I never really cared about Feng Shui, I did not see myself playing around with invisible energies, obviously I thought it was only a spiritual thing but it is often also a rational set of common sense rules.
I started designing my brushroom/office without any consideration of Feng Shui at all, mainly because it was too small to allow that many possibilities anyway. I was just a very mathematical person: “here I have enough space for the desk, here for the vanity, here for the drawers, etc etc… ” But something felt wrong and I couldn’t get what was causing it. Two months ago, luckily before I started buying -too much- stuff, several things started to make sense. It was starting to take shape in the wrong direction, a bland office with a vanity in the corner, an office with a storage depot, or sometimes it looked like a kitchen with a computer. “What is that mirror doing in the kitchen” was once the first thing that came to my mind.
I had to do something about it, although this is a tiny room it’s still a huge opportunity to do something fun and to enjoy a little soothing space just for me and my brush friends.
I am not an interior designer, hence I don’t want to have the pressure of having to do everything perfectly well and perfectly trendy, it’s just too hard for someone who doesn’t have the skills, the time, the budget and the means. If I put the standards too high I will stress, I won’t have fun and I may never finish this project. I don’t have the taste and skills of a professional, I just want to feel good and enjoy a place that speaks to me. Of course if I had an unlimited budget everything would be much easier 🙂 Lastly, try to find original cheap furniture in Switzerland, it’s impossible! Everything is expensive and the choice is so boring!
I was facing a few issues:
- Feng Shui. The only place where I could easily fit my desk, it was facing away from the door, it means I would be turning my back to the door, that is the worst in terms of Feng Shui (and common sense positioning).
- Over-storage. I needed lots of storage but at some point, too much storage units deprive us from space and a cluttered room robs our creativity.
- Style. I wanted to be stimulated by the colours but not too much that it will induce fatigue, I wished for a comfy modern and glam room but I just couldn’t make up my mind, neither on the colour nor the style.
1. Feng Shui issues
My little brushroom/office is tiny, 3mx3.20m, the possibilities are very limited due to its size and due to the position of the two windows and door but I had to do something about the chair, the door and the desk… it just felt too wrong to sit back to the door. There wasn’t much I could do though, I tried to consider “Feng Shui solutions” for when you have no other choice, for example getting a very strong solid chair with a back that goes up to shoulder level for protection, the further it extends, the better. I found a wonderful white leather chair so comfy that it’s nearly unbelievable, I never sat on such a comfy office chair in my entire life and I love it, it’s perfect and I can even rest my head. But I wasn’t happy yet, that solution did not help.
Another solution is to place mirrors so that you can see the door behind, the risk is to get distracted… I found an inspiring photo on Houzz that shows several mirrors, lots of tiny mirrors distract less than a huge one. It was better but I still wasn’t feeling ok …
…and there is more, the desk was initially planned to be transparent glass. I though it was a good idea because I can clean it and sanitize it -specially when you are playing around with brushes and make-up, there is always bacteria- but I did not feel at ease with a glass desk, in Feng Shui, a glass-top desk can cause money and business deals to fall through. I heard you can solve that with putting a wood panel underneath or an opaque glass, so instead of a transparent glass desk, I ordered a thick opaque white glass panel where you couldn’t see through and still benefit from it’s cleanable surface.
I have to confess that I already have the most un-Feng Shui place at work, it’s an open space, I am sitting in the middle of the passageway, with no natural light, I can’t even see a window, it’s super noisy due to the people around and due to the unfinished structure of the industrial building, there is no protection whatsoever around me, and the cherry on the cake: I am back to the traffic of the entrance and totally exposed… Sitting in a place like that makes me really sad, even if I work in a big luxury group with a job that I enjoy and nice colleagues, I spend more than 8 hours per day there, it just doesn’t feel nice or peaceful and doesn’t help with concentration. I don’t want to repeat that same feeling at home, I have to do the best I can to feel happy and at peace with my surroundings.
