SOME HOMES FEEL inexplicably right. They aren't necessarily furnished with the latest designer kit, located in an expensive part of town or have an astronomical square footage. But something about them makes you want to stay. Welcome to the wonderful world of fung shui. Although the West has caught on to the benefits of this ancient art relatively recently, Hong Kong is no stranger to its charms. But according to German-born Christa Koch-Kessler, who runs Class Act, a consultancy focusing on all aspects of hospitality from etiquette to environment enhancement, knocking down walls and spending a fortune on crystals to improve energy in the home isn't necessary. 'I'm not a fung shui master but I am very passionate about the subject,' she says. (She was once married to a fung shui expert.) 'If you're told the only solution is to buy expensive fung shui objects or tear down your house, get a second opinion. There are so many simple, inexpensive ways to increase the positive flow of chi [energy] wherever you live and to change your luck and well-being.' The principles of fung shui are tied to the five elements - wood, fire, earth, metal and water - as well as yin (dark, subdued and calm energy) and yang, the opposite of yin. According to Koch-Kessler, too much or too little of an element will cause discord; a harmonious environment should contain a balance of them all, working together within their sequence (as written above). Wood elements, for example, which include wooden furniture, flowers, plants and the colour green, combine well with fire (candles, incense, animals and the colour red) because wood is needed to sustain fire. Conversely, metal objects next to wood won't work - unless there is an excess of wood which needs to be reduced - because metal destroys wood (think of an axe chopping down a tree). Whichever element you are - to ascertain this, consult a Chinese almanac to find out your lunar birthday - will have a bearing on what kind of furniture and possessions should surround you. Koch-Kessler is, for example, weak fire, which means she can suffer from anxiety and fear of the future. She balances this with fire-boosting items in her home - one of the walls in her living room is painted red - or with objects symbolising wood. 'The elements and their proportion in our environment affect the way we feel and behave,' explains Koch-Kessler. 'If your relationships are always breaking up, it might mean too much wood and metal around you - or objects representing these elements which are wrongly placed.' This doesn't mean throwing away furniture and possessions and starting from scratch but transforming negative into positive with a few simple touches. Koch-Kessler suggests placing the right colour blanket over the wrong colour sofa, for example, buying cheap pottery or stone jars if you suffer from a lack of earth (which causes lethargy, low self-esteem and a lack of direction) and placing a bowl of clean water next to the bed each night to attain clarity. Fish and plants are good for absorbing negative energy and if the odd leaf withers or a fish dies once in a while, it's not a bad thing. If it happens all the time, get thee to a fung shui expert, advises Koch-Kessler - or remember to feed the fish. A home's energy is also influenced by chi. It needs a separate, visible entrance and exit and to be free flowing within. If there are two adjacent doors by the main entrance, says Koch-Kessler, the chi won't be able to distinguish between the two so won't even enter. Use a bright light or loud bell at the front door to show it where to go and place a plant near the living room to direct it further inside. Similarly, if there is no obvious exit, the chi will stagnate, causing negative energy; a cheap wind chime hanging at a window will help. Too many angles and clutter will also cause the flow to be obstructed and misdirected, and the occupants to become frustrated, tense and angry. 'It's easy: clear things away, throw rubbish out,' says Koch-Kessler. 'And think simply. Large vases can be covered with clingfilm or magazines to prevent chi entering and getting stuck, for example.' Even if you don't want to go to such lengths, Koch-Kessler is full of ideas to promote harmonious homes, such as buying the best quality bedlinen (the higher the thread count, the more luxurious) you can afford in natural fabrics to ensure sound sleep. Music and aromatherapy also play a major part in altering the energy and mood of a home and its occupants once you decide what needs to be achieved. Burning essential oil of lemon will increase a child's concentration on homework; grapefruit stimulates creativity; the sedative properties of lavender will calm hyperactive children and tense adults. 'Whatever you do and however you decide to do it - with strong adherence to fung shui or casual touches with their roots in fung shui - the essence is to create a comfortable environment in which you feel relaxed and balanced,' she says. There is, as they say, no place like home. Christa Koch-Kessler is conducting a Stimulate Your Senses workshop next Saturday at Bed & Bath, Lee Gardens, Causeway Bay, as part of the Culinary Journey On Hysan Avenue. Running until August 28, the event offers a series of culinary and lifestyle classes such as Dinner Parties To Die For with cutlery familiarisation and cookery, and Trip The Light Fantastic - elementary ballroom dancing followed by dim sum - run by participating stores and restaurants in Lee Gardens and the Caroline Centre. Call 2830 5169 for details.