Yin and Yang: The Key to a Balanced Home

Have you ever been in a room that didn’t feel good to be in but you couldn’t figure out what was wrong? Chances are the Yin/Yang components were out of balance.

Yin and Yang is at the foundation of the Ancient Practice of Feng Shui. It has to do with the recognition that the universe is made up of opposite forces of energy, which cannot exist without each other. They are finely balanced and, like polar sides of a magnet, are innately attracted to each other.

The Yin/Yang symbol (picture at top) depicts two fish gliding together in perfect balance. Each carrying components of the other; the black fish with the white eye and the white fish with the black eye. The two swim together in perfect harmony creating a circle, the most ancient symbol depicting wholeness.

Feng Shui acknowledges that we are ancient creatures who naturally seek balance. If our living spaces are not balanced, our lives feel out of balance as well. By learning to work with the Yin and Yang components in our homes, we create supportive spaces that bring our lives back into harmony as well.

The concept of Yin refers to the feminine principle, which is passive, dark and yielding. Yang refers to the male principle, which is bright, active and extroverted.

Next: Examples of yin and yang decor

In physical environments Yin objects would be reflected by circular shapes, darker more muted colors, lower darker rooms, upholstered furniture of soft chenille, velvet and corduroy fabrics, carpeting and area rugs,  and smaller detailed prints. In building materials adobe, brick and stucco would be considered more Yin materials. In design history, the eras that incorporated Yin qualities would be the Victorian era, Louis IV and VI and the Baroque period.

In architecture the Bauhaus period in Germany from around 1919 – 1933 was the beginning of modernist design utilizing more Yang components. Slick glass and mirrors, metal and plastics, high, vast ceilings, bright angular spaces, bold stripes and geometric patterns, square, hard angular furniture without detail, flooring of hard woods, cement and tile, all reflect Yang design materials and features.

In balancing a home we want to first determine the use of the space and then incorporate the Yin and Yang qualities appropriate for it. Passive spaces should incorporate more Yin features and active spaces more Yang features. The key, however, is to make sure we always have some of both qualities and not an over abundance of either.

Yin rooms are the places you want the energy to calm down to support rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Yin rooms would be bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, possibly family rooms and bathrooms.

Yin Bedroom Example

This is an example of a Yin bedroom which is designed for rest and relaxation

In these rooms we would want to bring in more Yin features such as comfy furniture, more muted colors and lighting, plush fabrics and more detailed patterns and accessories. Having a bright, light ultra-modern bedroom with high ceilings and slick fabrics would not serve the occupants and will often translate to sleep disorders. (See my article on Feng Shui for Children’s Rooms and for Teen’s Bedrooms).

Next: Examples of yang spaces

Yang spaces are the more active spaces such as children’s playrooms, kitchens, gyms, home offices, laundry rooms, family rooms (depending upon the use), hallways and garages. These spaces should incorporate more Yang components with brighter lighting,  whites and/or bolder colors, more angular shaped furniture and accessories with less detail.

This is an example of an active Yang space. Although we don't want sharp-edged furniture anywhere in the home.

In using modern Yang qualities make sure to choose furniture with more rounded edges. Sharp-edged furniture is considered weapon-like in Feng Shui. It may be subtle, but you will never fully relax in a space that has objects that can injure you. Our homes always need to be ‘people friendly’ no matter the style of decor you are drawn to.

We also want to bring in all of the Five Elements, which include plants and things that are either from the natural world or represent nature.  (See my article on bringing nature into the home)* Ultra modern homes devoid of nature will never allow us to feel truly ‘at home’ because of our deep innate connection to the natural world. (See my article on the Five Elements).

The key is to have a balance of both Yin and Yang qualities in every room, emphasizing more Yin or Yang features depending upon the use of the room. Yang features will make the space more active and Yin features generate a more restful atmosphere. Make sure your design choices and styles are serving the people who need to occupy the space, and not the other way around!

Once we have achieved an appropriate Yin/Yang balance in each room, we will be well on our way to creating a balanced and harmonious home that supports, uplifts and nurtures our lives!

Your comments are always appreciated!

*Another powerful component of Feng Shui is working with balancing the Five Elements in our home. For those of you who would like to learn more, I am offering a free color Five Elements map to all of my readers. Click here to receive your free copy (pdf).

