5 September, 2018
Home & Decor

How to Make Your Living Space More Functional (and Still Have Good Feng Shui)

5 September, 2018

Go with the flow – Organiser to the stars, Mel Ruben Liberatore shares her tips on how to create flow in your living space.

In Hong Kong, like many other vibrant cities in the world, space is a huge deal. Actually, lack of space. Whether you are just moving in or have lived in your flat for years, here’s how to make your home function and still have good flow. Like ‘chi’ in Feng Shui, when your home has good flow, rooms seem light and inviting. The energy in the house… flows. This is what you want.

Read more: Finding Space in Your Home When You Have None

How to Make Your Living Space More Functional (and Still Have Good Feng Shui!)

It Starts When You Open the Door

Strive for an unobstructed entrance. Place entry furniture close but not too close to the door. The smaller the entrance, the smaller the piece. Think narrow console table or versatile coat rack. We want something that’s large enough to drop your purse and keys, but not everything you are bringing into the house.

If you have a wardrobe and/or shoe cabinet, use them. Coats, jackets, umbrellas, reusable bags for the market, baby bags, dog walking accessories should all go in either a wardrobe or out of sight. What you don’t want are these things crowding your entrance.

It Flows from Room to Room

Each flat has a different layout, but there is always a best way to set-up each room. For the most part, people designing living spaces want their designs to be efficient and give good flow. The trick is trying to figure out what they were thinking. Here’s what to consider when striving for good flow:

Too Big: Proportion of Furniture to Size of the Room

There’s a giant elephant in the room and it’s your sofa.

This is so obvious, everyone wants to ignore it. No matter how much you love a piece of furniture, sometimes it’s too big. Maybe it would work better in another room or maybe in your friend’s house.

Try to find slimline furniture. Mid-century modern furniture is great for small spaces as they are usually on the smaller side and have clean lines. There are plenty of companies in Hong Kong (and online) that now feature furnishings for small spaces (see our comprehensive list below for more information). Other fun options are convertible furniture. Murphy beds, drop down dining and bedside tables hinged to walls and loft beds are all good ideas to make your space flow! What’s better than disappearing furniture? Depends on how much space you have.

Making your Space Functional

Here’s an example from my own home. I love this chair and ottoman but I now realise I’m guilty of not taking my own advice. It breaks the ‘too big’ rule and more! I have since posted it for sale on Facebook and someone is coming to get it later today. I am sad to see it go but it stops the flow and that’s a deal breaker.

Too Much: Good Flow Means Eliminating Unnecessary Pieces of Furniture, Décor and Clutter

If it’s not working, there is probably too much going on.

It may be hard to decide what needs to go but try the process of elimination to decide what works best. Culprits are usually:

  • Oversized chairs
  • Side tables
  • Décor items (Vases, Baskets, Art, Framed Photos, Books, Etc.)

Remember, sometimes tough decisions are in order. The white chair and ottoman in my office breaks this rule too – too much furniture for the size of the room.

Sadly, some items have just reached their expiration date. I’m hoping you’ll get lucky and remove one thing makes all the difference.

Too… The Placement Is Just Wrong

It’s the right size but it’s in the wrong place.

Is it blocking a natural walkway? Is it closing off your room? Ever walk into a room where furniture is blocking the way and stopping the flow?  White chair….yup.

If you can avoid it, try to have an open walk way into your furniture configurations. Nothing stops the flow like the back of a large sofa. Angle your set-up for easy access. Try to place sofas up against a wall. Instead of a heavy coffee table, choose a few cubes. As a rule, try to keep at least 18 inches for walkway spaces.

Another Hong Kong challenge is many apartments have small rooms with built-ins, making your furniture placement options limited. Whenever possible try to keep the shelving space sparse. Too much décor on shelves makes room seem smaller and blocks the ‘chi.’

Need a place to put those not so pretty but practical items? Try a box spring with built in storage.

How to Make Your Living Space More Functional (and Still Have Good Feng Shui!)

More Ways To Achieve The Flow

Three good pieces of advice from Feng Shui.

There is much to be learned from Feng Shui which is practical as well as mystical. Take these steps and lighten everything up!

1) Clear clutter

Purge, donate or make decisions on what to do with items cluttering your space. Do you need the item? Are you still using it? Are you keeping it because of guilt? Making these tough decisions will lead to clearing your head and your home. Get it done and clear your mind. (See our list below for Hong Kong stores with slimline and mid-century, modern furniture.)

Read more: Cull the Clutter: Donation Resources in Hong Kong

2) Fix broken things

There’s nothing worse than walking by something that needs repair day after day. Get it done and clear your mind.

3) Clean windows and oil doors

With the beautiful views that come with living in Hong Kong, what could be worse than dirty windows? Creaky doors! Get it done and clear your mind.

Good flow leads to an uncluttered, calm, chill state of mind. Who doesn’t want that?  So, get going. Good flow is only a few decisions away.

Featured image #1 courtesy of Unsplash, i image #1 courtesy of Unsplash, image #2 courtesy of Melinda Ruben Liberatore, image #3 courtesy of Unsplash

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