Is it really bad luck for a bed to face the window and away from the mai
January 17, 2014 8:00 PM   Subscribe

I live in a studio apartment (600 square feet) with an open layout that's a bit challenging to work with. I have this beautiful IKEA Hemnes daybed. Just yesterday I moved it to a new location that I thought would make better use of the space.

However when I raved about it with my mom over the phone, she didn't think the new location is a good idea because the bed is:

1) now facing the only window in my apartment: a sliding glass patio door that takes up almost an entire wall. I looked it up and apparently it's bad chi according to feng shui.

2) I just realized also that with this new spot for the bed, my back is facing a wall, and I can no longer see the door (since it's a studio, only one door in my apartment). In fact the reason I moved the bed to its new spot was to create more privacy (I don't like the bed to be seen right when people enter), but now I realize maybe it's bad luck since I can no longer see the door nor the entire apartment from my bed.

So my questions are:

1. Is it crucial to be able to see the entire room/door from your bed, even in a studio apartment? I only have one room, so it's hard to apply the traditional feng shui principles which assume you have a living space with multiple rooms and doors.

2. Is it really bad chi / bad luck if your bed faces the window *and* positioned so that your back is to the door (my back isn't directly against the door -- there are several walls between it and the door, but the wall my bed is against runs parallel to the door).

Thanks for any insights here as I work to achieve an optimal layout for my furniture in a small space. :)
posted by starpoint to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Somehow my question title got cut off, and I can't edit it. It should be:

"Is it really bad luck for a bed to face the window and away from the main doorway?"
posted by starpoint at 8:02 PM on January 17, 2014

I don't really know the answer to your question, but everyone is going to respond that it's not bad luck even if they won't know what they are talking about either, just because. I do think I've heard that it's not good if you cannot have view of the door from the bed. Makes sense to me, but again I'm not sure. Why not borrow this book? I came across it in a askmetafilter thread and it's supposedly very good. I'm assuming it will go over the basics, such as you're asking.
posted by Blitz at 8:10 PM on January 17, 2014

I would love waking up to look out a large glass door first thing. You'd see the sunlight, the weather, birds. That seems 100% wonderful.

I wouldn't worry about the door. It's not as though seeing the door is any kind of protection. If you lived in an apartment with more than one room you'd likely not see your entry door. I can't even see my bedroom door from my bed, let alone the entry door. I doubt it would be protective to see my door; if someone is entering my door, I now have more problems than what is or isn't in my visual field and it's kind of too late to rue the room layout. So, all told, If you don't feel secure in your place, add another deadbolt.

This is all about whether you are a believer in things like feng shui. If you're not a practioner of other traditional Chinese beliefs, this is probably not something that you need to feel pertains to you.
posted by Miko at 8:12 PM on January 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Feng Shui is interesting and all, but it's not real. Bad things are not actually going to happen to you because your bed faces a window.

I live in a studio, as well, and bottom line, sometimes there's just one functional place to have your bed, weird directional stuff be damned.

(I really feel you as, in my studio, the only real option is for the bed to face the door. Which gives me the heebie jeebies for some reason. But I've decided to think of it as an elegant boutique hotel room, where of course it's OK if the bed faces the door. Because it's tres bijou, not bad Feng Shui!)
posted by Sara C. at 8:13 PM on January 17, 2014 [7 favorites]

OP are you asking this question hoping that people who know feng shui will respond? Or are you open to responses from people who know little or nothing about feng shui and think it's a load of crap? Because you are likely to only see the latter here, and you should probably qualify your question.

I am not an expert on feng shui myself, or a believer in it, but I do understand you can do things like hanging mirrors, plants etc to neutralize "bad" placements and layouts. Best of luck.
posted by smoke at 8:39 PM on January 17, 2014 [13 favorites]

I would try an experimental approach here. Place the bed as you've described, then live with the configuration for a month. If, in 30 days, you notice yourself feeling uncomfortable with the arrangement, then try some of the sorts of mitigation techniques that smoke suggests; you can also search for other techniques online. If after 30 additional days of the mitigation techniques you still feel uncomfortable with the arrangement, then move the bed elsewhere. Belief/disbelief in feng shui principles aside, you have to feel comfortable in your home. Rearranging a few pieces of furniture or placing some accessories here or there in order to gain peace of mind is pretty much low-hanging fruit, imo.
posted by skye.dancer at 9:27 PM on January 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

I don't believe in luck or chi, at least not as thhings that you can manipulate with furniture. But that's up to you.

There are only two things I would worry about here -- in an earthquake, will the glass window or door shatter over your bed? If so, move the bed to the spot furthest from the glass. Second, is your mom going to fret about the chi if she comes over? If so, decide if you want to handle that by talking about it, finding a feng shui way of mitigating that, or moving it when she's coming over.

As for seeing the door -- keep it closed and tie a loud bell to the handle if you're worried about intruders when you're not looking.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:34 PM on January 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've taken some time to look into Feng Shui, as I was often quite unsatisfied with room arrangements and couldn't settle into something I liked. What I discovered is that, by and large, the guidance of Feng Shui aligns with a lot of typical interior design approaches; one couches it in mystical terms and the other does not, but the approaches are similar.

