Do's and Don'ts of Building a Staircase, According to Feng Shui

Don't situate your bathroom underneath the stairs.

Photography: Shutterstock

While it isn’t as important as the bedroom and the entryway, the stairway has a significant purpose in feng shui. As it connects spaces, the staircase allows energy (otherwise known as chi) to flow to the different levels of the home. 

Here are a few do's and don'ts to make sure that you are circulating good chi in your space: 


Do: Make sure the stairway is well-lit 

Aside from safety purposes, installing a bright overhead light will help attract chi energy to the upper floor. 

Do: Liven up the staircase landing

Another way to direct positive chi to the upper level is to decorate the staircase landing. Since the center of the home is associated with the earth element, opt for "rectangular paintings, shapes and images of landscapes represent Earth, as well as plants and any object having green, brown, yellow or gold tones," advises Huffpost

Do: Avoid open risers


When stairs have spaces in between the steps, it loses chi energy, keeping it from reaching the other levels of the home.  

Do: Make sure the stairs are wide enough for two people

In Feng Shui, the concept of space is deeply rooted in allowing the easy flow of positive energy or chi. In this context, the stairs should be wide enough to comfortably accommodate two people side by side. This encourages a sense of openness and allows a smooth flow of energies. Moreover, it promotes harmony, prosperity, and beneficial relationships within the home.

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The reason behind this is directly connected to the fundamental Feng Shui principle of yin and yang – the opposition and unity of two forces. Stairs wide enough for two people reiterate this concept, representing balance, cooperation, and partnership, all of which are positive association in Feng Shui philosophy.

Moreover, from a practical aspect, a staircase that can comfortably accommodate two people also fosters a sense of comfort and safety in the home. It ensures sufficient room for both ascending and descending, therefore decreasing the likelihood of accidents and enhancing the overall safety of the home.

The design also echoes the principles of good hospitality, welcoming guests into an inviting and spacious environment. This aligns with Feng Shui's core emphasis on promoting tranquility, positive interaction, and harmony in one's living space.

Do: Opt for staircases that have a gentle curve 

The general movement of chi is sinuous. Hence, having a curved staircase will allow positive energy to flow smoothly to the different levels of your home.


How many steps should a staircase have for good luck?

In a book titled The Magic of Feng Shui, author and Feng Shui consultant Er. Rameshwar Prasad notes that the good number of steps to have are 1, 2, 5, 10, 13, 14, 17, and 22. “Traditionally, the steps are counted in a 3-steps or 4-steps pattern,” he explains. “The 3-steps pattern is the gold - silver - death cycle; while the 4-steps is the good luck - prosperity - bad luck - failure cycle. The last step should be either gold or Silver or good luck or prosperity.” 


Don't: Situate your bathroom underneath the stairs

In feng shui, it is believed that having a bathroom underneath the stairs might flush away wealth. But if you can’t work on a major renovation, you can combat the bad feng shui by keeping the bathroom door closed at all times and “decorating the bathroom in colors appropriate for its sector,” recommends The Spruce. (Check out this guide on how to identify the good and bad sectors of your space.) 


Similarly, it’s considered bad feng shui to have a toilet facing the stairway. To remedy this, you can place some potted plants at the staircase landing! Just make sure to avoid plants with sharp or spiky leaves as they can block the healthy flow of chi. 

Do: Use the space under the stairs for storage

This space is often considered a dead or stagnant area from an energy standpoint, where chi might stall. Using it as storage, however, can help activate the energy and keep it flowing. Whether it's for books, photo albums, items of sentimental value, or seasonal decorations, under-stair storage helps keep your home clutter-free, a key aspect of good Feng Shui. 

Don't: Build a staircase that faces the main door

Also known as the "mouth of the chi energy", the main door plays a big role in attracting positive energy into a space. However, when a staircase is facing the front door, good chi will be forced to quickly move up the stairs, bypassing the entire ground floor. 


Decorating the entryway with artworks, plants, and mirrors will allow the feng shui energy to settle in before circulating to the rest of the home. (Click here for a guide on how to achieve good feng shui in your home’s entrance.)

Don't: Build a staircase in the center of your home


In feng shui, the center of your home is the heart of your home. As much as possible, it’s best to keep this area open and clear to allow chi to move freely to the different parts of your abode. So if you're building a home, make sure the staircase isn't situated in the middle of the house.

"The condition of the center of your home’s bagua affects your health," explains Open Spaces Feng Shui. "If there is an impediment to good Chi flow in the Center of your home such as a staircase, bathroom or other busy space, create as much grounded energy." You can achieve this by adding earth elements to the area (think: ceramics, stones, and crystals.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of stairways in Feng Shui?

Stairways play a key role in Feng Shui as they facilitate the flow of chi (energy) through the various levels of a home. A properly designed stairway can ensure that good chi is evenly distributed.


How can I improve the flow of chi in my stairway?

You can improve the flow of chi in your stairway by ensuring it is well-lit, is adorned with rectangular paintings or earthy shapes and colors, avoiding open risers, and choosing stairs wide enough for two people. Also, opt for staircases with a gentle curve to mimic the naturally sinuous movement of chi.

What are the auspicious numbers of steps for a staircase in Feng Shui?

According to Feng Shui consultant Er. Rameshwar Prasad, staircases with 1, 2, 5, 10, 13, 14, 17, or 22 steps are considered auspicious. These steps are usually counted in patterns of 3 or 4 steps representing different life cycles.

What are some Feng Shui don'ts when it comes to stairways?

Feng Shui advises against situating a bathroom underneath the stairs or having a toilet facing the stairway as it may flush away wealth. Another guideline is to avoid building a staircase that faces the main door or in the center of the home to ensure good chi flow and distribution.


How can I remedy bad Feng Shui caused by a bathroom underneath my stairs?

If your bathroom is unfortunately located under stairs, try to keep the door closed at all times and consider decorating the bathroom with colors that are suitable for its sector. Placing potted plants on the staircase landing could also balance the energy out.

What precautions should be taken for staircases facing the main door or located in the center of the home?

If your staircase faces the main door, decorate your entryway with artwork, plants, and mirrors to let the chi energy settle before circulating. If it is in the centre of the house, create a grounded energy by adding earth elements like ceramics, stones, and crystals to increase positive chi flow.

This article originally appeared in a previous issue of Real Living magazine. With reports from Nica Jose.

Sources: Love to Know, NST, The Spruce, Open Spaces Feng ShuiThe Magic of Feng Shui


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