Can You Put Feng Shui In Your Office?
With Expert: Barbara Lyons Stewart, AIA
Barbara is an Architect and Interior designer specializing in Feng Shui. Her clients include ABC/7, Wild Planet Toys, and numerous San Francisco Bay Area corporate and professional firms. She is co-author of Feng Shui: A Practical Guide for Architects and Designers
Q. I am a psychotherapist and am redoing my office but am definitely color and design challenged! I am thinking about a light olive green for wall color. My furniture is modern and medium brown wood and leather. I am stuck with the color scheme for the carpet, a chair or two and the art. I am shooting for a calming but crisp look, and I don’t want things to blend in with each other.
A. You may feel that you’re “color challenged” but your instincts are great! According to color theory and Feng Shui tradition, the color green is excellent for those in the nurturing and healing professions and will provide a “grounded” environment along with your medium brown wood and leather. Green is a cool Yin color and is known to calm emotions. It is also the color of hope and vitality – all excellent qualities for the office of a psychotherapist!
People generally feel most comfortable on a subconscious level within a color-balanced space (especially important in an office where you’ll spend so much time) so here are some additional questions:
1. Does your office have traditional or modern detailing?
If you can balance the green walls with white or off-white window, door and ceiling molding, bookcases and artwork, then painting all your walls green would be fine. If you have a contemporary design without prominent window, door and ceiling molding, then it might be best to paint just one large accent wall green and select a warm white for the others.
2. You’ll need to select a green that feels right to you.
The olive green you’re considering (which includes a yellow tone) will be more stimulating and more reminiscent of plants and foliage than a classic New England green/grey. Think about how much energy you would like in your office (do you want your office to calm you down or rev you up?). You could also select a green wall color that matches a green found in your artwork, if appropriate, to “tie in” your room colors.
3. Bring paint-chips home first and then purchase the small sample size of your favorite to test.
I generally recommend painting at least a 4’x4′ square on a prominent wall – and looking at it under day and nighttime light. Make sure you use a primer and paint during daylight hours. I once painted my own bedroom a “calming” green at night and then entered the next morning to find myself in “Miami”!
Another Feng Shui tip: In order to balance the space and make it most comfortable for your eyes, you’ll need to include some of the contrasting color (in this case a red or terra cotta) in the room. So as a final touch add red flowers, a red vase or red leather books (you get the idea…). Then go ahead and enjoy your lovely (and healing) green office.