Feng Shui by Clear Englebert

Feng Shui and the Crushed Pillow Look

Feng Shui and the Crushed Pillow Look

Recently, I consulted for a client who was selling their house. They rarely lived in that house and had bought it “turnkey” decorated by a professional decorator. My client had basically added nothing to the decor of the home during her time there.

There were a few too many decorative pillows altogether and I suggested that when the home was being shown, the agent should put several of them outside on the hard outdoor furniture to make it more inviting for prospective buyers to linger. Some of the pillows were being used in bay windows and were obscuring nice architectural detail, so those were the ones I advised be moved outside, as well as some of the couch pillows. It would have been difficult to find a place to sit on the couch before we removed a couple of the larger pillows. (I’ve previously written about overdoing it with pillows as a common decorating issue.)

Photo: Verona Prive Maison via Houzz


I told her that the easiest way to create a more inviting look and build harmonious energy was to ask the cleaning help to stop giving a karate chop to all the square decorative pillows. (You can clearly see the “chop” in all the square pillows on the couches in the photo the right, and the next two below.) I showed her the difference and she and her agent proceeded to fluff every decorative pillow as we went from room to room.

The feng shui concern about pillows with a deliberately crushed (karate chop) look is that the last thing that someone did to the pillow was to give it a karate chop. That’s not a peaceful gesture. If you want a punching bag, get a punching bag—and don’t put it in the living room.

Photo: Kyle Hunt & Partners, Incorporated via Houzz

Photo: Ethan Tweedie Photography, LLC via Houzz


I explained that crushed pillows are sometimes part of a calculated casual look. The message was someone’s head was recently resting on the pillow and therefore there is still a dent in the top of the pillow. A karate chop with your hand does not give the same visual effect on a pillow as the roundedness of a person’s head.

This is not my client’s home, but is similar in the abundance of very nice pillows that are now chop-free.

Photo: Henderson Design Group via Houzz


I’m usually a fan of calculated casual because it’s almost always easy to live with. But the only way for a calculated casual to look to feel right is when the calculated part is not really noticeable. Every pillow—and there were a lot of those kinds of pillows—having the identical karate chop looks quite artificial. All the pillows were nice and they looked great as decorative elements. They just needed some adjustment to say “welcome.”

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