So, my recommendation is that you utilize Feng Shui as much as you are able within the space, with the attitude that it is a framework for understanding good interior design rather than a mystical undertaking. If something works for you, and doesn't align with Feng Shui best practices, that's totally okay, because the end goal is finding something that works for you and makes you feel good.

Feng Shui aside: I have at times arranged my bedrooms as you describe, where you can't see the door and there's furniture placed to provide some modicum of transition and privacy. I find that I enjoy it for a brief period of time -- it makes my small bedrooms seem private and more isolated -- but eventually I revert to something that brings the room back together into a larger whole. On the other hand, my living room is quite large, and using the same technique I found a layout that I hated for the first month or so, but now have totally grown into and -- lo and behold! -- I've gone longer without changing this arrangement than I ever managed before.

In your position, I'd simply embrace that you have a small space with limited opportunities, and allow myself to rearrange the furniture every month or two until I found something that made me comfortable...until/unless I found that when rearranging time came, I didn't feel like rearranging it. Then I'd leave it alone until/unless the urge struck again.

I also would avoid telling your mother anything about your interior design approach. Sometimes people are sincerely trying to help, and other times they're just talking to talk, but either way she doesn't have to live there and you do.
posted by davejay at 10:05 PM on January 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Here's a short article about bed position in feng shui. It says that if you can't see the door from your bed, then you should place a mirror in a position such that you can. I guess that would be in one of the corners?

They say that one reason you need to see the door is because otherwise you'll have unconscious stress over not being able to see who is coming through it. I think that makes more sense for a bedroom, which is less likely to have a lock on it. Seeing as it's your front door, however, I'm assuming it's locked pretty tight, so maybe the same rules don't apply.

Personally, I'd rather be away from the door so that I have more privacy with guests, and so I'm not so distracted by folks walking back and forth and having little conversations in the hallway. A good, distraction free night of sleep is probably pretty lucky in and of itself.
posted by sam_harms at 2:11 AM on January 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well, I don't really believe in luck or fortune, but....

It sounds like your studio apartment has two doors -- the main door and a sliding glass patio door. I have read in design blogs that it's good for flow (probably from Feng Shui) for your bed to face the door of your room. Well now, your bed DOES face a door the way you placed it -- a big sliding glass door!

Maybe you can find a little screen or something to put between your bed and the main door to reroute the flow. If I were you, my concerns for privacy (the reason you moved your bed in the first place) and the wonderful sunny view in the morning would trump my mother's concerns about Feng Shui.
posted by mibo at 6:58 AM on January 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

It sounds like someone is misinterpretting or putting too much weight on some "simple" Feng Shui precepts (I think of Feng Shui, literally Wind and Water, as a kind of folk psychology developed from vast amount of anecdotes rather than controlled data [the vastness might abrogate some of the downfalls of anecdote and push it towards being data]). I kinda-sorta believe that there might be something to Feng Shui (I'm Cantonese but grew up in Canada); it's neat, but no biggie for me. My maternal grandad (I did not know him well, passed when I was young) was a part-time Feng Shui master. I've also had a family friend who was a full time master offer recommendations to my family's home when I was in my teens. There are also sub-specialties; geomancy versus tempomancy versus whatever.

There are "common" Feng Shui precepts but there are a lot of other nuances. Many of these nuances over-ride the "common" precepts. If you're concerned about this, consult a Feng Shui master who can tour your residence and offer recommendations. But really, Feng Shui is about making your home comfortable. As long as you feel comfortable and happy, then the Feng Shui must be good. I've also seen examples that are just plain common sense (backed by controlled-data-based psychological examination; for example small office space with a few desks - people facing each other is more benign than everyone facing away from each other and towards walls instead).

For example - your door opening directly towards a window is terrible. The concept is that your income (either money or people who enter your dwelling) will leave swiftly (out of that window). The psychology might be something closer to that maybe your living space isn't "private" enough or "home is safe" enough. My recommendation would be to put up a folding upright screen (that can be really interesting/pretty) a couple/few feet away from your door to create a small foyer. I've seen see-through ones made from medium-gauge metal wire formed into "wrought" patterns that are really fantastic. It might make the studio feel less like a studio.

The compass direction that your window/patio-door faces is another factor to take into account. The geography of what's outside of your window is also very important. Again, try your new arrangement for a week. If you're getting decent night's rest, wake up feeling ok, then hey - Feng Shui is good!

As for bed orientation, there's a precept that the optimal orientation of how you sleep depends on your birth characteristics. In simple terms, those born in the Summer optimally sleep with the head-feet facing North-South or West-East. Those born in Winter optimally sleep with the head-feet facing in the opposite direction.*

The see-the-door thing ... I've never heard. Maybe it's similar to the not-sitting-with-back-to-door. Get yourself an assasin-Mentat, a minstrel-swordsman, a Swordmaster of the Ginaz, and a Bene Gesserit mother to train you in the arts of perception.

*Actually, thanks for making this askme. My top-floor wood frame apartment sucks; roof-mounted HVAC for the bank on the ground floor has pipes through my N bedroom wall and in desperation I moved my bed to abut the S bedroom wall to try to sleep better about a year (and a bunch now) ago. Marginal results. In retrospect, my life's gone down the shitter since I made the switch. About 6 months ago the HVAC control has changed (less loud, but for longer stretches overnight) - I'm going to move my bed back right now. Man, I need to move to a different apartment.
posted by porpoise at 7:16 PM on January 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

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