The Ancient Chinese Science of Decorating Your Home For Prosperity
BY CLEAR ENGLEBERT
the design and decoration of a space affects the feng shui energetics that influence money and wealth. photo: jamie saw
Feng Shui For Money and Wealth Basics
Feng shui is a way of manipulating energy by the conscious placement of objects in our environment. The objects we control send out messages about how we would like our lives to work. Those messages are goingout whether we intend them or not. Feng shui gives us a way to send the messages we want to send. The energy (chi in Chinese) that is manipulated is both the energy of our bodies (where we can physically move in a room or space) and the energy of our minds (what draws our attention).
Problems and Solutions
There are always situations in homes that are not ideal feng shui. If possible, change the situation so that the problem no longer exists—that’s called a real fix. When you can’t really get rid of a problematic object or situation, there are symbolic fixes, which are usually much more feasible. The appropriate fix is one that has the correct symbolism and is affordable and in keeping with your style.
In the science of feng shui, symbolic fixes are sometimes called cures or solutions. When it isn’t possible to make an actual change, use a physical object (sometimes very small), which symbolizes your intention for change. At the time you place the object, say out loud what your intention is. You won’t have to say that or think about it again. So whether the change you make is real or symbolic, once you’ve done it, just go on with your happy life.
The most common symbolic cures in feng shui are crystals, wind chimes, mirrors and the color red. It’s fine to use more than one fix as long as the rationale for each is different, so that they are not redundant.
In feng shui philosophy, a crystal represents the dispersing of energy because a clear, faceted crystal can indeed disperse energy—it can refract clear sunlight into rainbows. It can be a manufactured crystal (usually disco ball or octagon shaped) made of clear glass with a high lead content so that it makes rainbows in the sunlight. It can also be a natural, from-the-earth crystal but it must be quite clear or have rutilations that cause rainbows within the crystal. Keep the crystal clean so that it can sparkle. When placing a crystal, say out loud your rationale with words something like, “I am placing this crystal to disperse harsh energy from (name what the problem is) before it reaches people.”
A wind chime disperses the energy of the wind as sound waves, according to the principles of feng shui and can be used instead of a crystal. (Using both a crystal and a wind chime is usually redundant and therefore only creates clutter.) But a wind chime can also attract energy because sound draws our attention. When we hear a sound, we look toward it. Attracting and dispersing are different ways of dealing with energy, and that’s one of the reasons it’s important to announce your purpose.
In feng shui, a mirror can symbolize several different things, depending on its use and what you say when you install it. It is most commonly used to reflect harsh energy away, in which case the shiny, reflective side faces the area where the problem originates. Another use of mirrors is to expand a space, which they do by visually erasing a section of wall. We mostly use small mirrors in feng shui, but when thinking of erasing a wall, imagine the wall covered in one large sheet of custom-cut mirror glass. The wall would visually vanish—replaced with a view of the room. That’s what symbolically happens when you use a very tiny mirror.Any time you use a mirror that is larger than a coin there are several important considerations. Mirrors should not reflect a view of clutter, toilets or only the bottoms of stairs. If you can see part of yourself in a mirror, you must be able to see your head fully and completely; this is true for any adult in the household. Your image must not be distorted by such things as tinting, worn silvering or the cracks between mirror tiles. Finally, a mirror must never be positioned directly across from another mirror. If nothing else, cover one of the mirrors so they do not reflect each other.
Red is the most powerful color in feng shui. It’s the most noticeable color to the eyes of primates, including humans. It is so noticeable that it was chosen for the color of stoplights and stop signs. Red is the color of blood, and it’s used on flags more frequently than any other color. The power of red is used to make a change when a real change is not possible. Red is also used when there’s a need to pull the eyes, and therefore attract energy, in a certain direction.
Yin and Yang
Yin and yang are the two divisions of the ancient Chinese system for categorizing energy and objects, with nothing being totally yin, nor totally yang. They are used to connect ideas and unify knowledge, but not to judge good and bad. The yin/yang symbolizes a very basic concept, balance—a balance that changes, yet stays even. In feng shui, this concept is used to create spaces that feel balanced, not extreme nor excessive.
Yin and yang are not fixed terms. They are relative—one thing is in comparison to another thing. A lake is inherently yin because it is water. Niagara Falls is water, too, but it’s more yang because the water is moving quickly. An iceberg is also water, but it’s more yin than the lake because the water is completely stationary. You are inherently yang because you’re a living being, but you’re more yin when you’re sleeping and more yang when you’re running.
Here is a sampling of yang and yin attributes:
Yang – Yin
Awake – Asleep
Active – Passive
Light – Dark
Hot – Cold
Dry – Wet
Vertical – Horizontal
Hard – Soft
Loud – Quiet
Public – Private
Fast – Slow
Simple – Complicated
New – Old
High – Low
Large – Small
Precise – Approximate
Introduction to the Feng Shui Bagua
The bagua is a nine-area grid, like a tic-tac-toe board, that lies over the floor plan of a building or a room. The areas of the bagua, each with associated elements, colors and shapes, correspond to aspects of a person’s life. The most important places to apply the bagua are in the home as a whole and in rooms where you spend a lot of time, with the bedroom being the most important. It is important to apply the bagua in offices, as well as dens or living rooms if you spend time there. Don’t apply the bagua to bathrooms, closets, halls, foyers and seldom-used rooms. Instead, look at where those rooms lie within the bagua of the home as a whole. It’s the presence of someone living in a space that matters when applying the bagua.
the feng shui bagua is oriented by the entrance wall, which has the main door somewhere along it.
According to feng shui philosophy, the orientation of the bagua is based on the entrance door because that door is the most important part of any building or room. Without a door, the space is useless. For any space, the entrance door is called the mouth of energy. If the room has more than one entrance, as many living rooms do, the main entrance is whichever door is closest to the formal front door.
I think of the feng shui bagua as a complicated yin/yang symbol, with the most yang spaces being toward the far wall as you enter a space. The far wall has a lot of energy because it receives a lot of energy—it’s always the first thing we see when we walk into a room. The two far corners of the back wall are the most powerful corners in a room. The two back corners of the entire home are likewise important and powerful. Even the back corners of your yard are important, as the examples will show.
Feng Shui for Money and Prosperity: The Wealth Corner
The common name for this area in feng shui is the Money Corner or Wealth Corner, and that’s how I usually refer to it, rather than saying the longer and more correct name—Fortunate Blessings Area. However, it’s important to remember that fortunate blessings can take many forms that don’t directly involve money. The location of this corner is derived from the feng shui bagua.
Decorating the Wealth Corner
In the science of feng shui, the Money Corner is in the far left corner as you enter the home or into any room where you spend a lot of time, such as your bedroom. A studio apartment has only one Wealth Corner, and it’s very powerful since all the living is done in that room. Do the right feng shui in a small place like that, and you’ll probably find yourself in a larger home before too long.The feng shui Money Corner should be clutter-free and tidy, with clean windows. This is the wrong place for an open trash can—if the can must be there, it should have a lid. Avoid bare glass edges in your Wealth Corner, and don’t keep broken or malfunctioning objects in this area. If the Money Corner of the home is a child’s bedroom, it’s important to have a picture of the parents or head(s) of the household on the wall in that room. Otherwise, the child can become too powerful in the home.
Colors in Feng Shui
When considering feng shui for creating money and prosperity, remember that purple is the color of wealth. Green’s good too—think of the greenback dollar. Red and blue are also good colors for the Wealth Corner. You certainly don’t have to use them all; I hope that you don’t—the result could be an eyesore. Pick one or possibly two of the colors that you think would look good together in the far left corner of your space and use rich tones of that color. If you’re planning to paint a wall or two anyway, the glory of paint is that it costs no more to add some pigment. Then you’ve got a nice big dose of the right color in your feng shui Money Corner. Consider giving it a try. Live with the right color in the right area for six months, and you’ll probably love the result so much that you wouldn’t consider painting over it.
Purple’s not for everyone, and if it’s not for you, please skip on down to the next color. If you already like purple, or think you could be talked into it, read on. Purple is the color of royalty. That was the case in ancient China and in ancient Rome; in both cultures only royalty were allowed to wear purple. The island that produced purple dye (from seashells) was left off of the ancient Roman maps of the Mediterranean so that emperors could maintain their monopoly of the color.
Purple doesn’t go well with many other colors, but it looks great with yellow, green, beige, pink or white. Blue and purple are not a good combination, and black with purple is too somber. Violet is a fiery purple, with more red and less blue, and is quite an appropriate option.
If it’s in keeping with your style, I highly recommend painting an accent wall purple in the feng shui Money Corner of your bedroom and/or the Wealth corner of the whole home. I got this email from a client several years ago:
You came to our house to do a consult right after we moved in and suggested that I paint a wall in my bedroom red or purple—it was the wealth corner of the house and also the wall that connected the wealth and relationship corners in my room. Well, I painted the wall a deep, vibrant purple and a number of things happened: We sold the house for almost three times what we paid for it; I became romantically involved with a friend; and my son-in-law got an offer to work.
