The Key to Creating a Balanced Home

By Erica Sofrina, author of Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World

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 and, together, create perfect balance.

Feng Shui acknowledges that we are ancient creatures who naturally seek balance. If our living and work spaces don’t feel good, our lives feel out of whack as well. By learning to work with the Yin and Yang components in our homes, we create the right amount of activity and restfulness in each room and our homes just feel like they work!

Each of us are drawn to a difference balance of Yin and Yang. Some of us resonate more with darker, detailed, cushy and cozy spaces and others gravitate towards more Zen spaces with simplicity of line and lack of detail. Regardless of our personal preferences, our living and work spaces need to have both Yin and Yang components in order for us to truly feel really good in them.

Yin/Yang Symbol

The Yin/Yang symbol 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

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.

Yin Rooms and How to Make them Restful

In this room used for rest and rejuvenation, we use more ' Yin' features.

Yin rooms are the places you want the energy to calm down to support rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. These would be bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, possibly family rooms (depending upon the use) bathrooms and any other room you want to be more restful.

If these rooms are too active, such as a bright, Yang Children’s or adult’s bedroom, you will most likely find that no one will sleep well in it. If this is the case you can add more Yin objects and colors to calm it down and tip the scales to make it more restful than active. (See my articles on Feng Shui for Adult Bedrooms, Feng Shui for Children’s Rooms and Teen’s Bedrooms)

Yin Objects

In physical environments Yin objects would be: circular shapes, muted colors, lower ceilings, furniture low to the ground, upholstered furniture, rugs and carpeting.

Yin colors: darker, muted colors and earth tones. Fabrics: anything soft and cushy like chenille, velvet or corduroy. Patterns: anything detailed and intricate. Plants with circular-shaped leaves (as opposed to spikey ones) will all add Yin features. Yin art work would be that depicting nature and/or calming, restful scenes. In terms of building materials; adobe, brick and stucco would be considered more Yin.

The period in history that most depicted Yin environments would be the Victorian period with it’s dark velvets and ornate furniture, overstuffed, and low to the ground. Louis the XIV and XV and the Baroque era’s also incorporated more Yin features in building interiors and exteriors.

Next: How to Create Active ‘Yang’ SpacesHow to Create Active ‘Yang’ Spaces

In this active space we can have more 'Yang' features, although we don't want sharp-edged furniture anywhere!

Yang spaces are the more active spaces such as children’s playrooms, kitchens, sun rooms, gyms or work-out rooms, home offices, crafts rooms, laundry rooms, family rooms (depending upon the use), hallways and garages.

These spaces should incorporate more Yang components which would be: brighter lighting, whites, neutrals and/or bolder colors, more angular shaped furniture and accessories with less detail.

In architecture the Bauhaus period in Germany from around 1919 – 1933 was the beginning of modernist design utilizing more Yang components, leading up to the modern architecture of our day.

Slick glass and mirrors, metal and plastics, high, vast ceilings, bright spaces, angles, 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, more restful spaces where you want the energy to calm down should incorporate more Yin features and active spaces where you want the energy to ‘pick-up’, more Yang features. The key, however, is to make sure we always have some of both qualities in every room, and not an over-abundance of either. Rooms with too much Yin will feel depressing and spaces with too much Yang will burn us out if we spend long periods in them.

To create a more Yang space, have fewer pieces of furniture, add fabrics with geometric or bold stripes and/or no patterns at all, lighter and/or brighter colors, shinier and slicker fabrics , harder surfaces and less detail. This can be a very ‘Zen’ look with fewer objects allowing the space to breathe, but if you overdo the Yang, it will feel cold and uninviting.

You can cozy-up a too-Yang space by bringing in Yin features such as circular-shaped and/or upholstered furniture, plants, detailed accessories and fabrics, darker colors and softer objects such as pillows, window coverings, carpeting and/or area rugs and cushy fabrics.

When using modern Yang decor, make sure to choose furniture with more rounded edges. Sharp-edged furniture functions like a weapon in our space. It may be subtle, but you will never fully relax in a room that has objects that can injure you. Our homes always need to be people friendly no matter what style of decor you are drawn to.

If you have a studio apartment where everything is in one room, make the areas next to the sleeping and resting spaces more Yin and the areas used for work and activity more Yang. House TV’s and Computers in cabinets or cover with a throw at night to calm down the energy for rest times. (See my article Feng Shui for Small Spaces.)

And…always bring in the Five Elements, which include plants and things that are either from the natural world or pictures and objects that represent nature. (See my article – Bringing the Five Elements into the Home) We will never feel truly at home in ultra- modern homes and offices without them, because of our deep innate connection to the natural world.

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

Read all of Erica Sofrina’s Articles on Feng Shui and Green Living at


Renata B.
Renata B3 years ago

Thank you.

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago


Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

Hmmm, I think my house has more Yin elements than Yang...

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you.

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

I'd heard the expression Yin and Yang before, but never knew what it meant. This explains alot. Thanks.

Diana C.
Diana C5 years ago

Is this from the ancient chinese culture? If it is, how do they explain their immense cruelty. Is that Yin or Yang or just being miserable sick individuals? The Chinese bound women's feet and castrated servants. Today they are the most cruel individuals on the planet when it comes to the treatment of animals. How can they "balance the forces in a room" and then have absolutely no conscience? They laugh at the suffering of animals. Monsters.

Annmarie S.
Annmarie S5 years ago

I'll have to clear the desk again ;-)

Laurie Greenberg
Laurie Greenberg5 years ago

Interesting. Thanks, Erica! :)

jerry coleman
jerry coleman5 years ago

noted good read