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The 5 Basic Elements and Their Related Colors

Five basic elements in light bulbs

An element can be defined as a basic part of a whole. However, “element” is an abstract term that can relate to a lot of different items. Some people think of elements as items like earth, fire, water, and air, while others immediately think of the chemical elements in science.

This article will focus on the “five basic elements,” which are items we experience on a daily basis. Those elements have deeper meanings already, but they also have some related color symbolism. Learning about the colors of these elements can help you create more balance and peace in your life.


What Are the Five Basic Elements?

The five basic elements differ depending on who you’re asking. Different cultures focus on different elements, but two of the most popular ones are Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui. Both have several aspects that people focus on, but color is a big part of using the elements correctly.

Vastu Shastra

Vastu Shastra color chart with five elements of nature

Vastu Shastra is a system of Indian architecture that focuses on a variety of components like design, layout, measurements, and space arrangements. Vastu is a Sanskrit word for “abode/dwelling” while Shastra means “science.”

The five elements of Vastu Shastra are fire, earth, water, air, and space. People follow this system to attract positive cosmic energy into their homes. The elements have a specific direction of energy to balance them properly.

When designing using Vastu Shastra, directions are very important. Each element has different directions it should enter the home to create an ideal balance. Associating shapes with items of certain elements can also help maintain balance in the home. So, color alone cannot determine the best way to lay out a home in this system.

Feng Shui

Elements of Feng Shui chart

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice known as the “art of placement.” It’s another way to accomplish positive energy in a home by reorganizing items to create balance and harmony in your personal space. Feng Shui translates to “the way of wind and water.”

The five elements of Feng Shui are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Some of the elements support each other while others weaken or destroy each other. So, they need to be placed strategically in a home to work well with each other.

In Feng Shui, the energy in your home is called “Qi.” People who design with this practice are very conscious about where Qi exists and moves through their homes to design a peaceful space. The five basic elements and the colors associated with them play a huge role in how Qi is spread throughout a room.

Colors Related to the Five Basic Elements of Vastu Shastra

If you want to decorate your home with Vastu Shastra in mind, you’ll need to better understand the five elements and what colors are associated with each one. Each element is associated with a direction to help you decide where to place certain items.


Small bonfire in forest

Colors: Pink, bright yellow, bright orange, red

Fire is a powerful element that’s a sign of energy, enthusiasm, and positivity. It’s also a symbol of life because it’s used to make food that sustains life. When someone is around the fire element, they may feel motivated and inspired. The direction of this element is southeast, and it’s associated with a triangle shape.


Colors: Light brown, light yellow, beige, dark orange

Almost any earth tones can be associated with this element because, in ancient times, items like rocks and soils were used to create those pigments. Earth is a sign of stability and structure because it’s necessary for construction purposes. Including earth elements in a home can keep it balanced and grounded. It can also bring more trust and responsibility into a family. It’s associated with the direction southwest and the shape square.


Blue sunny sky with white airy clouds

Colors: Silver, white, light gray

Air is an element that encourages creativity and happiness. It brings the most peace to a home if it flows in a zigzag pattern rather than immediately entering and leaving the home. Using air elements correctly in a home can bring peace and good health to the people inside. It’s associated with round shapes and should enter a home from the northwest direction.


Colors: Blue, black, turquoise

Water is another sign of life because water is necessary for keeping humans alive. Thus, it’s a very powerful element. It’s a sign of wisdom, calmness, and positivity. Having water elements in a home can make people more flexible because water takes many forms. It’s associated with the direction northeast, but its shape is undulating.


Galaxies in outer space

Colors: Gold

Space is only associated with gold because it’s a precious and rare color. This element is related to spirituality and it has soothing qualities. It should be used in the center of a home for best effects, and it’s not associated with a particular shape. Using space properly in your home can really make it feel open and lively.

Colors Related to the Five Basic Elements of Feng Shui

Understanding the five elements of Feng Shui is a great way to bring good energy into your home. Learning about the colors associated with each element can make your design process easier. It’s important to note which elements and colors can support each other to enhance their effects.


Stacked wood in the forest

Colors: Green, brown

Wood feeds fire and is nurtured by water. However, it consumes earth. It’s a symbol of growth, new life, and intuition. Using wood elements properly in your home can signify that you’re flexible, balanced, and peaceful. However, too much wood in a space could suggest that someone is stubborn, rigid, or overwhelmed. On the other hand, too little wood could be linked to depression or a lack of creativity.


Colors: Red, pink, bright yellow, bright orange

Fire is a powerful element that makes earth and is strengthened by wood. However, it can melt metal. Fire is related to a lot of energy and strength, so it can improve someone’s confidence, enthusiasm, and leadership skills. It’s a great way to evoke passion and expressiveness, but since its colors stand out so much, it’s easy to accidentally overuse it. Too much fire could be a sign of anger, aggression, and irritability. Yet, too little could feel cold and empty. Without enough fire in a home, people could lack self-esteem.


Close up of earth with dirt and moss

Colors: Tan, light yellow, light orange

Earth is made from fire and it creates metal, but it could get in the way of water. This element can make people feel grounded, stable, and balanced because earth is all around us. It can also make people feel strong and keep things organized. If too much earth is present in a space, it can make the area seem too boring or serious. Without enough earth elements, a room could seem chaotic and unorganized, leading to less focus.


Colors: Silver, white, gray

Metal holds water and is created from earth. However, it can cut into wood. It’s a pure, honest, and logical element that can help people feel organized and stay focused. It’s perfect for study spaces because it can improve the analytical abilities of people. However, being exposed to too many metal elements at once can make someone prone to thinking without speaking. Too much metal could also make people more critical of others. On the other hand, too little metal could make people overly cautious, quiet, or unfocused.


Waves of water seen from above

Colors: Light blue, dark blue, black

Water can nurture wood, and it’s held by metal. However, it can extinguish fire. Water brings a lot of balance to a space, so it can help people focus on their spirituality and emotions. It can increase wisdom and make people desire deeper knowledge. When exposed to water elements, people tend to be more inspired and insightful. Too many water elements can make people feel overwhelmed, almost as if they’re drowning in emotions. Without enough water, people feel lonely, stressed, and lack basic sympathy.

Use Basic Element Colors to Improve Your Home

Home with Feng Shui living room

As you can see, in both Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui, creating an ideal balance of elements is essential. The correct balance brings a lot of positive aspects to your home and the people inside it. However, too much or too little of an element could disrupt the peace and bring negative energy into your life. Colors, placements, and measurements are just a few of the many factors to consider when designing homes in these ways.

Even without these elements in mind, colors are crucial for interior design. Every color has unique meanings that can affect your emotions without you realizing it. Plus, some color schemes have more positive effects than others. So, whether you’re following Vastu Shastra, Feng Shui, or just your personal color preferences, your home will feel a lot better if you carefully select the best colors for your lifestyle.

If you’re genuinely interested in following Feng Shui or Vastu Shastra, the best way to ensure that your home fits the practice is to talk to someone who has experience using it. Many people are happy to give tips to help others create a positive environment in their own homes.

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