A seat, an armrest, a door handle which is comfortable to hold, a terrace shaded from the heat, a flower growing just along the entrance where I can bend down and smell it as I pass . . . so that I know, with a small leap of the heart, that I am back again – Christopher Alexander
Your front entrance—the area leading up to your front door, the threshold itself, and the area immediately inside the door—is important for two reasons. This is the area of first impressions, where you, your friends, neighbors, and community register immediate and lasting impressions about who you are.
It is also the primary place through which vital energy enters your home. When open and welcoming, your front entrance communicates your desire and willingness to receive helpful experiences, people, and opportunities.
When overgrown, poorly maintained, cluttered, or unpleasant, it says the opposite. Think of your front entrance as the avenue of good fortune that attracts helpful people and opportunities into your home. Roll out the welcome mat, and make it “entrancing.”
An Entrancing Approach
When designing your front entrance, include a meandering pathway to the front door that’s wide enough to allow two people to approach side by side. The pathway should be distinct from the driveway, clear of obstacles and overgrown foliage, and well lit at night. An attractive gate, arbor, or bridge can add interest and beauty to your design, as shown in Figure 5A.
An outdoor water feature, either cool and still, or splashing nearby as in Figure 5C, can add a relaxing or opulent air. Let every season lend its own beauty to your front entrance, whether it’s a riot of bright flowers, lush evergreens, or silvery succulents and herbs. Whatever form it takes, the beauty and grace of nature’s offerings create the setting for the jewel that is your home. Add special touches and beauty marks such as outdoor seating, garden walls, statuary, nature objects, fragrant plants and chimes.
A Celebratory Threshold
Make the color and design of your threshold area especially inviting so that you always feel welcomed home. In Feng Shui, red is traditionally included to attract prosperity and reasons to celebrate, so many people paint their front doors red.
Although bright Chinese red is the classic favorite, any shade of red that’s appealing to you is fine, including pink, terra-cotta, burgundy, purple, or magenta. Or choose a door that has artistic appeal, such as the one in Figure 5D, and accent the area around it with red, purple, or pink flowers; trees with red bark or berries; or planters, mats, and statuary in red tones.
To enhance safety, the door or a nearby window should allow you to see who’s there before opening it. Ideally, you can see out, but your visitor cannot see in until you’ve opened the door. Doors made primarily of glass can be curtained to assure privacy.
Even in the most humble or confined circumstances, a pot of bright flowers, wind chimes, or a seasonal wreath on the door can welcome you and your visitors home. If you cannot do anything outside your front door, as is often the case in apartment buildings, focus on making your interior foyer area welcoming and gracious.
A Welcoming Foyer
Once inside the front door, an inviting foyer continues the welcoming embrace. Traditionally, the best painting in the house was hung in the foyer or near the front door as the “greeter,” to honor guests and make a pleasing first impression.
In one case, my first impression of a client was a large painting of a naked woman in her foyer. Although lovely, it was too intimate to be ideal as a greeter, so my client moved it to her bedroom. Interestingly enough, in her bedroom was a landscape that was perfect for the foyer! Whatever art you choose for your foyer, be sure it communicates an appropriately inviting message. In larger foyers, such as the one in Figure 5E, features such as an aquarium, carved statue, plant, furniture, lighting, or a water feature can be grouped together.
When your foyer is small, be careful not to overcrowd it in an effort to make it welcoming. Remove any furniture that impinges on the full use of front or closet doors, and choose a mirror or wall art with depth to make the foyer feel more spacious. No matter how small your foyer area is, carve out a token place of welcome.
Even if you have no official foyer, arrange your furniture to suggest one, and place symbols of welcome near the front door. Do whatever you can to present your guests—and yourself—with a warm and welcoming first impression. Keep the indoor foyer clear of migrating possessions such as toys, sports equipment, recyclables, and mail. Give these items homes in nearby closets and furniture.
Also consider making your home a shoeless house.Design a place near the front door to store shoes, and have socks or slippers available for guests. This helps to keep your home clean, and symbolizes leaving your worldly cares at the door.
