Feng Shui Tips for Your Home Office - Natalia Kaylin Feng Shui Consulting & Design

Feng Shui Tips for Your Home Office

It’s been almost a year since many of us have been working from home, including me, consulting via Zoom. It does look like this period of working from home will be prolonged for many reasons and for some it will remain indefinitely. This points to the importance of a well-functioning home office. You must consider this lifestyle change if you are in the market to buy or build a new home. Make sure to get a place with an extra room for your home office.

This article was inspired by consulting for my clients this winter and seeing many different scenarios of how people work from home these days. Many do not have a regular desk and migrate throughout the day with their laptop from the dining table to the coffee table and even the bed. Others used their dining room table more permanently. Some people squeezed a small desk in their guest bedroom while others landed in the basement. Surprisingly all of this happened not only in small 1-2 bedroom houses but in large ones too. Although some of these scenarios are better than others, none of it is ideal. 

If you want to be productive, creative, and successful and minimize your levels of stress, you must have an environment that supports you. You need to give it some thought and invest some time and money to create a better work space for yourself. I am absolutely certain it will pay off a big way. After all, this is the space where you make money! Here are a few things to consider.

Separate room

Having a designated separate room is definitely a big plus and should be your goal. After all, your work is the most important activity after sleeping and eating. Yes, it is convenient to be able to close the door when you need to make client conference calls, but there is so much more to it. When we use a room for a particular activity, the energy is cultivated by repeating that activity.  Arranging the room using colors, furniture, art and accessories can be supportive to our own energy. It doesn’t feel right to work in a bedroom or kitchen, right? Because the energy there is set up for a different activity. The same principle applies to the office. Work is very different from rest, eating or sleeping. It is best to keep work separate from your living space, otherwise if you can see your desk or work related items from your living space, you will always be reminded about unfinished projects and about more work that can be done, which means that it will be harder to relax and recharge your batteries.

Some basements with large windows or sliding doors would be very appropriate for an office because they have plenty of vital energy and often beautiful garden views, but many basements have small windows or no windows, their energy is low and often heavy, so you will feel drained after spending several hours working there.

Even if you can’t have a work designated room, it would be best to have a separate work designated corner of your living room, or other room. It is best to avoid working in bedrooms. It is not a good idea to mix up activities that happen in a bedroom (rest, sleep, sex) with work. These energies are very different. If you have a large one bedroom or studio apartment and the bedroom is the only place where you can set up your office, you must place a screen between your bed and desk and unplug your laptop and other electronics completely at night. 

I worked with my repeat client Gina in January on setting up her office in the guest bedroom. The bed was a queen size with posts and looked pretty massive. The only way Gina was able to fit her desk was in the corner right next to the bed where the night stand used to be. Gina would have to sit facing the wall with the bed on one side and window on the other side. The desk looked totally out of space there.  After we tried a few other things, I was pretty much convinced that she needed to take the bed apart and move it to the basement, especially since Gina mentioned that she will be working from home for at least another year. I know it is not fun to move a bed, but if your situation is similar to hers and your parents visit only once per year or two, it is absolutely worth the trouble. If you have short time visitors once or twice a year, and that’s really how often most people have visitors, you can always buy an air mattress for your guests to use for those few days. Gina was a high ranking manager. It was crucial that she would have a good size desk and sit in a so-called “power” position to feel less stressed and more empowered during her meetings. 

Desk placement 

If we sit in our office facing a wall, we feel restricted. If we sit with our back to the door or window, we feel vulnerable. In order to have a good flow of creative, supportive energy and feel strong and productive, it is best to have an open space in front of us and a solid wall behind us. It is best to sit diagonally from the door and have a window to our side. This way we feel secure, relaxed and empowered. We can see who is entering and can enjoy the view.