So, I changed the brushroom plans and I decided to switch the desk to a different angle. The instant I took that decision I felt so much better! Seriously, as soon as I decided to change the plans, all started to feel right and the ideas were flowing better than before.
Bottom line: I listened to Feng Shui, but at first I was refusing to change the plans, after I did some testing I was forced to admit that I really had to change them!
2. Storage cluttered room versus minimalist furniture
Ok, I need storage, but what’s better: Plenty functional storage or a pretty room with moderate storage ? hmmm You will have less storage but when you spend time in the room you will enjoy the space… That’s a tough decision…
When I was designing the first plans, I started loading the room with drawers and sections for storage but at the end in the plans it looked like a kitchen or a storage depot. Did not look much like a chilling and modern place 😀 I decided to changed that too, instead of big storage furniture I decided to use smaller drawers and place a long chair under the window where I would sit comfortably, cat nap, read, drink tea, chat, etc… That was an amazing decision. It dramatically changes the room from a bland place to a gorgeous glam one.
Bottom line: compromising on storage can help with the final look, I still found a few storage ideas that will be fun and won’t overload the space.
At first I wanted a Japanese type deco, reds, black and woods. That idea didn’t last long, red is just too stimulating and doesn’t allow my mind to rest.
Then, my second decision was to paint the accent wall taupe and the others cream, I bought samples and when I tried I found that awful, I was sick looking at it. It looked like poo on the wall.
I did not know what to do, I couldn’t find a colour combination that made me happy. So, I started browsing Houzz.com, after a few weeks, I decided I would inspect the furniture shops that we have around Geneva and check out their style to see where I would feel good, I spent a few days zombying around in their fake rooms, I was afraid they would think I was planning to live there or something. I was a bit shy to repeat my long visits but at the end it was helpful.. Sometimes I would ask them: “Where can I find this?” pointing at a little deco item in a corner. They would always reply that it’s from an old collection and that they don’t had them any more.. that’s when I told them I wouldn’t leave the shop without it 😀 … it was for fun but it worked, and that happened several times… I managed to go home with items that weren’t even for sale 😀
The ideas started to flow one by one, a lot of browsing, reading and self-studying too because my personality has to be reflected in the room and the décor is going to build up slowly to match me. It will change as I evolve, but it’s normal, it’s totally normal to get inspired by other’s experiences, we just have to pick our very own mixture. I love contemporary styles, strong statements, white furniture, metal and black accents, a very complex mixture of textures and surprisingly I discovered I love cool dark ocean teals and blues…and there I had my final pattern. Or is it? For now it is.
Luckily it was just after Christmas so a lot of shiny metal deco items were on sale, I managed to gather a few lovely items but they were so mixed, brass, bronze, golds… but no worries, guess what? while watching a DIY video I learnt that one of the 2015 trends was mixing metals! how amazing is that? 😀
Since I was in the topic, why not have a look at 2015 trends and see how aligned I was with that? It started as a curiosity and it ended making me feel good because I had chosen things that would easily fit in those upcoming trends.
These are some of the 2015 interior design trends that I found listed on the web:
I don’t like that, I don’t find that sharp things are soothing.
- Black and White with any pop of colour
Well yes, actually that’s spot on what I have selected. It’s timeless, it’s classy.
- Ethnic influence
I already did that in year 2000 in my old flat, it depends… now I don’t like it as much. Ethnic ok when it’s just animal prints, yes for that but it’s mentioned in another trend.
- Hair on hides
No, I don’t like it.
- Animal prints
Indeed, only the accent wall with the vanity will be stencilled with animal print! A slightly shiny and textured light grey tiger stripes on a matte white wall! it’s nearly shocking and I thought it would be a too dramatic idea but when I received the stencil I did some testing… and it looked so incredibly gorgeous and fresh! It looks great with the rest of the furniture, with the metals and the light wood.
