Home Office Harmony

Originally published in Lake & Sumter Style, February 2008 •


Now that cooler weather is here, I’ll move back inside to work. On warm days I usually took my laptop to the lanai because I was never comfortable in my home office. I could never put my finger on why I had an aversion to that sunny room at the front of the house—supposedly a perfect place for writing.

After researching an article about Feng Shui, an ancient Eastern art that addresses balance and harmony in our surroundings, I decided that maybe my home office wasn’t so harmonious.

When I interviewed Feng Shui practitioner Beverley Tisdell of Leesburg, I asked for her opinion. Sure enough, the room’s “chi,” or energy, left a lot to be desired. “You knew something was wrong,” Beverley explained, “but you just didn’t know what.”

For starters, the desk—a symbol of a power position—was facing the wrong way. My back was to the door—a real “no-no.” Ancient Eastern cultures, of course, had to worry about enemy attacks from behind. Luckily, I have only a husband who occasionally slips in as quietly as a ninja.

The room itself is located in the “travel” quadrant of the house. Beverley suggested replacing floral prints on my walls with a framed map and moving the focus to some travel photos to reflect the room’s natural energies.

Most distracting, however, was my clutter. You cannot begin to achieve balance and order when surrounded by piles of books and papers and dozens of knick-knacks and stuffed animals.

Beverley explained the difference between chaotic clutter and creative clutter. The chaotic kind is static and never moves—the piles of paper that only get deeper—while creative clutter is necessary to complete a project, like painting a picture or writing an article.

“The key is reorganizing the space between creative bursts and bringing the projects to completion,” she advised.

The changes were relatively easy and inexpensive to achieve. Rearranging some furniture, spending $38 on a map and a mirror, and painting the room a creamy yellow—a color that stimulates creativity—have made a big difference.

I’m not sure that my home office speaks to me yet of harmony and joy—a goal of Feng Shui—but it’s certainly a lot more pleasant to be there while waiting for my ninja to get home.

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