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New year Feng Shui Tips for Health, Wealth, Success and Happiness!

picture-9 Image of total luxury! Bring in health, wealth, success and happiness with these 9 tips:

1- Now is the perfect time to define your objectives and goals for the New Year. A great way to do that is by using a VISION BOARD. On it, you can list the things you want to attract to your life with images, photos and words, plus reset your goals and involve the universe.

2- De- clutter and reorganize your home and office. You will feel better and that will help your focus. By emptying your closets and cabinets you will enable fresh new energy and opportunities to flow to you.

Donate and give away to thrift shops, charities and neighborhood organizations. Or sell your old things on Ebay or Craigslist and donate the money.

3- Get your health checked. It is a great time to go visit your family doctor to start the year healthy and full of energy. Toss out old medicines and renew prescriptions.

4- Shop with abandon. Ensure your refrigerator, pantry, canisters, shakers are all full for this New Year. This represents abundance for the year ahead.

5- Review your contact list and ensure it is updated for professional and personal matters, with current phone numbers and addresses. Reach out to people you love to wish them a good New Year.

6- Respect the money in your wallet... and your wallet. Make sure it is not worn out or tattered. By keeping it full, It symbolizes having enough money all year long.

7- Get a new green plant or blooming flowers. They represent rebirth and growth for the New Year. They also symbolize health  for you and your family.

8- Make time to dream big. Prepare where you want to go this year, your travels, your vacations, your career changes, even new classes you want to take.

Live Well, Be Well, Work Well.

Marie Burgos

Manoblue Design- www.manobluedesign.com- marie@manobluedesign.com

Bathroom Feng Shui Dos & Donts

picture-22 Creating a haven of calm in your own bathroom is becoming a life essential with our busy schedules and many responsibilities.

The bathroom is the place where you can close the door on your problems.  It is where you can be free from outside tribulations, family life and just be yourself.

You can just lock the door, feel a bath with essential scented oils and unwind in hot soaking water, freeing all muscles aches, letting go of all problems and stress of the day and allowing your spirit to redo the world…

As Feng Shui highlights it, bathrooms can represent a drain on your finances, especially if they are located in the Wealth area of your home. So if you thinking of adding up a new bathroom to your property, find out if the location would be auspicious for your finances.

When remodeling your bathroom, think about the different parameters that would give it value, a sense of comfort and bring positive chi energy. Here are some helpful guidelines:

DOs

1- Place a mirror over the sink for cleaning and shaving but also to expand the space for more Chi energy to circulate.

2- displaying a selection of healthy round leave plants to bring more chi into the room and absorb any stagnant humidity.

3- Keep the bathroom door and the toilet lid closed to prevent from the negative draining effect.

4- Choose pastels shades such as soft pinks, peaches, creams and biscuit tones for your bathroom walls as they are very soothing.

5- Install strong lighting to increase the chi and boost the energy in a humid atmosphere.

6-choose aromatic soaps, essential oils, incense, candles to fill the atmosphere with a wonderful aroma and peace.

7- Create a stylish, attractive bathroom using a range of accessories that helps create a theme making your bathroom a special place to be. But Keep surfaces as free as possible from bath products if not in use.

8- Repair leaks immediately as they represent finances loss.

DONTs

1- Keep out of date drugs in your medicine cabinet. Disgard or return to the pharmacist any tablets, creams or syrups that are past the expiry date or you will encourage more ill health in the family

2- Store toilet paper and cleaning products on the floor and around the bath but put them away in a close cabinet to promote better Chi and prevent accidents

3- Place the bathroom in the center of the home this would allow waste energies and odors to circulate everywhere (valid for new constructions or renovations)

4- Have your toilet or bath opposite your front door, as these are places you need privacy and protection. If you have this layout, place a screen or plants between the toilet or bath and the door.

5- Leave your bathroom door open if it gives directly onto another room or your front door. Keep it shut at all times to prevent negative energy spreading through the rest of the home.

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at marie@manobludesign.com

Kitchen Feng Shui Design Dos & Donts

picture-111 In most cultures, the kitchen is the heart of the home.

