You may already be familiar with feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of arranging your home to promote harmony—advice like bringing outside elements into your home to cultivate harmony and keeping your kitchen and stove clean to create calm and cozy vibes has been mainstream for many years. But the bagua map, despite being one of the main tools used for feng shui, gets far less air time.
The bagua map is like a blueprint of the different energy centers within your home, and each corresponds with specific colors, shapes, elements, and areas of life.
Bagua translates to “eight areas” in Chinese. However, Laura Cerrano, a certified feng shui master and founder of Feng Shui Manhattan, says the bagua map is commonly divided into a grid with nine sections. It was originally depicted as an octagon, but it’s been simplified into a square.
“According to the feng shui principles, when ingredients are strategically positioned within particular areas of a space, the energy becomes positively activated and balanced, offering a stronger supportive, energetic environment for those living or working there,” Cerrano says. In other words, ensuring that each of the nine areas in your home has the right energy makes for a happier life.
Keep reading to learn the step-by-step process for using the bagua map, its benefits, what the nine different areas represent, and how you can enhance their energy.
How to use feng shui’s bagua map
Print or draw your home’s floor plan
Step number one, Cerrano says, is to get a floor plan of your home, whether printed out or hand-drawn. Be sure to include all rooms, bathrooms, closets, windows, hallways, patio doors, stairs, etc. If you have multiple levels, start with just the first level.
Ideally, Cerrano notes, it’s best to have a home with a rectangle or square floor plan. “These shapes relate to wholeness and offer a strong supportive foundation for positive energy to build upon,” she says.
Locate your front door
Next, locate the main entryway to your home on the floor plan. “The actual front door is known as the ‘Mouth of Chi,’ and indicates how to begin placing the bagua grid over the entire floor plan of the house,” Cerrano says. The front door should be along the bottom of the bagua map.
Divide the floor plan into 9 sections
Next, Cerrano instructs you to bust out a ruler and do your best to divide the floor plan into nine even sections. Think tic-tac-toe style. It may be helpful to use a different color pen or marker to differentiate the lines easily.
Label the different sections
Once you divide your floor plan, Cerrano suggests either labeling what each of the sections represents or placing a print out of a bagua map next to it as a visual reference of how the different life sections are laid out.
Note that not all floor plans will be a perfect square or rectangle. This can result in having either a missing area or an extended area (see the video above for a more in-depth explanation—complete with visual aids!). “If the section is missing, it’s simply saying the energy of that life section is not being fully activated and requires more attention for enhancements,” Cerrano says. “If it’s extended, you’re in luck. This means that the energy of the section is offering you a positive extension of energy to receive more benefits.”
The different areas of the bagua map
Career and life journey
The career and life journey section is related to the element of water, so Cerrano recommends incorporating water-themed artwork or water features such as a fountain in this area. If you’re feeling adventurous, spring for a fish tank. Colors that enhance the energy here include black, indigo, and dark blues.
Wisdom, spirituality, and knowledge
This section of the bagua map relates to the Earth element, so earthy colors like greens and blues are great to incorporate. Cerrano also suggests using this area to store and display anything knowledge or spirituality related, such as personal development books or your favorite spiritual tools. This also makes a great space for your meditation practice.
Items made of wood, as well as rectangle shapes, green and blue colors, and plants (real or faux) or botanical artwork will help balance the energy in the family section. Cerrano also advises using this area to display your favorite family photos. “Be sure these are of family members who are truly supportive of you,” she says.
Want to attract more abundance and prosperity into your life? Cerrano says to give this area some love by displaying things that you truly value in life and are grateful for alongside real plants with rounded or curved leaves. Purples, blues, and metallics will also spice up this area. And one more pro tip is to keep an actual piggy bank here to symbolize the wealth you are receiving.
Fame and reputation
This area represents integrity, and how you are known in the world, Cerrano says. It relates to the fire element, so reds and warmer colors are perfect for this space as well as candles. Diamonds, triangles, and pyramids are also associated with this realm. And if it fits your vibe, so do animal prints and real or fake furs.
The health section is considered the heart of the home because it’s located in the middle of the bagua map. It focuses on your physical and emotional health. To boost the energy here, Cerrano says to bring in square-shaped items, yellow and earth tones, and elements like stones, ceramics, and crystals. Most importantly, “keep this area clear of clutter and open as much as you can to help the energy flow effortlessly throughout your space,” she says.
Marriage and relationships
To bring some love into your marriage or relationships, Cerrano says this area is all about the colors often associated with love, such as pink, white, and touches of red (hello, passion!). Some chunks of rose quartz would fit right in. She also recommends keeping any items that symbolize intimate and balanced relationships for you here.
Children and creativity
We all need to get in touch with our inner child from time to time. This area can help with that by bringing attention to the things that bring you joy in life. Some specific elements that Cerrano endorses for this space include mirrors, circle and oval shapes, metallic items to bring in playful energy, and anything else that makes you happy.
Helpful people and travel
Travel may not be on the horizon in the near future, but you can certainly bring those vibes into your home with travel trinkets, globes, and maps. Since this area is also about people who’ve added value to your life, Cerrano advocates celebrating those in this area with photos or artwork.
Benefits of implementing the bagua map
This all sounds awesome, but it also requires some work to get each area in tip-top energetic shape. So why go through the trouble? In short, it can help you create your ideal life.
“Putting the bagua map into action creates a sort of ‘live-in vision board’ that your conscious and subconscious minds are being influenced by,” Cerrano says. “Interacting with these various life sections and ingredients hold the potential to encourage and better motivate you in achieving your goals, no matter how big or small you may perceive them.”
That brings up another question: Do you have to believe in feng shui and the bagua for it to work? According to Cerrano, you or the people you live with don’t necessarily need to be believers to reap the benefits.
That said, the power of feng shui works hand in hand with the power of intention. So, Cerrano says, the benefits will depend on your intentions for change and how you participate in co-creating those positive changes. “That is what will help direct the energy to shift within that environment internally within themselves and externally with the space they occupy,” Cerrano says. “The very fact that you are cultivating a plan of action and choosing to participate in making positive changes in your life offers a great opportunity for beneficial transformation in your overall environment and self.”