Unlocking Feng Shui colours for interior design
9 min read
Last Modified 6 December 2023 First Added 13 October 2023
Inspire your next redesign with the ancient practice of Feng Shui.
In the ancient art of Feng Shui, the arrangement of our living spaces plays a crucial role in promoting balance and positive energy flow. Clearly, a large part of this centres around how we arrange our furniture. We explore this in our article on Feng Shui bedroom design.
But equally important for a balanced master suite that follows Feng Shui principles is choosing the right colours. Join us as we delve into each of the five Feng Shui elements – Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood. We’ll discuss what element represents, the spaces they’re most compatible with, and, of course, the most complementary Feng Shui colours.
In Feng Shui, the Earth symbol represents stability, grounding, and nurture. It’s also related to relationships and self-cultivation, making it ideal for a bedroom space. For interiors, look to ceramics, clays, and other earthy materials.
When it comes to colour, this element is all about soft browns, pale oranges, and subtle yellows. These tones are great for creating relaxation and serenity. Think of the warm yellow glow of a Moroccan Hammam, rich in clay and honeycomb hues.
These Earth colours create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Reminiscent of summer holidays and slow holiday living, they’re great for instilling a sense of calm into your bedroom. For brighter, more rejuvenating spaces, look to pastel tones of yellow and cream to create a coastal-inspired, sunshine space.
Derived from a natural clay, terracotta is an ideal colourway for those who value connection with the outdoors. Consider pairing with the Wood element by bringing in bedroom plants and other natural materials – wickers, pines, and oaks, for example.
With its warm, soothing undertone, terracotta lends itself to spaces centred around mindfulness and emotional well-being. Embrace this and pair it with equally contemplative and rich hues of navy or ochre. As a grounding tone, it’s also worth considering using this across walls or floors and then bringing in lighter neutrals and subtle pastel colours elsewhere. Learn more about pairing these tones in our guide to colours that go with beige.
Metal, according to Feng Shui principles, symbolises simplicity, wisdom, and clarity. In the Bagua map – Feng Shui’s visual guide to energy – metal also relates to children and creativity. This makes it a great material to work with in children’s bedroom, particularly for those who like to craft, roleplay, or write their own stories.
In terms of Feng Shui colours, it’s mostly related to white and, clearly, metallic hues. Look towards neutrals such as grey and softer blacks and dot these around your space. Round shapes are a part of the metal element too, so look for metal bed frames with rounded headboard corners or incorporate copper pots and vases with a slight curvature.
White symbolises purity and clarity, making it a great colourway for bedrooms centred around resetting and reducing stress. Promote a sense of openness and cleanliness by opting for large swathes of white throughout your space. Just remember to warm up the space with some subtle hints of the Fire element or bring in notes of the outdoors with the Wood and Water elements.
Metallics – think rose golds, coppers, and chromes – are easier to integrate into your space than you think. Look to accents like silver or gold mirrors, picture frames, and lighting fixtures to bring some light and clarity into your space. If you’re going hard on the Metal element and are adoring your walls in white, look to warmer metals like brass and copper to create hints of contrast and intrigue.
The Fire symbol is perhaps the most difficult to incorporate into a bedroom space. That’s because it symbolises passion and vitality and is associated with concepts of fame, reputation, and recognition. Hardly the types of things you want to be thinking about when trying to lull yourself into a deep and peaceful slumber…!
However, embrace the passionate, warm undertones of red and orange and use them to inspire an emotional connection with a partner or create small hints of drama with its show-stopping appeal. Given this element’s strength and vitality, you’ll want to balance any Fire colours with softer neutrals from the Wood and Earth palettes. Beige pastels and soft creams will work well.
As alluded to earlier, it’s wise to use this colourway in moderation. Burgundy and chestnut red will work best as they’re slightly less saturated and have brown undertones. This will help ground the space and mute that fiery strength.
Orange is the more palatable Fire tone for a bedroom space. Representing creativity and considered to boost conversation, it’s great for office bedrooms, particularly if you’re often on video calls. Incorporate a sofa bed like the modern Gallway 3-Seater Clic-Clac Sofa Bed for a pop of colour. For the same reason, it’s great for master suites where partners share the space. It’s still worth considering your use of this colour, though – too much can feel overpowering. Instead, look to accents – perhaps a burnt orange waffle blanket or some autumnal pumpkin-spiced scented candles?
In Feng Shui, the Water symbol is closely related to feelings of calm and serenity. Even scientific studies have shown that just viewing water can lower our blood pressure and heart rate.
In Feng Shui, this element is also linked to prosperity and abundance. And it’s not solely about the colour or sight of water either – many gardens that abide by Feng Shui principles bring in the soothing noise of trickling water through fountains. So consider a small tabletop or indoor water feature to really embrace all the senses.
In terms of colour – no prizes for guessing this one, by the way – it’s all about those blue hues. We explore navy colour combinations and light blue colour palettes in more detail in those articles, but we’ll touch a little on how to incorporate this watery colour here too.
As with all things Feng Shui, using blue across your space centres around balance. Too much and your space may feel cold. Too little and your room may feel over-stimulating. Instead, look to balance blues with other soft neutrals like light grey or add warmth into the space with soft oranges and natural woods.
As blue evokes the feeling of calm, it’s great for a décor scheme that’s all about relaxation. To take this to the next level, look to deeper blues with undertones of violet and indigo. The slight red of these hues will help imbue a sense of warmth into the space, making it a contemplative bedroom rather than one that feels frosty or light. Consider a navy blue feature wall or headboard as a centrepiece, or incorporate denim and dusky blue fabrics through curtains and bedding.
While the colour green may feel more indicative of grassy plains and rainforests, plenty of blues have notes of green throughout their tonal range. Think of emerald coves in the sunny Balearics or the majesty of turquoise and teal. These are the green hues to incorporate into your space. Perhaps look for a stunning patterned wallpaper that includes notes of navy and emerald or go down the accessories route and bring in a turquoise bedroom chair. Smaller items like blankets and scatter cushions will work well too.
The Wood element relates to growth and vitality and is often linked with the season of spring too. It’s all about renewal and rejuvenation and therefore makes for a stunningly uplifting bedroom space. On the Feng Shui Bagua map, it’s also related to family and health – ideal for two little ones sharing a space!
Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to bring wooden tones into the bedroom space. From oak bedside tables to wooden bed frames, there are plenty of furniture pieces which use a form of this material. Equally, and best for those on a smaller budget, consider accessories like wicker trays and storage boxes. From a colour perspective, don’t be persuaded into only going with natural wooden tones. This Feng Shui symbol is all about rich, forest greens too. Additionally, other brown tones like caramel and gingerbread will work great in a Wood element colour palette.
Deep greens which evoke the energy of lush forests are the piece-de-resistance of the Wood element. Richer, more serious tones are best as they keep some distance from the Water element’s turquoise and teal. In the bedroom, consider a refined green velvet bed frame surrounded by lighter hints. Pastel hues of celery and pear will uplift the space while a frosty, glacial green will help soothe and cool those deeper notes.
Grounding and warm, browns – across the whole spectrum – are great for soothing bedroom spaces. As with any colour that has red undertones, you’ll want to take it easy with the approach and not overdo your use of brown. Instead, consider a light pastel brown carpet with white walls and subtle hints of chocolate throughout. If you plan to use darker notes of brown, add these through blankets, throws, and other smaller accessories. For more information, check out our article on other colours that go with brown.