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Inner Peace and Interior Design

From Modern Hygienist, April 2008
By Renee Knight

When you walk into that certain room in your home, it just feels right. You’re not sure why, but it’s the space you feel most comfortable in, the most relaxed.

Certified Feng Shui Practitioner Randi Tonoff ( says there’s a reason for that. The room you love so much is likely the most balanced space in the house, the place Feng Shui is at play and energy is freely flowing.

“Feng Shui addresses the ever-changing flow and quality of Chi, or life force, and works with your current decorating theme,” Tonoff says. “It complements your design statement in your home and works with existing structures and interiors to bring about harmony, balance and function.”

So how can you get energy flowing in your home? We have tips from the experts that can help get you there.

In the quest for Zen and all the benefits it brings, the first thing you can do is throw out clutter, says Selene B. Kepila of Feng-Shui-Today ( Start by pitching things you don’t use regularly or at all.

“A clean house always gives us that sense of calm, peace, and serenity,” Kepila says. “If there’s a lot of clutter and a lot of mess within the home, what’s in your mind is also chaos and there’s chaos around you.”

Clutter blocks energy flow, Kepila says, and that affects aspects of your life—including romance and career success. When clutter surrounds you, there’s no room for new opportunities or new energies. Holding on to things you don’t need represents the inability to move forward, and energy-draining messes just bring you down.

Your front door is where good energy enters your home, says Carol Olmstead, Certified Feng Shui Practitioner of Feng Shui For Real Life (, so it’s important to keep that area clean and inviting. Enter your home via the front door as often as possible—even if it’s more convenient to go in the back.

Don’t leave shoes on the rug because not only is it clutter, it’s a sign that you’re trying to walk away from your life. Make sure that art in the foyer evokes a sense of home. Olmstead recommends hanging nature-themed artwork throughout your home to help you connect with the outside environment, which is important in Feng Shui.

When Tonoff enters a client’s home, she takes in many different elements. She looks for beams, low ceilings, object placement and cluttered energy. Adding natural light, textures, soothing colors like blue or green, pleasant aromas and plants are among common fixes that help balance energy flow, depending on what she finds the room needs.

Water is one of the most important elements, Tonoff says. Decorate with objects that have flowing, curved lines that suggest waves, droplets and clouds. Aquariums and birdbaths reflect the water element; so does art that depicts oceans, lakes and rivers. Materials made of glass, cut crystal, and reflective surfaces also represent water.

The elements you add to your space don’t have to be complex, Kepila says. If you don’t want to put bamboo or a large fountain in your home, find something else that complements your style.

“These things can be placed in many forms…you can do things in creative ways that are practical and usable,” Kepila says. “You don’t have to have a water fountain or a fish tank. If you need water in a home, it could be in the form of a vase full of water and flowers.”

If you can create this balance throughout your home, the benefits are vast, from enhanced wealth to self expression to increased productivity.

“Feng Shui means wind and water and is the practice of making our indoor environment feel more like the outdoor environment,” Olmstead says. “Wind and water feel great. The indoor environment tends to be very angular. You have walls that come to points and harsh lighting. Feng Shui gives us the ability to move furniture, to change lighting to connect to the outdoor world.” 

Office Zen
Want that Zen feeling at the dental office? Read on for ideas designed to make the entire office a more relaxing, inviting place for your patients and your team.

Music. Those drilling sounds can be unnerving to patients waiting for their turn in the chair, Tonoff says. Drown out those unpleasant sounds with some easy listening to help put your patients at ease.

Aroma. The smells that fill the operatory aren’t always pleasant, and they certainly won’t settle patient anxieties. Don’t try to cover dental scents with synthetic air fresheners, Tonoff says. Instead of room sprays or plug-ins, use natural scents like fresh citrus, peppermint, or lavender.

Lighting. Fluorescent lights can be harsh, and Olmstead and Tonoff recommend replacing them with full spectrum lights that replicate daylight. “Turn off your overhead fluorescent lighting and just leave on the overhead dental light and/or the indirect lighting,” Tonoff says. “It will create a more calming mood for both you and your patient.”

Furniture. The furniture should create a clear path to wherever patients need to go, Kepila says. Any obstruction or moving around in scrunched areas interrupts energy flow. Also, avoid lining up cold, hard chairs in the waiting room. In nature, everything bends and moves, and Feng Shui helps bring that indoors. “The old dental offices where they have long lines of hard furniture made people feel this rigidity in their bodies,” Olmstead says. “Put out soft padded furniture and small groupings of furniture so patients don’t feel so exposed and vulnerable.”

Color. Soft, calming colors help balance the harsh metal found in dental offices. Tonoff recommends blues and greens. Browns, yellows and beiges help patients feel grounded and secure, Olmstead says.

Water. Adding water helps relieve stress and illness, Tonoff says. A fountain is one way to add water, but if that’s too much, set out a bowl of water with floating flowers or candles. A fish tank is another option, but a vase with water and flowers does the trick, too.

Simple decorating, furniture placement, and nature-inspired artwork can make visits more pleasant for patients, leading to higher productivity and more income. “Dental offices create a fear in most people ranked right up there with least favorite things to do,” Tonoff says. “Keeping the energy and the environment calm and harmonious flows through to the patient and creates less stress. Dentists, staff and patients are much happier.”

© Copyright 2024, Carol Olmstead