Feng Shui (pronounced “fong shway”) principles for staging homes and offices is growing ever-more popular. The overall goal of Feng Shui is for one to live in harmony with one’s environment and encourage “positive energy”. The way to this nirvana is apparently to arrange one’s living situation and entire life to fall in with the vagaries of “chi”.
Some of the advice that Feng Shui gives the home seller makes sense. It’s a good idea to clear out your clutter and air out the home to provide clean, fresh air. “Green” or “eco-friendly” cleaning products can be another positive step – they often smell better and are better for you and the environment. Balancing the colors in the home can also be useful if you find a room is too “one color”.
However, what devotees attribute to positive energy may just be the result of clearing out clutter, cleaning your home until it sparkles and putting some touch of greenery here and there – things that most home stagers would advise be done anyway. It doesn’t take an esoteric expert to surmise that a home that is easy to move around in and that is clean will be more attractive to buyers.
Feng Shui has a darker side as well, with people claiming to be “Feng Shui experts” charging hundreds to thousands of dollars for consultations that end up costing more money as they recommend people get rid of “bad feng shui” by doing expensive renovations or walking away from a home sale because the “chi” is all wrong. This can end up costing people major amounts of cash for something that is as simple as “clean and de-clutter”.
Some websites that encourage or inform people about becoming consultants suggest prices ranging from $500 for a single consultation to $300/hr. They suggest that consultants can earn $20,000 to $250,000. While this may be competitive in the arena of home design and staging, to hand this to someone who has studied a book on Feng Shui seems ludicrous. But people do it every day.
The important thing to remember about Feng Shui and any other home staging practice that claims to have a key to “energy”, “chi” or anything else that cannot be quantified is that if you wouldn’t spend the same amount of money for a conventional home stager, don’t spend it for someone who promises you good luck out of the ether. Many principles are good ideas, but it doesn’t make them worth more than principles marketed as just good common sense.