In order to make their houses more peaceful, harmonious places, many homeowners turn to the ancient Chinese art of feng shui. This practice, which translates in English to "wind-water," is aimed at making a space more positive and the activities within it more productive by encouraging positive "chi" to enter.
According to ancient doctrine, in most residential properties, the positive chi will enter through the front door and then travel throughout the rest of the household, being led by guides like artwork, plants, mirrors and furniture that help it to navigate the space.
The problem with feng shui in modern home construction is the fact that most residences in ancient China weren't multiple floors, and if they were, they didn't feature central staircases or foyers. As a result, many designers deem the majority of American households inherently not feng shui.
This is because most staircases that connect the first and second level of a house open up right to the front door. As a result, the chi will be guided immediately up the stairs, leaving the main floor without any positive energy. While this in theory means a home with a central flight won't be feng shui, it doesn't mean that this problem can't be alleviated.
If you have a large foyer, for instance, your staircase may be set back far enough from the front door that strategically placed plants can help the chi travel throughout the main floor with ease. This is even easier if you have a staircase that travels along a sidewall to the left or right of the front door so that the chi can enter the home unobstructed. The stair parts you use can even help guide the feng shui - a large box newel or turned balusters, for example, can help lead energy up or down a flight.
In reality, only small entryways with stairs that open up right to the front door that really have to contend with bad feng shui. Even then, it's up to the homeowner to decide what decor they want for their space, regardless of ancient Chinese philosophy.
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