Green is one of the colors I recommend most frequently for interiors. While a light sage green is restful to live with, the purpose of green in the feng shui Money Corner is to look rich, so use a vivid hue such as forest green, Kelly green, or emerald green. One of the nicest things about green is that various shades of it rarely clash with each other—so mixing and matching greens can look as natural as different leaves in the forest.Red
The most important thing to remember about red tones used in the feng shui Money Corner is that they should be fiery, not earthy. Use bold reds such as crimson or scarlet. Bold does not have to be brash—there are also rich, sophisticated reds like oxblood red and Chinese red.
A mortgage broker called me to consult for her firm. I had consulted for them when they first opened ten years before, and I was pleased to hear she wanted some different colors. Previously, we had put a rich green on the back wall, and this time I was hoping I could talk her into red. It’s often difficult to talk someone into a rich red wall. That wouldn’t be my recommendation in most homes—but in an office situation, red on a distant back wall looks energizing without being overpowering. The large painting that was to stay in the center of the wall had a good bit of earthy red, but there was a very rich true red in a few small places, and that’s what we tried to match. It worked like a charm. Even before she reopened, people were looking in the window, then coming in to say how beautiful the colors were. We had picked a light, greyish almond color for the other walls in that room, and the result was magnificent. The trim was pure white, which looked clean and crisp and didn’t interfere with the other colors.
A most amazing use of red inside a home was in an old San Francisco Victorian building. The couple had painted the back wall of the bedroom a very sophisticated red, a very deep red. My first words were, “How many coats?” They said, “Five, and in some places six.” It does take more than one coat to get saturation with the color red. This was ultra-saturation, and there was a frieze along the top foot of the high wall. They had taken lines from an Antonio Machado poem and stenciled them in large letters so that you read it by turning fully around in the room. The words were something like, “I dreamed there were bees, and they were taking all the foibles and troubles of my life and making honey and honeycomb.” It was one of the most wonderful rooms I’ve ever been in.
Blue does not usually go well with green, so it’s safest to pick one or the other. Cobalt blue and royal blue are some of the best blues for this area because they’re the richest. Blue glass is appropriate here, as is ruby glass. Don’t paint a bedroom blue if a couple sleeps there because it’s a cool color symbolizing a cool relationship.
What if your refrigerator is in your feng shui Money Corner? Having that very boring, functional appliance in that particular area was the predicament of one of my San Francisco clients. To enhance the area, I recommended she replace the refrigerator with one that was cobalt blue. She jumped at the opportunity because she was planning to replace the fridge eventually. The next time I consulted for her, it was at her new chiropractic office, which was several times larger than her previous one. She doesn’t regret the pretty penny she paid for the blue fridge—her practice has continued to prosper. Any fridge in a Wealth Corner should be kept shiny and free of magnets and notes.
Another room that may be a challenge to “dress up” when it’s located in the feng shui Money Corner is a laundry room. I told one client to make hers look royal, and she quickly went to work using purple carpet tiles and extravagantly beautiful pictures. She said that within a few hours she got a call from someone asking her to manage a vacation rental, which she described as the most lucrative part of her livelihood. For both clients, the rich colors helped them say, “This area is about wealth.”
The far left corner of the feng shui bagua is the money corner.
Symbols of Prosperity in Feng Shui
The most powerful symbol of prosperity is an object that cost a lot of money. It can be as small as a stamp or as large as furniture. Expensive objects are the main things I recommend for the feng shui money corner. I collect bookends, and I’m happy to say I have a vintage Tiffany bookend in our Wealth Corner. My husband was visibly shocked when I told him how much I paid for it—his words still echo in my head: “You paid that much for a bookend?” The instant I heard that, I knew I’d bought the right bookend and put it in the right place, and I’ve certainly never regretted it. And he got over it when I showed him how much they’re selling for on eBay.
The valuable object does not have to be visible. One client hid a ruby under the carpet of the house he had for sale. The house was empty and just sitting on the market. I went to the Money Corner of the home, which was in the master bedroom. I yanked up a very small area of carpet in the corner, and said, “Do you have anything valuable you can put here?” He said he had a ruby, and I replied, “Sir, if you’re willing to put a ruby in this corner, I predict very good things.” The place sold lickety-split, and the seller retrieved his ruby before escrow closed. Many people put expensive jewelry in their Wealth Corner, and that’s perfect. Because costume jewelry is artificial, it would not be good in the feng shui Money Corner unless the jewelry is collectable and valuable in its own right.
