Nicolette Vajtay’s dining room in her Denver Tudor-style bungalow looks like any other American home at first glance. She has a square, rustic dining table with four purple and green patterned chairs atop an original hardwood floor, but there is more than meets the untrained eye.

Each detail in the room is intentional from the curvy glass vase filled with crumpled yuan and oxidized pennies to the carefully chosen rounded edges of her rustic, wooden dining table. This is what Vajtay refers to as her “wealth room.”

Vajtay, owner of Inspired Living Feng Shui (, is a Denver-based feng shui practitioner. She has dedicated more than twenty years of her life “playing,” as she likes to say, with the ancient (circa A.D. 3,500) Chinese art of feng shui (pronounced fung shwey), literally translated to English as “wind and water.”

Feng What?

In layman’s terms, Vajtay said the practice is “Interior design with intention.” Author Karen Rauch Carter of Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life calls it “universal common sense,” not only Chinese wisdom. It is both the art and science of placing objects in favorable positions to balance energy (called ch’i, prounounced chee), which every object has, in order to create life harmony.

“Interior design with intention.” – Nicolette Vajtay

“Most of the time people will call me when they’re having some kind of issue in their life: a crisis, they feel stuck, they can’t move forward,” Vajtay said. “I will say, given the way the economy has been, people are looking for an alternative modality, just like people turned to acupuncture, massage, reike, chiropractic – a different alternative to the standard medicine.”

Analyzing a Space

When Vajtay approaches a home, she overlays what is called a bagua over the home blueprints.

The bagua simplified.
Photo courtesy of Nicolette Vajtay

This divides the house into nine zones, each area (or room) corresponding to a life value: prosperity, fame and reputationrelationships and love, family, health, creativity and children, skills and knowledge, career, and helpful people and travel. For an accurate perspective, your front door should align with the values of skills and knowledge, career or helpful people and travel. Your bagua is your energy roadmap to feng shui.

Vajtay represents but one feng shui approach. She is schooled in Black Sect: ‘black’ as in all colors mix to make black, not as in dark magic. There are at least 12 schools of thought. It is best to research which one suits your personality best.

“The practice of feng shui is diverse and multifaceted; there are many different schools and perspectives – all valid, all effective, and all beneficial,” according to the International Feng Shui Guild.

Feng Shui for All

Contrary to popular belief, feng shui is not reserved for the Donald Trump’s and Oprah’s of the world (they both reportedly practice), but according to Vajtay, it can be accessible to all.

If you are on a budget, reading a beginner’s manual to feng shui can be a great place to start. Check out recommendations below. If you are not really the DIY type, take a daylong workshop, hold a party at your home or hire a consultant. Consulting fees range from $150-$200 per hour on average. Consultants analyze your home and help choose paint colors, declutter, move furniture and balance earth elements, among other services.

And, you do not have to stop with your abode; you can boost the feng shui of your business, your car, even your cubicle. Vajtay’s most unique client? Analyzing the feng shui of a medical marijuana warehouse.

She even gave me a personal analysis – the ring I wear on my ring finger although I’m not married? Bad feng shui. The placement of my desk directly facing a wall? Bad feng shui. The peaked ceiling in my bedroom? Bad feng shui. So, what basic tips do you need to know?

The Basics

  • Declutter your life. If everything has energy, including inanimate objects like old work papers piling up on your desk, the energy of your space could be negatively affected. Clear it out!
  • When making decorating decisions choose furniture with soft lines. Straight lines do not exist in nature; in feng shui they should be avoided.
  • Place objects in power positions. Float your desk in the center of a room with a view of the door to see what opportunities are coming your way, and if possible, place your bed in view of the door as well.
  • Incorporate the five earth elements where the bagua calls for them.
    • Wood – Prosperity and Family

How to: firewood, wood furniture, wood frames

    • Fire – Fame and Reputation

How to: candles, incense, a fireplace

    • Earth – Relationship, Health and Knowledge

How to: anything in pairs like a sculpture, plants, artwork featuring a pathway

    • Metal – Creativity and Children, Helpful People and Travel

How to: art supplies like paintbrushes, a television, metal art with spiritual significance

    • Water – Career

How to: oceanic art, a fountain

  • Play with color according to the bagua. Give a room a fresh coat of paint or bring in pops of color with throw pillows in your living room, a rug in your bedroom, a teapot in your kitchen or anything else you can dream up.

If you are craving more, you can adjust sound, lighting, scents, and add crystals and mirrors to your space for an extra boost.

While interior design alone can make for a beautiful space, feng shui works at a deeper level. Kris Hanson, owner of Atmospheres By Kris, a Denver interior design firm (, often consults a feng shui practitioner in her design projects.

“When you’re doing it in conjunction with feng shui, you walk in and there is such a wonderful feel to the space that you normally wouldn’t get,” Hanson said. “Also, there are so many ways the feng shui practitioner can help the person healing wise – physically, emotionally, mentally – with their colors and textures and just as an interior designer, we don’t really address that; we just make it look really gorgeous.”

D.C.Y. (Do Couture Yourself)

Brittany Stevens is a zealous antique hound, loves all things vintage and cannot get enough of HGTV. She is bringing her lifelong love of fashion to a new  realm – the home. Who says the décor we surround ourselves with shouldn’t be as fashion-forward as what we wear?