Ask Vicki: Relationship Advice Using the Five Elements

Our Relationship with Our Home Environment

Dear Readers:

Today’s blog is the second in a four-part series devoted to understanding how each elemental personality will likely relate to different environments and, more importantly, what can be done if you find yourself stuck in a not very compatible match. Last week we focused on how different climates and geographical locations relate to each of the five elemental personalities based on the Five Element model (depicted below). Today we’re going to discuss how we relate to our most personal of spaces: our home environment. We’ll look at issues like decorating style, colors, energy flow, and furnishings. This is going to be fun!

The Five Element Model

First, let’s be clear that while “home” can have many connotations, for today’s post, “home” means the place where we currently spend down time, keep our stuff, and eat most meals. It’s basically where we live, alone or with others. Many of us share our home with family. Others live in our home alone. But however many of us are in our home, it is a solid fact that the colors we use in our home, the stuff we put in our home, and the way we put that stuff in our home will affect our elemental personalities. Color has one of the biggest impacts, so let’s start there.

Our relationship with any given color will depend on our primary elemental personality and the element that specific color corresponds to in the Five Elements model. The goal is to select colors that interact positively with our elemental personality. The good news is that the model helps us with both of these goals. The model shows us the colors associated with each of the elements and the relationship between each of the elements. We’ll start with the colors associated with each of the elements, which are basically colors that build and support that element:

  • Water is built by blues, some shades of blue-gray, and black
  • Wood is built by all shades of green and often strong brown
  • Fire is built by reds, hot pink, fiery oranges, and purples
  • Earth is built by pale yellows, light oranges, and beiges
  • Metal is built by white and gray

These colors will interact with us in the same way that the elements they are associated with will interact with us in the Five Elements model: via the Nurturing Cycle (big circle) or Controlling Cycle (big star). For example, if you are a primary Fire personality, the relationship that the Fire element has with each of the other elements can be summarized as follows:

  • Fire feeds energy to Earth via the Nurturing Cycle
  • Fire takes energy from Metal via the Controlling Cycle
  • Fire has energy taken from it by Water via the Controlling Cycle
  • Fire is fed energy by Wood via the Nurturing Cycle

Using the model as a relationship guide, if you are a perfectly balanced primary Fire personality, these colors will affect you as follows:

  • Reds, hot pink, fiery oranges, and purples will build your Fire. This means these Fire colors can make you feel happy, perky, or even just more yourself as long as you don’t already have too much Fire energy.
  • Pale yellows, light oranges, and beiges might deplete you because these Earth colors drain energy from Fire (Earth is fed by Fire).
  • Blues, shades of blue-gray, and black can also deplete you because these Water colors will take energy from Fire if necessary (Water controls Fire).
  • Shades of green and often strong brown will strengthen you because these Wood colors build Fire (Wood feeds Fire).
  • White and gray, the Metal colors, can also deplete you because it is Fire’s job to help keep Metal energy in check (Metal is controlled by Fire).

The same analysis can be done for each of the elemental personalities. If you are a primary Wood, shades of green will feel strengthening and probably empowering because they build Wood. On the other hand, sometimes white and gray can feel depleting to a primary Wood personality because those are Metal colors and Metal relates to Wood on the Controlling Cycle (the big star). But if you have too much Wood energy to begin with, the whites and grays will probably feel great!

This is good information if you live alone, but if more than one of you live together you will need to find colors that work for all of you, or at least have different areas with colors that work for each of you. And never underestimate the value of energy testing color samples!

Use of Space

The next aspect of home environment to address is how the space is allocated and used. Do we live in a charming cottage or a wide-open loft? Are the ceilings high or low? Are there specific rooms for specific uses (a dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom, etc.) or one big open floor plan with designated areas (eating, cooking, sleeping, etc.)? The bottom line is that different elemental personalities usually have preferences for how “space” is used, and these preferences will impact how comfortable and comforting a home space is. How we use a space can also greatly impact the way the energy flows in and through the space. And while most of us intuitively know what use of space feels the best to us, here are a few guidelines:

  • Primary Water personalities usually appreciate room to flow. Too many walls can get in the way. However, they also need some boundaries or they spread all over the place. They also frequently need a quiet area for their creativity, so if they share a home with others, their own “away room” can be a good idea.
  • Primary Wood personalities usually appreciate space to expand. “Bigger, better, more” has a Wood personality aspect to it. Too tight a space will feel cramped to most Wood people, so plenty of room and ideally lots of windows with pleasing views will usually be important.
  • Primary Fire personalities need room to move around. They care less about the size of the rooms than they do about having few boundaries. Openness is good for Fire people as long as it isn’t drafty. Too much cold isn’t enjoyable to a balanced Fire person.
  • Primary Earth personalities usually like to have comfortable and cozy spaces. Size is less of an issue than suitability for intended purpose. Two comfy chairs in a small reading room work just as well as two comfy chairs in a large room. And while a craft or a sewing space is usually appreciated, it goes without saying that Earth people need very functional kitchens.
  • Primary Metal personalities will need a space to call their own. Whether a study, a den, an away room, however it’s labeled, the Metal person usually appreciates time alone for study. Simplicity of design and lack of clutter will matter a great deal to a Metal person, as well.


Each of the elemental personalities will have preferences regarding how they furnish their space. And this is one area of the home environment where their secondary elemental personality may express itself more. I have worked with primary Wood personalities for whom the kitchen was the least important room in their home, unless they had Earth as a secondary. I’ve seen primary Metal personalities (usually into more modern furnishings) who would not part with an antique desk because it was a gift from an important business associate. You just never know. What you can usually depend on is that the use of color in the furnishings will correspond with the general guidelines covered earlier regarding color. But the overall good news regarding furnishings is that they are usually the easiest to change, so they can be fun to experiment with over time.

Once again, this has been a somewhat long post, but I hope it’s helped illuminate that the kind of housing we select for our home and how we decorate it can and will impact the expression of our elemental personalities. And because decorating can be changed or tweaked along the way, it can be an important tool not only to support our efforts to stay balanced, but to help bring us back to balance if we know something about where we live is throwing us off. For example, if we are a primary Fire personality and live in a hot, dry climate that’s likely to create an excess of Fire energy in us, we can decorate with shades of blue (Water’s color) to use the Controlling Cycle relationship between Fire and Water to help manage our Fire (water puts out fire).

Knowing all this is just another tool to help stay balanced, healthy, and happy while at home. More next week!