Actual money kept in a Wealth Corner should be hundred-dollar bills or collectable currency worth at least that much. A piggy bank or big glass jug with coins inside is not appropriate in the Money Corner—it’s small change. The money doesn’t have be visible; it can be safely tucked away.
Representations of Money
Things that look like money, but that you can’t really spend, are not recommended in the feng shui Money Corner. This includes objects with dollar signs as their design, as well as fake money, such as from board games or enlarged reproductions of paper money. Don’t store bills that you owe or have paid in the Wealth Corner. They represent money leaving you.
If possible, put a fountain in your Money Corner and keep it going. If you’re willing to do that, you won’t look back. Some feng shui consultants advise not having water or images of water in a bedroom. I’ve not seen a detrimental effect in people’s lives when they have water images in their bedrooms—just don’t overdo it by using water as the main decorative theme in the room. Here’s my advice: When a bedroom is in the feng shui Money Corner of the whole house and whoever sleeps there doesn’t mind the fountain going all the time, then consider installing one. Some people find that keeping a fountain going all the time is like having a pet because a fountain does require attention. What you never want in a Wealth Corner is a fountain that isn’t circulating water—you would be sending a message opposite to the one you intend.
A woman took one of my classes on the feng shui bagua, and as a result she put a fountain in a corner of the large master bedroom, which was also the Money Corner of the whole house. Her husband pooh-poohed the idea, but within a week their coffee shop reached the daily sales goal they had set for it, but had never quite made. A few days later they exceeded the goal. The wife thought she’d have some fun with her previously doubting husband. She said, “I think you’re right. I think the fountain had nothing to do with our record-setting days. I’m going to remove it.” “Oh, no you don’t!” was his response.
If you do have a fountain in the bedroom, feel free to turn it off at night, but use a timer so that it’s already going when you get up in the morning. Fountain motors have very strong electromagnetic fields, which are bad for your health if you have prolonged exposure. Don’t place a fountain within a yard of your body where you sleep or sit frequently.
An aquarium is also a nice addition in the feng shui Money Corner, or even a picture of water. A water image is my most frequent recommendation for Wealth Corners. If growing plants are shown in the picture, so much the better—that symbolizes your wealth growing. A picture showing fresh water is better than a picture of only ocean water because fresh water can sustain you and your vegetable garden.
Wood is the element for the Wealth Corner, and the best way to represent wood is with growing plants. Plants with stiff, pokey leaves are to be avoided. This also applies in the far left corner of your backyard. Dried plants are very bad in any part of the home because they say dead. They once had life energy coursing through them, but that life is gone, and they’re now dead. Artificial plants don’t have that problem because they were never alive. Just keep them clean and very realistically arranged. I mentioned a little earlier that an image of water and plants growing is ideal for feng shui Money Corners. For many people that is the most feasible thing to do. It’s quite easy to find plant pictures, so keep looking until you find one that you like that also shows water.
The ideal living houseplants for the feng shui Money Corner have any of these four characteristics:
The round shape says that the plant is approachable. The succulent aspect symbolizes prosperity because the leaves are fat with water, and water symbolizes wealth. Most succulents need direct sun or they become leggy, so if your Wealth Corner gets lots of sun, jade plant is a perfect choice. Don’t select thorny cactus or pointy-leaf succulents for this area. Certain cactus, such as Christmas cactus, are fine here because they don’t have thorns. The flowers should be a rich red, rather than pink, because this is the area for rich colors.
Expensive and Elegant
Any expensive plant is good in the feng shui Money Corner, but it’s ideal if the plant is expensive and elegant. An extremely expensive African violet would be appropriate, especially if the flower color is a deep, rich tone. But it’s even better if the plant looks expensive to almost anyone. Tall plants are generally excellent in this area but make sure they don’t actually touch the ceiling because that says you’ve reached your limit. Palms are unmistakably elegant and very appropriate here, especially the expensive lady palm (Rhapis excelsia). Consider a variegated lady palm if you can find (and afford) one, but make sure it has a distinct variegation, not a blurry variegation. If your budget won’t stretch quite that far, parlor palm (Chamaedora elegans) is also fine. It’s also known as neanthe bella and although it doesn’t get as tall as most lady palms, it seldom needs repotting and is perhaps the most durable of all indoor palms. These two palms can grow without direct sun and are fairly trouble-free, which is important because sick or dying plants are sending the absolutely wrong message. And you certainly don’t want to spend a lot of money on a plant if you’re not confident you can keep it alive.
