I am so looking forward to banishing the peeling paint in every room and the dead, dirty off white walls that are the standard rental shade. You can do that in your own house, have color. Cat color vision is limited, they don’t care really, but I do. First I’ll have to strip off seventy years of paint or I’ll get the same peeling the landlord’s minions got after doing zero prep and cleaning. Depending on the room or the wall I can see as many as five or six layers. Thank heaven for the development of low VOC strippers. There was a “no lead paint” statement in my rental paperwork, just the same, I am not sanding. The rule in things like lead paint and asbestos is, if is is contained and covered it’s safe enough and you don’t disturb it. The walls are literally bumpy and uneven with all the bad paint jobs over the years and I want it nice and smooth. I have no idea what was in the 1948 paint but I am taking no chances. It’s all coming off with the most environmentally friendly stripper I can find and then going to a hazmat disposal.
For it’s replacement I am going to try and harmonize the colors with the principles of Feng Shui. You might believe Feng Shui is mumbo jumbo but even if you believe otherwise, there is still a lot out there about Feng Shui that is mumbo jumbo. For one thing Feng Shui advice is like getting an opinion from the IRS. Ask ten IRS employees a tax question and you often get ten answers. The same is true of Feng Shui advice. Some follow color rules rigidly, others don’t. Many match colors with the type of room or element without considering the elements of the persons involved. Room color in harmony with the elements might mean you have colors in your rooms you hate. This defeats the purpose when seeking harmony and a serene and healthy home. Trying to refresh my memory I went on line. After reading so much information that contradicted or confused the issue I decided to pull my books out of the storage and get my luo pan and charts and do a proper, from scratch Feng Shui analysis of the house. I ran down to Rockfish gap outfitters Friday moring and got a compass I could read more easily and set to work taking the directional readings.
Let’s start with the living room. It’s really a good one to illustrate what is involved. The front door faces north by the compass. It’s toward the northeast end of the range and I always thought my house faceed northeast. This is why a comapss reading is essential. It was actually a series of readings both in the front yard, in fron of the door on the stoop, just inside the door and in several places in the house. The average of the readings gives the facing directionof the entry, in my case north. Now the far wall of the living room is in the western direction, and the corner points northwest so the living room encompasses threedirections. Water is the phase or element of north, the door and entry area and the bes colors are black and blue. Black walls are probably not the best choice. Metal is the phase of west and northwest and the best colors are white and grey. However, also in the living room, on the far side, is the fireplace and the big brick chimney which dominates both it and the so-called dining room behind. This is obviously the element of fire, whose colors are red, orange, and strong yellow. Many lists include pink and purple but these are not basic colors and there are other concepts involved with using them.
It’s also important to remember the elements move in cycles. There is the creative or generative cycle, in which wood feeds fire, for example. Then there is the destructive or overcoming cycle. In medicine the cycles are further elaborated but in Feng Shui these are the important ones. So my living room has three main elements which must be balanced and this affects my color choices and how I apply them. There is red, yellow or orange for fire, white and grey for the northwest and west and the metal phase and blue or black for te water at te entry. Obviously white walls would work in the whole room, that’s what’s already there. However, I am sick to death of white walls. So that’s out. And with all that red brick I am not going to use any fire colors!
That would seem to leave only grey for the main walls of the living room. I actually like the color grey, and not just with cat fur. I designed an office for my old boss in shades of grey that the IT guys that came in to set up the computers and peripherals claimed “Wow, this is cool!”. Before I paint my whole living room, however, I check the color psychology of grey. Ostensibly gray is a cool, neutral, and balanced color. It is also supposed to be both emotionless and moody (obviously contradictory) , typically associated with dinginess and dullness while at the same time said to be formal and sophisticated. It is also supposed to be draining and debilitating, since the meaning is connected to depression and loneliness. At the same time it is considered a good color to stimuate clarity of though, logical thinking and productivity.
So much contradiction! And will grey look good next to the red brick of the fireplace? That’s another consideration. Looking for photos in Morguefile I found that someone thought the two colors looked good together but I don’t want walls that dark. In the generative cycle there is no direct action between metal and fire but in the destructive cycle fire melts metal. In simpler terms, the fire energy, both literal and elemental diminishes or works against the base energy of the room.
There is a further complication. As you come in the front doorthere is a small entry space and the the door and stairs to the attic. For reasons we will cover in another post this is not the best Feng Shui and bloody awkward! The wall that runs along the living room behind which are the stars is also home to the thermostat and large air intake grill of the furnace. Yes, that’s right, more fire!
While many people using western style Feng Shui stick strictly to the bagua map which assigns life areas to physical directions I rearely see structural features being included in the calculation unless they are obvious producers of bad qi. I don’t consider my furnace a “bad element” in this climate, I can tell you. Still, these features belong to fire and should be considered in the mix. Also, the room is naturally dark because of the way the house is oriented to the course of the sun. We only get direct light at the end of the day from late spring to early fall. So I want wall colors that would lighten the room as well as fitting the feng shui.
After due consideration I will probably pick out a lighter grey for the living room walls. Room color is helpful but not always critical. Think of all the people forced to dwell in white walled apartments who are having perfectly healthy, successful lives. My favorite color is blue which is the color of north and water. In the generative cycle metal collects water, a positive thing. I will probably look for a greyish blue tint for that staircase wall and use the water color as a balance for the fire of the furnace connection. Having both directional energies in one room is strong, the fire element keeps it from being overpowering but is also pretty strong itself. So a bit of water will help balance them both and create a harmonious room. I am a fan of bi-color rooms so it will also agree wit my aesthetic sense.