Make Your Home More Comfortable During COVID-19

Use the principles of ancient Chinese home design to enhance your living space
August 6, 2020 Updated: August 6, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the inside of my house is looking way too familiar. So much so that I don’t notice the accumulation of shoes by the front door, the minefield of dog toys in the hallway, or the clutter gathering on my kitchen countertops. However, over the past few days I have been paying attention, and those several small messes are beginning to stress me out. I realize that I’ve become a little lazy and complacent because I’m at home all the time. However, I also know that with a few tweaks my space can feel more calming—thanks to some of the simple principles of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of changing your environment to enhance its energy. In ancients times, it was originally employed to determine the most auspicious place to situate buildings. However, over the centuries, Feng Shui has become a way to optimize your internal space and yard to improve your well-being.

By using the principles of Feng Shui, you can change almost any space into one that feels better. For example, when you walk into a home that’s incredibly cluttered (mine isn’t that bad), it makes you feel chaotic and stressed out. However, cleaning up the clutter creates some white space that makes those same rooms feel relaxed and inviting.

Without understanding much about Chinese medicine, you can incorporate some of the principles of Feng Shui into your own personal space to bring a little calm and comfort, which is especially important during these unsettling times. Here are a few simple fixes:

Clean up the clutter. As mentioned above, clutter is stressful and it hurts your eyes. Start with the easy things, such as picking up clothes and shoes and relegating papers and incoming mail to a desk or inbox. It’s amazing how different your space can feel just by getting rid of the visual chaos.

Fix or replace broken objects. A dripping faucet, torn screens, a frayed rug, or broken doorbell are stressful, even when they become part of your everyday landscape. Also, they’re energetic obstacles—things that aren’t quite right.

Balance the five elements in your space. The five elements are fundamental substances that represent all patterns in nature. Here’s what you need to know:

  • For the fire element, include the color red or shades of red, use candles, accent your fireplace, and include artwork that incorporates fiery colors or images.
  • To feature the element of earth, use earth tones, such as yellow, brown, beige, and ochre. Include objects such as pottery, rocks, and crystals. Even adding plants potted in soil adds some of the earth element to your space.
  • For metal, use the colors white, silver or light gray. Also incorporate metallic objects, such as lamps, picture frames, and sculptures.
  • Water colors are black, deep blue, and dark gray. A small fountain, aquarium, or art with water scenes also symbolize the water element.
  • The wood element is represented by the color green or blue/green. Plants and wooden objects, as well as art depicting plants and wooden picture frames also work.

Pay special attention to your entryway—inside and out. It represents first impressions and is also how Qi, or energy, enters your home. Make sure your entry is well-lit, clean, and clutter-free.

In addition, your door number should be clean, hung straight, and visible. Also, if your front door creates a pathway straight through to your back door, create ways to slow the energy moving through your space down. For example, use patterned throw rugs, a small table near your entry, and interesting, arresting artwork. Do this because you don’t want the energy to come straight through the front door and head right out the back. It’s like having a visual highway through your home.

Clean your windows. The windows in your home represent your eyes to the world, and show you what gifts the universe has in store for you. If your windows are streaked or dusty, grab some diluted vinegar or glass cleaner and apply elbow grease.

Allow lots of natural light as possible into your space. It welcomes and enhances the energy in your home. Feng Shui is more than what you can see. Beyond the visual, incorporating the other senses increases the impact of the energetic attributes of your space. For example, sound can be enhanced through the use of wind chimes or a water fountain. Your sense of smell can be drawn in through the use of scented candles, flowers, aromatic herbs, or essential oils. And tactile items, such as fabrics and textured art can evoke the sense of touch.

So, while my house still looks lived in, I spent a little time decluttering my front entryway and clearing off my kitchen counters. The torn screen door has been replaced, and I’ve given my houseplants some extra attention. I have a balsam sachet above the fireplace that reminds me of my childhood and the windows are clean. As a result, my home is a little more pleasant, relaxing, and where I want to be during COVID-19.

Lynn Jaffee is a licensed acupuncturist and the author of “Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health.” This article was originally published on