How to use the Five Elements with Feng Shui

We receive thousands of emails at the Feng Shui Store throughout the year asking all about how to use colours, ornaments and all other everyday objects and aspects around a home or business to enhance their space when dealing with Feng Shui. I have added this page to give people a better idea of how you can Make the most of Feng Shui by creating the perfect environment by simply implementing the Five Elements around your home or business by using simple yet extremely powerful aspects like…

  • sofa throws
  • new wallpaper and paint
  • ornaments
  • door materials
  • wall and ceiling lights
  • tables and chairs
  • placement of television
  • wall pictures
  • furniture shapes and sizes
  • cooker placement.

Each of the above that I listed all fall in to the Five Elements category. Take a look at anything around you and decide which of the Five Elements you would associate it with. You can check below in each of the Five Elements summaries.

There are many ways you can introduce the various elements; you can introduce this by furnishing your home or office by introducing coloured objects such as rugs, cushions, blankets, bedding, curtains, drapes, etc.

When you apply things like ornaments or picture frames in your home or office you should always be careful incase you use a certain object made from a material that symbolises an element e.g. wood or metal as this can disrupt the elements present around this object. 

For example, a blue porcelain vase symbolises the earth element and can be used if both earth and water elements are needed in one area.

If you are going to understand and apply the Five Elements into your environment, you need to know how it works first.

The five elements are:

   – Wood

   – Fire

   – Earth

   – Metal

   – Water.

The interaction of these five elements plays a huge role in the harmony of our home or office. If one element is too strong, it can unbalance the other present elements; you should always make sure that you do not apply the five elements in excess. If the water element is needed to bridge a cycle, you do not need to cover your whole room in blue paint, have fish tanks everywhere and a big waterbed as this can introduce and excess of water which could have a negative effect to which you desired.

When an element interacts with another element, it produces a cycle, each element can either enhance, weaken or destroy another element.  The three main cycles are:

   – The Productive Cycle

   – The Weakening Cycle and

   – The Destructive Cycle

The Productive Cycle

If you wish to enhance a good earth star don’t just settle for using fire colours, try to introduce fire shaped objects at the same time.

– Rectangular shapes represent Wood

– Triangular shapes represent Fire

– Square shapes represent Earth

– Circular shapes represent Metal

– Wavy shapes represent Water

A triangular shaped piece of furniture that is burgundy coloured would make a perfect enhancer or cure for the fire element.

A square piece of furniture that is made of wood and is brown or yellow coloured will make a great earth enhancer.

Many people get confused with wooded tables and chairs and believe that it should be used as a wood cure; this is wrong, wooden furniture is dead and it carries no element other than the shape and colour of the furniture.

The Weakening Cycle

The weakening cycle is where one element is weakened by another element. In simpler terms a certain element will feed

on another certain element and will make it weaker as a result.

– Water is weakened by wood

– Wood is weakened by fire

– Fire is weakened by earth

– Earth is weakened by metal

– Metal is weakened by water.

This is also known as the dissipating or draining cycle and is used for cures.

If you want to weaken a negative earth star like #5 or #2, you would use the metal element to weaken the earth star.

Don’t just use metal colours to weaken this star, use metal shaped objects that are round in shape and then combine the shape with the correct colour for the element. A round coffee table this is coloured white would be a great example of a cure for the #2 or #5 stars.

The Destructive Cycle

This is a controlling cycle and I would recommend that you do not use this unless you are a Feng Shui professional or you know what you are doing.

If this cycle is used incorrectly, it can cause aggravation to another element and can cause a much more negative result from what you had wished to achieve when placing the cure. For example, when the metal element cuts into wood, this can bring accidents and cause injuries to the limbs. You should always try to avoid controlling an element unless you are a trained Feng Shui practitioner or Master of Feng Shui.

You must remember that this is a cycle of destruction. There will be occasions where you do use this method but only after many years of learning. It is much better to weaken and dissipate the energy of an element.

We also use the method of dissipating/exhausting the elements which is part of the five phases, we know that earth controls water, so if you have a negative #2 or #5 earth star you can use water colours like blue to exhaust the earth element, this is done because the negative earth has to work to control the water and thus its energy will be dissipated, this is a much nicer way of working with the five elements and comes from an understanding of how the five elements work with each other.

I call it the destructive cycle but in reality we need destruction, enhancing, good, bad, hot, cold, yin and yang, this is what Feng Shui is, study it in more depth, look at our extensive research section on

Try not to go just by what the books always teach you; try using shapes and colours and introduce them with:

– Carpets

– Rugs

– Wall paints

– Floor coverings

– Curtains

– Sofa chairs

– Sofa throws

– Cushions

– Bedding

– Pillow cases

– Table cloths

– Seat covers

– Picture frames

– Lighting shapes

– Furniture shapes

– Tree shapes e.g. conifers are usually fire shaped.