Plants That Remind You of Money
Leaves can look like coins or they can look like paper money. Paper money is my favorite, but coins are better than nothing. Dieffenbachia species (also called dumb cane) has large dark green leaves with spots of white that are reminiscent of large paper currency. Jade plant (Crassula ovata) and its close relative silver dollar plant (Crassula arborescens) have rounded fat leaves which are like big coins, so they are good in the Wealth Corner.
Plants with purple leaves or flowers are excellent in the feng shui Wealth Corner. Any African violet that has richly colored flowers is excellent, with purple or violet being the ideal colors. Purple wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina or T. pallida) is easy to grow with adequate sun and water. Velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca), which was also recommended for the Relationship Corner, has beautiful soft, purple hairs and is good in the Wealth Corner as well. Plants with rich red or blue flowers are also excellent.
Windows and Mirrors
Windows in the feng shui Money Corner are a potential problem because they represent opportunities for your wealth energy to leave the home. Put a clear, faceted crystal in the windows. The crystal symbolizes your wish that the wealth energy be dispersed back into the home before it leaves too quickly. Say out loud words to that effect. The crystal can sit on a ledge or hang. It could even be incorporated into a stained glass artwork. Don’t use small, inexpensive crystals for this purpose in the Wealth Corner. Use the largest crystal that will look appropriate in the window.
If the window gets direct sunlight, use an octagonal crystal, rather than a disco-ball shaped crystal, because the octagon shape makes much larger rainbows of color. If the crystal is hanging, make sure that it can’t touch the glass, even in a sudden draft of wind. Lead crystal is softer than glass and the crystal (not the window) will chip if it knocks against the glass. Once the crystal is chipped, it’s no longer appropriate for the Wealth Corner because it is a broken object. Some consultants recommend hanging crystals with red thread; however, I use clear monofilament, such as fishing line, to hang crystals. My reason is that the crystal is the important thing, not what it hangs from.
You could also use sheer curtains over the windows, but they should be made of expensive material, such as silk or real handmade lace. Window treatments in the feng shui Money Corner should be as lavish as is appropriate for your style. My favorite window treatment in this area is a layered look—nice sheers with heavy drapes that are pulled to the side in the day and closed at night. Part of the extravagance of the drapes should be an excess of fabric, where some of it puddles on the floor. Drapes that puddle on the floor are used in feng shui to pull energy upward, which is almost always a good direction to move energy.
Mirrors represent windows—not the tiny coin-size mirrors, but regular-size mirrors in which you can easily see yourself. It’s best to avoid having large mirrors in the feng shui Money Corner since they represent opportunities for wealth energy to leak away.
Other Holes in the Wall
Holes in the wall are also opportunities for energy to leak away, so spackle over any miscellaneous holes that have been left by pins, nails or screws.
Another way that energy can leak out of a home is through wall sockets. If something is plugged into the socket, there is no leak, but if the holes are visible there is leakage. In some homes when the weather is cold, you can feel cold air seeping in through bare sockets on outside walls. That’s not energy coming in—that’s your money going out via your heating bill. The solution is simple—use opaque socket protectors or covers, the kind that prevent babies from sticking things into the sockets. Often, the socket covers are translucent, and those aren’t best for feng shui purposes. Opaque ones are better, preferably in the same color as the socket plate.
Wealth Corner of Backyard
The far left corner of your backyard is also a feng shui Money Corner and should be maintained with special care. Make it inviting with plantings or a decorative object (such as a purple gazing ball) that draws the eye. Do not keep your garbage cans here, but it is fine to have a compost bin—you are making rich soil. One of my California clients had a locked shipping container permanently parked in the Money Corner of her backyard. She said it was full of old files and records, but that she had lost the key years ago. She was having a lot of trouble decluttering her home, and the stagnation in the Wealth Corner of her yard was exacerbating the situation. The feng shui solution in a case like that is a call to the locksmith.
This piece on feng shui for prosperity is excerpted with permission from Feng Shui for Love & Money by Clear Englebert.
About The Author
Clear Englebert has taught feng shui in Hawai‘i and California and consults on homes, gardens and commercial spaces throughout the Islands. He has been featured on television and in a variety of print media and has published three previous feng shui titles for a national audience, Feng Shui Demystified, Bedroom Feng Shui and Feng Shui for Retail Stores. He has also written Feng Shui for Hawai‘i (Watermark Publishing, 2008) and Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens (Watermark Publishing, 2012), with special attention paid to the particular feng shui problems found in island homes and solutions geared toward Hawai‘i-style homes and décor. Visit his website: fungshway.com