We will see… I can show you some of my tests even though it’s with minimal paint and on a rough surface, still, it gives you the idea…
The ceiling is that same grey colour, the other walls are just plain white. I have to keep it simple and not too cluttered, if I combine too many things together the fabric and the print may not work, until it’s done I won’t know for sure… I am just crossing fingers it will look as great as I had imagined! Even my bf who is so conservative loves it so there’s hope 🙂
I am not a floral person but I admit they soften a room. The black and white fabric that I will be using both on the vanity bench and on the long chair is a bit like an abstract floral. It’s the Marimekko Joonas fabric, an example on the right of each pic here:
It screams creativity and happiness, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my choice!
- Nature elements
Yes I have always loved that, I will do my best to have a few.
- Lighter woods
I bought some light wood to build a vanity bench and I put the wood panels near the white drawers by accident, it looked amazing together, so I decided to do that for real, frame the dresser with light wood panels all around.
In this picture it’s not done yet, and the wood is still covered with the protective plastic but the light wood with metals and the shiny white drawers is a modern healthy looking combination.
Nope, not for me, I don’t like that and it attracts too much dust.
Don’t like it.
- Glam interiors
Oh yes again, 1000x yes. I love the luxurious look of mirrors, metals, gorgeous fluffy lux cushions! I hope it works out but there will be glam!
Since I have recently received the mirror, I can show you a pic, it’s a hand-made mirror, it took more than a month to be ready, the frame is made out of wood but the paint and design is mixed silver and gold and it follows a bit the theme of the stripes… It’s safely stored waiting for the brush room to be ready.
- Brass and burnished metals
I love that, I have always loved brass or metal accents mixed with white and wood. The fact it’s a trend and I am free to mix them without shame it’s just wonderful, no need to worry any more 😀
- Greek keys
That’s funny because I have ordered furniture overlays that are actually shaped like greek keys… but with all the changes I don’t know if they will still have a place in this room. Without knowing it was a trend, I ordered them as I knew they would take long to arrive, I don’t think I will use them here though.
- Oversize canvases and Digital prints
I have no wall space to hang big pieces, although I would love to, but I have an idea cooking 😉
This is just part of what will be in the room, there is the lights, the display cabinets, the curtains… I don’t know if I will change my mind again but I am pretty sure that now I am decided!
I think I should consider Feng Shui a little bit more in my life. I have been living with my bf for 13 years, he always refused mirrors and electronic equipment in our bedroom, he never said it was because of Feng Shui. When I recently asked him, he just said that it wasn’t healthy to sleep with them around, he says “it’s just basic common sense rules“.
After reading many Interior Design sites and watching many videos, Feng Shui seems quite important for many people and obviously it’s calling for more and more attention. But, that’s where I don’t get it. There are still many famous interior designers who use clear glass office desks, or mirrors in the bedroom, or fans or beams above the bed, and so on, so my question is, how much do you follow Feng Shui rules?
Do you pay attention to where you place your items, to how you combine them ? Did you had an experience where you felt better after you moved things around ? I would really love to read what is your opinion about it, it’s a weird topic but I truly think it’s interesting and that it has an impact in our lives.
If you don’t mind sharing with me (us) please do so… I’ll be delighted to read you! <3
I hope you enjoyed this little overview of the future brushroom/office… that is if I don’t change my mind again 😀 Still working on the walls but as soon as I have a reveal date, I share!