The kitchen brings the family together. This is where the family gather to catch up on the news of the day, where kids do their homework on kitchen table, where a close neighbor will drop by for a chat. Also cooking can be a space for real celebration for holiday preparations with the family and friends.

The kitchen represents the health and wellness of a family. Food prepared in the The kitchen nourishes us, and the kitchen also provides a place for nurturing family connections

The kitchens also represent a family’s prosperity. The Chinese relate the nourishing power of the stove to the ability of family members to earn money.

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a house.

The kitchen is dominated by the elements of Fire and Water. Those elements are incompatible so it is important to take care of positioning of your appliances, color of your walls and backsplash as well as keeping any clutter under control.

Here are some great Feng Shui tips to help you design the best kitchen for great health and abundance.

Dos

1- Cook in the “Command Position”. This means from a place where you can see the front door and be in the control of your kitchen space. Ideally when standing at your stove you should see people coming in the kitchen. If you don’t, install a reflective surface such as a shiny backsplash above your stove.

2- Have your kitchen design based on a traditional triangle model, with the sink, refrigerator and range making up each point of the triangle. There should be a 6- to 8- foot distance between each appliance. This allows for maximum convenience and a minimum of repeated moves.

3- Take good care of your stove by keeping it clean and in perfect working condition. It represents wealth.  And using all the burners helps attract money from multiple sources.

4- Keep the refrigerator and freezer full of healthy food to demonstrate the prosperity of your home. And place a bowl of fresh fruits on the kitchen table is a symbol of good health and vitality.

5- Consider incorporating the color green or some greenery into your kitchen scheme. Fresh flowers and plants bring the message of vitality and life to a kitchen, which is not only esthetically pleasing but symbolically beneficial as well.

Donts

1- Paint your kitchen with red, pink or purple. These are "fire" colors, and can portend arguments, so if you and your spouse tend to fight in the kitchen, see if the wall or floor color might have something to do with this.

2- Keep too many utensils on your kitchen countertops so that the Chi can flow freely and nourish your home.

3- Keep out of date cans, package goods, preserves in your cabinets and food from your refrigerator that has been there too long. It reduces the energy level of your home and affects health.

4- Clutter your kitchen with utensils and small appliances. Keep those out of sight. Having all outside on your countertops disrupt the chi flow making it slower and lethargic.

5- Keep broken appliances even if it means living without a toaster at all for a while, it's better to have no toaster than one that doesn't work very well.

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at marie@manobludesign.com

Living Room Feng Shui Design Dos & Donts

picture-7 The living room is considered the social hub of the home. It is an area to receive and entertain guests as well as a room to relax and unwind and get together as a family after a long day of work,.

It is important to make this area of your home comfortable, safe and balanced so the Chi is upbeat and supportive.

You might want to create a conversational area, a working area, a relaxing area or this play area… you always dreamt of.

There are a few things to consider when designing your living room.

First, the lay out of your furniture. Depending on how you place your furniture, you help or block the Chi energy circulate around the room. By having your furniture in the wrong place, you might block new opportunities to come into your life. Then, the color, the lighting and your accessories.

Here are some great Feng Shui tips to support your family life with great Chi energy.

Dos

1- Use a larger piece of furniture instead of several smaller pieces to create that vision of a larger space and help the Chi flow better.

2- Bring in plants and fresh flowers to lift up the chi energy, the spirits and good moods. They also support good health by reducing EMFs (Electrical Magnetic Field). Having a lot of electrical equipment can make you feel lethargic. Protect yourself from these radiations by displaying plants in front of stereo systems, TV and electronic equipment.

3- Bring matching pairs of lamps, accessories or chairs to create balance and harmony in your space

4- Pair clean square and rectangular lines with some curves to soften and balance a design look.  Circular shapes bring intimacy, softness and comfort to a space.

5-Use Functional storage that will keep your possessions of the floor and keep your home neat and clean.

