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The 8 most common feng shui screwups in NYC

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For 12 years, Nicole Citrin-Koch has been helping New Yorkers re-arrange their living space to conform with the principals of the ancient art of feng shui. 

Feng shui dates from China’s Tang Dynasty in 618AD and began as a method for finding the most auspicious site for a loved one’s tomb. Eventually the art was applied to gardens and then to...living spaces.

Citrin-Koch says that applying feng shui's basics of color, numerology and astrology to her clients’ New York apartments has resulted in  positive changes in all aspects of their lives—career, romance and family.  Here are the mistakes she sees most often in New York apartments, and her advice on how to fix them.

1. A bedroom that looks like an office

Ideally, a bedroom is for sleeping and sex, not a place for work. Practically, this is not always possible in a New York apartment, but be very careful about where you put your work space.

Feng shui is based on the belief that every room, every space is divided into areas that represent different aspects of your life: there are love corners, creativity corners, career corners, etc. 

A desk should never be in a love corner. A room that says “I'm married to my job” will undermine your chances of finding or keeping a partner. 

My first feng shui assignment was to re-do my own bedroom. I put my make-up table in my relationship corner, moved my desk out of it and met the man I married shortly after that.

2. Clutter

This is by far the worst and most common feng shui offense I see. It saps energy, and distracts you from important pursuits. Beware of “when-my-apartment-is- clean-I'll invite-people-over” syndrome. 

Be ruthless. Face up to your excuses—'I might need it some day,' 'My good friend gave it to me,' 'I haven't gotten my money’s worth out of it yet.' That's what I call “scrooging." Dispose of what you don’t need and arrange adequate storage space for what’s left.  [Ed.'s note: Great advice for bed bug prevention too.]

3. A bed in a spot where your back is to a window 

This arrangement creates a feeling of insecurity--that you’re not well supported. The fix is easy if you can move the bed but if you can’t, you can hang a crystal from the window, which creates an invisible wall. The cord that it hangs from should be 9, 18 or 27 inches long, all auspicious numbers.

4. A bed under a slanted ceiling

The slant creates a negative “cutting” effect (meaning that the room feels like it's been abruptly sliced into). You can't change the architecture of the room but you can add a canopy to your bed so that you won’t see the slant when you’re lying in bed.

5. An overflowing hamper/clothes on open shelves

These are more ways to drain your energy and take your mind off the things you should be thinking about.  These are some of the most common mistakes and the easiest to fix. Get a hamper with a top, and an armoire with doors and/or drawers for your clothes.

6. A television and/or computer in the bedroom 

This is particularly dangerous for anyone who has trouble sleeping. You need to feel relaxed and serene in your bedroom; TVs and computers are major distractions.

7. The wrong colors 

My bedroom was painted white when I decided that I wanted to meet someone. I had fantasized about painting one wall fiery red and after some feng shui training I went ahead and did it. It worked. For someone else, the right color might be something calmer, a pink or soft green, blue or even white -- there are no hard and fast color rules for everyone. 

8. The wrong furniture and photos.

Many of my clients come to me because they want help with romance and advice on how to find the right partner. I advise them to think about arranging things in pairs: to have matching side tables on each side of their bed with matching lamps, to put two candles or two vases on the dresser. And absolutely no photos of you all by yourself in your “love corner.” It sends the wrong message.    

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10 Minutes with Rose Praino: Touching up (and custom-fitting) NYC apartments until they're move-in ready

10 Minutes with Noa Santos: Interior design and staging on a renter's budget

NYC Real(i)ty speak: Decorator decorum

NYC Real(i)ty Speak: 5 signs you picked the wrong paint color

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