As a writer, I cover both travel and design, and one of my favorite recent trends is boutique hotels that create welcoming, personal, intimate spaces that feel unusual. Many hoteliers understand that unique design is a way to stand out from the pack (and the multitude of boring beige guest rooms). It makes travel more exciting when your hotel—as well as your destination—is worth the trip.
A beautifully-designed hotel also happens to provide an abundance of clever design ideas. My new book Hotel Chic at Home takes you through some of the most stunning hotel bedrooms, kitchens, living spaces, libraries, and bathrooms to provide a global variety of unique design ideas. Here are 10 ideas to steal from luxury hotels around the world.
1. Cover walls in fabric.
This is a signature design move by Kit Kemp, the creative genius and co-owner behind all of Firmdale Hotels. Kemp loves to upholster walls in fabrics—in bedrooms, living rooms, and even the bar at the Crosby Street Hotel which is enveloped in green felt. Fabric-covered walls instantly make a room feel cozier and warmer in a way that paint or wallpaper just doesn't. At the Ham Yard hotel in London, one of most gorgeous bedrooms features a rich gray wool on walls paired with two vibrant prints. One way to get the look is to have a wallpaper installer back fabric with paper and then affix to the wall.
2. Add some glamour to a basic chair.
At the Chalet Pelerin, designed by No. 12 Interiors designers Blake Pike and Jane Hines, sheepskin is wrapped around basic wood chairs to not only create a softer perch but to capture the glamorous spirit of the French Alps where the hotel is located. It's an easy move that can be added to any chair or sofa.
3. Bring the outdoors inside.
The next best thing to waking up in a garden would be starting and ending the day in the enchanting Garden Suite at the Lowell Hotel in Manhattan designed by Michael S. Smith. The de Gourney wallpaper which features blossoming branches and birds is a beautiful way to make a city bedroom feel more connected to the outdoors.
4. Add drama with dark paint.
The easiest, least expensive way to make a big change in a room is with paint—especially darker hues. Inky blues, rich greens, charcoal grays, and striking aubergine feel especially current and can be found in hotels like the Crosby Street Hotel, the Greenwich Hotel, J.K. Place Capri, the Vidago Palace (above), and the Jerome. Dark bedrooms create a cozy, cocooning effect. In a living room, deep hues can be entirely unexpected and create a fantastic backdrop for brighter upholstery or art.
5. Find dining chairs you want to sit in for hours.
One of the great joys of vacation is lingering over an amazing meal and a bottle of wine, talking away the night. It's a contrast to daily life where meals are more often rushed. But what if you designed your dining space to be that much more comfortable? What if instead of basic wood chairs, you invested in generously proportioned armchairs that envelope you in velvet like they do at No. 131 in the Cotswalds?
6. Make your bathroom more glamorous.
A bathroom doesn't have to feel sterile. At the Borgo Santo Pietro in Tuscany unexpected details like a vintage chandelier, velvet curtains, and art make a bathroom feel more inviting. Why not bring in elements from other parts of the house to the bathroom? A pretty stool, an interesting mirror, art, and pretty lighting will immediately warm up the space.
7. Go bold in a hallway.
A standout pattern is the perfect way to enliven a dark, narrow hallway. At Hotel Palisade in Sydney, Australia a marbelized wallpaper adds some pizazz to the space. Doors and trim in charcoal gray enhances the dazzling print.
8. See tile as art.
Tiles come in a variety of rich patterns that can act as art in a bathroom bringing enticing colors and patterns to the space. A beautiful example is the Palazzo Margherita in Italy, owned by Frances Ford Coppola. Designer Jacques Grange gave each room and bathroom its own individual look. Here, exceptionally stunning tile, sponge painted walls, marble moldings, and soaring richly patterned ceilings create an alluring space.
9. Enliven floors with a herringbone pattern.
Rich wood floors warm up any space, but they often go unnoticed. At the Viceroy Central Park designed by Roman and Williams, however, a herringbone pattern creates an eye-catching twist to the standard wood floor. The graphic pattern results in floors that are too gorgeous to cover up with carpet.
10. Paint doors and trim in glossy black.
Semi-gloss white paint is a standard go-to for doors and trim, but black is a less-expected, but very sophisticated alternative. In a suite at the Merchant in Salem, Massachusetts, Boston-based designer Rachel Reider painted ceiling beams, doors, moldings and baseboards in a high gloss black which immediately adds a glamorous edge. In keeping with the look, note the lampshades are black too. It's an inexpensive way to really transform the mood of a room.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.