For those who have the opportunity to travel and broaden their horizons, I highly recommend embracing any potential culture shock, getting out of your comfort zone and maybe even picking up a new language. But I don’t mean learning conversational Spanish or French…I’m talking design language.
We live in a time where our lodging options include everything from designer hostels to glamping tents to boutique hotels, and many of these are far more inspiring than your average lodge. No matter where you stay, it’s likely that the place was designed to be comfortable, inviting and have a stand-out style that you’ll remember after your trip is over, and it’s worth looking to those things to see what they might teach you about nailing the design in your own home. Here are eight steal-able ideas that don’t need to be limited to fancy hotel designs.
Layer the Lighting
Hotels know the importance of creating comfort and atmosphere in their rooms, no matter the style or level of luxury. They often follow three basic principles that you can (and should) apply to your home: ambient, task and accent lighting (a.k.a. “layered lighting”). Think about it—have you ever been in a hotel room with only a single lamp?
Although there isn’t a large chandelier in this hostel room, key lighting elements are at play. Situating the flushmount between the beds provides general illumination for the room, while a neat line of lights beneath the headboards serves as accent lighting—adding a cooling element to the room at the same time. Then, to make the room more accessible, a desk lamp provides task lighting—the last layer in this design equation.
Mix and Match Chairs
The family-style dining area of the Quality Hotel Expo in Oslo, Norway proves that you can break some rules when it comes to design. This stunning arrangement of mixed and matched iconic dining chairs is like an international presentation of modern design…and it has me wanting to recreate this in my dining room.
A Focused Aesthetic
The dining seating above in Norway goes for a more eclectic approach to design, but some hotels opt for a more purist approach in their interiors. This hotel in New York City has all the elements of Scandinavian design: light wood fixtures and accents, pastel-inspired tones, minimalistic furniture and (layered!) lighting. The 11 Howard Hotel is located in SoHo, NYC, and was designed by Space Copenhagen, a duo fittingly native to Denmark.
Mix Up The Orientation
Some hotels have smaller room options, so they have to get creative with their designs. This room in the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles doesn’t have a problem with moving things around for function and comfort. Personally, I never thought to face my bed away from the door and toward the back wall. In this position, there’s room for a desk that adds a workspace without cramping the style and space.
Expand on One Element in the Room
Speaking of headboards, this hotel room extends the color of the bedframe well beyond reason, but it ends up defining the entire space. The color is matched, then painted in an alcove-like fashion along the opposing walls and ceiling in between.
The other cool detail is more apparent in this second photo: The ceiling has stepped angles that add more depth to the space.
Craft a Tiny Outdoor Oasis
Needing to accommodate large volumes of travelers might mean a tight squeeze for an outdoor balcony or lounge. The Hotel Pupp in Brixen, Italy doesn’t have this problem. Bergmeisterwolf architekten has created a personalized deck space with built-in seating and places to lay out, eat and drink. It doesn’t have to be a ton of space, but making room for an outdoor oasis of any kind can go a long way. (For more, check out our favorite ways to maximize small outdoor space right here).
Embrace Rustic Comforts
Sometimes you want a more rustic style of lodging when traveling…well, relatively rustic in this case. These two hotels offer a different kind of design-oriented stay with nature in the mix.
Since hardwired electricity is hard to come by in the outdoors, handy clip-on wall lamps are a great alternative. This could easily be applied to a space that you are renting where you are less inclined to hardwire.
This family of hotels in Lake Tahoe (and one in Colorado) truly brings the outdoors “in”. Seeing a tent in a room is a novel design idea—it’s a little less traditional than a canopy bed, but it frames the bed and adds an additional level of comfort. Also, look at how cute those lanterns are as side table lamps!
Invest in an Iconic Showpiece
One of the best ways to lend some design cred to your space is by adding famous lighting and/or furniture in small batches. Instead of going for a full remodel, finishing a room might come down to a single table lamp or pendant.
For instance, this room at AthensWas in Athens, Greece, puts the finishing touch on this symmetrical bedroom with a pair of Mod.548 Table Lamps by Gino Sarfatti for FLOS. The room has a distinctly contemporary look, while the lamps were originally designed in 1951, achieving an iconic look that any design aficionado would appreciate.
Next time you book a hotel or B&B, take a look at your surroundings; you just might find some unexpected inspiration for your next design project at home.