I could go on forever as the list really is endless; there are thousands of ways of introducing colour or shapes into your home or office.


The first element of the cycle is wood because the season it represents is spring, the dawning of new life on earth.  Healthy leafy green plants are extremely good representatives of the wood element.

If you need wood in a particular sector, a potted plant is a better choice than the colour green itself.  Plants are more effective in that they generate lively qi.  However, you must look after it by giving it nutrients and water.  When plants wilt or die, they hold Sha qi (negative energy) and create stagnant qi.

Although furniture is made of wood, it does not represent the wood element as it is dead lifeless wood.  When we discuss furniture, we need to take the history of furniture into consideration and this is especially true with antiques.  It is important that you know where the piece of furniture comes from because, in Feng Shui, there is such a thing as ‘predecessor qi’.

Some old furniture contains positive energy but mostly not.  This goes with books or virtually anything that previously belonged to someone else as these objects can hold and retain good or bad qi from their previous owners.  This is why at the Feng Shui Store, we cleanse all our products before we deliver them to your home.  The product may be new but had been handled by many people from the manufacturer to packers etc…

For highly accurate calculations on where to place Wood in your home, office or business, take a look at our software here:

Colours associated with Wood:

Wood Element:

Where to use wood in your home or office:

In traditional Feng Shui, plants are used to enhance a good flying star or to weaken an undesirable flying star.

Example 1: Star #9. This is a good star in Period 8 and it belongs to the fire element. To enhance its benevolent influence, we would place plants (wood) here to feed the fire of #9.

Example 2: Star #8. This is a benevolent star especially in Period 8 and it is an earth star. It is not recommended to place plants here as the wood (plant) will destroy the earth element of this auspicious star.

Whilst it is considered very good Feng Shui to have plants in the home or a business you should avoid having too many and more importantly make sure they are to scale, I see many homes that have 6 feet high indoor plants in a room that is around 10 x 12 feet, this is far too big and the plant will suffocate the room.


The Fire element is the most “Yang” of all the five elements.  It symbolises fire and heat. It can bring light and warmth and happiness or it can erupt and explode.  Hence, be wary of the amount of fire you use.

Red had always been portrayed as an auspicious colour.  It is so but only for short term purposes such as a red dress for a wedding, red decoration for a festival, red drapes for a ceremony or red packets for Chinese New Year celebration.

Red is better introduced in furnishings or objects.  You may create a fiery ambience if you paint the whole room red.  A tea-light or table lamp with a red shade make excellent fire remedies but do be careful with lit fires and do not leave them unattended.

Again be creative, introduce fire colours by using bed covers, floor coverings, curtains, etc. It is very rare for a traditional Feng Shui Practitioner to recommend painting a room a deep red especially a bedroom, yet we come across it so many times because the books always seem to tell you that red is the most auspicious colour, so please be careful when using the fire element, it is extremely powerful in a good and bad way.

For highly accurate calculations on where to place Fire in your home, office or business, take a look at our software here:

Colours associated with Fire:

Fire Element:

Where to use Fire in your home or office:

The fire element can be introduced to enhance a wonderful star #8 because star #8 is an earth star. In the cycle of production, fire feeds earth. However, never use the fire element or introduce any red to a room where the 5 Yellow or 2 Black reside. Although these two stars are of the earth element, they are very untimely stars according to time cycle. Untimely stars produce bad influences and, when fed by fire, would only enhance the negative influences of these two stars. It can bring you sickness and obstacles to your endeavours.

As mentioned before, the Five Elements is only one of the important factors in a Feng Shui analysis. The reason for this is that not only do we have to consider the interactions of the different elements and the type of qi they produce but we have to also look at the timeliness of each star.

Another example: Star #3. This is a wood star and is untimely in Period 8. When activated, it brings lots of arguments, misunderstandings and even law suits. In this case, we can use fire to weaken its strength. You can hang a bright light or place a triangle shaped red item in the area where the star #3 resides.


A terracotta pot filled with soil is a perfect earth element, or a clay statue. Quartz crystals are also a good representation of the earth elements although you do have to be very careful with crystal as they come in different colours.

For example, amethyst is an earth element but its colour is purple. Purple represents the fire element. This is to say, amethyst represents both earth and fire elements which makes it an extremely effective item to enhance the auspicious star #8 but it would be dangerous for stars #2 and #5.

When you are enhancing a #8 wealth star you should use fire colours like red, pink, purple, burgundy or orange, you can also use earth colours like brown or yellow to assist the star. Be very careful not to use too much metal with a #8 star as this will weaken it, do not worry if you have a radiator or brass door hinges, you cannot avoid it completely, just avoid heavy metal ornaments and also round shapes.