Hola sonia, la casa en la ke vivo la compramos hace 2 años, la verdad casi no la e decorado mucho, no se, eske miro revistas de diseños, a veces tienen un espacio lleno de decoraciones, colores, cuadros, diferentes texturas y se ve bonito pero en la realidad siento ke me asfixiaría en un lugar así, aún no tengo una idea clara de como kiero decorar mi casa, si me decido a pintar paredes pero para eso tendría ke kitar la carpeta de la sala y poner piso.. Creo ke alguna vez leí por ahí ke no es muy bueno tener plantas espinosas dentro de la casa ke porke atraen mala energía, tampoco muchas flores artificiales, los espacios chiquitos y obscuros tampoco hacen bien, kien sabe, creo ke lo mejor es combinar un poco de las 2 cosas para ke el beneficio sea mayor, siempre ke muevo cosas de lugar y hago limpieza profunda el espacio se siente mucho mejor, de echo ayer limpie el cuarto de lavandería y kedo como nuevo, mucho más agradable y ordenado
tambien es el miedo que le tengo, creo que comprendo lo que quieres decir, lo que me asfixia es sentir que no puedo “vivir” porque hay cosas demasiado elegantes or cargadas para poder estar comoda. Las revistas son una inspiracion pero a coger elemento por elemento, una ideita por aqui, otra por alla…
Depende que plantas y depende que sitio de la casa, si son plantas abundantes y que respiran salud es lo mejor, luego depende donde exactamente las pones, todo eso es mucho analisis, a mi me cansa tener que estar contando y examinando cada cosita, cuando uno empieza, ya se puede ir muy muy lejos!
Si no te sientes a gusto cambia, si estas a gusto, no necesitas cambiar, es verdad que limpiar y sobre todo recoger todos los trastos que puede haber por los muebles ya hace una gran diferencia. Mis padres tienen un monton de cositas por los muebles, fotos, o trastos cuando mejor seria tener un conjunto de ellos or uno muy grande, pero bueno, no puedes cambiar mentalidades cuando todas las cositas tiened una historia 🙂
Pues haber si te lanzas algun dia, a veces no necesitas mucho cambio, hay cositas bastantes faciles que hacen mucho para la casa! Pero hay que tener paciencia… 🙂
Very interesting post Sonia, I do identify with the room color and furniture placement knocking you off your game. That situation I have been in one too many times and hope not to encounter it again. Like you, I never got really into Feng Shui to really understand the full capacity of it but the benefits we often stumble upon without realizings. having a sense of calm stromps so many other things, especially after a very hectic day working and dealing with life issues.
thank you 🙂 so you were there too? it’s really upsetting… it’s better to try to keep the walls and furniture neutral and only do accent decorations in colour but it’s also so much fun to try daring things!
Unless we are totally into Feng Shui I think it impossible to take into account every detail and its capacity, it can get really deep and complex but it’s funny like you say, when we stumble on its benefits nearly by accident! Then it picks our interest and want to know what else we could improve.
I reached a point where I need calm and peace, a place to get away from stressful life.
I hope you managed to find the colours and furniture that make you happy 🙂
*combinar las 2 cosas osea algo del feng shui con tu gusto personal para ke sea mejor el beneficio
So I’m totally with your bff. It’s just common sense! You have to find somewhere in between your needs, your taste and your budget!! It takes more time, but it’s worth the effort. At last it’s just making a place YOUR place. And that’s it!
I’ve read some feng shi books and while I’m not sold on everything I’ve read, it’s good to think outside the box and try something new just to see how it feels. It’s amazing when you have an “aha!” moment. I’m surprised that in the 35 years living in this little house, my husband and I have continuously renovated parts and rearranged loved belongings and new acquisitions to fit our changing lifestyles. It truly has a big impact on how we feel every day!
I use Feng Shui in my home. I really studied it when I lived in my previous apartment and made the necessary changes and it really helped out a lot. The mirrors thing was something I made sure to implement as well as keeping the closet doors closed in the bedroom, placement of the bed, combining elements of water and earth to make sure that places of rest were grounded. Eventually, I think you start to just know on instinct how to place things and the type of items you need to implement Feng Shui. Now, it’s almost second nature to me in my new home, but every now and again, I will go back and look something up to make sure I’m making the most of what I have.
Can’t wait to see your room all finished. 🙂
Interesting post! Feng-Shui is big in my culture…Some of my friends’ family follow Feng-Shui religiously! My family is not big on Feng-Shui; thought my parents still try to avoid displaying things in a way that is in conflict with good Feng-Shui. We try to avoid knowing Feng-Shui details, so we have an excuse to not follow lol.
