Don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting inside your home. Aside from having appropriate overhead, ambient and task lighting for various activities in each room, lighting also plays a role in helping to balance the energy in your home. It is the strongest manifestation of energy and is one of the very basics of good Feng Shui.
Yin/Yang. In Feng Shui, we can think of lighting in terms of yin and yang, complimentary yet opposing forces. Bright lights are considered yang, while dimly lit areas are considered yin. Finding your personal balance of yin/yang energy is important for maintaining your comfort level in a space.
Fire Element. Lighting in the home symbolizes the sun’s energy, the Fire Element. If the Fire element is missing or not well represented in a space, the result may feel stagnant and heavy. Conversely, adequate lighting can lift chi in a room. In fact, light can stimulate a person’s chi by bringing in more yang energy to a yin situation. Anyone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can attest to full spectrum lighting used for this purpose.
Daytime. Of course, we can maximize available sunlight by opening blinds or curtains on windows, inviting the sun’s energy inside to keep the chi moving. Overhead lighting or traditional lamps can also be used to bring Fire energy to balance a room that has too much yin energy (i.e., a room that has no windows or is located in the north side of a home). Placing lights in or near the corner of a room is another way to keep the chi circulating.
Nighttime. In the evening when our chores are done we may not need or want bright lights. The invention of dimmer switches (Joel Spira, 1959) is certainly one of my favorite lighting tools. It gives us control over the brightness level and allows us to adjust the ambience of a room with just the slide of a finger or turn of the dial. For those of us who prefer a more yin atmosphere, ambient floor lamps, salt lamps or candles can be used to add a soft glow. Adding LED ceiling string lights is a fun way to raise the chi in a room.
Which Bulb? Light should always illuminate and help in making your eyes rest easy. Choosing the right bulb will help eliminate shadows and glare. Here are three bulb types you can use:
Halogen: This type of light provides equal distribution in a space, which is ideally used in floor or table lamps.
LEDs: Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are cooler and more energy efficient. They are ideal as spotlights or recessed lamps.
Full Spectrum: This type of light simulates natural light or sunlight which stimulates the body’s circadian rhythm and hormones. They also produce less glare and shadow.
Bulbs can make or break an area’s overall harmony. In general, bright lights are best for larger spaces while soft lights work well in smaller areas.
Feng Shui Bagua. We might use lights to activate an area of life that corresponds to one of the Life Aspirations of the Feng Shui Bagua. For example, in the Wealth corner of your home (far left corner), you may intentionally hang a crystal chandelier to emphasize abundance every time it is switched on. Or in the Relationship area of your home (far right corner), you might hang a crystal in the window to capture and reflect the light and use this as an affirmation for bringing love into your life.
Take a look at the lighting in your home with Feng Shui eyes. Do you feel comfortable with the balance of light and dark? Is the energy uplifting when you walk in a room? If not, sometimes just a small adjustment in the balance of the Fire element can make a world of difference in how we feel in our spaces. Remember that lighting in Feng Shui isn’t just about illumination – it’s about re-energizing our homes so we can have happier and healthier lives.