6- Bring extra comfort to your living room with window treatments in beautiful fabrics, comfortable and deep sofas and chairs, fluffy thick rugs.

7- Lighten up the room with light color shades, soft task lighting, sconces and candles and choose your fireplace as the focal point of the living room. It brings people together and create warmth.

Donts

1- Place sofas directly opposite each other. This can be confrontational and you may find guests arguing without provocations.

2- Have too many pieces of furniture. They cramp the flow of Chi and create a feel of chaos and insecurity in the room.

3- Have clutter behind and under sofas and other pieces of furniture. They block the chi energy and create stagnant energies. This makes people feel tired and out of energy.

4- Have furniture with hard edges. Favor smooth rounded shapes for safety. Curved lines help prevent negative, cutting chi from being aimed at people sitting within the living room.

5- Avoid any depressing or violent imagery or wall art. This may upset the home harmony. Choose pleasing views and art pieces.

6- keep piles of magazines and papers. They create stagnant energy. Give them away or recycle them.

7- Don’t leave dead or dry flowers in your space. They create stagnant energy. They always need to be fresh and vibrant to energize the area.

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at marie@manobludesign.com

Entrance/Foyer Feng Shui Design Dos & Donts

picture-21 Your entrance starts right outside your door. Look at the environment surrounding your door and ensure your home entrance is clearly defined, well lit and inviting. Watch out for big trees, utility posts or roads coming right at your door. Those send negative energies to your home. You also ideally don’t want to be located in front of a cemetery, a cross road, a bar or any disruptive establishment.

Your front door is called the “mouth of Chi”. The entrance is the space where Chi energy first enters. It is also the space where family and friends are welcomed. That is were people get the first impression on your home and where you get the first feel when coming back from a long day of work outside.

It needs to feel inviting, bright and free of clutter to let the maximum god energy coming in to nourish your home and support your life.

Here are some great Feng Shui tips to keep your entrance sending you great energy

Dos

1- Install good lighting and a light color walls to brighten up the space and make it welcoming.

2- Place a mirror on one of the side walls in your entry hall to enlarge the space and bring in more energy as well as inspirational artwork to help support your journey and life goals

3- Keep the entry clutter free by removing shoes, boxes, luggage, children trolleys...

Donts

1- Display a mirror right opposite the door. This bounces back the Chi energy out before it nourishes your home

2- Keep a dirty all rug. Replace by a fresh welcoming new one and keep it tidy

3- Let a damaged door or loose handle get in the way of your opportunities, repair and replace as needed

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at marie@manobludesign.com

7 Feng Shui Tips For The Kitchen

picture-10 The kitchen is the central hub of the home, as the unified need to eat brings friends and family together. Therefore by being probably the most important room in the house the kitchen needs to feng shui’d to make the social centre of your home evoke yin energy by being sunny, cheerful and clean. The Kitchen is a place where family congregates both morning and evening whether it’s having one of your daily meals or planning the day’s events.

The kitchen represents prosperity and nourishment, so how you design the space in your kitchen could actually affect you health and wealth.

To ensure proper feng shui within your kitchen the following guidelines are a great place to start:

1. Choice of color

The colours in the kitchen should support your health and nutrition, therefore use bright sunny colours, or colours of earth elements. Colours such as yellow, which symbolises sunshine, deep browns, terra cotta and orange will give your home a grounded feel. Blue is representative of water and can be very calming whereas is the colour of new wood and represents healing. White which is a metal element can symbolize a clean and calming environment but can be too sterile, so it is advisory to mix some wood or fire elements in with the white to help break it up.

2. The stove

The stove is a fire element of your house and symbolises your homes financial wealth. It is a very important aspect of your home and should always be kept clean ain in proper working condition. The stove and the sink must not be together or face each other, because if they are together the water from the sink will extinguish the fire from the stove which can have a negative impact on your finances.

