Our approach to feng shui kitchen design is to focus on the core component of the stove, which is at the heart of the kitchen. We then build on this foundation by incorporating general feng shui principles.
Every culture we know of thinks of the kitchen as the heart of the home. And the English expression “hearth and home” is firmly established in the language. After all, before the advent of the modern kitchen, the hearth was where we both cooked and kept warm.
So it comes as no surprise that the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui attaches great importance to the kitchen, its location in the home, and how it is laid out, decorated, and managed.
Location of the kitchen
Many of the ancient feng shui strictures about the location of the kitchen in the home arose out of the practicalities of cooking over an open fire pit within the home. So much of it is not truly applicable to the modern kitchen.
Nonetheless, feng shui does treat some locations of the kitchen within the home and its relationship with other rooms as being more auspicious than others. And, as we point out elsewhere, much of what feng shui teaches us just makes good common sense.
Proximity to the bathroom
For example, feng shui kitchen design does not like the kitchen to be located close to a bathroom. But then neither does common sense, because cooking aromas don’t go well with bathroom odors. Besides, the kitchen and bathroom generate conflicting feelings.
In addition, feng shui does not want the positive fire energy of the kitchen getting diluted by the dousing effects of the bathroom’s water energy, and then disappearing down the bathroom drains.
Kitchen in the center of the home
Another major feng shui kitchen design no-no is to have the kitchen in the center of the home. This is because having the fire element of the kitchen in the heart of the home is considered an attack on the health and prosperity of the people living in the home.
However, in our view, this is just one of the ways feng shui principles arose out of common sense. It is easy to understand that having an open fire pit in the middle of one’s home is a bad idea from the point of view of fire safety and air quality.
But you won’t find this problem with a modern kitchen anyway. It would be extremely rare to find a kitchen without a window or a through-wall exhaust vent. And either of these would put the kitchen on the perimeter of the home, not its center.
Kitchen location and feng shui reality
In the real world, unless we are building a home from scratch, we don’t have a choice as to where our kitchen is located in the home. And, even if we are remodeling, our options are limited by the existing locations of the kitchen’s plumbing and electrical infrastructure.
Real-world tips for kitchen feng shui
So what we set out here are some real-world tips for the application of feng shui principles to your kitchen. These are things you can do regardless of your kitchen layout or with minimal rearrangement.
But we will also touch on things you can do if you have a remodel or renovation project in mind.
Feng shui and the kitchen work triangle
In yet another example of how feng shui seems to reflect practicality, it espouses the kitchen work triangle. This is a kitchen design precept introduced in the 20th century that places the kitchen sink, the cooktop, and the refrigerator in an ergonomic triangle.
This makes for an efficient workflow from food storage, to meal preparation, to cleanup. And in feng shui, the fire energy produced by the cooktop is balanced out by the water elements represented by the kitchen sink and refrigerator. We discuss the kitchen layout in detail here.
The stove and feng shui
If the kitchen represents the heart of the home, then the stove is the heart of the kitchen. And feng shui gives it special treatment. The stove fuels the chi energy that provides wealth to the family.
We talk about the commanding position generally here. But in the kitchen, it is the stove that should be in the commanding position. This means that you should be able to see the kitchen door when you are standing at the stove. But if the door is directly behind you, the feng shui cure is to install a mirror in a location that lets you see the door.
But beware of over-using mirrors in the kitchen. This can result in the overamplification of the fire element generated by the stove.
If your cooktop is on a kitchen island it is easy to place yourself in the commanding position. And if you are remodeling, make sure that the cooktop is placed on the island in such a way that it is easiest to see the door when you are working at the cooktop.
However, it must be said that there are some feng shui purists that insist on having the stove against the wall. But, of course, you can solve this problem in spades if you have a stove against the wall together with a supplemental cooktop on the island.
The more burners the better
The more burners you have and use, even in rotation, the better. This is because burners represent wealth creation and draw in positive chi. So make sure all burners are in working order and that the stove or cooktop is well maintained and clean. Your source of wealth energy deserves respect.
And in selecting your cooktop, remember the safety that induction cooking provides, especially when remodeling a kitchen for the elderly.
Cabinetry and feng shui
Fill in open spaces between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling. These gather dust, trap negative chi, and hinder the circulation of positive chi.
Install cabinetry with glass doors. This helps with the flow of chi and also helps you stay better organized.
Avoid open shelving in the kitchen. Although open shelving is trendy, it’s easy for stuff on shelves to accumulate dust and grime. And open shelves hinder the free flow of chi energy. Besides, in our opinion, open shelving is an inefficient use of wall space.
Kitchen lighting and feng shui
Good lighting brings positive chi energy with it.
Natural lighting from windows, skylights, or solar tubes is ideal But you should also use layered lighting strategies that include ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. You might also consider adding circadian lighting to the kitchen.
And, to maintain positive chi in the kitchen at all times, add some night lighting. Do this by putting under-cabinet task lighting on dimmers and/or adding LED strip lighting under the cabinet toe kicks. Aside from maintaining chi energy levels all day long, this also provides a level of safety.
