Surprise! Redefining Hospitality Design

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

A most interesting design movement has been underway for the last few years in commercial design. Especially as it pertains to hospitality and senior care facilities. That movement is to incorporate touches of home into the design that speak of superior comfort and coziness. Hospitality designers, in particular, are pioneering a new art form in their designs that transforms cookie-cutter, expected guest rooms into welcoming, high-design havens away from home.

Rio SuitesI am privileged to work with some of the top hospitality designers in the country and collaborate with them on floor covering for their projects. My focus is on luxury vinyl woods and stones and the hospitality sector is embracing LVT for many reasons: the authentic beauty of nature’s best materials, functionality, exceptional life-cycle, ease of maintenance, and economy of design. Here are some of the stand-out trends I have been tracking in hospitality. As that sector aligns more closely with “hominess”, there will be some great take-aways for your personal designs too:

  1. Clean lines, soft wall colors, inviting patterns set the stage for the new design mode. Notice that most quality hotels have incorporated pure white sheets and comforters to dress their beds. Comfort is paramount and all surrounding design elements support that theme.
  2. Furniture is understated, neither traditional nor contemporary. Scale is important and a balance between the size of the room and the size of the furniture is critical. Without sacrificing comfort, sofas, chairs, desks and armoires are scaled to make the room appear more spacious.
  3. Lighting is extremely important. Lamps with multiple intensity settings allow for reading in bed, but can also give a softer ambience to the room. Bathroom lighting has made huge strides. No more harsh fluorescent or Hollywood bulbs. Softer task lighting around mirrors is much more flattering, and overhead lighting is recessed and unobtrusive. Bulbs with a pink cast give a softer, healthier light.
  4. Treasure Island suitesFlooring is experiencing a metamorphous as it pertains to hospitality. If carpet is specified, it is a commercial grade, short pile graphic design—easy to clean and fairly comfortable underfoot. Surprisingly, more hotel designers are opting for luxury vinyl-woods in upscale hotel rooms. Benefits of this flooring choice? Luxury vinyl woods and stones are totally non-allergenic, extremely hygienic, pet-friendly, easily maintained, and add an element of uber-cleanliness to the space.
  5. Wall coverings in most suites are neutral vinyl textures, adding color and character, without being overpowering.  Any vivid punches of color are reserved for artwork and upholsteries. Items that are easily changed out with minimal expense.
  6. Microwaves, small refrigerators, and of course coffee makers are becoming staples in most hotel rooms, bringing more of the comforts of home to travel.
  7. On your next hotel stay, take note of some welcoming gestures: fresh baked cookies given at check-in, cheery flames flickering in the lobby fireplace, comfortable chairs arranged in small conversational groupings. All of these things set a mood and contribute to this new level of hospitality.

Of all the points mentioned above, I‘d like to elaborate on the floor covering choices. Hotels are redefining the travel experience, and designers are utilizing floor coverings to set the stage for comfort. As you consider what floor covering you want for your own home, research your choices thoroughly and feel free to rely on an experienced flooring retailer to guide you. (Click on the “Find a Retailer” tab on this website.) This may be the single most important design decision you will make, so don’t hesitate to ask your local professionals for help.