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GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.2 years ago

You don't have to redecorate a room, or the whole house. Maybe a chair cover, a different picture, colorful candles...some small thing(s) can bring your room into balance, and cheaper on the budget. Me, if a pile sees out of balance, I'll rearrange it to get the Yin and Yang back where they belong...Thank you Erica.

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.2 years ago

My fabric is in two rooms, the living room and the small bedroom - or what is supposedly the sewing room, tho not enough room for My sewing. Yes, I do have books there also...quilting, crocheting, cross-stitiching books and magazines. I still have three boxes I can't unpack with my old craft magazines...tho one could be given away if I get the time to go through and pull ones I want, or copy the articles. Then there are the few bins of fabric that haven't gravitated to my living room...yet. The room has no Yin or Yang but certain piles do.

My fabric. Depending on the project the fabrics will be used for is where Yin and Yang come in. I love working with bright colors, those could be Yang...unless I'm using a bright solid with a vibrant print. Then the solid could actually be the Yin...and the print is Yang. Makes sense.

My second granddaughter wanted a quilt. I asked for three colors: Lime green, Hot pink, and Royal Purple. Thought the pink and green would take over so asked for another color: Royal Blue...Hot pink and lime green definitely Yang. The blue and purple definitely Yin...unless you see a royal purple print with both the green & pink in it...Yang. I am just now finishing the back and looking at both sides it's a Yang quilt. I'll tell you about putting it together another time...fun...not.

Yin and Yang can be applied to so many things in our everyday life and we may not be aware until we take the time to look closely at our surroundings. T

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D.2 years ago

OK - I started on another of your articles and ended up here after 3, maybe 4 others...this seems the oldest, or more of a beginning for me. Thank you for your always interesting articles. Yin and Yang, as it relates to my chaos...I did clear one small pile out this week.

In looking around, I found that my chaos has a decidedly Yin and Yang to it. Even my walls have a Yin and a Yang, altho I think most are Yang. Big Cats are dark, but not much yielding or passivity there. Though active is not descriptive since most cats, large or small, spend hours resting/sleeping.

My bedroom has Big Cats on the walls, but my stuffed cats crowd my long dresser. Mixed together are both large and small cats, all different colors and patterns. That would be the best example of my Yin and Yang sharing the same space. My bed is the calm in my apt.

My clutter is limited to the living and dining rooms where I spend the majority of my time. My piles of projects, books, fabrics, yarn, all have their own Yin and Yang. At any given time certain piles will call out, saying I have to deal with this soon, or Now. Some books tell me to read this one or that one next. My books are Yang...alpha heroes, strong heroines, action, adventure, mystery...teeth and/or fur - vampires and shapeshifters. Not much Yin.

To be continued...

Tammy Baxter
Tammy B.2 years ago

thank you

katarzyna phillips

interesting article. i've read a bit on feng shui but found it overwhelming, so now i go with my 'gut' feeling and what i think feels right. i don't care if someone else doesn't like it. i do and that's all that matters. if it's for the house, my partner usually likes it too, or we compromise. maybe i'll read up on it some more and take small steps, but i think the energy levels in most of my house are correct, the ones that aren't are areas that are cluttered anyways or are on the 'to-do list' as they need gutting and rebuilding from scratch. it's so much easier to do this on your own home or something you own, than if you rent

Kristin N.
Kristin N.3 years ago

I love the concept of feng shui. It gives a great blueprint and guideline to how to design your home to get the maximum benefit from it. Just because you are not aware of how your body reacts to energy does not mean that it does not exist.

Wes Giesbrecht
Past Member 3 years ago

The term 'balance' is totally subjective. This is not nit-picking, it's something I've thought about a lot.

I'm inclined to see it this way. People use the term balanced to describe whatever it is that they like and feel comfortable with.

What makes me feel great in terms of colour, shape and juxtaposition, might give another person migraines. What someone else thinks is perfect (perfectly balanced) might actually be downright depressing to me. Again, it's subjective.

Whenever someone says they're looking for balance, I think: "No, you're just looking for what pleases you, personally. And since we're all different.....

Seriously, the term balance, used in this sense, is to me, completely meaningless.

Beanie Hudson
Beanie Hudson4 years ago

I absolutely love the concept of Yin & Yang.

Cristina Q.
Cristina Q.4 years ago

thank you for an interesting article

John C.
Past Member 4 years ago