Our approach to feng shui for the kitchen is to focus on the stove, which is the core component at the heart of the kitchen. We then augment this effort by adding in the general principles of feng shui.
All cultures treat the kitchen as central to the home in both function and spirit. And it is not for nothing that the expression “hearth and home” is common in the English language.
It is just a fact that, before the advent of the modern kitchen with all its appliances, it was the hearth where we cooked our food and warmed ourselves. So it is no surprise that Chinese culture treats the kitchen in much the same way. And this is why the kitchen is so prominent in feng shui
Feng shui kitchen location
Many of the feng shui precepts concerning the proper location of the kitchen within the home, originated in the practical considerations of having an open fire pit in the house for cooking purposes. So they do not have any great relevance to the modern kitchen.
However, feng shui does make sense when it comes to certain aspects of the relationship of the kitchen with other rooms in the house. These arise out of the practical common sense that is at the heart of much of feng shui
Proximity of the kitchen to the bathroom
For example, feng shui for the kitchen does not want the kitchen located near the bathroom. Well, common sense does not like this either. Having the bathroom and kitchen close together gives one conflicted feelings. Besides, bathroom odors do not go well with bathroom odors.
And then, from the strictly feng shui point of view, you do not want the positive chi energies generated by the kitchen getting doused by the bathroom’s competing water, and then disappearing down the bathroom drains.
Center of the home and kitchen feng shui
Feng shui forbids having the kitchen in the center of the home. The center of the home is central to the health and prosperity of all living there. This would come under attack by the fire element that is fiercely prominent in the kitchen.
But it is easy to see how this arose out of the common sense that is central to feng shui. Having an open fire pit in the middle of a dwelling makes absolutely no sense when you factor in the fire hazard and the effect on air quality.
But, in any case, it would be exceptionally rare to find this issue come up in the modern home. This is because pretty much every kitchen has a window or a wall-vented exhaust. And these place the kitchen against an external wall in the home, not in its center.
Feng shui reality and the kitchen location
In all reality, we don’t have a choice in the location of the kitchen within our home. The rare exception is where we design and build a home from the ground up.
And, even with a full-on remodeling project, we are limited in what we can do by the location of the existing kitchen’s rough plumbing and electrical systems.
Feng shui for the kitchen in the real world
So, set out below are real-world tips for applying the principles of feng shui to your kitchen. These are the things you can do to enhance your existing kitchen’s feng shui regardless of its layout or with only small changes.
However, we do identify some things you can do if you are planning a renovation or remodel project.
The kitchen work triangle and feng shui
The kitchen work triangle, a time and motion efficiency concept pioneered in the 20th century, gets an endorsement from feng shui. The work triangle places the cooktop, the refrigerator, and the kitchen sink in an efficient, ergonomic arrangement.
This allows for the easy flow of work and effort starting with food storage in the refrigerator, moving over to the food preparation area of the cooktop, and then to the cleanup area of the kitchen sink.
Feng shui endorses this relationship because the water elements of the kitchen sink and the refrigerator balance out the fire energy of the cooktop. We get into more detail on the kitchen layout at our sister site here.
Feng shui and the stove
The kitchen is at the heart of the home and the stove is at the heart of the kitchen. And feng shui gives the stove special treatment. This is because the stove produces the chi energy that is the source of the family’s wealth.
The stove and the commanding position
We discuss feng shui and the commanding position generally here. However, in the kitchen, it is the stove that must be in the commanding position.
In practice, this means that you must be able to see the kitchen door when you are working at the stove. But if in your kitchen, this puts your back to the door, the feng shui “cure” is to place a mirror in such a position that you can see a reflection of the door in the mirror.
However, aside from this application, limit your use of mirrors in the kitchen. While it is true that mirrors enhance the movement of positive chi energy, the fire element of the stove produces such strong energy that mirrors can overamplify it.
Now, it is relatively easy to place yourself in the commanding position if your cooktop is located on a kitchen island. But if you are remodeling be sure to place the cooktop on the side of the island with a direct view of the door.
Some feng shui practitioners insist that the stove should be placed against the wall. But you can solve this problem by having an additional cooktop on the island.
Feng shui likes multiple burners
The more burners you have and use in rotation, the better the feng shui. Burners represent the creation of wealth and positive chi energy. Just make sure that all burners operate correctly and the stove or cooktop is kept clean.
As a side note, in selecting your cooktop, consider the safety benefits (to say nothing of efficiency) of induction burners, especially in a kitchen for the elderly.
Cabinetry and feng shui for the kitchen
Here are some general tips when it comes to cabinets and feng shui.
- Open spaces between the tops of cabinets and the ceiling gather dust, which traps negative chi and impedes the circulation of positive chi. So carry your cabinets to the ceiling.
- Cabinetry with clear or frosted glass doors helps you stay organized, which feng shui likes. It also helps with the flow of chi.
- Open shelving in the kitchen may be trendy but avoid it. Things on open shelves gather dust and hinder the flow of chi. In any case, open shelves are simply an inefficient way to use wall space.
Feng shui and kitchen lighting
Good lighting promotes positive chi energy.
Ideally, a kitchen should have natural lighting from windows, solar tubes, or skylights. But it’s a good idea to supplement natural lighting with a strategy of layered lighting that includes ambient, task, and accent lighting. And you should consider adding circadian lighting to the kitchen as well.
Ideally, positive chi should flow in the kitchen at all times. And to facilitate this, add some night lighting. This also maintains a level of safety. You can do this by putting under-cabinet lighting on dimmers or by adding LED lighting strips below the cabinet toe kicks.
