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May 31 2012

The Bathroom – A Place for Purification

by Sylvie Robitaille

The bathroom is an ideal place for energy transformation and, above all, the perfect environment for taking care of yourself in complete privacy. It is a room associated with femininity, beauty, and family well-being based on relaxation of the body and mind. On a more subtle level, it makes us more aware of the unconscious aspects of ourselves.


Feng Shui

For this reason, it’s a good idea to integrate Feng Shui principles into your bathroom design and layout. Feng Shui, which literally means “wind” and “water,” is the art of finding—or recreating—the right place. It allows one to bring together the most favorable conditions for self-fulfillment. The key words are balance, harmony, and well-being.

Although there are many variations on this theme, with simplicity and finesse one can draw on universal principles whose reputation and credibility date back more than 4,000 years.

The Earth Element

Faithful to Taoist tradition, Feng Shui—like Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and martial arts—bases its philosophy on the concepts of Chi (vital energy), yin and yang, and the five elements.

For Feng Shui practitioners, the five elements are essential in balancing the flow of energy in an environment. The Earth element, symbolized by the mother, evokes the qualities of fertility, stability, reflection, patience, benevolence, tolerance, and inner strength.

Physically, the Earth element is expressed in square and rectangular shapes, and in long and flat surfaces. Ceramic, brick, stone, porcelain, and terracotta are the materials most often used in our homes.

Earth tones include yellow, brown, beige, ochre, and orange. Since these colors influence our mood, it’s best to choose hues that enhance the desired ambiance, not those that reflect current trends.

The Influence of Color

Earth tones such as brown make us feel closer to nature. They represent security, solidity, comfort, and the interconnectedness of all life. They accentuate our sense of duty and the need for material stability.

Yellow is associated with clarity and intelligence. It boosts willpower, optimism, concentration, and self-control.

Orange represents zest for life, creativity, inspiration, organization, and sensuality. It stimulates, motivates, and increases appetite.

Light tones soothe, calm, and purify, while deeper tones comfort and promote engagement.

Principles of Feng Shui

Here is a summary of the basic principles to keep in mind for the bathroom. Of course, it’s not always possible to follow them completely. Nor is a purist approach appropriate, since it would contradict the intrinsic wisdom of this art. In adopting Feng Shui, one must realize it is a subtle blend of common sense and psychology.

For the bathroom to be a pleasant place, it should be clean and well-ventilated. Materials should be resistant to moisture and easy to maintain. Hard floors like ceramic and stone are best.

The layout should include minimal furnishings and clear surfaces—too many objects create a sense of heaviness that serves no purpose.

A mirror hung on a wall with a nice and bright view will create a sense of space, especially if the room has no windows.

Avoid full trash cans, dirty mirrors, expired medicines and cosmetics, and unnecessary care products.

The toilet should not be visible from the bathroom door, or better yet, separated by a partition or in a completely separate room.

Feng Shui advises against the bathroom adjoining the bedroom because of the stagnant energy it tends to contain. In this case, it’s best to keep the door closed.

It’s a great idea to put plants in the bathroom because they absorb excess moisture while adding freshness and vitality. What’s more, they reduce the risk of Chi stagnation in the corners of the room. They create energy and stimulate growth and fulfillment.

Yin and Yang

Yin and yang are two opposing but complementary forces. Yang represents the active side of life, yin the passive. When balanced, they represent perfection.

The bathroom is often the most yin room in the home, so it must be well-ventilated for a healthy and invigorating atmosphere.

Burning candles and essential oils will spread positive and purifying yang energy and, in doing so, increase the vibratory rate.

Equilibrium between hard and soft surfaces contributes to a sense of harmony. Yang materials like ceramic, tile, and metallic accessories increase the flow of Chi, especially when they are shiny and reflective.

Conversely, wooden accessories add warmth and presence. Toilet linens, bathrobes, and bath mats bring yin energy associated with gentleness and inwardness.

Bright lights are important in the bathroom because they stimulate the flow of Chi, thereby avoiding any stagnation. Halogen spotlights built into the ceiling are very effective. A dimmer will make it possible to adjust the lighting as needed.

Lastly, curtains and blinds made of natural fibers (yin) will contrast with the floor (yang) to complete the style in accordance with the desired ambiance.

Feng Shui is a process, not an end in itself—be attentive to the interaction taking place between the energies around us and those within us. Get in touch with what is essential. Everything should harmonize so that you feel welcomed without judgment, with self-acceptance prevailing in this sacred space. Inspired by these principles, the bathroom becomes a true haven of peace and rejuvenation.

“Mold clay into a vessel; it is the emptiness within that creates the usefulness of the vessel. Cut out the doors and windows in a house; it is the empty space inside that creates the usefulness of the house. Thus, what we have may be something substantial, but its usefulness lies in the unoccupied, empty space.” - Lao Tseu

About the author

SYLVIE ROBITAILLE A graduate of the American Feng Shui Institute in Los Angeles, California, Sylvie Robitaille has practiced interior design for more than 12 years. She combines both disciplines to offer unique expertise. She recommends stylish and functional layouts that meet her customers’ needs. Creating spaces where people feel good is what motivates her. She also gives talks, writes articles, and presents workshops.

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