Given the option to ''enhance their life'', few would say no. Being given the option at little or no cost makes the idea even more attractive.

Feng-shui is the ''traditional oriental way'' to do this.

But it can be the homeowners' dream - or their nightmare. Feng (meaning wind) shui (meaning water) is the old Chinese art of tuning into seasonal changes, tides and vibrations to bring good fortune, wealth and health. It works around the principle of decorating and furnishing your home, garden and office to elicit luck and good fortune in all aspects of your personal and business life.

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Based around increasing the flow of ch'i (the breath of life) through a home, feng-shui counts Donald Trump and Richard Branson among its followers.

But it applies equally to the ordinary homeowner too.

In a quick survey of our house, my husband and I found we suffer from ''oppression''. This occurs from not uplighting overhead beams. We also have colour problems - not enough Yang colours (light, such as creams and whites) to balance out our Yin (dark, such as reds). One west facing wall in the study is painted green which is okay, because it also complements the wood direction of the floor, but the living room contains far too many sharp cornered-shaped arrangements to allow the flow of unhindered ch'i. We're also rather fettered from the outset, because our house is too dark and an L-shape (on the ground floor) to boot.

Luckily, Feng Shui, by Stephen Skinner, provides advice on rectifying these problems without having to resort to moving house. He advocates the use of mirrors, lighting and wind chimes to increase the ch'i and deflect ''secret arrows'', the straight lines which have power to pierce ch'i, such as sharp edges.

With the thought of all the wasted ch'i lurking in corners in our house, caged in by secret arrows, we decided to introduce a few counter-measures to get it swirling around freely and so energise our personal lives.

Starting with the bedroom we discovered that mirrors facing the bed are out - they cause sleepless nights - so we had the simple task of repositioning our bed. Until then, we had been sleeping with our heads pointed towards the door of our bedroom, a big feng-shui no-no.

In addition, we were facing the open door of our en suite and so suffering from the stagnant, water-produced sha ch'i, which emanates from toilets and weakens positive ch'i accumulation.

We had to take down the pictures that were hanging above the bed; they apparently lead to a subliminal feeling of threat. Next, we added a plant just inside the door to ''modify the flow'' of ch'i entering the room.

The accumulative effect of one night's feng-shui was interesting. Not only did my husband nearly break his leg falling over the plant in the night while mistakenly trying to get to the en-suite (going out the wrong door of the room), he also stood on and smashed the pictures.

We took a democratic decision at this point and concluded that our bedroom ch'i could do with being contained - and rearranged the bedroom back to how it was.

Undeterred, however, the next step was to feng-shui the main bathroom.

We thought we were off to a winning start on this room, our toilet is hidden behind a half wall - well, half a shower screen - alleviating the problem of flushing away our good ch'i, and neatly containing all that stagnant sha ch'i. Sadly, the toilet faces towards the main door of the house and is, uncommonly, pretty much at the centre of the building height wise. This is said to lead to an excess of the character of Yin (''all that is negative, female, dark, water, soft, cold, deadly or still''). Even worse, our main loo is more towards the south-east in the bathroom, which means that each time we flush, our wealth is going down the drain. A remedy was quickly found, hanging up vast quantities of wind chimes and crystals, we closed the lid on the offending object and shut the door.

By now, slightly deterred by all the sha ch'i in our home, we wandered out into the back garden. This didn't offer much hope. Our garden is a rectangle. You can see it all as you step out of the back door. We are lacking the naturalistic approach. We have only lived here for one summer - and that has been spent in raincoats - so we knew that the garden could use a little work. A slight understatement. A well-planned garden, according to the book, should have a curved, meandering path flowing through it, much like a stream.

We should have a pond to help accumulate ch'i. We need a large stone ornament to introduce a touch of Yang and balance out the Yin contained in the foliage and plants. The borders and edges need curving and, besides, we need to get a canopy to block out the intrusive cutting edges of the telegraph pole and the wires that run straight over the centre of the garden.

All this seemed like a little too much for one afternoon's work, landscaping is not for amateurs, so, instead, we repositioned the wheelbarrow near the compost heap and put the mower away.

So what can feng-shui do for the average householder? I fear that we were a little cynical in our approach, looking for a quick fix and not prepared to invest the time and sincerity deserved into its hidden arts.

Many of the suggestions I found compliant with common sense in interior design. I know that my house should be well lit, I am aware that curves are more attractive then corners and I am certainly aware of the ideals of space and balance. But one thing that the whole experience taught me is this: keeping the toilet lid firmly shut does deter that peril of perils, the stagnant sha ch'i.