The Feng Shui of Staircase Design

The Feng Shui of each and every part of our environment influences our life experiences. Whether you’re house hunting, remodeling, building or happy in your current home, you want to ensure every aspect is the best it can be.

For the most part, stairs go unnoticed even though we use them day in and day out. This wonderful mechanism we call “automatic-pilot” allows our bodies to function in ways that require little or no thought or attention – climbing and descending stairs. And then there was Feng Shui.

Just like putting on a needed pair of glasses, Feng Shui brings into focus spatial conditions we may not see or perceive as an opportunity or potential problem.

Believe it or not there are several factors when considering the Feng Shui of your staircase, especially since its function is to move the vital life force called chi (aka energy) from one location to another (i.e. 1st floor to 2nd floor and so on). Although they exist both indoors and outdoors, our focus will be primarily on interior spaces. So let’s consider the following characteristics of stairs: the shape, location, size and views.

Shape of Staircase Design

There are quite a few shapes to consider: straight, split, L-shaped, curved and spiral. Although each serves a purpose due to spatial considerations and constraints, there are those that do the job best and those that can harm individuals both physically and financially.

Often straight stairs do the job well. They efficiently move you and chi unobstructed to the next level. Where we find problems are when this staircase is aligned with the front door. This reveals loss of money and requires our immediate consideration. First, if you’re looking to purchase a home, put this home towards the bottom of your list! Second, if you cannot change the location of the stairs (which most of us can’t or won’t) then consider putting a divider between the last step and the entrance or, at minimum, a carpet to slow the chi flow down, discouraging its immediate exit.

As for split and L-shaped stairs, these can help chi meander in a more natural flow, instead of rushing. The drawback here is that often times they are hollow (that is there’s no riser or backing to the steps) causing energy to leak, reducing the chi that is reaching that next floor. The obvious correction then is to place risers between the stairs while a secondary, although not as effective, choice is to place potted plants beneath the stairwell to help lift the chi.

A grand curved staircase can be both elegant and beautiful. It channels energy between spaces in a pleasant and inviting way. But a spiral staircase is considered very inauspicious especially in the center of a home. Much like a corkscrew hurting the heart of the home, this configuration can negatively influence the heart and blood pressure of the occupants. It is simply best not to have a spiral staircase in your home.

Location of Staircase

As indicated, you do not want staircases leading out the front door or back door for that matter. It is also highly undesirable to have stairs in the middle of your dwelling. In fact, early on in my studies while I was still in corporate America as a Project Manager, I had a colleague who had stairs that half aligned with the main entrance and the other half was tucked in (in other words, when you walked into his house, you could see half of the staircase only). Within 6 months of moving into his new home with his wife and children, he was fired! Not only did he lose his job and income, he also divorced, causing him to split his income!

Let this be a guide to us all. The best location for stairs is tucked into the home, away from the entrance and sharing an exterior wall of the home ~ like the sides, back or front (as long as the orientation is proper).

Size of Staircase

When I say size I mean width, depth, vertical incline and landings. Obviously the best size is proportional to the space ~ not too big, not too small. Typically depth is not an issue unless using a non-standard depth which interferes with the cadence of one’s footstep ~ this can become a structural nightmare for some. But how about too narrow? This can lead to feelings of constraint, claustrophobia and lack. The incline should certainly not be too steep as this lends itself to a safety issue, which then can easily turn into a financial issue! And finally, landings should be spacious. I’ve been in homes where the steps are not only on a steep vertical incline but once I reached the top, the landing was so small I felt like I would fall backwards down the stairs! It didn’t feel comfortable to say the least. Others that had a wall no more than 3 feet from the top step felt offensive and imposing. My suggestion would be to make sure there is plenty of lighting and be certain not to block the pathway.

Views from the Staircase

We’ve already touched upon the inauspicious view of the front door at the bottom of the stairs. But what about the railings? When we don’t “see” one, we feel uncertain and insecure, even if we never use it! There’s something very important about the subliminal messages we receive when a side railing is installed. So make sure you have one. Also, many household members like to “store” items on the stairs as a reminder to take something upstairs. May I suggest otherwise? No matter how you slice or dice it, it is obstructing the chi flow, creating stagnant energy. Something we never want to see!

So there you have it! I bet you never thought staircases could be so interesting and so important to the vitality of energy on different levels of your home (or business) and carry so many influences on your life physically and financially! And of course, there’s always more! So if you’re in the process of designing your home or buying a new home, consider two things: 1.) The tips shared here today and 2.) A professional Feng Shui consultation. Please know, I offer both local and long-distance consultations for homes and businesses.

Here’s to uplifting your chi!

©2009 Kelly S. Jones