Easy Feng Shui Decorating with the Five Elements

How to use the five feng shui elements theory in your home decorating

Part 1: What are the Five Feng Shui Elements?
Part 2: The Social Life of the Elements
Part 3: Playtime! Applying the 5 Feng Shui Elements Theory

All right, here comes the promised five feng shui elements playtime! Now you know the history of the five feng shui element theory (part 1), as well as the various ways the elements interact in their spare time (the war and peace dynamic in part 2). You also know the unique energy characteristic of each element, or archetypal nature force — the Wood, the Fire, the Earth, the Metal and the Water element. So I think we are ready to play!

Here’s how to decorate with the five elements in order to create good feng shui

The right way to use the five feng shui elements is defined by the bagua (bagua is the feng shui energy map of any space, be it home, office or garden). In other words, bagua is the boss. It tells you who is needed and where. With the classical feng shui bagua it is easy, here is the bagua graphic that shows you the location of each element in its grid.


FIRE – South
EARTH – Southwest and Northeast
METAL – Northwest and West
WATER – North
WOOD – East and Southeast

With the BTB bagua it tends to be more confusing, but the shortcut is to go by the names of the bagua areas and see what is required in each specific area. I will do the job for you here:

Fire – Fame & Reputation
Earth – Love & Marriage and Spiritual Growth & Self-Cultivation
Metal – Helpful People & Blessings and Children & Creativity
Water – Career & Path in Life
Wood – Health & Family and Money & Abundance

If you are confused (or not familiar) with the two feng shui bagua styles — Classical and Western/BTB — this short video will help you. Or, you can read about their differences.

Here comes the promised playtime. We have two houses to work with and decorate for good feng shui energy.

House #1. Let’s use the 5 feng shui elements theory to create good feng shui in the South area of a home (Fame & Reputation bagua area).

mirrors and feng shui

In this (imaginary) home the South area has a big mirror and a beautiful water feature just outside in the garden (same area); the owners want to keep them both. Now, what element does the South area need in order to have good feng shui energy? Let’s look at the bagua illustration above; it tells us that the South feng shui area is governed by the Fire element.

We have a big mirror ( Water element decor), so this creates a feng shui problem.

(If you do not know why this is a problem, please go back to part 2 and see what the elements do when they get bored with being nice to each other). So, with the internal feng shui alarm going on — and rightfully so! — what can you do to re-balance the energy and assure good feng shui?

You need to bring a feng shui element that will strengthen the needed Fire and weaken the Water element.

If you’ve been good and read the first two parts of this article, you will know exactly what to do – look for the destructive cycle to the rescue!

Let’s see which element weakens the Water element and ideally strengthens the Fire, too.

Any guesses? Well, it’s the Wood element, of course!

This element is the perfect helper here as it does double duty (which is not always possible when you are working to rebalance the elements).

So, we start playing with the various expressions of the Wood feng shui element in modern decor and bring lots of it (as much as this specific home can take, visually and energetically) in the South bagua area.

This info will help: How To Express the Wood Element with Modern Decor

Of course, you will also bring more of the Fire element decor, but not without first bringing in the intermediary, the Wood element.

Otherwise, you risk creating strong clashing energy, as Fire and Water together can create a lot of unnecessary drama.

Here’s Fire element decorating info: How To Decorate with Fire Feng Shui Element

There are so many ways to express each element, you can get lost for days and days in the excitement and the power of good feng shui decorating!

Let’s look at one more example, a bit more complex one.

House #2 has a beautiful all-white dining room in the East (Health & Family bagua area). Is this good feng shui?

white color dining room

In addition to the all-white color scheme in most details (wall color, furniture, flooring, window treatment, etc), some of the chairs in the dining have metal detailing.

The two white light pendants are also metal. The space looks very beautiful and well designed; a pleasure to look at.

Do we have a problem?

We sure do! No matter how good this dining room looks visually, it has weak feng shui that can negatively influence the health and well-being of people living in the house.

Now, this does not mean people will get sick and die (sorry, just had to make this silly remark! :) It just means that the house is restricted in its ability to support the family’s health.

It happens gradually, and it all depends on the personal energy of people living in the house, of course. Still, its negative effects are obvious to those who can read/feel the energy.

Let’s look at feng shui steps to restore harmony in this area.

What is our feng shui bagua saying? (Part 2 has all the info which of course you remember by heart now, right?) The East/Health area of your house needs a vibrant Wood element, and the space we are looking at is pure, strong Metal. Metal destroys/cuts the Wood.

So, we need to bring a feng shui element, or several of them, that support the Wood and destroy/weaken the Metal element.

Which elements support the Wood element? Water is the major one, then Earth, then Wood itself.

Which elements destroy the Metal? Fire is the major one, then Water is weakening it over time.

Well, can we just bring a lot of Fire element decorating and be done with it? I mean, it will surely destroy/weaken the Metal right away.

No, we cannot.


Because Fire will also burn the Wood, and we need strong Wood.

Can we bring more Earth? It will support the Wood for sure, but no – it brings even more support to the Metal (look up the productive cycle of the 5 elements).

Here’s the quick answer – we need to bring a lot of Water feng shui element to weaken the Metal and support the Wood.

We also need to bring a lot of Wood element decorating.

This will help: Feng Shui Decorating with Water | Wood Feng Shui Decorating Tips

OK, this is about it for now. Do not get overwhelmed :)

We have covered quite a massive amount of important information in these 3 parts – from the meaning of the feng shui elements theory to how each element is expressed in modern decor, how they interact, and how you can use this theory to create good feng shui in any given space.

Now that you have this powerful knowledge, what will you do with it?

I highly encourage you to start playing without the fear of making mistakes.

Start small with little or no commitment; the more you play the more your confidence (and enjoyment!) will grow.

Good feng shui decorating is a subtle art that takes a lot of play to make it perfect!

I also encourage you to re-read these 3 parts (plus the 5 articles on each element) because, being the strange creatures that we are, we tend to assimilate info in stages.

You might have missed important layers of info while reading it for the first time.

Photo sources: williamwaldron.com, knowfengshui.com, messagenote.com, homeedit.com

Part 1: What are the Five Feng Shui Elements?
Part 2: The Social Life of the Elements

Feng Shui Decorating with:
Wood | Fire | Earth | Metal | Water

RELATED: Get To Know The Feng Shui Map of Your Home

Rodika Tchi

Rodika Tchi is a master feng shui consultant and author of two best-selling books on feng shui -- "The Healing Power of Smudging" (Simon and Schuster, 2017) and "Feng Shui for Healing" (Rockridge Press, 2019). Connect with Rodika on RodikaTchi.com