3. The flora element

Plants and flowers not only look pretty but they are a great way of providing healthy energy to the kitchen. To give healing and harmony to the space in your kitchen it is best to place your botanical items in the corners of the room, between the sink and the stove and on top of the refrigerator. It is also recommended not to have a microwave as they induce an unhealthy eating environment. If however (like most people) you do have a microwave, put a plant nearby to offset the harmful effects. Remember that plants clean and purify the air from harmful energy and toxins and help radiate good chi energy.

4. Light

Lighting is key to a feng shui kitchen and it is important not to have any dark corners, this can include many forms of lights with natural light being the best but if possible avoid fluorescent lighting. If you want to reflect lighting you can place mirrors on the wall which can also increase the feeling of space while also doubling your auspicious energy of the cuisine and the stove.

5. The counter-top

The use of barstools next to an overhanging work-top is always a nice touch as it promotes communication and activity. Countertops made from granite or tile will induce too much energy into your kitchen, therefore placing plants on the surface-tops will help to counterbalance this. Haveing a wood chopping block on the counter will help bring the wood element in too.

6. Clutter

Clutter can block good energy from flowing through your space, therefore it is always important to make sure you kitchen is clean and tidy. i.e. no plates or mail or unnecessary decor. The whole purpose is to simplify your lifestyle and de-stress yourself leaving you to be more organised, relaxed and spend more time on the things you enjoy in life. Do not just remove clutter that’s visible to the naked eye, this means removing old food from your refrigerator and cupboards, throwing out old pots and pans, anything that isn’t in good condition. Do not put pictures of your friends and family on the fridge as this will inundate them with cool negative energy. Make sure your garbage can has a lid to keep the dirty energy in and all cleaning products should be hidden from view.

7. Personalization and decoration

To make the most of your kitchen make sure you personalise the space with items to make it more yin energised. You can do this by adding vibrant coloured artwork, and designs which evoke the wood element. Displaying a full fresh fruit bowl is symbolic of wealth and abundance. If you are intending to install a tile backsplash behind your sink or stove it should have calming colours (see part 1). Cabinets should be clean lined in a white wash, or alternatively use wood elements of mahogany, oak, ebony, wenge or maple to symbolize the wealth chi. To make your kitchen smell wonderful when you are not in there cooking, use all natural beeswax or soy candles, diffusers and fresh flowers. During holiday seasons you can heat some water on a stove with some cinnamon sticks and cloves to make your kitchen smell like someone is baking in it!

For more information about interior design and  Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email marie@manobludesign.com

Avoiding the top-10 design mistakes

picture-27 Perk up tired projects with fresh ideas, avoiding typical design faux pas which others unwittingly fall into. Create better ways with free-flowing function, captivating coziness and visual bliss.

1. Reflective or lackluster paint sheens. Most paint professionals guide well, yet paint offenses continue. Eggshell on walls looks best, yet some experts hype satin or semi-gloss in bathrooms, kitchens, or high traffic areas like entries and kid rooms.

2. Blunderous paint colours. Mushroom turns pink, Butter appears yellow and Rose resembles Pepto-Bismol. Experienced design advice sidesteps expensive mistakes. Select muddier and lighter than you think. Paint functional halls, stairways, laundry rooms and grooming washrooms in light, bright hues. Save darker tones for cozy bedrooms, dramatic powder rooms and living areas.

3. Television focal points. Another unnerving design deficit is spatial planning, notably in awkwardly shaped spaces. Float more inviting furniture groupings away from walls.

4. Clutter. Another design oversight has mementos and knick-knacks as overpriced dust collectors, pictured. If ditching gifts makes you feel bad, photograph, then donate. If you can't bear to part with a mash of collectibles, combine like with like, displaying only a few.

5. Lack of personal presence. Spaces masquerading around as places they're not, in one disguise or another, won't truly reflect those living there.

6. Denial. Small spaces are small spaces. Budgets can be sexy. Kids' toys in the master bedroom are life's current circumstance. Accept where you are today, without living in fantasy or memory.

7. Trying to perfectly harmonize. Trying too hard by attempting to match woods at the mercy of sunlight, time and other factors hopelessly misses the mark. Eclectic colour contrasts of various woods are stylish. Simply unite red-yellow tones with warm woods, grey tones with ashy species.

