Why beams are such a feng shui no-no

Think you’ve got problems? Try living in a home with with beams like this!

The woman who sent me this photo says she and her husband bought the house, intending to live there for the rest of their lives. The central beam you can see in this photo runs the length of the building, with smaller beams branching off at right angles along its entire length.

After only a month of living there she says the deterioration in her health is shocking. She’s had infections, and suffers headaches and memory loss. Her children have also become less well behaved. She’s seriously concerned they’ve made a mistake.

The reason why beams are such a feng shui no-no is because they dissect the energy of a space. The sharper they are, the more acute this effect, which is known in feng shui as ‘cutting chi’. Many people are sensitive enough to feel this on the top of their head when walking under beams, especially the sharper type that this house has. But the real problems start when spending extended periods of time immobile under beams, such as sitting on a sofa to watch TV, sitting at a desk to work, standing in a kitchen to cook, or lying in bed to rest or sleep. Daily prolonged exposure of this type can cause health problems in whichever part of the body is directly in line with the cutting chi. Sharp beams are also known to cause irritation, arguments, disorientation and feeling fragmented.

Low beams, such as the ones you can see here in the photo of the kitchen, accentuate these effects and can feel very oppressive. Spending time standing under them may result in feelings of frustration or hopelessness, and can even lead to depression. It will be very challenging to cook nourishing meals in this space. This is typically a situation where a family tends to live on fast food, takeaways or eating out, because unconsciously they want to use the kitchen as little as possible or avoid it altogether.

In my space clearing workshops, as part of teaching people how to perceive energies in rooms, I show them how to feel the cutting chi that emanates from the sharp corners of furniture or walls. Most people can easily sense it with their hands if they’re shown how. It’s very tangible indeed. And the part of your subtle body structure that is affected by chi (your etheric) feels this all the time, whether you’re aware of it or not.

So what’s my advice to anyone living in a house like this? If you comb through feng shui books you’ll find all kinds of cures suggested, such as bamboo flutes, or images of birds, balloons or angels. The idea is that they counteract the oppressiveness of the beams by inducing an uplifting effect, but I’ve never found them to be very effective, and certainly not with such extensive cutting chi as in this house.

Another solution would be to hang fabric canopies over the beams, but these usually look messy, are difficult to take down and clean, and would be extremely difficult and costly to hang throughout an entire home. A small canopy can sometimes work if the beams are only in a bedroom, but a better long-term remedy would be to buy a four-poster canopy bed.

The only solution in this case would be to cover all the beams with flat panels. Or sell the house and find one that doesn’t have beams, which is probably the best solution of all. In the meantime, I would recommend at least hanging canopies over sleeping areas to get some respite from the beams during the hours of the night.

I’m always very reluctant to give feng shui advice from a distance. There is so much I cannot see from just looking at photos. So before making a life-changing decision of this kind, I would strongly recommend seeking advice from a competant local feng shui consultant who can visit to make an onsite assessment. There is also another article I’ve written on this topic that you may like to read.

More about beams
Beams, beams, beams

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2011

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17 Responses to Why beams are such a feng shui no-no

  1. Aaron W says:


    What about the beams evident in the ceiling of your Bali Mandala temple, in the photos on the Space Clearing Temple Fund page (http://www.spaceclearing.com/html/space-clearing-temple-fund)?

    How are those different? Do they not cause “cutting chi”? Are they more round? They do contrast with the ceiling behind them.

    Is it because of their smallness, or the mandala pattern they are in?

    Just trying to sort it out …

    • Hi Aaron,

      The supports for the ceiling of the Bali Mandala room were made with a combination of flat, rounded wooden rafters and bamboo poles, which do not have the cutting chi of sharp wooden beams. It’s not possible to see this detail on the photo on the webpage you refer to so it has confused a few people. I no longer own the property and don’t have a close-up photo of it, so much though I love that ceiling, I decided today that the best thing would be to remove the photo an end the confusion.

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Karen, I love thatch rooves, which are popular where I live. The exposed beams in the roof tend to be logs of wood (round). So does this make it ‘safe’? Also, what about the fact that behind a ceiling board there are beams? Does the energy not go through the ceiling board? and what abouty when we sit at a table or desk? The edge must be disecting us?

