Do’s and Don’ts of a Feng Shui Staircase

Do’s and Don’ts of a Feng Shui Staircase

Interior Design
Decoration and Design
By Dikran Seferian January 31, 2024

Besides their obvious purpose of allowing homeowners to move between floors, stairways are also believed to help the chi (also known as qi) to flow throughout the living spaces smoothly. The Chi is the energy that enters the home and influences the residents’ well-being and state of mind. According to Feng Shui, staircases that aren’t properly positioned can hinder this energy from flowing freely throughout the house.

Practitioners of this philosophy believe that improper placement of stairs can bring both physical and financial misfortune to the homeowner. Certain Feng Shui rules regarding the size, shape, and location of stairs — among other factors — can help you promote positive chi energy in your home. 

Why Is Staircase Feng Shui Important?

Staircases are generally known to have a bad reputation in Feng Shui philosophy. This is mainly due to the pressure that these heavy structures exert on the area where they’re built, thereby “suppressing the positivity” of that location. If a stairway exists in the southeast section of the home, which is believed to be the wealth area, it may affect the financial state of the homeowners. Although this doesn’t necessarily signify that the family will face bankruptcy, it simply means they may struggle with a few unwanted expenses.

Now let’s say the stairs are located in the east section of the house — i.e. the health area. In this case, the homeowners will be constantly dealing with medical issues. According to Feng Shui, these issues will persist regardless of doctors’ consultations.

This only goes to show how important it can be to make sure the staircase in your home is Feng Shui-friendly. After all, it goes without saying that no one wants to bring any sort of misfortune into their household.

According to the philosophy, a feng shui staircase can prevent negative energy.

According to the philosophy, a feng shui staircase can prevent negative energy.

Achieving a Feng Shui Stairway: What to Do?


A stairway with adequate lighting helps to guide the chi to the upper floor. You can add uplighting along the staircase landing to encourage the chi energy to flow upwards. Overhead lighting such as a crystal chandelier in the entryway is another ideal option. The crystal combined with the light will spread chi throughout the living spaces. 

Wall Art

You can display uplifting photos and art on the stairway walls to boost the Feng Shui energy. Make sure the Feng Shui colors of the wall art are similar to the ones attributed to that section of the home. Consider hanging up an image or two of Feng Shui symbols of good luck above the stairway landing.

Vertical Elements

Consider drawing the chi energy towards the next floor by introducing vertical elements in the form of home decor and architectural features. For instance, you can make use of paintings that depict tall buildings, trees, or any vertical features. Another idea involves placing a set of three ceramic vases of various sizes along the landing or in a stairway wall niche. Tall plants, plumes, and floral arrangements are also ideal for adding height.

Tall plants are great at ushering positive energy to the upper floor.

Tall plants are great at ushering positive energy to the upper floor.

Number of Steps

The ideal number of steps on a stairway is 1, 2, 5, 10, 13, 14, 17, and 22. According to Feng Shui, the steps are traditionally counted in a pattern of either three or four steps. The 3-step pattern symbolizes the “gold - silver - death” cycle whereas the 4-step pattern refers to the “good luck - prosperity - bad luck - failure” cycle. The flight of stairs should end with either gold, silver, good luck, or prosperity. 

Railings and Newel Posts

The rules of Feng Shui can sometimes be quite practical as well. The one regarding railings and newel posts, for instance, is also important for safety. Sturdy railings are also key for a Feng Shui stairway as they bring stability into your life, so you may want to repair any flimsy spindles or balusters on the spot.

Stable railings are of high importance in Feng Shui.

Stable railings are of high importance in Feng Shui.

Sub-Stairway Storage 

Using the space beneath your stairway for storage is recommended by Feng Shui experts. Should you be turning that area into a storage room or a closet, consider keeping your valuables there.

Curved Staircase

A curved staircase is an elegant feature in and of itself. It is also known to allow for a smooth transfer of positive energy between floors, due to the notion that chi is rather serpentine in the way it moves.

Achieving a Feng Shui Stairway: What to Avoid

Open Risers

It’s important for Feng Shui stair steps to have closed risers. Those with open risers tend to create a sieving effect which results in loss of wealth and energy — particularly affecting residents whose bedrooms are on the upper floor. You can remedy this by adding backs to the stairs if possible. Otherwise, placing a houseplant or two underneath the stairway can elevate the chi.

Open risers are not ideal for feng shui stairs.

Open risers are not ideal for feng shui stairs.

Stairs in Front of Main Door

Practitioners of Feng Shui believe that a staircase should not be pointing directly towards the front door. A stairway that is opposite the front door causes the chi to escape outwards, resulting in financial difficulties as well as physical problems with the neck and head. If the stairs in your house are placed as such, you can prevent the chi from rushing out the door by placing a divider between the lowermost step and the entrance area. Another solution is to hang a mirror on the backside of the door, reflecting the positive energy back into the house. Hanging a crystal between the front door and the stairway also does the trick.

Bathrooms Below Stairs

A bathroom underneath the stairway tends to exude negative Feng Shui energy. As a matter of fact, anything involving water below the stairs is believed to hinder the success of the young generation in the household. One way to counter this is by keeping the bathroom clean and uncluttered. It also helps to introduce elements of Feng Shui in that area. For instance, Feng Shui associates the southeast section with wood; so adding wooden elements in that area can block the negative energy.

Bathrooms Above Stairs

While having a bathroom beneath the stairs is a bad idea, the same goes for having one at the top. This is because the beneficial energy that rises up the stairway goes directly into the drain. One way you can reverse this effect is by keeping the bathroom door closed and placing a houseplant near the staircase on the top floor. Additionally, you can disperse the chi by hanging a crystal somewhere between the stairs and the bathroom. 

Spiral Staircase

A spiral staircase is known to create a whirlpool-like effect, draining the chi energy as a result — especially if it’s located in the center of your home. Placing a large houseplant with a ceramic pot at the base of the spiral stairway can counter this negative effect. Both the plant and the ceramic post are “earth elements” which are known to keep the chi from flowing away like water in a drain. 

Staircases in the Center of the Home

Staircases that are situated in the center of the home are frowned upon by Feng Shui practitioners. A more preferable place for the stairway would be as far away from the center — and the entrance — as possible. It is believed that a stairway that’s in the core of the house can lead to family feuds as well as monetary problems. One way to minimize this negative effect is by concealing the staircase from plain view with a tall plant or a bookcase.

Stairways in the centermost point of the home can be problematic, according to Feng Shui.

Stairways in the centermost point of the home can be problematic, according to Feng Shui.

Stairway Landings

Feng Shui staircases are better off without a landing in the middle. Since chi is believed to flow in a sinuous motion, an abrupt pause in the stairway can act as a barrier. Should your staircase have a landing, you can guide the positive energy upwards or downwards by illuminating the steps with a lighting fixture such as a sconce. 

Split Staircase

A split staircase that consists of two sets of stairs — one upwards and the other downwards — can leave the chi confused as to which direction it should go. If your home features split stairways, you can use color to guide the Feng Shui energy to the main floor. Suppose the walls have a neutral tone. In this case, consider painting the walls that lead upstairs a more eye-catching color such as muted yellow. Another option involves placing a houseplant at the base of the stairway and a second one at the top. You can also add a wall lamp to escort the chi in the right direction. 

Facing a Bedroom Door

A flight of stairs leading straight to the bedroom door can flush out the energy from that bedroom. In Feng Shui, this causes health issues such as fatigue, depression, and low thyroid. Placing an area rug between the bedroom door and the stairway can inhibit the energy from flowing out.


Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian