Create a Harmonious Home With Metal and Wood Elements

plants in white pots on a book, metal and wood together
​sot / Getty Images

What’s the deal with having both metal and wood elements in a home? Some people start researching feng shui leading them to learning about “clashing” elements. Then you wonder how that may or may not affect your feng shui and your relationships. Here’s some more information and clarity on how the metal and wood elements can co-exist in our spaces with harmony.

The Five Elements

Metal and wood are two of the five elements. The other three elements include earth, water, and fire. The five elements, or five phases, refer to an ancient Asian system of understanding the world through nature. The five elements creates an integrated cycle in which we can examine, contemplate, and learn from the natural world. 

Each of the five elements have their own individual qualities and attributes, however they work together to create an integrated and interdependent system. This means that all of the five elements exist and work in harmony. We all have some combination of all five elements in our personalities, our birth charts, and our spaces. In addition, life needs all the elements to thrive. For example, a plant (wood element) needs water, sunlight (fire), earth (soil), and metal (the minerals in the soil) to survive. 

Illustration of elements in feng shui
Illustration: The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

Metal and Wood Elements

The attributes of metal and wood elements are as follows:

Metal

  • Qualities: Efficient, precise, beauty 
  • Shape: Circular, spherical
  • Colors: White, metallics
  • Season: Autumn

Wood

  • Qualities: Expansive, vitality, upward
  • Shape: Columnar, rectangular
  • Colors: Green, blues
  • Season: Spring

Metal and Wood Together

So, how do the metal and wood element work together and how do they challenge each other? Good question! Each of the five elements has a productive or controlling element. This means that each element has another element that creates, feeds, or produces it as well as an element that controls or depletes it. 

Metal element is produced by earth, and is controlled by fire. For example, metal ores come from the earth, while fire can refine and melt metal. Metal also produces water and controls wood. Water forms on the surface of a cold metal cup, and it can cut down wood.

Wood element is produced by water, and is controlled by metal. For example, your plants need water to flourish, and a metal axe can cut down a tree. Wood also produces fire and controls earth. Dry wood can kindle and feed a fire, and the roots of a tree can push through the most solid patches of earth.

How does this manifest in people/relationships? Well, the idea is that if you have a lot of wood element, you may feel cut down and chopped up by a predominantly metal person. Alternatively, a metal person may also become exhausted and/or dulled by wood energy. Just imagine pruning the branches on a tree. The blade of the cutters dull, and the metal person uses up energy. The tree may lose some limbs, but they will eventually grow back. So, on the surface it may seem like it’s challenging relationship, but it’s helpful to look at things from a fresh perspective. There are benefits to the relationship as well as challenges, as it is with life! Harmony is not about everything being perfect and positive all the time. Ideally, there are different threads that weave together to create a beautiful and harmonious fabric.

Metal and Wood for your Home

Aside from how metal and wood arise in people, five element theory can be a useful tool to bring different energies into your home. 

Metal element invites completion, clarity, precision, joy, and beauty. Wood element welcomes growth, healing, new beginnings, and life energy. 

Examples of how to bring in metal and wood in one object:

  • Green and white artwork
  • A living green plant in a white pot, or with white flowers
  • Wind chimes consisting of cylindrical metal chimes