Balancing the feng shui elements
We have already mentioned the kitchen sink and refrigerator as water elements balancing out the stove’s fire element. But don’t forget to add in the metal, earth, and wood elements. This is quite easy because of the nature of modern kitchens.
The refrigerator, other appliances, and plumbing fixtures bring in the metal element. And the stone countertops and floor tiles bring in the earth element. While the wood element can be represented by the cabinetry, wood countertops, or a hardwood floor.
When you are remodeling your kitchen you just need to be mindful to maintain these elemental balances in the choice of your materials. And, if you are just bringing feng shui into an existing kitchen, you can use paints to represent the earth element and a chopping board or plants to bring in the wood element.
Paint colors and kitchen feng shui
When we select the colors to use in our kitchen for the best feng shui, we take guidance from the Bagua Map. We discuss this in some detail here. But here is a fast overview of how to use the map to select paint colors for the best kitchen feng shui.
Put the Bagua Map on top of your home’s floor plan with the North edge aligned with the wall that contains the front door. And then identify the location of your kitchen on the Bagua Map. It will fall within one of the squares (or guas) on the perimeter.
Inside that square, you will find the feng shui recommended colors for your kitchen. But this is not to say that you should let feng shui dictate your kitchen color scheme. Nonetheless, you can satisfy feng shui color recommendations by introducing them as accent or contrasting colors within your preferred color scheme.
And of course, colors are not restricted to paint. Your cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, and flooring can all feature the desired colors you want in your overall kitchen color scheme..
Using colors in feng shui
Elsewhere (here, here, and here) we discuss many aspects of the selection of color in one’s home. However, in feng shui, colors have their own meanings, associations, and implications for the flow of chi. And there is one color to avoid or limit. Here is an overview.
- Earth element colors, such as yellow and brown, are associated with stability, protection, and nourishment.
- Wood element colors, such as greens, blues, and teals, are associated with healing, growth, restoration and vitality.
- Fire element colors, such as red and orange are associated with passion, love sexual energy, appetite, and inspiration.
- Water element colors, such as dark blue and black are associated with wisdom, intuition, and friendship.
- Metal element colors, such as gray, white, and metallic finishes are associated with focus, precision, and clarity.
Avoid or limit the use of black
Black shrinks the perception of space so generally avoid it. This is especially the case in a small kitchen. And, while certainly dramatic, black is also a depressing and negative color. Use it only for accent and to highlight, by contrast, the use of more welcoming colors.
Clear kitchen clutter
Feng shui kitchen design abhors clutter. Although it must be said that staying on top of clutter is less about initial design than it is about ongoing maintenance.
However, clutter interferes with the free flow of positive chi energy. Besides, clutter is visually annoying and on a subconscious level can cause anxiety.
And, since energy flows everywhere, clutter is not limited to what you can see.
This means that you not only have to declutter your countertops, which is obvious. You should also declutter your kitchen drawers, cabinets, and pantry.
We discuss clutter generally in a separate post. But here are some kitchen-specific tips:
- Go through your kitchen drawers and cabinets and eliminate what you don’t need in the kitchen.
- Especially eliminate or replace anything that is broken, chipped or non-functioning. This attracts negative chi.
- Consider how many people live in your home and limit the number of ready use items, such as knives, forks, and tableware items you keep in the kitchen.
- Be jealous of your countertop space. Clean everything off that can be kept somewhere else. Only allow on your countertops the things you use every day.
- Don’t let non-kitchen items, such as kids homework or your mail invade your countertops.
- Reorganize your pantry and refrigerator and remove anything past its use by date.
Keeping your kitchen clutter-free makes it easier to clean.
Keep the kitchen clean
Feng shui likes a clean kitchen to maintain the flow of chi energy. The accumulation of dirt and grime causes energy to stagnate. Besides it’s plain unhygienic. And we don’t need feng shui to tell us that.
Clean everything regularly, especially the stove, since this is the focal point of the kitchen and deserves respect. And cleaning goes to all the hidden spaces too, including cabinets and drawers.
Knives and feng shui
The sight of sharp knives and carving forks can make people feel uncomfortable, anxious, and even threatened. But, again, you don’t need feng shui to tell you this.
However, sharp objects in plain sight can result in negative chi. So keep knives out of view, preferably in a child-proof drawer, if you have children.
At a minimum keep your the blades of your knives concealed in a butcher block close to your food prep area. But certainly don’t leave knives loose on the counter or hung on magnetic racks.
Enhance kitchen feng shui with artwork
Select artwork for the kitchen that speaks of food and abundance. Examples would be an abstract piece featuring fruit, an Imprssionist print featuring a harvest, or images of people dining together.
Kitchen herb garden and feng shui
A kitchen herb garden is simultaneously living artwork, actual food, and the source of positive aromas. It also brings in the feng shui wood element and positive chi. So a herb garden is a highly recommended addition to your feng shui kitchen design.
Conclusion on feng shui kitchen design
Creating a great feng shui kitchen design takes some attention to detail. But every step you take, starting with a focus on the stove, will cumulatively enhance the overall positive chi in your kitchen and in your home. And remember that at the core of feng shui is some applied common sense.