"It can also be a matter of making sure that the space is designed for the activities that actually happen there," says Sylvia Sepielli, the award-winning consultant behind the Mii amo spa in Sedona, Arizona; Spa Ojai in Ojai, California; and Spa Grande at Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii. If the kids are doing their homework on the same counter where you're cooking the dinner and checking your laptop, it might be time to assign separate kitchen spaces for some of these tasks.
Other common examples are too-formal dining or living rooms that sit gathering dust while waiting for the china-and-crystal dinner party that almost never happens. "Your home should facilitate how you really live; otherwise, it's an obstacle to your lifestyle, which is a huge stressor in itself," Sepielli says. "So if you really want to exercise while chatting with your husband who wants to sit at the computer or read, you should have a room that caters to those needs." And she speaks from experience.
Upgrade the view: At a spa, it seems like every guest room comes with a view. That's because there's a designer who made sure it did. "Every window is a framed view, so it should be framing something that has purpose," McAdams says. If you're gazing into a framed view of your neighbor's den, a treeless driveway, or an alley, you're assigning those not-so-pleasing visuals much more importance in your life than they deserve.
"Try to make the view fit the mood of the room," he says. Place a window-box herb garden in front of a kitchen window, hang sheers to soften the view from your bedroom, or strategically place a lounge chair in your yard so that you'll feel as if you're living in a resort every time you catch a glimpse of it out the window.
The feeling of always seeing something pleasant will have positive cumulative effects. "You've created a little moment of magic for yourself," Cary Collier says. "And those little moments add up."
The trick, again, is layering. "We just keep adding until we can't think of another way to improve the feel. So each of our beds has silky sheets, several pillows in varying degrees of firmness, a fantastic duvet, cashmere throws, a pillow-top mattress," Wilson says.
And you don't want to stop with the obvious places like the couch, the bed, or the guest room. "Your home should be filled with very comfortable spaces," Wilson says. "We found these wonderful throws to put at the foot of each bed and decided we shouldn't reserve them for the bedrooms. So we placed them all around the spaon sofas, chairs, in waiting areas. They were a huge hit."