Fun fact, I am not sure what exactly the western idea of “Feng Shui” comes from, but Feng Shui happens to be the Chinese phonetic spelling of 風水 The literal meaning of the characters means “Wind Water”. The two characters used together has a completely different meaning of “display the right way = good fortune.”
oh Feng-Shui is not only limited to interior display; it applies to the garden as well. The position of the well in the garden has a very important correlation with wealth as far as ancient noble Chinese were concerned.
Best wishes for your brush room!
My neighbor should have been an interior designer. She loves all this and mentions Feng Shui a lot. Guess I’ll have to look into this topic. Sonia, I have a brush I would like to send you. I have not seen anything like it in any of your posts. I bought it probably 28-20 years ago and have just kept it hidden away. I would like to donate it to your museum. It’s OK if you don’t like it. I just would like to send it to you. I am not computer savvy but I think you can see my email address, so if you are interested, send me an email with your address and I’ll send it off to you. I am in the US so write your address exactly as it needs to be, OK?
Sorry, I meant 18-20 yrs ago.
I like Christopher Alexander’s ‘Pattern Langage’… my favourate book of all time. The premise is that the arrangement of our environment effects our behaviour.. if you don’t share common space with your neigbours you unlikely to know them. The premise of the book is that science can not create these places we use patterns a bit like ‘Feng Shui’ patterns. Interesting enough it was picked up by the programers who use the ideas to develope patterns for programs.
Most likely feng shui has become an important part in chinese-oriented society. We would hire the master of feng shui to check on our houses/apartments every year to see whether the furnitures / decorations are correctly placed as it would enhance something in a good way (and misplacing of goods might enhance something in a bad way). Most businessman would hire the master every year as a traditional even though they might not believe in it (e.g. HSBC has a pair of lions outside their headquarter in Hong Kong, and thats the feng shui even though a bank would not believe such thing of it, but without doing it if anything bad happened to the bank, everyone would blame on not following Feng Shui said). Another example will be master of Feng Shui would advise you not to have any mirrors facing your bed, not only you would have bad dreams about it, and it might cause your health. That is why you can rarely see asian families having mirrors in their bedroom (or if theres any, the mirrors will be hide behind the closet doors). If you really want to have a dresser in your bedroom, you can placed the dresser next to your bedside table that the mirror would not reflect the bed.
Ohh this post is such a tease! Can’t wait for it to be done 😉
You know, it’s not until recently that I’ve even had the luxury to play around with the placement of furniture. You have a room and a basic number of gigantic pieces of furniture (desk, bed, sofa, wardrobe, in my case a piano too and etc) and only so many combinations of how to even fit it all between 4 walls. I wish I could not have electronics in the space I sleep, but alas, I live in somewhat of a studio – it’s a bedroom, office, sitting room and dining room in one, so, no – realistically, feng shui is unrealistic. I did however feel better after a more substantial re-decoration when the bed was moved away from the window. It’s tricky, a) I don’t feel as cold and am not sick quite as much anymore but b) it’s now closer to the door so every glimmer of light and slightest noise keeps me up.
Someday I’ll get to do it the way I want to, definitely following common sense. I would still have a fan and mirrors in the bedroom, simply because I know how small it would be and mirrors really help with that. And if you don’t have AC, a fan in the summer is a lifesaver. Common sense, albeit of a different nature 😉
I agree with you Olga, that’s why some interior designers prefer a common sense of a different nature, that allows better end results in small spaces. We will always have to do compromises but it’s ok, as long as it makes sense for us and we take the best out of it (comfort, etc..) we have to feel good and happy with it!
I would also put mirrors if I had a studio, I would just cover them at night with some kind of deco curtains or if we are not reflected on them why bother too much? 🙂
Makes me happy you found a solution for the cold! We can never have it all: my boss moved my desk to a new place because we had no oxygen, now I am in a place with more air but no light and super noisy, 😀 😀 yeah.. funny *sigh*
Be careful, insomnia is no good, sleep well sweetie!!