"We use whatever sensory cues we can to get each visitor to leave her stress outside," says Mike McAdams, the owner and designer of the ultraluxurious Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas. By the time you get to the front desk, you've left your stressed-out self somewhere between the rock garden and the fountain.
That's the way you should feel when you walk into your own home. "The trick is staging that moment," says Cary Collier, principal of Blu Spas and Collier and Collier Spas, part of the award-winning design team behind the Four Seasons at Bali, Alvorada Spa at Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, and others. "It's about thinking beyond how your room looks and paying more attention to how it makes you feel." Try these smart staging techniques at home to set the scene for relaxation.
Make an entrance: While you can't necessarily create a winding path or rock garden this minute, tonightor everyou can choose to enter your home through the most positive, uplifting route possible. If entering through the jam-packed garage gives you a headache, screen off some of the most offensive junk or come in through the front door instead.
Calm the clutter: The entries into our homes are places where we dump thingsmail, shoes, umbrellas. "That chaos creates an immediate sense of being overwhelmed and buried by your life," says Anne McCall Wilson, vice president of Spas Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. Instead of letting those subtle and not-so-subtle stressors hit you at the door, hide them in baskets or drawers.