For highly accurate calculations on where to place Earth in your home, office or business, take a look at our software here:

Colours associated with Earth:

Earth Element:

Where to use Earth in your home or office:

In the cycle of Production, earth is used to enhance or strengthen a metal element star such as a star #6 or #7.

In Period 7 (between 1984 and 2004), earth was used to strengthen the wealth or health star #7. Quartz crystals, ceramic ornaments, terracotta pots and items were introduced in the area where a #7 star appeared. Colours such as yellow, beige and earth tones were incorporated into the room where the #7 star resides. However, as we enter Period 8 (between 2004 and 2024), the timeliness of the #7 star is in decline. The characteristics of this star will naturally revert back to its negative nature as a robbery star. If you place earth elements with this star, you will enhance its negative influence and this will bring you more trouble than you want.

The earth element is very useful to a star #8. Earth supports earth. We also use earth to calm down the fiery temperament of a #9 fire star given that, as shown in the weakening cycle, earth weakens fire.


Metal can be found in many forms. Silver, Gold, Copper, and Bronze are just a few of the Metal Elements. You can also be creative when using this element; you could use a brass Kwan Yin, three-legged toad or a nice Dragon.

When choosing an element, pay attention to the shape; do not use anything sharp or menacing looking. Feng Shui is about creating harmony and balance. Attractive looking objects will attract favourable qi from the environment.

You could also use white, grey, gold or a coppery colour to introduce metal element into your living space.

Good metal cures are round in shape and a good cure is a heavy metal singing bowl or anything that is close to this shape, a round metal plate is also very good; you should try and avoid sharp menacing looking objects. Traditional metal cures are six Chinese coins tied with red ribbon, a brass Wu Lou, a six rod hollow metal wind chime, a brass Dragon.

You do not have to use traditional cures; I have hundreds of clients who use normal metal ornaments you will find in any department store, as I have said before your home does not have to look like a Chinese restaurant to have good Feng Shui.

For highly accurate calculations on where to place Metal in your home, office or business, take a look at our software here:

 Colours associated with Metal:

Metal Element:

Where to use Metal in your home or office:

The metal element is an ideal element to negate the influence of stars #2 and #5. A knowledgeable practitioner would recommend the use of metal in this case rather than wood.

However, useful as they are with unfavourable earth star #2 and #5, do not use metal element in an area where an auspicious star #8 resides. Metal weakens earth and, if star #8 sees metal, its benevolent influence will be weakened by the metal element.

Another element with which we would not use metal is the wood element represented by both stars #3 and #4. Metal cuts wood and so destroys wood. This destroying cycle can cause aggravation to the victimised element and can bring out the malevolent influence of these stars. Its effects are injuries to the occupants caused by metal objects or accidents. Be very careful when dealing with the Destructive Cycle.


Water is the key element in Feng Shui as it is in life; we would not exist without it as our planet as well as our body is made up mainly of water. It is a very powerful element and it must be used in moderation.

Moving water is yang water. It is energetic and is used to enhance a timely wealth star. With moving water, it should always be clean, clear and free flowing and it should never be left stagnant. Stagnant water is very dangerous as it brings Sha Qi (killing energy) and can cause sickness, accidents and loss of wealth.

Yang water is moving like an aquarium or a water feature with a filter/pump and yin water is still like a vase of flowers, a bowl of water or some indoor bamboo that grows in a small amount of water. Either yin or yang the water must be kept squeaky clean and when you place the water make sure the area around it is not cluttered. If you are using yang water try and place it close to a window if inside and outside in the direction of a window as the true essence of real Feng Shui is capturing qi (wind/air) and letting it touch the water (Shui) and then enter the home or business bringing auspicious energy for the occupants, This is why it must be clean water as if this happens with dirty stagnant water it causes many problems from divorce to bankruptcy as it creates sha qi (stagnant energy), all common sense really isn’t it.

For highly accurate calculations on where to place Water in your home, office or business, take a look at our software here:

Colours associated with Water:

Water Element:

Where to use Water in your home or office:

If used positively, water nurtures and supports. Water is an ideal element to enhance a wood star #3 and #4 but only in Periods 2, 3 and 4. Refrain from using moving (yang) water e.g. water fountain, aquarium or turtle tank with these stars in any other Periods or it may bring you a host of arguments, law suits, quarrels, relationship break-ups, divorce etc…

Understanding the star trigrams and their characteristics will give you more insight as to which element to use at the appropriate time and space.

It is safer to use water plants or images of water or the colour blue or black in your décor to introduce water element to an area. You must know what you are doing when it comes to moving (yang) water. If you are unsure, it is best to instruct a professional practitioner to give you advice on this. The consequences can be dire if moving water is placed incorrectly.

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