8. Artificial plants and fruit. Abandon the counterfeit and opt for the real deal. Get rid of dried flowers like potpourri and floral swags. Living things create positive energy in Feng Shui.

9. Pictures hung high. The centre of a picture ideally measures five feet from the floor. Group photographs with matching mats and frames for an expert touch.

10. Bingo blinds. Replace one-inch plastic blinds with two-inch woods with decorative tapes. This instant update far outweighs any other design stratagem.

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at marie@manobludesign.com

Top 10 Feng Shui Tips to Enhance Your Home & Change Your Life

picture-28 1. The most important Feng Shui tip of all: clear the clutter! Ask yourself two questions about every item in your home: Do I love it? Is it useful to me right now? You need a YES to at least one - preferably both - of those questions to retain the item. Otherwise, it's not only NOT doing you any good, it's taking away some of the positive chi (life force energy) that might otherwise surround you. What you will have created is a sanctuary! Imagine this: stepping into a home where you're surrounded ONLY by items you love and that are useful to you. Everywhere your eye lands is pleasing to you. Pure bliss! It's truly an act of faith - having faith that God/Source/the Universe will indeed provide all that you need when you need it and you can let go of all that doesn't work for you right now. You can let go of the stack of magazines or old newspapers that is 6 feet high, because that information you need that's 6" off the floor will find its way to you through some other avenue, rest assured.

2. Make your entryway inviting. As people drive by - or walk by your apartment in the hall - they should be intrigued and pleased enough to want to get to know you. use mats, wreaths, banners, flags, color - whatever works for YOU - to design an entry that is alive, for the front door is the portal for all the Good of the Universe to come your way. Accordingly, USE your front door! If not every day - which would be best - at least every few days, bring your energy through those doors and invite in all manner of Good/God.

3. Claim your space! make sure you have house numbers - or apartment numbers - and your name clearly identified at your home's entry. If people can't find you easily and effortlessly, then Universal Abundance will have a hard time getting to you as well. After all, Publisher's Clearinghouse needs to know EXACTLY where to deliver that check!

4. Make sure all your doors and drawers do not stick. All should open easily and effortlessly. Don't put up with little aggravations, because they drag down energy - yours and the home's - in a BIG way. You'll be amazed what a difference it makes in your life when you literally have a good handle on things.

5. Replace all the burned-out light bulbs in the home and consider upping the wattage in key areas. Light is life! It's good chi. Efforts to find your soulmate or your career or good health can be helped by simply putting a little light on the subject. Enliven that area of the bagua (back right corner for relationship, center for health, center front for career) in your home and see if that area of life doesn't become just a little bit clearer for you.

6. Never seat yourself in a vulnerable position. Have a view of the doorway from your chair (whether it's your chair in the living room or your seat in the office). Just like the Mafia don or the bear in the cave, don't sit with your back to the door. You want to see what's coming up, don't you? Have a view of, preferably, ALL the doorways into the room. That way, you can rest easy and devote all your energies to the task at hand, whatever that may be.

***The same holds true for the cook standing at the stove. If you can't see the reflection of what's behind you in the microwave above your stove, place a mirror or reflective object at the back of the burners or on the wall. The stove is a financial center in your home, so if the cook is startled, finances may suffer.

***Ditto for the bedroom. Your headboard should not be along the same wall as the door. When you sit up in bed, you should be able to view the doorway across the room, but NOT be in the direct line of the doorway with your feet pointing directly out the door. Doorways and hallways channel the chi throughout the home. Those pathways are akin to streets, where the chi is active and threatening. Laying in the path of the door with the door closed is like laying in the street, but the light is red. How good does that feel?