Desk material, color and size

Natural wood by far is your best choice. Much research has shown that seeing a wood grain de-stresses us. According to the Environmental Psychologist, Sally Augustine, “seeing real and artificial wood grain has the same effect on us as long as two things are true: the artificial wood is a really, truly good imitation of natural wood and the repeat pattern in the artificial wood is random enough”. The lighter or medium color desk such as maple, cherry or walnut where you can see the grain and patterns in the wood are best.  

Glass is not a good material for the desk or any other kind of table. It is hard and cold and it doesn’t hold energy. Metal is hard and cold as well and not appropriate for the desk. 

The size of the desk should be proportional to your size and the size of the room. If the desk is too big or too small for the room it will feel out of place and every time you enter the room, you will feel that something is off. You don’t want to start your work day with this feeling. I see the desks that are too small way more often than the desks that are too large. If your desk is too small, you will not be able to spread your energy and be reminded all the time that you are restricted and limited and this will influence your performance and feeling of self-worth. 

Color of the room

A lot goes into choosing the right color for the room and person who works there, but here are a few helpful guidelines. 

If the room is too small, choose a lighter and brighter color. 

If the room is in the northern part of the house, choose the warmer and lighter color

If the room is in the southern part of the house and very bright, using a darker and less saturated color would be more balancing.

Blues would be too cold and too relaxing for the home office. However, most people like blues, so make sure it is a warmer and softer shade of blue. 

Greys, whites and beiges are uninspiring and boring. If you use them, make sure to use art with bright colors on the walls. 

Reds are overly stimulating and aggressive for the office. However, the right amount of stimulation is a plus, it inspires creativity and uplifts the mood. If you feel an affinity with lilac, purple, pink or orange colors, choose the shade that is not very saturated and on a softer side. Sometimes but rarely, a bright strong colored accent wall would work well.

Light and warm greens or sage greens are soothing and energizing to our system at the same time and can make a good choice. 

Art and accessories in the office

Similarly to color, a lot goes into choosing a piece of art or a photograph that is right for you and your office. One of the aspects of it would be a certain personal connection to the place depicted in a photo or painting, or a piece that contains a positive emotion of some kind. It could be an amazing nature scene from a place that you love. It could be something that you want. For example, if you want a vacation home on a lake or ocean, or you associate money with freedom to travel to certain places, put a picture reminding you of it in your office. Some people like cars or boats, some get inspired by nature. It’s good to ask yourself what you want. Why do you work hard besides being able to pay bills and provide necessities for yourself and family? What is your inspiration in life? This special piece of art could depict that. If you place it on the wall in front of you, or anywhere you can see it from your desk, it will remind you of the reward for your hard work.  

Plants

I cannot emphasize enough the importance and positivity of plants. There is plenty of research done that shows  a connection with increased productivity and wellbeing in the offices when plants are introduced in them. In addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, plants absorb electromagnetic radiation from all of our devices. They also clean air from toxic substances including household cleaners. I usually suggest placing one or two plants close to the area where your computer, printer and other electronic devices are stationed.

Ergonomics

Your desk and your computer chair should be the right height for you. The chair should have a lumbar support and an arm rest. It is very much worth it to spend time and try different settings on your chair and arm rest height and observe how it feels on your back, shoulders and neck. Sometimes putting a small pillow behind your back can make the difference whether you have a back pain or not. Sometimes it is worth getting a special lumbar pillow. 

Clutter

It is a great practice to declutter and tidy up your office once in a while. Often home offices are full of papers and things and the energy is stagnant. There is no one good rule for everyone on how often to declutter, but I guarantee, every time you declutter, you will feel a burst of good mood, creativity and more energy to support you in your work. Personally I feel irritated and heavy when my space is cluttered. Some creative clutter is okay during a special project, as long as it gets sorted out before it’s too long. And don’t forget the closet! Imagine how much of your energy will free up when you let go of things and papers that you don’t need anymore. 

It is very rewarding and enjoyable to have a clean, beautiful and uplifting work space. Spring is coming and I look forward to opening up the window and getting fresh air, listening to birds and the sounds of nature. 

If you enjoyed these Feng Shui Office Tips, please share it with your friends. 

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