Daryl Chen Updated: Feb. 01, 2017

“I wish I could live in a hotel”—we’ve all had this thought. Here are simple ways to bring that zen hotel feeling to your own home.


Cut the clutter

One big reason that we love hotel rooms is their emptiness. They’re free of the refuse of everyday life—the bills, stray socks, and soccer balls—leaving them full of possibility. While it’s impossible to eliminate clutter entirely from your home, you can make sure you have enough places to stow away most of your belongings. And remember: Storage isn’t just closets and dressers. Don’t forget about trays, which hotels rely on to corral smaller items.


There are no junk drawers in hotel rooms

Yes, hotel closets and dressers stay empty for the simple reason that nobody lives there, but you can still go through your storage at home and purge it of unnecessary stuff. Many of us hold onto odds and ends—weird-sized pieces of wrapping paper, baskets, mystery keys, old towels, and the like—because we think we might need them “someday.” However, unless you have a definite date for that “someday,” you should toss these objects now. And here’s permission to get rid of these items in your closet you never use or wear.


When it comes to color scheme, keep calm and carry on

Hotel rooms are so restful on the eyes because they feature soothing, neutral shades like beiges, creams, and grays. Brighter colors are limited, and they’re strategically deployed to provide pops of contrast. Here’s expert advice on creating a color scheme for your home.


White sheets only, please

Most hotel rooms make their beds with white sheets, because they seem so crisp and clean. And they help reinforce the impression that the room is a blank slate waiting for you.


Create a bed that works for both lying down AND sitting

Most hotel beds possess headboards because managers know that guests like to be able to sit up and check their devices, watch TV, read a book, or eat. Decor-wise, a headboard is also a chance to make a visual statement since the bed is the focal point of the room. If you don’t have a headboard on your bed, you can hang fabric, wallpaper, or paint the headboard area to mimic one, and you can pile on big bolster pillows so you can prop yourself up in comfort. Here’s how to tweak your bedroom for an amazing night’s sleep.


Layer your bedding

Hotel beds have lots of layers to make them feel luxurious. The typical hotel bed is topped with a throw or blanket, which serves two purposes: to give extra warmth and to offer a different color, pattern, or texture, like nubby, woolen, or shaggy. Hotel beds usually contain at least three sizes of pillows—oversize, standard sleeping size, and small—which represents another opportunity to introduce a contrasting fabric, color, or pattern. Finally, fine hotels splurge on deep, pillow-top mattresses to coddle their guests, but placing a down featherbed or mattress topper in down or lambswool can provide a similar cushioning sensation.


Make Mom proud: Make your bed every day

One basic thing that makes hotel beds so enticing is how neatly and precisely they’re made. The sheets are pulled tight. Everything that should be tucked in is, and the pillows are positioned just so.


Light the way

Hotel rooms are always designed to contain multiple sources of lighting. While some of them might be overhead fixtures, a greater number are usually freestanding lamps, with dimmers so that people can adjust for brightness. And having a light on each side of the bed—whether sconces or lamps—is a hotel-room must.


Decorate like Noah’s Ark: in pairs

Hotel rooms rely on symmetry—matching bedside lamps and tables, an even numbers of pillows, or paired artwork—to add to the feeling of calm. This kind of visual harmony tells our overstimulated eyes “you can relax here.”


Prepare a soft landing

There’s a certain sensual comfort to be had from getting out of bed and taking your first steps on something cozy rather than on a cold floor. While many hotels opt for wall-to-wall carpeting, a small rug can also offer a gentle start to your days.


Em-power yourself

Hotels today have responded to 21st-century travelers and their multiple devices by providing plentiful, easy-to-reach outlets. You don’t need to rewire your home to do the same—just plug multi-outlet adapters or power strips into existing outlets.


Take a good look at yourself

Hotel bathrooms usually have extra-large mirrors, and many offer smaller magnifying mirrors, too. In addition, hotel bathrooms are well-lit so that guests don’t encounter any unpleasant surprises when they emerge into the daylight. To achieve a similar effect, increase the wattage in your bathroom fixtures (only if it’s safe), and get a bigger mirror and/or a magnifying mirror.


Pile on the towels

Just as with sheets, good hotels never skimp on towels. And just like sheets, hotel towels tend to be white. Hotels know that white towels send a positive message—of cleanliness, warmth, and comfort. So switch out colored towels for plush white ones, and replace them with clean versions at least once a week.


Make it a pleasure to inhale

The most thoughtful hotels know that scent, although unseen, is a critically important element of every room. Their cleaning staffs use decent-smelling products, they select shampoos and soaps with appealing scents, they display fresh flowers in their lobbies, and they may even infuse the air with a subtle fragrance or give out fresh-baked cookies. Your home doesn’t have to smell like the cosmetics department of a department store, but it should smell good, whatever that means to you. Research shows these smells make people happy.


Choose curtains for your windows

When was the last time you saw Venetian blinds in a hotel room? Hotels stick to curtains and shades because these can be layered to furnish different levels of coverage, including a sheer curtain to allow maximum light while maintaining privacy and a black-out lining to make the room dark for sleeping. The layers also add insulation, keeping air-conditioned rooms cool and heated rooms warm. While you may not feel the need for such layering at home, it’s a good idea to invest in a window covering that blocks out sunlight and keeps you from waking up at dawn.


Keep it clean

After the chaos of traveling, isn’t it always so restful to enter the order and cleanliness of a nice hotel room? The same is true for your non-vacation life—it will do wonders for your psyche to return home to a tidy, welcoming space that sparkles in all the right places. These are simple housecleaning tricks that pro cleaners use themselves.

 Originally Published: June 17, 2016

Originally Published in Reader’s Digest