Whatever your tastes and preferences in colors, styles, and design, give your whole front entrance area the attention necessary to make it as beautiful and welcoming as you can. In so doing, you will attract a cornucopia of great relationships and experiences into your life.
Doubling Your Enchantment with the Bagua Map
The Bagua Map can make your foyer enhancements doubly meaningful. When your front entrance is unsightly, chaotic, or in any way unpleasant, it affects the quality of your life. For instance, a very successful writer who had experienced tremendous success noticed that career opportunities had waned considerably over the last few months.
Her front door was recessed so that the Career area included the front pathway and patio of her home, which were crowded with spiky foliage and pots of dead and dying plants. The tattered screen door was partially blocked by more sad plants and rusty garden tools. The whole setting clearly indicated how she had put the brakes on her career.
When she realized that her parched and thorny front entrance symbolized her current lack of opportunities, she gave the patio a complete makeover, adding wind chimes, healthy plants, outdoor furniture, and a water fountain that, as she put it, brought some “juiciness” to her front entrance.
She also fixed the screen door and painted the front door a rich shade of violet. Inside, she defined a welcoming foyer area with a table, lamp, flowers, and an inspirational quote she had written and published. Within a week, exciting opportunities began to pour in the door, including the chance to host her own television show. By upgrading her front entrance, she had rejuvenated her career.
What You See Is What You Get
Whatever room you see first when entering your front door tends to set the focus for the whole house. The living room is considered very good because it suggests social interaction and relaxation.
When the first room sighted is the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, or laundry room, it can put the focus of the house on other activities such as eating, sleeping, and doing chores. If you live in a home such as this one, you can rearrange furniture or add screens so that these aren’t the first rooms you see.
For instance, a couple’s dining room was the first room they saw from the front entrance. Their biggest complaint was that they’d both gained unwanted pounds since they’d moved in a year before. They snacked continually while at home and could not stay on any reasonable diet.
When they realized that dining was the focus of the house, they reversed the dining room and the den. Now, when they come home, they enter the den, which promotes relaxation and conversation rather than food consumption, and they enjoy a dining room that’s located away from the front door.
When we are first greeted by bedrooms or bathrooms, the best thing to do is keep the door to these rooms closed. Neither toilets nor beds make ideal first impressions. Put the doors on a soft spring so that they close gently and easily behind you. Enhance the door itself by appointing it with a mirror or favorite textile.
Another Feng Shui challenge is seeing multiple rooms from the foyer. This can be disorienting to new visitors and occupants alike. In these cases, it’s important to highlight one room, such as the living room, by laying a clear path to it with the artful use of screens, sculpture, art, plants, and furniture placement.
For instance, a decorative screen placed to partially obscure a dining room entrance can lead people directly into the living room. Or, a sculpture that includes light or movement in the living room will draw people’s attention directly into that room.
Upgrading All Entrances
The front door to your home is considered the primary mouth of Ch’i, even when you often use another entrance. If the entrance you most often use opens into a laundry room, hall, or stairwell, make sure it’s welcoming, well lit, and completely accessible.
Be sure you are greeted by beauty and light, not darkness and clutter, so that the first and last impression of your own home is a good one. One favorite poster in the laundry room or elegant tapestry in a stairwell can make all the difference in how welcome you feel arriving home.
Some people turn these areas into fun art galleries, displaying photographs, collages, and personal mementos that don’t fit in other areas of the house. Others include elegant possessions near their everyday entrance, such as an oil painting or gilt-framed mirror. Whatever you choose, your enhancements are indeed well placed when they welcome you home.
Quick Reference Guidelines for the Front Entrance
Create an “entrancing” front entrance area, inside and out. • Keep the entire area safely lit, well maintained, and clutter-free. In outdoor areas, include meandering paths, water features, seating, and other “beauty marks.”
Indoors, display one or more welcoming “greeters” in the foyer or the area just inside the front door. Embellish the foyer area according to the Bagua Map. • Enhance other entrances that are used often.
The following is an excerpt, The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Room by Room is the be the bestselling author Terah Kathryn Collins and Feng Shui exepert. It is available now at all bookstores, or by call Hay House at 800/654-5126 or vis the website at www.hayhouse.com.