The first thing to bear in mind when considering any Feng Shui advice is that ultimately, Feng Shui is a complex practice with several different schools, and the recommendations will vary from school to school and from one practitioner to another. So too, advice will differ depending upon the unique home and the unique people living in it. Despite the fact that different schools may have diverse views on some topics, there are basic Feng Shui principles that apply to all kitchens.
Kitchen PlacementThe first thing to consider when looking at the kitchen is its placement in terms of the whole house. We cant always decide where each room in a house or apartment will be in relation to the others, but if youre working with new construction or doing extensive renovations, ideally the kitchen will be in the back of the house, at least behind centerline of house.
In any case, its better if you dont see the kitchen immediately upon entering the house, as this can portend digestive, nutritional, and eating problems. Having the kitchen at the entry point can also mean that guests will come over and eat and then leave immediately, and such a placement can also encourage the inhabitants to eat all the time.
But if your kitchen is in the front of the house, dont panic; there are remedies that can take care of this. Use this as an opportunity to get creative. Try hanging sheer or beaded curtains over the kitchen door. Or, instal louvered doors. Another idea is to provide something delightfully eye-catching across a hall or in a vestibule near the kitchen. That way, attention is diverted from the busy kitchen.
Kitchen LayoutIt is very important for the cook to be in a commanding position" when at the stove. The cook should be able to clearly see the doorway without turning away from the stove. Renovating a kitchen so this is achieved can be particularly challenging. Many modern kitchens have the range facing the wall. Some Feng Shui consultants recommend an easy solution: hang something reflective, such as a mirror or a shiny sheet of decorative aluminum, over the stove. The reflective surface can be any size, but the bigger it is, the more powerful the correction will be.
For a more dramatic solution, consider installing a cooking island. Placing the stove in a central island allows the cook to see the entire room, including the doorway. Beyond the Feng Shui benefits, a cooking island is practical. The wider your view, the more youll be able to comfortably talk with dinner guests or keep an eye on the kids as you prepare the meal.
Cooking islands have become a popular trend in kitchen design. According to Guita Behbin, owner of Duramaid Industries (a kitchen and bath design and renovation company) many customers want their kitchens to flow into an open space, or "Great Room," that includes a living and dining area. Designing a kitchen around a cooking island will help keep the cook involved in whatever is happening in that Great Room, whether its clever before-dinner conversation or hearing about a child's English homework.
Feng Shui-inspired kitchen design dovetails with the contemporary trend toward "group cooking." Instead of isolating the cook, families and guests often gather in the kitchen and participate in the meal preparation. Also, busy working couples use dinner preparation as an important time to unwind together.
It is truly amazing how much the ancient Feng Shui beliefs have to tell us about the design of modern kitchens. For help in choosing lighting and appliances, read on.
Content adapted from an article by Nurit Schwarzbaum and Sarah Van Arsdale, courtesy of Sheffield School of Interior Design