In the ancient practice of feng shui — the art of creating a harmonious living room — exposed ceiling beams symbolize strong stations for chi, which causes a negative effect in the home. Chi is the delicate life-force energy that embodies both living and nonliving things. The practice of feng shui balances the chi stream by concealing permanent objects that cannot be moved, either by softening their look or by applying traditional feng shui cures. Sensitive individuals can experience headaches and other physical symptoms from spending too much time under beams in the home. And life areas in the home from the feng shui map, such as prosperity and relationships, can endure a feeling of constriction and difficulty from strong, oppressive chi.

Prescriptions for Placement

The adverse chi effects from ceiling beams are most pronounced when you spend long amounts of time directly under them. If you can, arrange your furniture so that you don’t have seating areas, dining tables, desks or other work areas directly under beams. Getting out from under a ceiling beam may resolve the issue so that you don’t require extra treatments. In bedrooms, putting the bed so that it lies parallel to the long axis of the beam also addresses the issue, but you may need to install extra cures.

Camouflage and Conceal

Painting the beams exactly the exact same color as the ceiling helps them blend into the background, providing visual relief from the strong chi effects. White, beige or other light colors are preferable for this purpose. When the beams are purely decorative, think about removing them completely, then paint the ceiling a uniform light color. Request a contractor’s inspection prior to removal to make sure the removal doesn’t affect the home’s structural integrity. When it is not feasible to remove the beams and you are inclined to remodel, installing a dropped ceiling to conceal the beams provides another option.

Canopy Cures

In bedrooms, installing a canopy over the bed offers visual relief and a softening effect that diminishes the strong, linear chi from beams. Use a light fabric that drapes well, such as muslin or netting doubled to conceal the beams. Ideally, suspend the fabric straight from the ceiling with cloth tabs in the corners, or even by a round hoop hung from the ceiling. In different rooms where a canopy is not appropriate, curtain fabric under and about the beam to provide a comparable softening effect. Another way to effect this cure is to curtain mini lights along the beam.

Crystals, Red Tassels and Wooden Flutes

For a western feng shui cure, hang a round, faceted drop 1 to 2 inches in diameter from the beam to reflect the chi around the room. Red items such as tassels, ribbons, faux firecrackers or compact chili ristras energize the room’s Pine when hung from a beam. A pair of feng shui wooden flutes — which can really be played — make a circular spinning of chi when positioned to resemble the top section of an octagon. Arrange the flutes in a 45-degree angle by attaching a cord or cable on them as when hanging a picture, with the mouthpieces pointing up towards the ceiling and also towards each other. The flutes can be mounted directly on the side of a beam if it is big enough, or frozen beneath it on wires or thin cords. Adding red ribbons or tassels to each end of this flute enhances the feng shui cure.

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