Happy woman sits on a couch

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Anyone fond of coming home to a chilled glass of Chardonnay to help wind down may soon be dreaming of the front door keys rather than a corkscrew. The pleasure is due to a hot new field of design called neuroarchitecture. Emerging research on how factors like light, space, and room layout affect physical and psychological well-being are driving the buzz behind this new intersection of art and science. "The premise is to consider how each feature of the architectural environment influences certain brain processes such as those involved in stress, emotion, and memory," says Eve Edelstein, PhD, adjunct professor at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego and a research consultant to the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA).

For example, light is already a well-known mood modulator—candles, artificial sources controlled with dimmers, lots of natural sunshine. Beyond that, neuroarchitecture experts have a few suggestions about how to make the kind of home improvements that also might renovate your mood.

How to make your home a little happier...