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by Carole Schwalm A picture of a modern, organized kitchen with a bowl of fruit on the white counter and a large white light overhead.

… "when food is made with love, you carry this love with you throughout the day. It affects everything you do." Kathryn Metz

The Mandarin Chinese word for food, ts'ai, has a sound very similar to the word for wealth. In this light, besides a monetary cornucopia food is the source of treasures one can't put a price on; nurturing health, happiness and general family well-being.

Feng Shui practitioner Lin Yun says: From our food comes health and effectiveness. If it is well-prepared and of good quality, we will do well in the world, earn more money to buy even better food."


For many the kitchen is where we are after a day of work and so should be a place to unwind in peaceful and warm, harmonious and balanced surroundings. Go in and go yin.

The Zen kitchen begins with decluttering or with the idea of more precious things and fewer less precious things. There are several Feng Shui theories why.
1. An uncluttered kitchen also leads to clear thinking.
2. If this room is a mess, chances are one's finances are too.

Put items IN a pantry rather than making one out of kitchen counters and shelves. (This message is brought to you by the words "storage containers"). There are many types of unusual, artful things that can be used as containers, for example, baskets like a Chinese steamer basket.

Pare down and edit. Ask yourself when was the last time you used a particular? Will you need it again in the very near future? If not, why have you kept it? This is a good one: does it really belong in the kitchen?

A picture of sunlight shining through a door window. If you like the cottage or country look with lots of display items, you aren't going to like the minimal Zen look. But you could take a walk on the wild side and take everything out, go bare minimum, then see what you just have to add.


Light brings yang into a yin situation and is subtle and plain, but adequate for the chef to dice, mince and stir-fry by. The lighting should balance and blend. Natural window light brings the outside inside. If the outer view isn't Zenny, or stimulating contemplate using window shoji screens with frame and rice paper or bamboo blinds (or think organic).


Use peaceful, muted colors that next to each other on the color wheel. Start with a dominant shade, and then repeat it. You'll find blues, greens and violets inspire relaxation. Yellow, the color of the Sun, brings brightness and longevity. In Feng Shui white dulls the senses. Here, add red, green or gold as accents and to symbolize good luck and Fortune.

A colorful fish swimming in a fish tank. AND OTHER HINTS:

Bring life into the kitchen with peaceful pictures of flowers and landscapes. A bubbling fish tank, populated with healthy fish swimming in clean water draws in money. (The word “carp” means prosperity).

Plants are growing ch'i or flowing energy. An ikebana flower arrangement is awesomely simple with one stem in the vase. Grow fresh herbs in windowsill containers.

A simple display of three large glass bottle vases bring a sense of calm. Arrange condiments on a beautiful tray.

Kirsten M. Lagatree: Feng Shui - Arranging Your Home to Change Your Life
Kathryn Metz, Feng Shui practitioner
Sarah Rossbach: Feng Shui - The Chinese Art of Placement
Lin Yun, Feng Shui practitioner

Share your Zen Kitchen experience or if you'd like more information.