Q&A: Different Energies & Decorating Disagreements

Today we’re answering a question from our Facebook group:

How do you create a balance in design with a metal personality and a fire personality? My husband likes a clean minimalist style, but I find it somewhat cold, empty, and lacking warmth.

Let’s start by talking about the five elements. The five elements are: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, and to simplify it, people have different types of elemental energy. It is important to note that nobody is 100% one type of energy, but certain energies can be more prominent in different people.

In this case, we are looking at a fire personality and a metal personality, which have different qualities. Fire energy is warm, but sometimes unpredictable. Metal energy is about contracting, simplifying, and completing. Metal energy is not necessarily minimalist, but it focuses on what is essential. Metal people can be very organized, and they can also clear clutter more easily than other energy types. As a fire person it is a little more difficult to get rid of things, and as an earth person, it can be incredibly difficult. So it makes sense that there might be some disagreement here: one partner is very metal and likes things orderly, organized, and minimalist, while the other partner, as a fire person, likes a space that feels warmer. Another nuance to this situation is that fire melts metal, so there can be a clash, which is not necessarily a bad thing it means you keep each other in check.

Let’s talk about ways we can bring an element into a space from a design standpoint.

If you want to bring in more fire to a space there are three ways to do this: material/substance, color, and shape. For fire, bringing in the actual materials could look like a fireplace, candles, or even electrical light bulbs. Animals are fire as well. The colors for fire are red and vibrant orange, and the shape is a triangle. In the school of feng shui that we practice (BTB), and in Mindful Design Feng Shui School, shape is the most powerful way to bring in an element. The exception that the color red supersedes everything, including shape. In this situation, it would be nice to bring in the shape of triangles, or the color red or orange. This can help balance the energy of the room without adding clutter.

We also encourage you to talk to your husband about this, because there may be something deeper going on that we don’t have time to dive into in this short Q&A. This is a really good example of how a feng shui practitioner can work with you; it might be interesting and helpful to explore these nuances and patterns further, and see where else they might show up in your household.