We’ve waxed on about the benefits of feng shui in the communal spaces of your home, like the living room and the kitchen. After all, that’s where you spend the bulk of your time, so naturally you want things to be harmonious.
But there’s an oft-overlooked room where, if you’re not careful, good energy (chi) can drain out of your home.
”The bathroom is one of the key energy centers in the home, so focusing on this space is important for good feng shui,” says Ping Deters, a certified feng shui consultant.
”In the Western world, bathrooms are now luxurious and a place of relaxation, and keeping this area restful and in balance can affect one’s health and well-being,” adds Anjie Cho, an architect, feng shui educator, and author of “Holistic Spaces: 108 Ways to Create a Mindful and Peaceful Home.”
But from the color of your walls to your tiny trash can, you could be unwittingly throwing off your balance in this space. Here are seven major ways you’re screwing up your bathroom feng shui.
1. Leaving your toilet lid open
Open toilet lids don’t just cause unmitigated grossness. They’re also the biggest drain of positive energy in the home, so be sure to close the lid, urges Kim Julen, a feng shui coach and member of the International Feng Shui Guild.
“For the same reason, you also want to cover up drains in the tub and shower,” Deters adds.
Try a plastic drain cover, metal strainer, or a rubber disc to keep your chi from fleeing.
2. Double vanities with two mirrors
Imagine having a conversation with your partner while brushing your teeth. It’s easier to engage with him or her if the mirror is one solid piece above the sinks. But two distinct mirrors leaves a gap—and that leads to bad vibes in the feng shui world.
“Two separate mirrors creates a separation between partners, but a single one keeps you connected—and communicating,” Julen explains.
In fact, any type of faceted or multipiece mirror can affect feng shui.
“A solid mirror is a more accurate reflection of you,” Cho says.
And, if possible, don’t hang the mirror so that it faces the toilet: “In this position, it will magnify the low vibrations or lower energy in the room,” Deters says.
3. Keeping the bathroom door wide open
Chances are good that you close the bathroom door behind you when you finish your business. But this doesn’t just help conceal whatever went down on the porcelain throne; closing the door can also contribute to good feng shui.
Why? Well, first, it’s important to know that bathrooms inherently contain good energy. In the feng shui world, water equates to wealth. And because water is so frequently flowing in bathrooms, that makes this a hot spot for chi.
But an open bathroom door is similar to an open toilet lid—it gives good chi the opportunity to escape.
There’s a second reason: Many feng shui practitioners say you should never be able to see inside the bathroom from other parts of the house.
“Bathrooms that can be seen when you enter the home can lead to digestive issues or having to use the facilities every time you arrive home,” Julen says. “Or when the toilet can be seen from the bed—this drains health.”
And don’t get Julen started on bathrooms that can be seen from the kitchen: “Why any designer ever felt having a bathroom right next to a kitchen was a good idea I’ll never know!”
4. Exposed garbage pails
Think that little trash pail isn’t such a big deal? Garbage also has lower vibrations, so it needs to be covered lest the vibrations seep into adjacent rooms, Deters says.
“You want to make the bathroom space as beautiful as possible—and having covered trash assists with this,” Julen says.
No lid for the can? You can always stash it under the sink. But if there’s no room in this spot, Julen says, place the pail in a corner that’s not immediately visible when you enter the room.
5. Dark colors
Muddy colors aren’t joyful—and brown is downright depressing. Instead, strive to keep your bathroom tile, paint, and accessories on the lighter, brighter side. Cho likes white because it’s clean and pure.
“But green and blue can also be good from a feng shui perspective,” Cho says. “They represent the wood element, which is supported by the water element in this space.”
6. Too much (unorganized) stuff
Remember those vibrations? On the feng shui scale, clutter exists on the same low frequency as garbage—so having a big mess can end up blocking good energy.
Clear the counters, corral makeup and toiletries in pretty baskets, and stash everything else under the sink behind closed doors or a pleated piece of fabric (skirted sinks are making a comeback, after all).
7. Rips, tears, or cracks
Avoid anything that’s broken or torn, including mirrors and linens, Deters says. You want this space to be a comfortable respite that draws positive energy—and worn-out, ragged towels won’t help.
“If you can make the bathroom a place of repose, it can help you to destress and add joy to your life,” Cho says.