Feng Shui in Your Dorm Room
Feng Shui in Your Dorm Room

By Pat Nolan

Environment plays a huge role in a student's ability to study and perform well. Your dorm room or apartment should be clean and comfortable. But did you know what you are surrounded with right now could be hurting your grades, even your health? What you need is a little "feng shui".

Feng Shui: 1. The ancient Asian natural science of energetics. 2. The practice of living harmoniously with the energy of the surrounding environment which naturally leads to the art of placement, not only of buildings, but of everything within them.

Charlie Thompson, a student at Southwest Missouri State University, thought his dorm room was adequately equipped and clean -- until Dottie Creedon showed him how much more comfortable he could make it with a little feng shui.

"Energy will flow from you right out the window. Having your feet directly in front of the door is called the death position in China."

Interior Designer

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Creedon, an interior designer in Branson, Missouri, says Thompson had furniture placed in bad positions -- disrupting the natural flow of "Ch'i" in the room. Ch'i is the underlying energetic force which is thought to determine the path or the flow of air. It is believed that Ch'i can affect a person emotionally and physically, making them a weaker or stronger person.

The placement of furniture is very important in developing the Ch'i that a room can surround you with, according to Creedon. Thompson's bed was tucked into the corner of his studio style dorm room. Creedon says, in environments like this, the single most important thing is the placement of the bed.

Thompson had his bed under the window with the foot of the bed facing the door, which Creedon says was part of the reason he doesn't sleep well. "There are several reasons that is bad placement," Creedon said. "Energy will flow from you right out the window. Having your feet directly in front of the door is called the death position in China."

Thompson moved his bed to the other corner of the room on Creedon's suggestion. He also bought a rice-paper screen that he uses to separate his bed off from the rest of the room during the day and at night, he uses another screen to close off his desk and study area.

"Separating your life in a space this small is important," Creedon said. "By covering the computer, he can relax and not spend his free time worrying about the paper he has due."

Feng Shui Tips:

1) Select furniture that uses both curves and straight lines to maintain balance.

2) Use colors that affect the energy in a room.

3) Use mirrors to expand the room.

4) Place plants in a room to increase the Ch'i and enhance the energy.

5) Keep your living space organized.

6) If you're living in a small room, separate your sleeping area.

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Creedon looked around the room pointing to little piles of papers stacked on his desk and books piled on top of each other on the floor. "It is hard for Charlie to stay organized," she said. "That clutter will affect other areas of his life - unless he organizes it."

Agreeing, Thompson said he is constantly looking for notes, old papers, and old research information, which leaves him feeling pressured -- running from class to class.

Color is key, too when it comes to the flow of Ch'i and the total feeling of feng shui. Creedon says, the colors in your dorm room affect the energies in the room.

Red, for example, is a fiery, energetic color, while blue is a subdued, watery color. On the rice-paper screens Charlie bought, he has added colored panels. Blue to the inside of the screen that separates his bed from the rest of the room, and orange and yellow on the outside of the screen. Orange and yellow are good colors for studying, Creedon says. She adds, placing a plant near the desk or bed helps gather Ch'i to the area, which improves the effect of the colors on study and sleep.

"I enjoy showing people how to simplify their homes by being aware of subtle design principles," she said. "That's what Charlie needed in his room."

A week after Creedon suggested changes in Thompson's dorm design, he says it has already made a difference in his daily life. "I don't feel as rushed," he said. "I am still as busy.. I just feel I can handle it better. And my girlfriend loves the room. She plans to use Dottie's tips in her room."