  3. Ronja Venus Andersson says:

    Hey Karen
    Thanks for a great article!

    My boyfriend and I are looking for a new apartment and we got hooked on this one:

    I love it, BUT it has so many beams – all over. If you look at the photos (click the link) would you suggest painting it ALL white (lots of work) or is there another solution? Or is it simply to much and we shouldn’t move in there at all?

    It’s on perfect location in central Utrecht and big enough for us to lead workshops in the living room. Just don’t wanna move into a space with crappy chi 😉

    Grateful for your feedback!

    • Hi Ronja

      I rarely give feng shui advice without physically visiting a property myself because there are so many things that cannot be seen just from looking at photos. However since you mention that you want to use the living room for teaching workshops I can tell you that painting all the beams white would not be enough. It looks to me as if the cutting chi from the sharp beam across the centre of the room would have the effect of energetically cutting the room in half, even if painted white. You would have to install a false ceiling of some kind below the beam to avoid this effect, which means you would lose all the lovely ceiling height.


      • Thanks Karen! That’s super helpful.

        The beams running vertically along the diagonal walls are more like round logs than sharp rectangular beams, so I don’t think they wouldn’t cause so much cutting chi. But the one cutting the room in half… yes… Crystals?… And soft spotlights attached to the underside of the horizontal beams. Could that work?

        I somehow have such a great feeling about this place, but perhaps there’s an even better apartment coming our way, that we don’t even know of yet :)


        • Crystals and soft spotlights are not a cure for the cutting chi of beams. Not sure where you got that idea from.

          Sorry, but I can’t take this dialogue any further. You will need to find a local feng shui consultant to advise you – someone who can visit the place and see everything in person. Or – as you suggest – wait to find a better place.

  4. Melanie Owen says:


    My bedroom has been extended to almost double it’s size where the original wall was
    is now a beam. The bed is not under this beam and based in the extended area. The beam divides the sleeping area and dressing room area. Is this still a problem that needs addressing?

    Thanks Melanie

    • I’m always reluctant to give feng shui advice from a distance because there are many factors that need to be taken into account especially when determining bed positioning. However from the description you have given it seems your bed is well away from the overhead beam. Unless it has sharp edges that point towards the bed then this should be fine.

      • Melanie Owen says:

        Thank you for comimg back to me Karen. The beam is quite deep and square and about 2 feet away from the bed. I have thought about using two bamboo flutes but have read conflicting write ups some say do and some say no way it can make the situation worse.

        Many Thanks


  5. Brenda says:

    Is a four poster bed without a canopy considered bad feng shui? I have read conflicting articles on this opinion. I am looking at this one: http://www.wayfair.com/Magnussen-Julian-Four-Poster-Bed-B1820-56-B1820-66-L12-K~ME4379.html?refid=GX21919336860-ME4379&device=c&gclid=CMuCzZq-57cCFWVo7AodGSUAnA

    • The reason you are finding conflicting views on this is because when considering such a bed it’s necessary to take into account the room it will be in, the position in the room it will be in, the person or people who will be sleeping in it, what stage of their life they are at, and several other factors. It could be perfect for some people in some situations and very challenging for others.

  6. Melanie Owen says:

    Hi Karen

    Thank you for your recent advice on beams. I have another question that I cannot find an answer to. The roof of my conservatory is toughened plasic with small white plasic partitions/beams holding each section in place, a standard roof for many conservatories. Is the fengshui good in this room with the partitions being quite small and flat?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards


    • As I explain in my article, the reason why beams are such a feng shui no-no is because they dissect the energy of a space. The sharper they are, the more acute this effect. The plastic structures used in conservatories are usually not a problem because they are rounded rather than sharp edged.

  7. Sophie says:

    “The only solution in this case would be to cover all the beams with flat panels. Or sell the house and find one that doesn’t have beams, which is probably the best solution of all.”

    Even if you cover the beams up, aren’t they still there, above your head?
    Also, aren’t all houses have beams, wooden or metal, big or small, exposed or covered up?

    • As I explain in my article, the reason why beams are such a feng shui no-no is because they dissect the energy of a space. The sharper they are, the more acute this effect, which is known in feng shui as “cutting chi”. There is no cutting chi from unexposed beams.

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