7. Use ALL the burners on your stovetop to invite multiple avenues of prosperity into your life. Each burner represents one avenue of prosperity, so don't limit yourself and think that all your abundance comes just from that one paycheck. God wants you to prosper - in ALL ways! So overlay the bagua (hexagram) on the stovetop and when you cook (or if you don't cook, just boil water or potpourri!), set your intention to light a fire in your relationship (back right corner) or get your prosperity burning (back left corner), instead of just using the 2 burners in front. Knowledge (in both this dimension and beyond) is front left corner. Helpful People & Travel - which is all about connection and synchronicity and being at the right place at the right time - would be the front right burner. So if you need to stoke the fire in either of those areas, just set your intention and go for it!

8. Assure a meandering flow through your home, with no obstacles to your path. Feng Shui is all about bringing nature's flow indoors. Any obstacles to free, easy movement INSIDE your home or apartment can outpicture as obstacles to health, relationship, career, etc. OUTSIDE those walls.

9. Remember: "Wherever the eye goes, the chi goes." Pull your attention to that which pleases and uplifts you. That means, either keep your toilet seat down OR the bathroom door closed OR place beautiful plants, pictures or candles atop the toilet tank. After all, you don't want the positive energy in your home going down the toilet, so pull your eye away from that bowl.

10. Use the Three Secrets Reinforcement in every Feng Shui "cure" you implement. "Cures" are the actions you take to change the energy of your home. You can make those "cures" triply-effective by incorporating body, mind AND speech in all your efforts. That's the essence of the Three Secrets Reinforcement: Take an action, speak to your intention AND envision that glorious outcome coming true. Each of those elements - actions, words and thoughts - are powerful and can change the world. Imagine how life-changing it can be to incorporate all three!

For more information about design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at: marie@manobludesign.com

Interior Decorating Tips for Studio Apartments

picture-12 Studio apartments present obvious decorating difficulties that call for great interior decorating tips. The difficulties center around your need to fit the functionality of every room - living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen - into the formality of one room without making it cramped. These design tips are sure to help you out.

1 - Let it Shine

Dark colors tend to make a space feel smaller. When painting your studio apartment, choose an interior color that is light and bright (that doesn’t necessarily mean white). Pale greens are known for their soothing effect and also help to brighten a space. Yellows are also great to make a small space feel larger, cleaner and brighter.

Interior lighting is also a key ingredient. Properly lighting your small space is important. It is also important to choose interior lighting that does not take up floor space. Track lighting, or halogen ceiling lamps are some great options that provide lots of light without taking up space. Also, use interior lighting to separate areas of your studio. Put one set of track lights in the bedroom area and another in the living room area. This will put the focus on the right spot when guests are over.

2 - Dual Functionality with Style

When designing for a studio, dual functioning furniture is great and will save you on floor space. Check out small end tables with bottom storage. Place an end table next to your couch. Add a personal touch with some fresh flowers in a glass vase. Store some magazines or coffe table books in the bottom storage area for your guests to peruse over.

3 - Fold it Up

Not everything in your apartment needs to be out all the time. That is an especially important when decorating a studio. Instead of purchasing a free standing desk, look into purchasing one that folds-up into the wall. Fold-up desks are available in various types of finished wood, and one can easily be found to match your decor. These desks are great for a laptop space, as well as a small buffet bar when company is over.

4 - Keep It Private

Just because you live in a studio, it doesn’t mean that everyone has to always be in your bedroom. Separate your bedroom area from the rest of the apartment with a privacy screen. Privacy screens are available (from very simple to very elaborate) and can easily match, or even enhance, your style and decor.

5 - Increase Your Storage

There is nothing more damaging to good interior decorating than clutter. You could have a perfectly decorated studio, but if you have papers, shoes or clothes laying around, that’s what people will notice. Increase your storage by using hanging shelves. Hanging shelves hang from your closet, and provide about five additional shelves each. Use the additional storage to get your clutter out of sight and stored away. For items that you want displayed, hang some decorative shelves above your couch. This additional shelving is a great way to display family photos, and collectibles.

6 - Keep It Small

The furniture that you choose for your studio should be in proportion to the size of the apartment. Huge sofas or long dining room tables will make your apartment feel small and cramped. Pick furniture that is smaller, such as a round kitchen table, or a loveseat. Dress up the kitchen table with a runner and a centerpiece. Make the loveseat more dramatic with throw pillows that match your color selections.

