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5 interior design essentials that make for a great hotel room

As an interior designer, and frequenter of hotels, I find that when it comes down to it, the success of a great hotel room interior is all about guest comfort and convenience. So without further ado, I'm jumping straight into today's blog post on (my) 5 interior design essentials that make for a great hotel room.

I'm going to ignore the obvious essentials of a good hotel room interior design such as a usable layout, comfy bed, and non-design essentials like it being a clean hotel room with free wifi. Oh, and there being tea/coffee/water in the room - these should be absolutely essential if you're staying in a UK based hotel!

a hotel room with orange blanket and curtain
Image by Igor Myznik via Unspash

01. A variety of different lighting options throughout the hotel room

Great lighting is crucial to the success of any interior design scheme, but it's a design element that often is overlooked, or gotten terribly wrong. When interior lighting is done well, you don't notice it, but when done badly it's all you can notice in a space!

For me, as a hotel guest and as an interior designer, a great hotel room interior needs different lighting types i.e. task lighting, ambient lighting, decorative lighting, as well as having enough lighting sources or choice to suit each hotel guest's personal preference in their hotel room.

If I'm winding down before bed in my hotel room, I want to be able to create a cosy, low-lit interior. So I either need enough lighting sources in the hotel room that I can just have a few on, like the bedside lights, or if there's only one main lighting source in the ceiling this should be on a dimmer system so I can then choose the level of brightness for my hotel room interior.

With plenty of lighting sources and different fittings in a hotel room such as ceiling lights, wall lights and beside table lamps, I find it also an essential to ensure hotel guests can conveniently turn them on and off. There's nothing worse than getting into your comfy hotel bed and turning off the bedside lights, only to the discover the main lighting is still on and can only be switched off near the hotel room door!

02. Having plenty of power sockets where you need them in the hotel room interior

Segueing on from well placed light switches, another interior design essential that makes for a great hotel room is well placed power sockets - and having plenty of them as well.

I can tell an outdated hotel room (or one that hasn't been renovated in a long time) when there's a lack of power sockets next to or nearby the bedside table for things like charging your phone and laptop etc from the comfort of being in bed. Or getting ready in the morning (or evening) by the main mirror, or on the desk table, and finding no power sockets nearby to plug in your hair straighteners/curler within reachable distance.

An example of not enough power sockets in a hotel room is when you have to unplug table lamps or floor lamps so you can use iron your clothes, or dry or straighten your hair etc. Hotel guests shouldn't be having lots of small inconveniences during their stay if it's something that is easily avoidable like making sure there's enough, well placed power sockets in a hotel room.

If you're a hotel or B&B owner it's so important to imagine and consider what your hotel guests' daily routine will most likely involve, and translating this into the interior design so you can make sure their hotel room stay is as comfortable and convenient for them as possible.. Even something as mundane (but now important!) as easily charging your phone.

03. Successful acoustic insulation for a peaceful hotel room stay

I think we've all ben there, where it's a fine line between having annoyingly guests with the TV turned up super loud in the adjacent hotel room, and being able to hear them cough or sneeze because the walls are paper-thin.

Poor acoustics due to thin walls is a likely problem in old buildings and you try to overlook it as a hotel guest, but I've also stayed in newly built hotels and could hear the conversation between two people in the next hotel room! In that situation I'd take an educated guess that the walls were built as thin as possible to gain as much as they could with hotel room floor areas, or it was a (bad) cost-saving decision to not use the right or enough acoustic insulating material in the walls.

If you're a hotel owner who gets negative feedback because of external noises, like cars or being situated on a lively public street, the solution will likely be more of an investment with new windows and adding acoustic panelling to walls etc. But if you're looking to generally reduce the noise of guests' day to day activities in your hotel rooms, my interior design essential Number 5 below will give you some ideas of how to do this!

04. Well considered storage furniture & accessories in the hotel room

Unless you're staying in a suite or large hotel room, it quickly becomes all too apparent that the floor space is limited when you can't lay your suitcase out flat on the floor, or there aren't even bedside tables (not even a ledge!) for you to happily place your morning coffee next to you.

Quick side note: no bedside tables was something I experienced first-hand in a London based hotel, and I wrote up a blog post reviewing the interior design of a Locke Hotel. I never thought a bedside table (or just a ledge) would be such a crucial thing for me in a hotel room interior, and was actually what sparked the idea for this blog post.

But back to considered storage furniture and accessories in a great hotel room...

I think what turns a good hotel room experience into a great one is when all the smaller interior design details have clearly taken into account the guest's comfort and convenience.

Simple things like having plenty of hooks or a rail in the ensuite bathroom to place clothes and let wet towels dry; a shelf/ledge above the basin to hold toiletries and makeup if there's not space for a full vanity unit; another ledge in the shower to hold even more toiletries! These are pretty obvious things that you take for granted in your daily routine, but become glaringly lacking in a hotel room interior that hasn't been well designed.

When staying in a small hotel room, I always appreciate clever furniture design such as having a bed frame that you can store your suitcase or large overnight bag underneath, or an open wardrobe/coat rack that has a built-in mini fridge and safe below to keep everything neat and tidy. Creative, bespoke joinery is an invaluable way for hotel owners to get the most out of small hotel rooms, or rooms with awkward layouts.

05. Beautiful (and functional) soft furnishings and upholstery throughout the hotel room interior

Soft furnishings might sound frivolous, but as an interior designer I'm here to tell you that they are the metaphorical icing on the cake of a great hotel room interior. Similar to icing on a cake (yes, I will keep going with this analogy), soft furnishings are a great way to add visual interest with colour, pattern and texture, avoiding a hotel room interior from looking lifeless. They're also a great way to bring in branding colours and create a specific interior vibe for your hotel guests to experience and enjoy.

One of my favourite hotel brands is The Hoxton - I think they uses soft furnishings and fabrics as a whole so well in their hotel rooms to add plenty of character. All of their hotel room interiors will have curtains, an upholstered headboard, decorative cushions on the bed, and often a rug under the bed. Larger rooms also typically have upholstered tub chairs and even an upholstered bench seat at the end of the bed. If you took away these soft furnishings and upholstery elements it would be a stark hotel room interior, lacking in personality.

Soft furnishings and upholstery are not only a great way to inject colour, pattern and texture into an interior design scheme, they can also help improve the acoustics in a hotel room by dampening sound levels and absorbing noise. Thick curtains can help with external noises getting through the window at night; upholstered headboards and/or wall panels can help reduce noise travelling through hotel room walls; and rugs or better yet carpet can help reduce noise travelling between floor levels.


A lot of the interior design elements I've mentioned today as essential for great hotel room fall under the first and second fix stages of building/creating a space - which an interior designer can do for you!

If you're looking to start your own hotel interior design project, head over to my hospitality interior design service page for more information. Or please do get in touch if you want to chat more about how hiring an interior designer would benefit your independent business.

(Cover image: Igor Myznik via Unspash)


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