It’s no wonder the principles of feng shui continue to intrigue and inspire. For many, incorporating the ancient Chinese practice into the home can be a productive and rewarding experience.

Recently, I began to review an informative book on the topic that I once received as a gift called “The Western Guide to Feng Shui – Room by Room” by Terah Kathryn Collins, an internationally recognized feng shui consultant, speaker, teacher and author of several books on the subject.

When asked to describe feng shui, Collins often begins by explaining it as “the study of how to arrange your environment to enhance the quality of your life.” In the book she goes on to give a more in-depth definition.

Since I spend a significant amount of time in my living room, I chose to start with this part of my home. According to Collins, the fact that the living room it is a social and active space makes it the perfect place to “put yourself out there” and display the art, colors and collections that you love.

While I already follow these guidelines, there are some other suggestions I plan to try, such as checking the view from every seat in the living room and correcting any eyesores, and making sure the corners in the room are clear of clutter.

In addition, I’ve made a little progress in my kitchen which seems to reach disaster status weekly even though I haven’t been cooking. To maintain what Collins calls countertops instead of “cluttertops,” her easy-to-follow motto is: “Use it every day or put it away.”

One of the hardest areas for me to manage continues to be the laundry room, a rather narrow space that is the first place I see when entering my home through the garage.

As Collins explains in her book, laundry rooms are often considered “non-rooms” like storage rooms, garages and basements that often end up cluttered. This is certainly true in my case. Even after our laundry room was renovated, it remains a hub for junk.

Though my intention is for these miscellaneous items to be put away, they end up becoming more permanent fixtures that range from random papers to shoes from a previous season.

Also on the list is my master bedroom that would benefit from some editing. According to Collins, people often put this space low on the priority list because “nobody sees it” and we “don’t spend much time there anyway.”

My goal is to be able to describe my personal refuge the way she describes hers, as a serene, inviting and uncomplicated room.

Since I’ve had success with feng shui in the past, I’ve decided to try it again in my quest for a more harmonious home. One of the most powerful reminders in the book is to live with what you love. For me, that provides the perfect starting point.

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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