To prepare for Chinese New Year in spring 2020, many families spring clean and re-paint their homes. Some replace old furnishings and buy new furniture. As we’re all hoping to make the new year auspicious, here are six simple decor tips to enliven your home in the year of the Metal Rat.

Use plants for good energy
Chinese New Year-Place plants in corners of the home for good "Qi"
Place plants in corners of the home for good “Qi”

When you step into a home where plants are well placed, you cannot help but feel relaxed and calm. A home that has healthy plants promotes good energy, or ‘Qi’.  Do place them on or next to shoe cabinets to reduce unpleasant odours. You can also use them on balconies to brighten up the living areas, or inside bathrooms to get rid of stale, stagnant air.  Plants can be hung from ceilings, placed within decorative pots and even grown on an entire wall!  A dying and neglected plant cultivates negative ‘Qi’ so make sure the living conditions are kind towards your plants.  Like us, they need the appropriate amount of water, sunlight, space and love.

Use mirrors to reflect abundance
Chinese New Year-Mirror at dining room for abundance
Place mirrors at dining area to reflect abundance

Mirrors are an interior designer’s ally. They are used to reflect light to make a room look spacious and to brighten dark corners. Mirrors also invite energies into a space! That’s the reason why mirrors are often placed strategically so as to increase wealth and abundance.  It is common to find mirrors installed at the dining area. The Chinese believe mirrors reflect and amplify abundance symbolised by the food served on the dining table.  However, avoid placing mirrors where the shower or toilet is reflected. It is believed that good luck will be flushed away.

Use lights to create positive ambiance
Chinese New Year-Use lights to brighten foyers, entry ways and corridors
Use lights to brighten entry ways or long corridors

Dead spaces exist in every home – from the tops of tall shelves to the recessed areas of cabinets.  A simple remedy to amp up positive energy is to use lights effectively.  Lighting that emits blue light waves perk up our energy levels. That is why it’s suitable for use in the study and the kitchen. Your designer can help you select energy saving lights to create a soft glow in some spaces or to give you task lighting. It can be in the form of a pair of table lamps in the bedroom, or trendy pendant lights in the dining area.  The right lighting remedy will create the right ambiance and accents that help bring auspiciousness to all at home.

Fix furniture layout to maximize support
Place higher furniture on the left of where you sit for support luck
Use higher furniture on the left of where you sit for support luck

As part of your spring cleaning routine, consider reviewing the furniture layout at home using the traditional principle of “左青龙,右白虎”. It literally means the green dragon sits on the left and the white tiger on the right).  Fixing furniture layout helps maximise luck in terms of support and help from family members, customers and co-workers.  Simply rearrange furniture so that items to the left of where you sit are higher than those on your right. For instance, a tall side cabinet, should be on your left while a small side table should be positioned on the other end of the sofa seat.

The same principle applies for the furniture layout in your bedrooms and on your study table.  What’s most important is to ensure there’s a solid wall against which your bed is placed.  These furniture layouts will go a long way to bring you luck and stability beyond the year 2020.

Use black décor items in the center
Use black furnishings in center of the home for protection in 2020
Use black furnishings in center of the home for protection in 2020

On 4th February 2020, the Chinese new year begins with the Metal Rat. The injurious Seven Star (破军) will be present in the center of every house and apartment for the whole year.  Homeowners can dispel the negative energy from this Feng Shui star by using items that are longish and black in colour.  A rug, a coffee table or even a large-sized wooden bowl can be placed in the centre of your home to weaken negative influences. Keep in mind to minimise movement in this area because it can activate the Seven Star and might lead to physical injuries, losses or thefts this year.

Clean up the entrance, northwest and west areas
Chinese New Year-clean, clutter-free entrance for good luck
A clean, clutter-free entrance for good “Qi” and luck

Clear out clutter, get rid of old and unused items. Do replace things that don’t work for a home environment where positive “Qi” flows.  A home normally gets its’ good “Qi” from the main entrance. Once this positive energy enters the house, it will circulate before flowing into other rooms. So, keeping your main entrance clean and cleared of mess gives good amount of unobstructed space for positive “Qi” to flow seamlessly.  For the year of the Rat, the main lucky stars will fly into the north-west and west areas of your home. So it is wise to ensure there are no litter bins or mess in these areas. 

For a new year filled with auspiciousness and clean spaces, you may need to clear some clutter or create more space. Consider speaking to your interior designer to customise cupboards or cabinets to store all your extra belongings or to display new furnishings.

Also, if you liked reading this, take a look at 6-step Beginner’s Guide to HDB Renovation.