Use these interior decorating tips as a guide to decorating your studio apartment.

For more information about design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos at: marie@manobludesign.com

Retail Feng Shui Tips - Use Feng Shui To Improve Retail Sales

picture-11 When it comes to retail, the right application of Feng Shui can bring quick and immediate results. A better feng shui energy in a retail space will attract more customers, more sales and a better mood for the people who work in the store.

Shopping is all about an emotional experience - we buy things to make us and our loved ones feel better, in other words, we are shopping for an experience, not just a particular item. By applying retail feng shui basics the vibrant energy in your store will take care of that special experience customers are looking for!

By now you know that good feng shui does not mean decorating with oriental looking items. Good feng shui means creating energy that feels good, looks good and works for the purpose of a given space. It does not matter if your retail customers know about feng shui or not; on a subconscious level we are all attuned to the feng shui energy movement and react to it accordingly.

When it comes to retail, the energy of your store is felt even before customers decide to enter, so you should start applying feng shui by first stepping outside your store and taking a good, fresh look at your main entrance and your immediate surroundings.

Let me give you some basic feng shui retail tips:

Step outside your store and take a feng shui look at your main entrance, your store name, your window displays and your neighbors. Do you stand out or do you blend in? If you were to see your store for the first time, would you come in? If no, why? Feng Shui-wise, you want to create a strong and clear flow of energy to your main door. A strong flow of feng shui energy is created by a strong and clear presence, which includes a clean, crisp store name, well-lit and fresh window displays, as well as by using Feng Shui appropriate colors for the direction of your main door.

Come inside the store and notice where your attention goes. This well help you understand where the energy flows. Is your attention pulled to the right or to the left? Or maybe you are not drawn to come in at all, even though the store has many beautiful things? The important thing to understand is that you need to create pathways for the Feng Shui energy to flow, you need to direct the energy to create a pleasant experience and draw the customers in, then help them explore by themselves what you have to offer. Imagine Chi, or feng shui energy as water, and see where would the water flow, as well as see where would it get blocked.

Avoid common bad feng shui retail mistakes. This includes

a big mirror directly facing the entrance

back door aligned with the main door

fluorescent ceiling lighting

stale air or strange smells

If you have a wide lense camera, take several photos of the entrance (inside and outside) and then look at the images; this should help you get a fresh look at your own space and notice bad Feng Shui items that you might be already used to, such as an open trash can in plain view, exposed electrical cords, boxes, etc.

Create a primary focal point, as well as several secondary points/areas for exploration. This has to be very clear from the moment the customer steps into the store. You want to avoid the overwhelmed feeling of "too much staff" with no breathing room. On a feng shui energy level, this can create a feeling of a very loud, uninterrupted noise; nobody is attracted to that. Music is created by the silence in between the sound.

Locate your desk/cash register in a powerful feng shui spot, which is usually diagonally from the entrance.

Have the name of your store in a high and well lit place. If you want to be build a loyal customer base, they need to know your name. Being inside a store and not knowing where you are (hmmm, who on earth am I buying from?) is a bad feng shui retail experience.

Create good energy in your store and keep it fresh. People buy based on emotion, and the feng shui definition of emotion is the energy in motion. Be mindful of the:

quality of air

have several levels of lighting

good music

vibrant scents

slightly rearrange or change your displays regularly.

Create an exploration feel for customers. When it comes to successful retail, the best ones offer customers a little adventure, or a discovery of their own. This means designing several different pathways in your store, not just one straight line from beginning to end, creating several independent areas with different energies (colors, lights, smells, heights, etc)

Respect your customers sense of independence and curiosity. Best retail stores I have experienced are the ones that let me explore things in a variety of ways - touch, smell, try, see the price, etc without asking for help; as well as the ones that combine their items in unusual, fresh ways.

Spread out the beautiful items, or pair them in unexpected ways. In other words, jazz up the store!

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email Marie Burgos: marie@manobludesign.com