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The colors of the paint, cabinetry, flooring, countertops and other fixed surfaces in the kitchen should not be anything in the range of red, pink or purple. These are "fire" colors, and can portend arguments, so if you and your spouse tend to fight in the kitchen, see if the wall or floor color might have something to do with this.
Good colors to use instead are cooling white, light green and blue. Of the five elements -- Earth, Metal, Wood, Fire and Water, the kitchen is both a Fire and Water room. In considering the Five Element Cycle, white mediates between the water and fire found in the kitchen.
These colors also fit in with popular trends in kitchen appliances. According to Behbin, stainless steel appliances and hardware are very popular, and that doesn't show any signs of changing. Luckily, stainless is very easy to match with the lighter colors recommended by Feng Shui experts.
In any room, fluorescent lights do not promote good health; they are constantly flickering, affecting the eyes and nervous system, and can cause hypertension, eyestrain and headaches. However, they do serve a purpose, as they provide bright light at low cost. If you decide that you do need fluorescent lights in your kitchen, use full-spectrum bulbs.
According to Sheffield School of Interior Design Feng Shui Course instructor Marelan Toole, good kitchen design is based on a traditional triangle model, with the sink, refrigerator and range making up each point of the triangle. There should be a 6- to 8- foot distance between each appliance. This allows for maximum convenience and a minimum of repeated moves.
Because you'll have that space between each of the major appliances, it should be easy to adhere to the Feng Shui principle of having fire elements -- such as the stove and microwave -- separated from water elements -- such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, and sink. They can be separated by something made of wood, or by something representative of wood, such as a plant or a painting of a plant.
The kitchen stove
Because the stove represents health and wealth, you want to use the burners on the stove top equally, rotating their use rather than habitually using a particular burner -- this represents getting money from multiple sources. The old-fashioned stove, as opposed to a microwave, is often preferred because it is more in keeping with the way that Feng Shui encourages one to slow down, to become more conscious of each activity, and to do activities with intention.
Heating a quick meal in the microwave is certainly convenient, but it may not lead to the most serene state of mind. Many Feng Shui practitioners are concerned with excess radiation and electromagnetic fields and would therefore prefer to avoid the microwave altogether and try to use a gas stove rather than an electric one. Obviously, each home and family will have to find their own balance between modern conveniences and optimal Feng Shui practice.
Basic kitchen guidelines
As with all of the rooms in your house, the kitchen should be kept neat and uncluttered, and any broken appliances should be tossed out -- even if it means living without a toaster at all for a while, it's better to have no toaster than one that doesn't work very well.
In some cases, the law actually reflects good Feng Shui principles: in New York, it's illegal to have a window over the stove, and in Feng Shui, it's a bad idea because the heat of the stove represents prosperity, and you don't want your prosperity flooding out the window. A good exhaust fan, however, is a necessity.
Luckily, Feng Shui isn't only about having a room with good ch'i, or energy -- it's also simply a practical guide for design, and because of that, it can be used with any style of room. The most popular current trends, according to Behbin, are for a very contemporary look with solid colors and wood grains; a very opulent look, with carvings, corbels and cabinets on legs, or a simple Shaker style.
Any of these styles can be successfully used with the principles of Feng Shui to make for a kitchen that's functional, up-to-date and easy on the ch'i.
Want to find out more about Feng Shui techniques? Read on: