Interior designer Joanna Lily Wong believes that following the principles of feng shui resulted in the sale of her beautiful but otherwise unsellable house. When she first put her home on the market, she had no offers, despite being located in Pacific Heights, an upscale neighborhood in San Francisco whose homes are known for causing bidding frenzies.
“I had spent a year remodeling it and everyone loved it, but it just wasn’t getting sold,” Wong, founder of Ennate Design & Development, says. “I’m Chinese, so I had always heard about feng shui, but then a Russian real estate agent started telling me feng shui changed her life.”
Desperate for an offer, Wong made some changes to the house and, less than a week later, the house sold. “I don’t know if it was a coincidence or what I did feng shui-wise, but after that, it just really made sense to me, so I started incorporating it into my designs.”
Feng shui — which means “wind” and “water” in Mandarin — is the thousands-year-old practice of using “qi” or the flow of “energies” in a home to create harmony and good health. The popular practice is best known for positioning entire buildings in order to bring prosperity to the people inside; however, its principles are also applied inside rooms — particularly the bedroom.
“The bedroom is one of the most important areas in your home to feng shui,” Wong says, explaining that room is a space to clear your mental and emotional energy. “The bedroom is the place for rest. If you don’t have proper rest, then it messes up the whole rest of your day. There are a lot of things in your bedroom that subconsciously you don’t realize are impacting you.”
She offers four simple ways to feng shui your bedroom for better sleep:
1. Avoid ‘Coffin Position’
“Ideally, you don’t want the bed directly in front of the door so that your feet are facing the door — that’s what we call the ‘coffin position,’” Wong says, explaining, “When you die, you’re carried out the door that way.” Feng shui principles suggest that if you’re lying in such a vulnerable position, outside energies have a direct path to your sleeping body and the potential to disturb your sleep. The ideal bed position, she says, is at a 45-degree angle from the bedroom door, so you see the door but you’re not right in front of it. However, “if that’s your only option, then put a bench or something at the end of your bed to act as a barrier.”
2. Choose a Wooden or Upholstered Headboard
Surround yourself with warmth and comfort, including headboards made of wood or ones that are upholstered. “Definitely not a metal headboard,” she says. “It’s cold, hard, and uncomfortable. It’s also an energy conductor and creates an electro-magnetic field around your head, which means you’re not going to have as restful sleep.”
3. Invest in High-quality Bedding
Think of it like you’re creating a womb, Wong says, “because the most restful sleep you’ll ever have in your life was in the womb.” Your bedding is the last thing you feel on your body at the end of the day and the first thing you feel when you wake up, “so it’s totally worth making an investment in getting bedding that is really high quality, cozy, and soft because you’re spending so much of your time in it.”
4. Banish Electronics and TVs from the Bedroom
“Before you go to sleep, you want to be really clear. Occasionally it can be fun to lie in bed and watch a movie, but do you really want to be stimulating yourself right before you go to sleep? That’s not going to give you the most restful sleep,” Wong says. If you keep your cell phone by your bed, she suggests putting it on airplane mode to reduce radiation near your head.
At the end of the day, Wong says feng shui may not work unless there is a purpose behind it. “Just because you put a crystal ball up in your doorway doesn’t mean your life is going to be perfect,” she says. “It’s more about the intention and having that positive energy. You may not notice [anything’s wrong] now, but if you change a few things, you might notice how much better you’re sleeping.”