by Carol C. Wheelock

Dear Carol,

I love mirrors and have them all over the house. Are there places mirrors should not be hung?

Dear Chris,

Mirrors have been referred to as the "aspirin of feng shui." Just as it is recommended that you have a reason for taking aspirin, it is best to not place mirrors indiscriminately. They can be overdone and mirrors in the wrong places can actually exacerbate problems.

Let's start with what is reflected in the mirror. Is it something you like? Something you want more of? If you have a mirror opposite a cluttered bookcase, you now have two cluttered bookcases. A mirror at the end of a long hall will make the hall seem twice as long. On the other hand, a mirror opposite a beautiful fountain will give you two beautiful fountains.

A mirror can be used to compensate for the lack of a command position. This is the position you are in when you are facing the door but are not in direct line with it. It is particularly relevant for the following: desk, bed, main seating in the living room, stove. When you are in the command position, all your energy can go to the task at hand. When you are not in the command position, some of your energy is focused on what may be going on behind you. For example, if your desk has to face the wall because of space restrictions and/ or other factors, then a mirror will allow you to see what is going on behind you and help you feel more comfortable and focused at your desk. Bike mirrors can even be used for this purpose.

Mirrors can help bring the outside in and brighten up a space. Hang a mirror opposite a window with a decent view and the space immediately opens up. A mirror can also help a narrow space seem wider, especially if it is hung opposite a landscape picture with depth.

Whether or not to hang a mirror opposite a front door is a frequently asked question. The front door is the mouth of chi, the main way that energy enters your space. Some believe that a mirror in this position bounces the energy back out, creating a situation which is unwelcoming to people and chi. Others feel that it opens up an otherwise claustrophobic entry. I prefer to use pictures with depth opposite the door, with a mirror hung on another wall. If you do hang a mirror, remember to consider the height of anyone who might come to visit.

One place to avoid mirrors is in a dining room. I don't know anyone who wants to look at himself while eating. The goal of feng shui is to create spaces that support us. Anything that makes someone feel uncomfortable is not supportive.

The question of mirrors in bedrooms is an individual matter. I personally feel they are useful, although not opposite beds. Size and placement are important considerations. A mirrored closet or wall, however, can be very disorienting, creating a fun house atmosphere which certainly does not contribute to the desired "bedroom as a sanctuary" feel. Besides, who needs to see that much of him/herself? Try covering large mirrors at night for a more restful sleep.

Children are very sensitive to their surroundings. They are often frightened by the images they see in mirrors at night and I have met more that one child who does not like to stay in her/his room because of a mirror. Sometimes covering all mirrors at night will work. Otherwise, it is best to remove or relocate a mirror to the inside of a closet door.

Check to see that all the mirrors in your house are hung at appropriate heights. A mirror should reflect the entire head of everyone in the house. (Small children can have mirrors in their play spaces hung at an appropriate height for them.) It is not comfortable or healthy to look in a mirror and see part of your head cut off or no head at all.

Many people hang mirrors that are composed of separate mirrored panels or are in old window frames so that it is impossible to see a complete image. Just as it is not good to see the top of your head cut off, it is very disconcerting to see a reflection of yourself in pieces. If you do have a mirror in an old window frame, hang it opposite a real window or a landscape painting, so it gives the feeling of being a real window.

A cracked mirror or one with a piece of the glass missing will give you a cracked perception of yourself or whatever else you see in it. You may love a particular antique mirror, but if the image you see in it is not clear, consider having it repaired. At the very least, pay close attention to the area of the house in which you hang it.

As always, intention plays a large role. Think before you hang a mirror. Why are you hanging it there? What is going to be reflected? When placed with awareness and intention, mirrors can be wonderful assets and improve the overall chi of your home.

Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.

Copyright � 2000-2011 Feng Shui Vermont
Carol C. Wheelock