In Feng Shui there are not many hard and fast rules, but rather recommendations. The most important thing is that you live with you love. The exceptions are areas that can specifically drain your Ch'i, or vital life energy. For these areas there are a few rules that when followed create a more balanced environment, and hence a more balanced life. In an ideal environment the Ch'i enters through the threshold (Mouth of Ch'i) and meanders happily and slowly through the house, moving in a circular direction through each of the Bagua areas back to the center and continuously around. It does not get trapped in closets, stumbles over clutter, or shoots through windows, down toilets or rushes down stairways.
Stairways and Hallways – Raging Rivers
We call stairs raging rapids and rivers because they can become powerful waterfalls of Ch'i, especially if they point out the front entrance. In this case the nourishing Ch'i pours right out the door, often taking health and good fortune with it. Rooms at the top of a staircase are continually pulled with the force of the decent, while rooms at the bottom are flooded with too much energy.
Corrections: The key here is to bring out balance of peaceful waters. When you’re working with stairways that face doorways you need to do your best to stop the flow of Ch'i from rolling out the door, by installing some kind of aesthetic barrier between door and stairs, such as a screen, plant, furniture or art. When this is not possible, hang a mirror above or next to the door facing the stirs, or hand a round faceted crystal above the bottom step to catch and recirculate the Ch'i. Be careful not to accentuate the waterfall design by hanging art in a descending order. Use your art to uplift the energy by hanging it in a straight line.
Just like stairs, halls and long corridors in your home or office can act as raging rivers, moving the energy through too fast. Long halls speed people up.
Corrections: To balance these hallways need to be broken up into human friendly parts. To slow down a hallway, arrange art, mirrors, lights, furniture and carpets to suggest a series of niches to slow down the Ch'i. You can create points of interest but placing plants, furniture, art and statuary. Avoid placing a mirror at the end of a long corridor, as this doubles the size of the hallway, rather place mirrors on the side of hallways across from doors to rooms which widen the appearance of the hall.
Windows – Pathway for Escaping Ch'i
Windows are considered the eyes of the house. They bring beautiful natural light and nourish you with the energy form beautiful views. But as with stairways, when places directly in front of the front door a pathway is created which pulls the Ch'i too quickly across and out of the room. Attractive as this may be, especially with expansive water views, this can leave the home “undernourished. Remember that ideally, we want the Ch'i to meander slowly through the house.
Corrections: When you have a large window and a door lined up directly across from each other, place something between them, such as an aquarium, a sculpture, plants, flowers or a piece of furniture. You can also soften the window with curtains or blinds. When there is no space for these things, hang around faceted crystal between window and door, or hang a small mirror above or beside the window to redirect the energy back into the room.
Beams – Channels for Ch'i
Exposed beams are a popular structural feature in Western Architecture, and are often thought to add character to a room. The downside is that they can also add a troublesome sense of heaviness over people’s heads. Since they usually are meant to hold considerable weight as part of the structure they can create strong lines of Ch'i as hallways do. The bigger and darker they are, the more they require Feng Shui balancing.
Corrections: To bring beams into balance you can do a few things:1) Paint the beam a light color, as well as the ceiling to lift up its visual presence, 2) symbolically break the line of force by placing two pieces of bamboo at angles pointing up along each beam. This breaks up the Ch'i and recirculates it, 3) literally lighten up a beam by stringing white tiny lights along them, or place up-lighting directly beneath to lift them from below 4) balance and soften the beam by hanging swags, textiles ribbons, or banners. Remember that most beam are made of wood and to balance the wood you need to introduce the metal element through light colors or curves, circular shapes - See column on balancing the elements - http://www.fengshuibymaria.com/newspaper-columns.html - September 2011