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Improve Your Living Space With the 5 Feng Shui Elements

INSIDE: The five feng shui elements provide a roadmap that helps us decorate our any area so that it supports our growth and happiness. Learn about each element, the cycle of elements, and how each one affects each other.


According to feng shui, everything in our environment is made of certain elements. They not only make up the physical and material, but they also directly influence the energy around us. 

Research published on NBCI has shown that principles of feng shui are very similar to principles of modern architecture.

With that being said, by using these elements, we not only create a space we love to spend our time in but we also create highly beneficial energy.

Here's what you need to know about the feng shui elements and how you can use them to your advantage...

What is the Feng Shui Cycle of Elements?

The story of the feng shui 5 elements goes way back into history. The ancient Chinese masters were on a mission to uncover and understand Chi (or qi), which is the vital force of life or the energy that surrounds us.

They studied this Universal energy by exploring its manifestations in the physical world, and they came to realize that there are certain elements that are connected to Chi. They are the five elements of life: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.

Together, the feng shui elements create a perfect balance in nature and space. Each of these elements is entwined, and while some are compatible with and nourish the other element, others do not. 

The feng shui cycle of elements creates an equilibrium of five elemental forces. All of them have an impact on the energy flow in the space and can contribute to the creation of unique qi in the environment.

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This elemental cycle of life is based on three main types of interaction, or three cycles:

  1. Productive
  2. Destructive
  3. Weakening

In other words, the five elements can feed, block, or drain one another. These cycles are used to strengthen (Productive cycle) the Chi, control (Destructive cycle) the Chi, and reduce (Weakening cycle) the Chi.

Let's look at each of them in more detail...

Productive Cycle

In a productive cycle, elements support each other and act as complementary forces. They are in friendly relations and can enhance the benefits of one another.

These pairings are used to amplify the good Chi and create greater potency. 

The productive cycles are:

  • Water feeds Wood
  • Wood feeds Fire
  • Fire feeds Earth
  • Earth feeds Metal
  • Metal feeds Water 

Destructive Cycle

A destructive cycle is where one element destroys the other. In feng shui terms, this means that although both are materially present in a space, they negate each other, and therefore minimize the positive effects of each. 

The destructive cycle includes:

  • Water destroys Fire by extinguishing it
  • Fire destroys Metal by melting it
  • Metal destroys Wood by cutting it
  • Wood destroys Earth by penetrating it
  • Earth destroys Water by blocking its flow and muddying it

Weakening Cycle

A weakening cycle is a way to provide a cure for a certain feng shui area, where one element, in particular, is too pronounced.

Unlike the destructive cycle, this simply tones down the energy of a certain element and makes it more beneficial by adding the other that can reduce its negative effects.

The weakening cycles are:

  • Wood weakens Water
  • Water weakens Metal
  • Metal Weakens Earth
  • Earth weakens Fire
  • Fire Weakens Wood

When in balance, the five feng shui elements create perfect harmony and good chi. When at odds, or when an element is missing or being too pronounced, the energy is unbalanced and we are at risk of creating bad Chi.

Balancing the Feng Shui Elements

Symbolism & Energy of The 5 Feng Shui Elements

Each of the five feng shui elements carries a specific symbolism and is associated with specific qualities.

Let's look at each element in depth now...

Water Element

Water carries the symbolism of serenity and calmness. It is associated with the flow of life and it brings refreshing energy and purity into a space. It is cool, dark, and since it shape-shifts, it is connected to all free forms.

Water circulates, connects, and encourages the easy migration of energy. It helps us cleanse and release anything that doesn’t serve us and is said to support material gains, improving circulation of income. 

Water is the element of emotion, but also spirituality, and intuition. 

The Water element prevents stagnation and supports the flow of Chi. Too much of it can create sadness, heavy emotions, and inner turmoil.

Conversely, too little of it concrete coldness and an inability to let go and flow through life. 

Colors: Black, blue

Direction: North

Season: Winter

Shape: Freeform

Objects: Glass, mirrors, wavy patterns, aquariums, fountains, objects of undefined shape, blue objects, and decor

Wood Element

Wood is associated with growth, abundance, and flexibility. It represents vitality, and just like plants do, the energy associated with it is an energy that grows upwards and in columns.

The Wood element is incredibly nourishing and is therefore connected to our health and wellbeing. Wood helps us start new things, give birth to new ideas, and grow as people.

It is healing but it is also associated with wealth and material goods, as well family. Its energy helps bring greater prosperity and abundance into our lives.

Water has the role of renewing Chi. The absence of Wood in an interior makes for an uninspiring space that may persevere things as they are, but may not be able to stimulate growth.

Colors: Green, teal

Direction: East, Southeast

Season: Spring

Shape: Rectangle, column

Objects: Plants, natural textiles, wooden furniture and decor, flowers, green objects and patterns, floral and tropical patterns

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Fire Element

The fire element is all about passion, movement, and action. It has the ability to expand everything it touches, which makes it a powerful driving force.

