Here, for instance, is a pattern for enabling a smooth transition from public to private space:
127 Intimacy Gradient
Unless the spaces in a building are arranged in a sequence which corresponds to their degrees of privateness, the visits made by strangers, friends, guests, clients, family, will always be a little awkward.
Lay out the spaces of a building so that they create a sequence which begins with the entrance and the most public parts of the building, then leads into the slightly more private areas, and finally to the most private domains.
I find it relaxing to explore Alexander's patterns, and useful too: even when I don't have control over every detail of my space, I can investigate what makes certain elements work and try to apply the characterisitics of successful spaces to less successful ones. This morning, for instance, I started with a vague feeling of dissatisfaction with my desk, read a couple of patterns, went into the kitchen and sliced an apple, came back to my desk, and realized that the kitchen Hoosier was designed at the right height for slicing, while my desk was designed for a shorter person. A couple of encyclopedia volumes under the laptop brings the computer to a more usable height--not an ideal solution, perhaps, but an improvement.