The problem with oddly shaped houses


Here’s a message for all the architects of the world: Stop designing buildings with missing areas. Just stop it. Okay?

Building shapes

‘We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us,’ said Winston Churchill, who knew nothing about feng shui but summed up its essence very succinctly in these ten words. Unfortunately the opposite is equally true: We misshape our buildings, and thereafter they misshape us too.

There is a world of difference, for example, between living in an L-shaped house or one that is rectangular, but most people don’t know this. In fact, living in any building that is not close to a perfect square, rectangle, octagon or circle can be problematic, and my personal experience has certainly borne this out.

The feng shui bagua

The reason for this is revealed by the feng shui bagua, which can be laid over the plans of any building to discover where the different aspects of the occupants’ lives are located in the space. If any of those areas are missing, it can be very difficult for the corresponding aspects of their lives to flourish during the time they live there.

In an L-shaped building, four or five areas of the bagua can be completely absent. There are only nine areas of the bagua in total, so that’s half your life gone missing!

In other homes, irregularities of shape can mean one or more areas are not represented. The most common of these are a missing Relationships area (the far back right-hand corner when standing at the front door facing towards the house) or a missing Prosperity area (the far back left-hand corner).

This is not based in Chinese superstition, as admittedly some aspects of feng shui are, but in energetic principles that have been tried and tested over thousands of years and can be applied to any building anywhere in the world.

Finding a house with no missing areas

Architects who do not have this knowledge unknowingly create financial, relationship or other kinds of challenges in the lives of the people who live in the buildings they design. As one of my students said to me last week after months of hunting for a new home that didn’t have missing areas, “You have GOT to tell more people about this!”

While living in Bali, I had the wonderful experience of designing and building my own house, incorporating all the feng shui knowledge I had. So, of course, I built myself a home with no missing areas at all. I even bought a rectangular plot of land to put it on, to reinforce this even more.

But finding a house to buy now I’m back in England is proving tricky, to say the least. Sure, there are feng shui cures you can use to compensate for missing areas, but it’s never as good as having a home that doesn’t need them in the first place.

I’m not saying that all architects need to become feng shui experts. But it really would make a huge difference to our lives if they could just take this one little fact into account in their designs. There is too much to explain in this short blog, but the principles of the bagua are explained in just about every feng shui book there is. If you’d like a recommendation, one of my all-time favourites is William Spear’s book, Feng Shui Made Easy.

Related articles
More information about the feng shui bagua
How the shape of your home can affect your life

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd, 2011

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui, and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must-read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fifth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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13 Responses to The problem with oddly shaped houses

  1. Is it possible to treat the areas as separates to the bagua map? I read one article that said to just cram the kitchen and living room as one and bedroom and bathroom as another. What are your thoughts on this? And how do you mean to “compensate” for the missing squares?

    1. The bagua grid is used in feng shui to reveal the areas of a home that correspond to the various aspects of the occupants’ lives, so “cramming” rooms into areas of the bagua may be very convenient, but it will not give an accurate reading.

      There are a number of feng shui cures that can help to compensate when areas of the bagua are missing, such as in an L-shaped home, but there are many factors to take into account when doing this so it is always best to consult a reputable feng shui consultant who can visit your home to make an assessment.

  2. Thank you Karen for your LIGHT and advice!

    I had your book since very long ago, first edition, I think, it was very helpful. Today came across your website, YEY!
    In my own life after reading your book I realised that my ‘prosperity corner is missing, and after attempting to do al kinds of cures, that didn’t really work, I moved, not only to another house, another country, and I now live in LA.
    I now know, that living in that house with missing corner, prompted me to learn everything and anything abut prosperity.

    Recently I began looking for a house to buy, and there was a property that I keep being drawn to, I was not going to consider it, because the shape of the house, but after reading your article, I am realising that it may be beneficial, since there is a projection in “Helpful Friends” corner.
    It may not be exactly third way, but pretty close I am glad I am doing my research.

    My question to you, is regarding the Ba Gua directions.
    Why do some Feng Shui practitioners look at the relative north and others and the true north?
    What is the difference and which one is true?

    Thank you for your great work!

    1. Hi Abhi

      You ask: Why do some Feng Shui practitioners look at the relative north and others and the true north?

