Chinese Feng Shui for House
Sell that home with feng shui
Trying to sell a house this year? Consider using feng shui.
The practice, which originated in China, is a very down-to-earth analysis of what does (and doesn’t) make your home appealing and inviting, says Terah Kathryn Collins, author of “The Western Guide to Feng Shui” and founder of the Western School of Feng Shui.
“I think the whole popular notion of staging is all contained within the practice of feng shui, ” she says.
Everything we associate with staging — from clearing the clutter to making the place smell good to sprucing up the entryway — are all feng shui strategies, she says.
But feng shui experts are the first to admit that it, alone, won’t sell your house, says David Daniel Kennedy, a feng shui practitioner and author of several books on the topic, including “Feng Shui for Dummies.”
First, you want to have “the right price, the right agent and the right marketing plan, ” he says.
“Those are the three basics that have to be right or feng shui is a nonstarter, ” Kennedy says. Once you have that, then you can put some feng shui techniques to work — to amp up your chances of a sale, he says.
Arrange rooms to ‘welcome’ visitors
Ever walk into a party where all the guests have their backs to you? That’s what it’s like when you walk into a room and all you can see is the back of the furniture, says Collins.
And that was one of the big problems with a $5 million home she’d been hired to consult on prior to the sale. “There was not a lot of intimacy in this house, ” she recalls.
She turned the furniture so that it faced the entry ways, and “it made all the difference in the world, ” says Collins.
Another problem in the house? Chairs were isolated — set down as one-offs. “Where do you sit and have a conversation in this house?”
So Collins grouped them in pairs. And she placed them diagonally — often sharing a table — to create spaces where people could sit and talk.
You want buyers to walk in and feel like they instantly belong, says Jayme Barrett, author of “Feng Shui Your Life.” That means you don’t want them to walk into your living room “and see the back of a sofa, ” she says.
That arrangement “creates an obstacle, ” she says. “And you want the positive energy” — and the buyers themselves — to be able to move freely through the home, she says.
Create a good traffic flow
Good traffic flow isn’t just for parties. Buyers want that in their everyday lives, too.
With one house, Collins “came around a corner and almost ran into a chair, ” she recalls. “That’s a big no-no.”
The rule: “You don’t want anything that’s going to keep people from feeling that they can move through an area.”
So look at the room in terms of creating easy-to-navigate, open pathways. You want to represent a home that makes potential buyers feel comfortable — not one that feels cramped or claustrophobic.
And if that means getting rid of some of the pieces, that’s OK, too, Collins says.
“The way space is arranged has such power over people, ” she says.
Watch the subliminal messages
The painting over the bed in one client’s master bedroom? A three-ring circus.
While it was colorful, the underlying message was “stress, ” Collins says.
“It might have been fine in a den, but it’s not fine in a bedroom, ” she says. Instead, create an atmosphere that’s calm, restful and restorative, she says.
With that in mind, the homeowner selected another piece of art to hang over the bed — “a beautiful landscape, ” Collins says.
“Nature scenes are soothing and will relax the buyers, ” Barrett says.
Make sure to also put away those personal family photos and religious and spiritual icons, says Barrett.
“You want to make your home as welcoming as possible to potential buyers … you don’t want your spiritual preferences, which may be different from theirs, to sway them in any way, ” Collins says.
“It’s essential for the buyers to be able to envision their family and furniture in the home so keep the decor neutral, ” she says.