Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art that is said to enable practitioners to harness positive energy and thus enhance their lives. Modern interpretations suggest that interior design should attempt to follow the principles of feng shui in order to increase wealth and happiness. One of the many areas of feng shui decorating thus involves color choice. There are many ways to shift the energy of a room. The easiest approach involves color choices that best fit the type of space you seek to decorate and which are aligned with the five elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. For the purpose of this article, let’s imagine you would like to redecorate your bedroom. What are the best feng shui colors for this part of your home, and how can you maximize their positive impact on your space?

To begin, determine which direction your bedroom is facing. Different elements are associated with different directions, and these elements are associated with different colors. The most harmonious choices, then, will be colors that best relate to the dominant elements governing your room.

Here are the elements associated with each direction:

Fire – South (also recommended in the Northeast and Southwest)
Earth – Northeast, Southwest (also the element of the center of the home)
Metal – West, Northwest (also recommended in the North)
Water – North (also recommended in the East and Southeast)
Wood – East and Southeast (also recommended in the South)

Once you have determined which elements you’re looking to include, check the list of colors that are associated with them.

Fire – red, orange, purple, pink, strong yellow
Earth – light yellow, beige
Metal – grey, white
Water – blue, black
Wood – brown, green

Let’s say, for example, that you have a north-facing bedroom. The associated element, water, suggests blue and black color choices. But are these really ideal colors to paint your walls?

Blue is, in fact, a great color for your bedroom wall. Associated with clear skies and refreshing waters, a soft version of this color works well on the ceiling of spaces where you intend to study. Deeper blues bring feelings of calm, which is great for the place where you’ll be sleeping. A particularly tranquil combination of colors involves both blue and white, as this evokes the limitless feeling of staring up at a sky full of white clouds.

Robin’s egg blue and chocolate brown are also a great color combination, both in modern design and for feng shui. A recent example of this color scheme can be found in the Sex and the City movie. House and Home design expert Lynda Reeves points out that when Carrie Bradshaw finally hires a decorator and makes her place look “grown-up,” she chooses blue for her walls with brown accents (floor and rugs) to create a fabulous small space.

In terms of feng shui, brown represents wood and blue represents water, both of which help to nourish each other. Wood signifies health and abundance, which will encourage wealth to flow into your life, whereas water is about calm and being refreshed. Together, these make for a potent feng shui combination–as well as a popular design look.