      True North is determined by the physical location of the North Pole. But in Ancient China the feng shui Compass method was based on using a magnetic compass, which aligns to Magnetic North. You can read my comments on these systems and the Front Door bagua method in this article: Feng shui bagua systems

  3. I’ll take this article as a challenge for me and my architect friends. Some of us enjoy designing very unique, modern spaces, but I see that it would be foolish to neglect the wisdom of the ages. I’m now wondering what types of buildings can work good with dynamic shapes; perhaps places with more temporary uses.

  4. Apologies for the enormous comment but this post really struck a chord with me.

    I fear that there is really no hope at all for the flat that I currently live in and have a mortgage on. It was loved by my family because of it’s quirky shape and I was enamoured by the fixer-uper nature of it. It had been an ex-rental property and was desperately in need of love.

    The multiple fleeting occupants of the past would have been enough to overcome in this place. I have tried to do some space clearing but I am neither experienced enough nor knowledgeable enough to tackle it. The shape of it… Oh boy! Never again will I be seduced by quirky.

    I remember saying to my mother a few months ago after rediscovering your books (‘Clear Your Clutter’ changed my life at the time, unfortunately I slipped) that you would be completely horrified by my choice. I don’t know what to do anymore, two irregular pentagon shaped rooms (livingroom and bedroom) with their corners out into the world, bits of the lower right and left corners missing, the top left missing and a storage cupboard in my relationship area…

    I bought this flat just over 4 years ago, I moved into in later, so nearly 4 years. In the last 3 years, my parents separated and are STILL going though the divorce procedings, my own relationship of now 6 and half years has had more stress and strain than I thought possible (but we’re still together, thank goodness), I have had money worries on and off (not surprising, considering), many friends have drifted away without explanation, I have been threatened with redundancy once and then actually made redundant. I have changed careers only to end up in another job that makes me miserable, and I can’t help but pin the change for the worse in my life down to starting when I got this place. I refuse to believe “that’s life” or “that’s being a grown up”. It is just not meant to be like this.

    Christmas Day I made the realisation that I need to move, it isn’t optional anymore. I am now working towards moving out in the next year to 18 months but I have seen what damage can be done in my life in even that short time. I am fearful of what might happen. I don’t know what to do or how to fix it.

    (I’m sorry, I didn’t realise how desperate I would sound writing this all down)


    1. Hi KT

      Thank you for your wonderfully sincere posting.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words, ‘It all started when we moved to this house’. From your descritpion, it sounds very likely that it would be good for you to move on.

      One word of advice: I’ve noticed many people tend to leave one home and recreate the same problem in the next place. So read some feng shui books, take a feng shui course, or find a local feng shui consultant to check over any new property you find to buy BEFORE you sign the contract.

        1. As I mentioned in my article, there are feng shui cures you can use to compensate for missing areas, although this is never as good as having a home that doesn’t need them in the first place. You’ll need to find a local feng shui consultant to advise you.

  5. Dear Karen,

    It is nice to feel your happiness and I wish you happy house hunting. I met you over 10 yrs ago where you spoke in San Rafael, CA. I interviewed you for a newspaper and you were kind enough to do that for me. I then took your workshop. I sold my gallery and feng shui shoppe in Benicia moved to WA. state to help raise 2 grandsons and found Lillian Bridges for a reading and took her classes. She encouraged me to divorce after 45 yrs of marriage (the shape of the house was hard to overcome!). I followed her advice in 2008, then moved to Portland, OR and now live in an artist loft. After 4 yrs. here I plan to move to Sonoma, CA. this spring, teach art and make sacred cures, give feng shui consultations, and create more art images for my clients. I am so happy to have followed Lillian’s advice. I am now 70 but feel 50.

    Maybe you will remember me by the story I told in your class about the “wall” of pumpkins on the wave of water flooding our farm/ranch in the Arizona desert in 1983. Sending blessings your way especially for 2012. Caroline

    1. Hi Caroline

      I totally remember your wonderful “wall of pumpkins” story, and would love to include it in my next book. I’ll contact you to discuss.

      It’s wonderful to hear how your life has progressed in the last 10 years, and I’m very happy to hear you went on to study with Lillian Bridges. She’s visiting England this year to teach an event and we’re planning to meet up (it’s been years). I’m re-reading her excellent book (Face Reading in Chinese Medicine) at the moment and really enjoying her depth of knowledge and know-how.

      Happy New Year to you, Karen

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