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Feng Shui’s Five Elements in Your Space

Need a space that is in harmony with your life?

The Five Elements are used to create harmony with your life by adjusting the colors, artwork, furnishings, textures, and shapes in your space.

If you feel out of sorts in your environment, a Five Elements analysis may be just what is called for. By gaining some understanding of the Five Elements and how they inhabit your space, you will be able to make adjustments to increase harmony.

Here is an overview of the Five Elements and some ideas on how you can bring them into your environment.

What Are The Five Elements?
The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each element has its own characteristics and relates to the others in specific ways.

Wood is associated with springtime, the beautiful season of renewal. This element is all about growth. So the color for Wood is green, the shape is a tree or column. Wood is at the start of the elemental cycle, so it’s known as the element of “New Beginnings.”

Bring Wood into your environment with: living plants, botanical prints, and vertical stripes. Paper is actually considered to be “dead wood,” which is why it’s so important to keep it to a minimum from a Feng Shui perspective.

Wood feeds the next element, Fire.
The Fire element comes into its own with Summer and high noon. Its color is red and it’s all about illumination. Fire is symbolized by triangular shapes, good lighting and living beings.

Bring Fire into your space with: photos of people and animals, or even better, a real, live animal like your dog or cat. If you have children or pets, just think how they keep you on your toes and you’ll be in touch with the Fire in your life!

Fire creates ash, or Earth.
When we think of the Earth element we think of stability and nourishment. The most stable shape, the square, denotes Earth, as well as earthy colors like yellow, tan, and brown. 

Add Earth to your environment with: square tiles or earthenware containers and planters, ceramics or pottery—colors and objects that give you a sense of being grounded.  

As Earth settles, it condenses into Metal.
Metal, the element of completion, symbolizes incisiveness and focus. Metal helps us complete projects and set ourselves up for future endeavors. During Metal’s season, Autumn, we harvest the New Beginnings we planted back in the Spring.

As the “purest” element, Metal is denoted by the color white and round shapes like circles and ovals. 

Bring Metal into your environment with: A round table, circular rug, spherical container or even an archway will all bring Metal into your environment. Metal brings a lovely smoothness into a space.
When Metal melts, it liquefies or becomes Water. 
Water, the element of Winter and darkness, takes two forms: still and moving. Still Water symbolizes our inner depths, while moving Water symbolizes our ability to communicate—think of a river connecting one community to another.  

The color for Water, black, and its irregular, meandering shape, combines to bring depth of feeling and mystery into a space.

Add Water to your environment with: A small fountain or other water feature, a painting of water—a river or the ocean, perhaps—or black accessories that have an irregular feel to them, like a throw at the bottom of your bed.

Water nourishes Wood, and so we have arrived back at the beginning of the cycle.

The Cycle of the Elements
The cycle of the elements is always in motion. I have described the “Creative” cycle, (Wood creating Fire, and so forth), but just as important is the Controlling cycle, which goes as follows: Wood breaks up Earth; Earth absorbs Water; Water extinguishes Fire; Fire melts Metal; and Metal cuts Wood.