Creating a serene, minimalist room dedicated to clearing your mind, posing in downward dog, or sipping a restorative pot of tea is harder than it sounds. Meditation, yoga, Pilates, or tea rooms often serve multiple uses, so built-ins or other transformative architecture is needed, but they also have to exude calm through simple forms and materials. Rich woods, abundant but soft light, and a strong connection to nature are common design elements for generating these soothing surroundings.

And if there’s not enough square footage for an entire room, a haven for personal decompression can be carved out of a more public area. A focusing element like a water feature or recessed window can produce that same atmosphere of tranquility. Architect Stephen Muse explains that many homes have some sort of quiet space even if there's not a formal room dedicated to the purpose. “A place to escape everyday life and feel really comfortable is important,” he says, “even if it's just a quiet corner.”