Feng Shui Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Have you ever been redesigning your room or watching an interior design show on TV and heard the term feng shui? This phrase is somewhat common, but many people are a little hazy on what this phrase actually means. 

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a good understanding of what this word means, and you might just be able to implement some feng shui into your life. Let’s get started. 

What Is the Definition of Feng Shui?

You might be able to tell from its spelling that feng shui is a Chinese phrase. It’s an important part of Chinese culture and has a rich history. Here is the definition of feng shui

  • A Chinese art of design that seeks to create and arrange things in a way that is harmonious with nature. 

Essentially, feng shui is a theory about how a place is laid out that puts nature as the highest form of design. By creating things that are harmonious with nature, you can support the healthy flow of energy through the space and make it feel amazing. 

Feng shui masters will reorganize living spaces to resemble nature better. Good feng shui will support positive energy in an area, help a place to have good zen, and be more in line with the local environment and climate.

There are two schools of thought regarding feng shui: The Jiang-xi school of earthly forms and the Fu-jian school of cosmology. The Jiang-xi school focuses on the forms of the landscape, and the Fu-jian school focuses on more practical matters, helping you make good decisions for your everyday life.


In ancient China, feng shui consultants were called geomancers. People would hire them to help design and build a house, city, or room in a way that improved good fortune and energy flow. 

The Chinese believed that qi, the life energy, would be naturally obstructed when a person builds on it. So, it was important for construction to allow a free flow of qi without letting it flow too rapidly. 

A feng shui master would balance the yin and yang to achieve balance in a location. They also had control over the five elements. For example, it was considered bad luck to associate water and fire with your home. 

These principles of feng shui come from Taoism, which heavily emphasizes the balance of the yin and yang in the world. 

The Bagua Map

Feng shui practitioners use a Bagua map to help them use feng shui to the best of their ability. A Bagua map is a grid of nine squares. By placing the map in a room, you can discover how the energy flows through it and design the room around the flow. 

If the room isn’t a perfectly square shape, a piece of the grid is removed, but a skilled feng shui master can use this Chinese practice to correct the flow and make the room beautiful and harmonious.

Where Did the Phrase Feng Shui Come From?

Feng shui is two separate Chinese words. Feng is Chinese for “wind,” and shui is Chinese for “water.” Combined, they make the phrase “wind-water,” which might sound inconsequential, but it is actually very important. 

According to Taoist ideas, wind and water are the flowing forces that make up the life energy of the universe, or qi. Feng shui is all about following this life force and supporting its flow, so it is named after the elements that make up that energy. 

This practice and its name have been around in China for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it became popular in the United States. In the more modern design area, the practicality of feng shui and a room’s positive energy has become more desirable and popular. 

You’ll find that more modern-themed rooms have elements of feng shui throughout, making sure the room feels open, practical, and natural. 

What Are Some Examples of Feng Shui Used in a Sentence?

Seeing the word in context can bring more clarity to its meaning and how to use it. Here are some example sentences that use the phrase feng shui. 

I absolutely love the minimalist style and feng shui of this room. It feels so natural.

I rearranged this room, and now it has so much more feng shui. 

As soon as she walked in the front door, she felt the positive energy flowing thanks to the room’s feng shui. 

After studying the practice of feng shui from a real Chinese master, she came back to the states and became a renowned interior designer. 

When I visited China, everywhere I went — from the shops to the towns to the living rooms — had simply amazing feng shui.

What Are the Synonyms of Feng Shui?

Here are some synonyms for feng shui you might find in a thesaurus.

  • Interior design
  • Interior decorating
  • Wind-water
  • Room decoration
  • Furnishing
  • Interior decorating

The Word Feng Shui

Now you know everything you need to know about the word feng shui, its meaning, history, and how to use it. Use this word and its concepts confidently in your writing, speaking, and life. If you need a refresher on the phrase feng shui, just come back to this article for the information you’re looking for. 


Fengshui | University of Washington 

Feng Shui Definition | Carnegie Mellon University 

The Feng Shui Bagua | International Feng Shui Guild