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What is Hotel Interior Design?

By Charity Delich
Updated May 16, 2024
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Hotel interior design is a profession that involves artistically decorating and furnishing the spaces inside a hotel. Professionals specializing in hotel interior design typically shape a variety of rooms within the hotel, such as lobbies, conference rooms, and guest bedrooms. Lounges, hotel bars, restaurants, and spa areas are other places that a hotel interior designer frequently works on.

Drawing on structural elements like windows, floors, and walls, a hotel interior designer can create an eye-catching place where hotel customers can relax. Additionally, a designer usually seeks to enhance the interior of the hotel by making the most out of textures, wall coverings, fabrics, and finishes. Hotel designers are often responsible for putting together smaller supplies and ornaments found in a hotel - from cutlery and glassware to hotel paintings, plants, and clocks.

Many hotels regularly renovate their spaces in order to continuously attract customers. When working on a hotel renovation or build, an interior designer generally selects an underlying theme for the hotel. Some designers incorporate local design or artwork into their overall plans. Using the theme as a guideline, the designer seeks to create a functional place that consistently reflects the chosen style. The designer typically retains a close working relationship with the hotel owner, in order to assure that the completed design reflects the owner’s wishes.

Hotel interior designers must be knowledgeable about more than simply how to create the best interior design for a particular space. They must also have an understanding of budgeting, as they are often required to follow strict cost guidelines when planning a hotel interior design. Interior designers can also be responsible for negotiating supply deals. As a result, they frequently maintain long-standing relationships with furniture suppliers, contractors, and linen manufacturers.

Most interior designers are trained about planning spaces and project management. In addition, these designers are generally knowledgeable about furniture and textile history, equipment specifications and finishes, and lighting design. Some hotel interior designers are architects and possess a detailed understanding of hotel floor plans and construction. Hotel interior design is a competitive profession, with many professionals competing for a limited pool of hotel clients. Most hotel interior designers work on a contract basis.

Hotel interior design fees can vary, depending upon the design firm used. Some designers charge hourly rates while others charge flat fees for an entire project. Some interior designers assess a percentage of the overall cost of the materials, furnishings, and other embellishments that go into the hotel. Interior designers who are located in large cities typically charge higher fees than those in other areas.

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Discussion Comments
By Oceana — On May 30, 2012

I prefer hotels with a modern interior over those with an antique or homey look. Something about stark shapes and clean lines makes me feel like I’m staying in a sanitary place that is well maintained.

One thing that always sends up a red flag with me in hotel design is busy patterns on the furniture and on the bedding. This is usually done on purpose to hide stains and dirt, perhaps so the cleaning crew doesn’t have to wash them as often.

I like pure, solid colors, and I prefer chairs made of plastic to those with upholstery, because you can easily wipe them down. Fabric can hold onto germs longer.

By lighth0se33 — On May 29, 2012

@seag47 - I visited a hotel restaurant where interior design played a huge part in the feel and charm of the place. The hotel was located by the sea, and the design reflected that, but it was very unique.

The design firm must have hired an artist to come in and paint on the walls, because the hallway leading to the restaurant had big portholes with lifelike paintings of sea turtles and fish swimming inside of them. The walls in the restaurant also had huge underwater murals, and nets full of seashells and starfish hung from corner to corner.

The layout of the tables and the bar was such that the murals came into focus, no matter where you sat. The space was left pretty open, with tables and booths spaced far apart. Huge, sloping windows lined the wall facing the sea.

By seag47 — On May 29, 2012

@StarJo - One place you can find independent hotels is by the sea. I have stayed in several one-of-a-kind hotels, and I was very impressed by the design choices.

The owners got to decide on interior design for these hotels. You can bet that there were a lot of ocean-themed prints, paintings, and colors throughout, yet they all complemented each other and looked very attractive, thanks to the interior designers.

I always look forward to seeing the inside of hotels like these. They are never generic, and you never know what you will see when you unlock your room for the first time.

By StarJo — On May 28, 2012

I didn’t know that hotel interior design firms even existed. I thought that all interior designers did the same type of work, but since hotels are so much different than homes, it makes sense that people would specialize in this segment of interior design.

The good thing about hotel design is that once someone settles on a color and theme, it can be used throughout the whole hotel. Designers would not have to come up with separate elaborate ideas for every area.

It must be an extremely competitive field. Most hotels are big chains, and they probably just go with whatever design the other hotels in different locations are using. There are few independent hotels that get to have a say in what interior design they have.

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