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Book brings feng shui to residence hall life

Nov. 3, 2005

by BROOKE BRANAM, reporter

Dorm room feng shui may be the answer to small, cramped and cluttered student rooms.

Larry Sang, master of feng shui and founder of the American Feng Shui Institute, said feng shui applies to every type of building. Students can use feng shui, a Chinese art of positioning objects to create positive or negative effects, to create an environment more conducive to studying and relaxing.

"At first I didn't have a good dorm room. After fixing it up, the atmosphere was relaxing and really helped me study," said Midland sophomore and interior design major Cassidy Borrello.

Writer Elizabeth MacCrellish and feng shui expert Margaret Donahue discuss the core idea of feng shui in their book, Dorm Room Feng Shui. They discuss the importance of bagua - a grid of eight sections representing different parts of life.

MacCrellish and Donahue suggest that students make an outline of the room, and then trace the grid over the outline with labeled sections. Students can use the grid as a jump off point to improve certain sections of their rooms.

Dorm Room Feng Shui has quick bagua fixes as well as a questionnaire that helps students identify the trouble areas of the grid. MacCrellish and Donahue suggest clearing clutter out of the trouble section. Clutter can block the student's chi -- an inherent force that when balanced is believed to lead to good health.

Students can benefit from organizing their rooms or using certain colors to decorate. Soft blue or green sheets can create a soothing sleep environment, feng shui teacher and consultant Debbie DeSpirit said. She added that using a funky, removable bedspread helps keep the room social and inviting.

"The room has many functions, and you need to make small changes to enhance the room for particular activities," DeSpirit said.

Hanging linens or nature scenes to cover the cement walls will improve the room.

A way to improve the dorm room smell is to use citrus scents during the day and lavender scents at night. Citrus scents liven the mood and bring energy. Lavender scents are calming and soothing, DeSpirit said.

"All of these cures do not look at enhancing a specific life area, but they are geared at bringing harmony to the dorm room," DeSpirit said.

Some of the fixes DeSpirit suggests are having a bedside lamp that can replace the harsh overhead lights in most dorm rooms. Also, placing a sculpture or attention-grabber on the desk will help bring focus to the study area. This will keep attention away from the bed and sleeping when it's time to study.

"I could study better if I didn't fall asleep so often," Longview junior Rupa Patel said.

All of these ideas will help students stay organized and emotionally well balanced, DeSpirit said.