In the West when we arrive as a guest at someone’s home, it’s often polite to at least offer to take off our shoes, but in the East, the custom goes without question – when stepping into a friend’s home, you should always remove your shoes! When you remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, it symbolizes leaving your worldly cares and concerns at the door. The Chinese practice of feng shui also holds rules and standards for how to properly place a shoe rack in one’s home. The shoe rack is placed near the door not just because it is the practical place for it, but also because the door is the “Mouth of the Chi”, or where energy activates and enters your home. According to feng shui, when you take off your shoes and place them on the shoe rack, they should all point in the same direction – shoes pointing in represent missed opportunities, while shoes pointing out represent open opportunities. Even though such habits may not be common practice in most Western homes, you might find yourself envying how useful and pragmatic a shoe rack can be – so here’s how to find one for your own home.
An Asian-inspired bench for the front hallway will also make it easier and more convenient for guests to remove their shoes:
Shoe racks are nothing new to the Western world. You can find some great, simple and inexpensive Western models to incorporate the Asian practice into your foyer:
Or in wood:
But, you can also find plenty of designs using materials from the East, such as bamboo shoe racks:
Enclosed shoe cabinets are also a good option:
In East Asian countries, hosts don’t expect you to simply walk around barefoot after removing your shoes – most Asian homes also contain a collection of slippers to choose from once you remove your outdoor shoes. Especially for cooler climates, it’s also a nice idea to have slippers available for your guests – you’ll keep your floors clean and your guests’ feet warm! Keep it simple – if you have a variety of different sized unisex flip flops or slip-ons, that’s all you need.
Slipper socks are an option as well – and easy to clean: