Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of balancing the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune of the people inhabiting it. So if, like Jane Austen, you agree that "there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort", you need to work on making your living area an inviting, relaxing and stimulating place.
But if you're the kind of person whose living space is more likely populated by dirty piles of tights than a healing sense of energy, fear not. Spain-based freelance illustrator Eloísa Bielsa has created this genius infographic (via designtaxi.com) for making your home a happier place.
The diagram combines simple design tips that draw from colour psychology, Feng Shui and Biophilia hypothesis - a philosophy based on our tendency to seek connections with nature and "the passionate love of life and of all that is alive".
The result is a range of practical interior pointers for every room of your house, from placing your desk towards a window to having a round dining table. Read on to find out more about how you can easily transform your home into a happier place and scroll down for the infographic in full.
Photos: Rex Features and Getty Images
1. Paint your bedroom blue
The calming, mellow properties of the colour blue make it the ideal shade for your bedroom. According to the infographic it will lower the heart rate, helping you unwind and relax at night.
As a general rule of thumb, the darker the shade the more pronounced its psychological effect will be, so for the bedroom - where you want to chill out and perhaps re-connect with your partner - soothing corals, light blues and lavenders are best.
"Reds tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate and stimulate activity," says Leslie Harrington, a US-based colour consultant. "Blue does just the opposite. That's why we think of it as calming."
2. Organise your desk so it's facing a window
The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, Feng Shui experts believe that having your desk face a wall thwarts creativity and concentration levels.
"A company once had me do a study of their employees because they routinely hired vibrant, full-of life individuals, but after a few weeks at work these people appeared lethargic and unable to carry out their job with vigour and enthusiasm," says Sally Fretwell, author of Desk Direction and Wall Color - Your Key To New Horizons. "One of the keys I found there was that many of these new employees had their desks facing a wall.
"Think of the expression: "I´ve hit a wall." We say this when we mean, "I can´t go any further; I´m stuck." The creative channels are blocked. A wall in front of you with your back open to the room can make you unconsciously feel exposed or insecure; no one can concentrate their best this way, and often work performance suffers."
The second reason for having your desk facing away from a wall and towards a window is that exposure to natural light during the day has been proven to make you more active and engaged.
Researchers at the University of Illinois found that workers with windows slept 46 minutes longer each night during the work week, had fewer sleep disturbances and were four times as active during the workday compared to their windowless counterparts.
"Light exposure in the workplace may have long-lasting and compounding effects on the physical and mental health of the workers, not only during but also beyond work hours," they concluded.
3. Buy an aloe vera plant for your bathroom
Low-maintenance aloe vera plants naturally grow in dry desert conditions, meaning they need very little water - the perfect accessory for your bathroom, in other words. But more importantly, aloe vera is the king of natural health and beauty elixirs and can be used for anything from treating burns to alleviating rashes.
Aloe vera contains at least six antiseptics which are able to fight a wide variety of bacteria and viruses. If you split the leaves of your plant length ways down the middle, you can use the juice to treat sunburn, dry skin, cuts and abrasions and more. Aloe vera will also work to restore shine to your hair and will fortify the skin and nails, and you can mix it together with oatmeal for a soothing, restorative body rub. It even helps relieve the symptoms of constipation.
It will be the hardest working multi-tasker in your bathroom, guaranteed.
4. Use halogen and tinted bulbs for your living room
It's essential you have enough light in your living room, especially when the those long winter evenings kick in. A good light source will not only brighten up and enliven your living space, it will also lessen eyestrain for activities such as reading and watching TV.
For all these reasons, investing in halogen light bulbs is a good move.
Providing a brighter, whiter source of light, halogen bulbs mimic daylight - so they're great for creating the impression of natural light. They're also useful for display lighting to highlight artwork and photos, as the white-focused light makes the colours of the work more defined. They're also eco and budget-friendly - halogen bulbs are 10 to 20 percent more energy efficient and cheaper to operate.
To break up the white effect a little, you could also use one or two tinted lights or lamps in your living room. Pieces like these handmade glass mosaic lamps will bring warmth, character and a sense of ambiance to your evening space.
5. Buy a round dining table
As the epicentre of where people eat, talk, laugh and generally gather each day, it's important that your dining space is inviting. Round tables are generally thought to put people most at ease, as there's no hierarchy (no-one is "head" of the table) and no-one is left stranded on the end.
"Rounded, smooth lines and curves encourage smoother energy flow," says Feng Shui adviser Katina Z. Jones. "Leave enough room for guests to easily get into and out of their chairs, as well as to turn to speak to other guests. The table should be of wood or metal, which offer good support, rather than more distant, less inviting marble or glass."
Try to avoid having either empty seats or making the table too large (more than about 60'' wide) as that will work against fostering a feeling of intimacy, nourishment and warmth.
Other tips to make your dining space welcoming include removing any clocks - so your guests don't feel rushed - and thinking carefully about the colours you use. The colour red stimulates people and raises the blood pressure, helping to inspire engaging conversation. On the other hand, lighter hues aid digestion.
6. Get a spider plant for your kitchen
Plants in general are good for your living space and spider plants are particularly useful for your kitchen because they purify air quality rapidly. So they're a natural deodorizer for cooking smells and will also help to remove toxins such as fomaldehyde (present in grocery bags) from the air.
If you put a spider plant in hanging basket close to a sunlit window in your kitchen, you'll benefit from fewer airborne formaldehyde and benzene molecules. If you place it alongside several other plants, it will also work to release moisture vapour that will increase the humidity of a room, which will help fight against the risk of complaints such as dry skin and sore throats.
Added to this is the fact that plants have been scientifically proven to increase concentration - so if you're struggling to keep focus over that latest Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, a spider plant in the kitchen may help...
For more tips on making your home a happier place, check out the infographic below.