Fresh Living

picture_frames_200.jpgWhen Holly was telling me about how she’s staging her home to sell (check out her great home staging tips), she mentioned having to de-personalize it by taking down “lots of photographs of people we love.” This made me re-realize that I have, er, just about zero photos of people on my walls or shelves, or anywhere outside of my computer and photo albums.

I feel a little bit bad about this, but first, I have a very tiny (400-square-feet) apartment with limited wall space, and second, I find it kind of overwhelming to see people, even people I love, on my walls all the time–even a few faces start to feel crowded. So I opt for framed posters I love–I’ve got the “New Yorkistan” map, a silkscreen of a Brooklyn map, a poster that says “For Like Ever,” a whole bunch of adorable gods torn and framed from the “Little Book of Hindu Deities,” a painting I made, and a print of a girl on a unicycle. My bedroom walls are calmingly bare.

But this got me wondering if I’m somehow messing with my happiness–how do photos of people or lack thereof affect our home’s Feng Shui? I ran this by my fellow Beliefnet editor Laurie Sue Brockway, who is also a Feng Shui practitioner. She wrote me back this great response:

“In Feng Shui, photos can be used as enhancements when placed in the appropriate area of the bagua [a feng shui map of the home]. 

For example, photos of loved ones and ancestors in the Family area help with healing and help connect us to the power of our lineage. Your wedding photo in the Love corner can enhance your relationship. Photos of you as a kid or of your kids in the Creativity area bring good chi [life energy].

But a photo of an ex-boyfriend or least-favorite relative can bring the energy of the house down while images of you as a kid, your kids or your parents in your bedroom can have a halting effect on your love life.

It is all a matter of consciously utilizing photos as an enhancer, and placing them in the right areas of the home. The reason we remove photos when staging a home is so that the potential new owners can imagine themselves in that home and not have to content with the reality of someone else’s life being rooted there.”

But what does it mean and what are the consequences if someone has absolutely no photos of people they know on their walls? I asked Laurie Sue and she told me this:

“Our homes are a reflection of our inner selves. We can also utilize our homes to transform our lives. Images of loved ones and real people add a touch of warmth to a home. Lack of photos of real people and family can sometimes create a sense of disconnect from other people; for some people it can create a sense of isolation. But there is no wrong or right. Some photos tie us to memories we would rather not focus on in our homes. It is up to personal preference, and the stage of life you happen to be in. If you feel happier surrounded by art and uplifting images, so be it.  Beautiful, uplifting art and images are always wonderful.”

So interesting.I feel no rush to add people but the “disconnect” and “isolation” thing resonates and I’ll think about creating a little photo area. What about you? Do you have photos of family and friends in your home? How do they affect you?

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