It is associated with optimism and our lust for life. Fire brings us joy and inspires us to go after what makes our soul sing.

It also governs transformation and is an elemental representation of the Sun and light. We use it to invite popularity, fame, and good reputation into our lives. Because of these properties, fire is a very potent force that, when used properly, can enhance our social standing and ensure recognition. 

Fire uplifts Chi in a space and makes the energy lighter.

An overemphasized fire element can create chaotic energy and power-struggles and stimulate aggression and feistiness.

The lack of it makes for stagnant, unstimulating, and low-vibrational energy.

Colors: Red, magenta, purple, intense orange

Direction: South, Southwest

Season: Summer

Shape: Triangle

Objects: Fireplace, candles, lamps and lighting, electricity, sharp and pointy objects, anything depicting fire, red objects, animal prints

Earth Element

Earth is grounding and it is the element of potential. It is there to stabilize us and help us become who we aspire to be. While Wood helps ideas grow, Earth, just like when planting seeds, helps us lay a firm foundation for growth. 

Earthy energy inspires greater loyalty and creates a safe and supportive environment. Because it is protective of all things that matter to us, the Earth element is essential if we want to be more practical or disciplined.

It's incredibly nurturing, and inspires trust among family members, stabilizing relationships. Therefore, this element corresponds to tradition and family values.

The Earth is responsible for stabilizing Chi.

Too little of it can make for flighty energy, making us unable to lay down a firm foundation or put down roots.

Too much of the Earth element creates a dull, stuck, and conservative environment.

Colors: Brown, beige, light yellow, sandy tones

Direction: Center, Northeast

Season: Late summer

Shape: Square, rectangle

Objects: Bricks, ceramics, tiles, clay pots, porcelain vases, artwork depicting earth or sand, objects of earthy tones, decorative stones

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Metal Element

Metal adds quality and clarity to the tasks we are performing. It has the ability to unify the five elements.

Productivity, efficiency, and dedication can all be brought into a space with the use of Metal. It ensures clarity of thoughts and actions and works to stimulate mental development.

The metal element is connected to freedom of expression and perception, which makes it incredibly important for ensuring healthy and stimulating communication.

Metal gives Chi a clearer form.

When it’s absent, we are unable to make rational decisions or clear judgments. Our communication and intentions are clouded.

When the Metal element is over-amplified, it creates overstimulation of the mind, stubbornness, and rigidity. 

Colors: White, grey, metallic

Direction: West and Northwest

Season: Fall

Shape: Round and oval

Objects: Steel decoration, metal furniture and artwork, cement, metal sculptures, and dishes, white and grey objects, coins, wind chimes, bells 

Why Are the Feng Shui Elements Important?

Understanding five feng shui elements and what they represent allows us to create a harmonious environment that feeds our growth, rather than sabotaging us.

When they are well-balanced, they can level-up the quality of our lives and contribute to better health. Such space has healing properties and helps us enjoy life to the fullest.

When the feng shui elements are balanced, the Chi flows easily in such an environment, which allows for a natural exchange between the energy created in the home and that which enters it.

The five elements affect our mood, aura, and energy levels. This means that, when properly used, the great five can help us manifest whatever we desire, be it people, abundance, health, relationships, and growth of knowledge.

Positive Chi is incredibly potent for attracting high-vibrational energy our way. Not only that, but it can actually block or prevent harmful and toxic energy from even coming out.

The ways we use the feng shui elements influences what we invite into our living space. When they are imbalanced or not taken care of, feng shui 5 elements can create bad luck and an unhealthy space.

If our personal space has bad Chi, no matter how well it is decorated or designed, we may feel stuck or even like strangers in our own home.

Feng Shui 5 Elements

How to Use the Elements to Create a Positive Chi

Feng shui is a home improvement approach that is based on energy, so being mindful of the effects of certain objects, directions, and colors can do a lot to alter the frequency of a home.

Every quality mentioned above has the ability to create or diminish the energy of the space, depending on how and where it is used.

For instance, if we paint our room blue and choose wooden furniture, we will invite in the energy of Water and Wood. If we paint it white and use white furniture and curtains, we will amplify the energy of Metal, and so forth.

Here are the steps to using the 5 elements in your home...

Understand the Elements

The first step to using the feng shui elements to create positive Chi is to be aware of what each element represents.

Determine the Main Element in the Space

The second step is determining the orientation of your home according to the Bagua Map.

Being aware of which element corresponds to which part of the map will help us determine the main element to use to bring luck into that area. Once we do that, we can carefully add the remaining four elements to create a balance of each.  

Notice How it Makes You Feel

The third step is to be alert to how energy changes as you add decor and details. We make further adjustments based on how we feel in the space. If we feel serene and balanced, we’ve hit the perfect Chi.

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the feng shui elements and how they interact with each other, you can make better decisions about how you decorate your living space. It could make a huge difference in your life!

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* Crystals and stones should not be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Please read our full disclosure notice here.
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