5 mistakes a Feng Shui expert always notices when they walk into a home

There might be a lot to learn about Feng Shui, but these common mistakes are easy to avoid once you know about them

modern bed room
(Image credit: Marco Ricca. Design Ali Budd Interiors)

No matter how many cozy throws I buy or candles I light, something is off in my home. For months I have been unable to put my finger on it, but there is an unsettled energy in the air that is making me feel unbalanced. Surely I am not the only one who wants a calm space to unwind after a long day. A sanctuary is something we all crave but are we unconsciously putting obstacles in the way of this?

According to Feng Shui expert Gary Hawkes, there are 5 things disrupting the peace in your home that he'll notice straight away when he's with a client. Once you have made these alterations you will feel the vibe shift and feel more in tune with your home. 

Some of them will feel obvious, although we still need a nudge to change it, whilst others are a little more obscure. I can't wait to implement these changes for my own living room Feng Shui and feel at one with my home.

 1. Too much clutter

Obviously a cluttered house is not going to help you to relax, you don't need any expert to tell you that. Although perhaps having a Feng Shui expert explain it too you might prompt you to do something about it.

'One of the biggest mistakes I see is people holding on to lots of things they never use,' says Gary Hawkes, a Feng Shui expert. He's looking at you hoarders!

'Sell, gift to charity or throw out anything that you haven’t used within the last 2 years. This will be a great and cathartic thing to do. I could write about book about the benefits from this alone,' he explains. Luckily there are plenty of decluttering tips out there to help you get started.

'This allows the energy to flow through your home without interference, clears your mind, creates tranquillity and allows space for new life to enter.' If that isn't motivation for a summer clear out I don't know what is. Start with one room and watch how it slowly regenerates the space, soon you will have decluttered the whole house.

2. Bad lighting 

When we talk of Feng Shui we usually think of furniture placement, like which way my bed should face? Or should a sofa go in front of a window? But we might be missing a very important trick. According to our expert lighting and and quality have just as much of an impact on the Feng Shui of your space. 

'Bad lighting is a big mistake,' says Gary, 'like using non-dimmable blue-white energy bulbs instead dimmable warm white bulbs.' This goes for main lights and lamps before you ask!

'Get rid of scented candles that aren’t made from beeswax or soya and only contain essential oils rather than artificial fragrances,' Gary also suggests. 'Buy a really good air purifier and ionizer especially for your bedroom and make sure to allow fresh air in, open windows at least once a day and air your home.'

You may already do this but it is important to recognize the influence it has on your space and combined with the other practices can have a huge impact.

3. Bad bedding 

Too many people suffer an uncomfortable mattress, unwilling to spend the extra money because people will never see it. This is almost definitely why you are sleeping badly, but part of a larger Feng Shui obstacle that is disrupting your space. Gary promotes investing in quality furniture, particularly in natural materials to harmonize your space. 

'Make your home your sanctuary with only beautiful things you love, if it doesn’t fill you with joy, feel incredibly comfortable or work well then change it for something that does,' he explains. This luxe vibe is definitely something we can get on board with, plus it is the backbone of our favorite trend of the year, minimaluxe.

'Buy the very best bed and bedding you can afford so that every night you climb into your bed it feels like heaven and enables you to have a great night's sleep,' he says. There is something so calming about styling your bed like a hotel at the start of the day, and knowing you get to crawl into it later. It is time to change that outdated mattress and sheets you've had since college and this is your sign to do it.

4. Layouts with your back to the door

Taking it back to the traditional Feng Shui principles we immediately recognize, bed and chair placement is incredibly influential. There are very real rules to follow with this, like where you should never place your sofa. The bedroom is no different.

'Sitting or sleeping with your back to the entrance is a terrible thing to do,' Gary says, 'part of our brain is primitive and we have an animalistic part to ourselves that is preoccupied with survival. Not being able to see the entrance and who’s entering is very unsettling for that part of our brains so we cannot fully relax with our backs to an entrance, we remain alert and tense which burns our energy.' 

If you want to sleep easy then you must change the layout of your bedroom Feng Shui and focus on your bedtime rituals. If the subconscious part of your brain is alert no number of calming smells or noises will relax you. Once you understand the principles of Feng Shui you can appreciate the very real effect it can have on your life and well-being.

5. A TV in the bedroom 

This might be a tough pill to swallow for you film buffs and Netflix lovers, but we promise it will enhance your life, even if that means waiting a day to watch the latest Kardashians episode.

I think we all know binge watching is not optimal for sleep. But for some reason we continue to put large screens in our bedrooms. electrical gadgets also disrupt the rooms energy in a feng shui sense, which has led Gary to draw a firm line under what is allowed in a bedroom. 'No tv’s or gadgets, all electrics and Wi-Fi should be turned off when sleeping,' he says, 'blue light stimulates the brain which is the last thing you want for a good nights sleep. 

Hopefully with all these changes I will be able to irradicate my bad feng shui and enjoy some balance in my home. Test it out for yourself and watch as everything falls into place.

3 buys to help harmonize your home 

Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.