The Chinese New Year is a time for bidding farewell to things that no longer serve us and welcoming in a new, prosperous year. Similarly, when staging a home for the real estate market, it’s important to remove elements that detract from the beauty and functionality of a space and instead focus on the positive emotional connection created in each room of the home.
The art of Feng Shui follows this practice. Feng Shui is a “living art form,” designed to move energy (chi) and create balance in the environment. By creating balance in the home, a person responds to the dwelling on a molecular level – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – thus achieving the health, happiness, relationships and prosperity they desire by living in harmony with their environments.
Unfortunately, too many times I have read advice where using Feng Shui in staging contradicts the fundamental staging principle that the room must appeal to the masses. I prefer a more practical, Western approach to the basics of Feng Shui. There are wonderful truths to incorporate into staging work using Feng Shui, while others (like hanging crystals in the entry) just won’t work at all.
If chi, which is the vital energy that flows through all things, can’t get in and move around, chances are the home interior will feel stale and flat. It doesn’t take much to liven up the chi in a home, encouraging it to flow smoothly throughout the space. Simple changes in the selection, color, and arrangement of a seller’s furnishings can help the space come alive!
- Minimize and remove clutter. Welcome chi with a spacious looking home.
- Be careful the flow to and from a room is not blocked by furniture.
- Only pictures in hallways – no furniture. A few exceptions might be if the hallway is extremely large and needs movement – usually not the situation.
- No shoe racks FILLED with shoes or hat/coat racks FILLED with items by any door.
- No more than five pots hanging on a pot rack in the kitchen.
- No knives on the kitchen counter; nothing sharp or pointed anyplace in or around the home.
- Doors should not squeak or stick, have broken handles, or loose latches.
- Minimal books and bookcases (judgment call) and leave some shelves clear.
- Limit accessories to three on tables.
The main “mouth of Chi” enters through the front door of the home, circulates through the interior and exits through secondary doors and windows. Since chi follows the same pathways that people use, make sure there is nothing obstructing those passages, thus blocking chi. Some of the things that can block chi from entering into the home (AND are staging no-no’s) include
- Cracks or uneven paving stones in a cement path leading towards the front door.
- Overgrown bushes or tree branches hanging in the path (cut them back).
- Inadequate lighting.
- Unstable steps, decking, or handrails.
- Outdoor clutter (garden hoses, toys, bikes, and broken outdoor furniture and pottery).
Following the practice of Feng Shui can contradict some of the staging know-how with which we are so familiar. So walk the fine line and know that buyers’ emotions and mass appeal come first when it comes to staging.
**Feng Shui–whether Flying Stars, Ba-Gua, Form School, or intuitive–is an ancient Asian art and science that requires many years of study and practice to become proficient. Thus, please regard these tips simply as guidelines. Feng Shui is FAR too expansive to summarize in a single blog post!**