Feng shui elements in balance
We have already seen how the water element represented by the kitchen sink and refrigerator balances out the fire element represented by the stove. But we shouldn’t forget to add in the elements of wood, earth, and metal. Fortunately, this is easy due to the nature of the materials that go into a modern kitchen.
The metal element is represented by plumbing fixtures and appliances. The stone element is represented by granite countertops and ceramic floor tiles. And the wood element is represented by cabinetry, wood countertops, or a hardwood floor.
When remodeling or renovating your kitchen you just need to remember to balance these elements in your choice of materials. But if you are just enhancing feng shui in an existing kitchen, you can use paint colors to represent earth and metal elements. And you can bring in the wood element by introducing a chopping board or a plant.
Feng shui for the kitchen and paint colors
When we select colors for our feng shui for the kitchen project, we look to the Bagua Map for guidance. We go over this in detail here. But here is a quick recap on how to use the Bagua Map to choose paint colors for the best feng shui in the kitchen.
Place the Bagua Map over your home’s floor plan with the North edge of the map in line with the exterior wall that contains your front door. You can then find the location of your kitchen on the map. It will be in one of the perimeter squares (or guas).
Within that square, you will find the appropriate feng shui colors for your kitchen, along with the corresponding element and shape. You should not let feng shui dictate the color scheme for your kitchen, but you can satisfy the requirements of feng shui by introducing the feng shul colors into your preferred color scheme as contrasting or accent colors.
Using feng shui colors
On another site (here, here, and here) we review many of the factors that go into the choice of colors for one’s home. But feng shui ascribes specific associations and meanings to color. All of them have implications for the flow of chi energy.
Here is a quick overview of colors in feng shui, together with advice on one color to avoid.
- Fire element colors, like orange and red, evoke love, appetite, sexual energy, and inspiration.
- Wood element colors, like greens, teals, and blues evoke growth, vitality, healing, and restoration.
- Water element colors, like black and dark blue, evoke intuition, friendship, and wisdom.
- Metal element colors, like white, gray, and metallic finishes, evoke precision, focus, and clarity.
- Earth element colors, like yellow and brown, evoke protection, stability, and nourishment.
Avoid the use of black
Black may be a dramatic color but it is also depressing and negative. And from a design point of view, it shrinks the space, especially in a small kitchen. So it is best avoided, excepts as an accent and point of contrast to a warmer, more welcoming color.
Get rid of kitchen clutter
Feng shui for the kitchen requires us to de-clutter. And, once done, it needs ongoing maintenance since clutter is something that simply keeps recurring unless we stay on top of it.
In feng shui, clutter impedes the flow of positive chi energy. And in the world outside feng shui, clutter is a visual annoyance and a subconscious cause of stress. This is another example of the convergence of feng shui and common sense.
We have a general discussion of clutter at this post. But here are some tips specific to the kitchen.
- Look through all kitchen cabinets and drawers to eliminate what is not needed.
- Get rid of anything that is chipped, broken, or not working. Such items attract negative chi.
- Limit the amount of stuff, such as tableware and cutlery, that is necessary to serve only the number of people living in the home.
- Keep your counter space clear. Remove everything that can conveniently be kept somewhere else.
- Don’t let stuff that is not related to the operation of the kitchen, such as bills or kids’ homework migrate to the kitchen counters.
- Reorganize your refrigerator and pantry and dump anything with expired “use by” dates.
A clutter-free kitchen is easier to keep clean.
Maintain a clean kitchen
Feng shui for the kitchen requires that it be kept clean to allow the free flow of chi energy. The build-up of dirt causes positive energy to stagnate.
But then we don’t need feng shui to tell us about kitchen hygiene. This is common sense at work again!
Keep everything in the kitchen clean. Especially keep the stove clean. This is the source of so much positive chi energy and is the focal point in the kitchen. It deserves respect.
And by cleaning everything, we include the interiors of drawers and cabinets. Chi flows everywhere.
Naked blades and feng shui
The mere sight of sharp knives is enough to make some people uncomfortable and even anxious. And in feng shui having naked blades in plain sight where they can point at a person is bad feng shui because it results in negative chi.
Having knives in plain sight relates to the “attacking energy” of sharp angles and the concept of the “poison arrow, which pierces and weakens one’s energy field.
So keep kitchen knives out of sight in a drawer organizer made for that purpose. At the very least keep their blades concealed in a butcher block holder. But don’t leave knives loose on the kitchen counter or hung on a magnetic rack.
Artwork and feng shui
Enhance your kitchen feng shui with artwork that speaks to abundance, food, and the enjoyment of food. Just by way of example, one could hang pieces that feature a harvest, or a banquet, or a still life of a bowl of fruit.
And, along those lines, placing a bowl of real fruit on the counter is great feng shui.
The kitchen herb garden and feng shui
A kitchen herb garden is simultaneously actual food, the inclusion of wood energy, living artwork, and the source of pleasant aromas. It is a highly recommended addition to feng shui for the kitchen.
Conclusions on feng shui for the kitchen
Aside from its initial focus on the stove, which is central to feng shui for the kitchen, introducing feng shui to this important room is largely a work of incremental effort. But by paying attention to detail and gradually adding elements of feng shui along the lines we have suggested here, you will certainly enhance feng shui for the kitchen.
And at the same time, you can reflect that so much of feng shui is less mystery and more applied common sense passed down through the ages.