Top 5 Must Haves for Contemporary Guest Room Design

Top 5 Must Haves for Contemporary Guest Room Design

Contemporary design is all about the here and now and how design in our present life is helping to communicate our style and make our life easier. Hotels that have a contemporary design and hospitality focus are hotels that want to communicate an effortless transition from everyday life and to your vacation. With contemporary hotel rooms interior designs, hotels will have design features that guests are used to and see in their everyday life.


All of the Light:
Natural light is something every interior designer tries to play up. Natural light not only can make the environment of the room feel softer, but also add to what key elements will stick out. Contemporary design focused guest rooms will work to incorporate the use of natural light, and more often than not it happens through big ceiling to wall windows. Big windows not only let in a ton of light, but also give guests views of the scenery.



Bold Art, Bold Room
Bold artwork is something that has not only become part of our culture, but also a part of the current contemporary design style. While, hotels are opting to keep their hotel walls clean and neutral, they are contrasting that by having bold hotel wall décor in the room. Where the artwork is placed in the room differs between hotels and the wall space that they have. While some might prefer it to be a focal point of the room, others opt for a subtler approach or have the artwork in the bathroom. However, styled, one thing is for sure. Bold artwork is a must.



Natural Growth:
With indoor plants being a big trend for 2017 it is no surprise that it is a top 5 must have for contemporary rooms as well. With contemporary design being affected by trends, then this is an important one. With natural light being a big component for plant growth it is no surprise that the two work hand in hand and are both top 5 contemporary trends. Indoor plants while aesthetically beautiful also have great health benefits. When using indoor plants in guest rooms designers work to bring in a yin and yang effect by having the softness of the plants contrasted by the carrier that they are in, which is usually of a more solid and concrete material.

Don’t Look Down (Except this Once):
Guest rooms that have a contemporary design focus opt for a more playful design, and the best way they accomplish this is through colors and bold printed rugs. Rugs can work to give the room character and also work as an accent detail if you don’t want to use color. Different rug textures and prints are used to accomplish this look of creative rugs.


Geometric Design:
Geometric design is a big part of contemporary design. Geometric hotel room design trends are a new take on how the structure of a piece should look like. Geometric detailing works to add a unique take on any piece and uniqueness is something we have all come to appreciate. Hotels are using geometric detailing in anything from furniture, to lighting fixtures, and wall hangings.

Since contemporary hospitality design trends are ever changing, hotels want to embrace the current design and appreciate it for what it is and bring it into their hotels to enhance their guests stay.


Luxury Lobby Trends

Luxury Lobby Trends

Hotel guests choose where to stay with an expectation that they will have a unique and inspiring experience. Hotels fulfill this expectation for their guests through great amenities, top notch guest services, and beautiful interior design, which is where we come in! Our intent in creating special spaces through our design concepts is that guests will check out and leave with a lasting impression that they will share with friends and family with an intent to return for their next visit. That experience we are creating starts with the lobby. The lobby is the very first space guests take in and it sets the mood for the rest of their stay. Luxury hotels know this, and that is why individuals often find themselves referencing luxury hotel interiors for innovative and beautiful design inspiration. Luxury hotel lobby décor should have “wow factor.” Here are a few of the ways that we achieve that through great design.



Views For 2017

Luxury hotels may have the benefit of a great location. This factor works in our favor to inspire us when creating a design concept for a project. An incredible view from the lobby can be a big selling point for some guests. Walking in and seeing a city skyline or a well-designed garden can begin any trip with the right mindset. Luxury hotel interior design plays up natural light, views, and proximity to landmarks of the local city. As a hospitality designer, it’s all about knowing and playing up the existing personality of the property, location and architectural features that can help enhance and guide the direction of our design. 



It is no surprise that the Pantone color for 2017 was Green. Since then, the rise of indoor plants has gained even more popularity. Luxury hotels and hospitality design firms are turning to indoor plants as part of our design to give the room energy and life. Indoor plants not only help to clean the air and release endorphins, but if they are well kept they add a nice aesthetic to the room. Luxury interior design use indoor plants, whether real or faux, as a focal point in their lobby rather than a subtle detail that might be missed in a vast space. Luxury hotels are more and more interested in bringing the outdoors inside. Plants can help to create and inviting atmosphere amongst other design features and finishes.



Unique Layout

Luxury hotels are more likely to incorporate an element of surprise in their design today. When you walk into a luxury hotel lobby, you might expect to walk in and see the standard hotel layout design, and the reception front and center. While that is sometimes still the case, it is beginning to shift more. Now luxury hotel lobby designs are creating layouts that include a reception desk that is further off to the side and a restaurant that is the first thing you see or even bringing in elements of water. The intent in an offset layout is to make the journey upon arrival to check in seamless but inspirational.


As a hospitality designer, it is a priority that through our design process, we create a visual experience that is sure to leave guests inspired. When visitors return time and again, hotels are truly developing a long-term relationship with their customers and a lasting reputation as a go-to property for travelers.


Modern Hotel Bar Design

Modern Hotel Bar Design

Modern design is design that is clean, minimal, and often times has flare or inspiration from the 1920-1950s. By using it as the design focus for the bar and restaurant design ideas, it lets you keep the bar area simple, and not overdo it. Showcasing the necessities, but in a way that will still stick out to your guests. 


With a Touch of Mother Nature:
With a modern take on minimalism hotel bars are left bare, figuratively and quiet literally too. Keeping to a natural palette, the only element of color that is seen is through the incorporation of indoor plants. Some bar interiors even get as creative to make it seem as you are sipping on your cosmopolitan in a garden, with great, green vines draped around the bar. Others keep to a simpler look with touches of wood for accent and a planter or two at the bar.

The ultimate image of a modern bar interior is all white furniture, giving the room so much negative space. The negative space also works to open up the room and give it an air of lightness. While having an all-white aesthetic to your design, it really lets the colors of the food stand out and opens up the experience for the guests that are at the bar. An all-white bar interior is sure to be a show stopper, and guaranteed to turn a few heads! 


Deep Texture and Warmth:
The other side of the coin to modern design is the use of deep textured wood that adds a sense of warmth to any room. The deep and rich colors work to add in depth, and give the room a more mature look. But to avoid a look that could be considered too mature, hotels are adding in different industrial textures, still keeps it modern, but allows for more creativity and freedom with the design.

Hotel bar interiors are like the kitchen of a home, there is constant movement and in many ways is the stomach of the hotel. It is where guests meet up before heading out for the night, or meet with a business guest, or just pass by to get a quick snack. It is important to consider all the different occasions that it’ll be used for, and how the modern design will embrace it all. 

Hospitality Design & Fine Art Trends

While every hotel isn’t necessarily going to have an original Warhol or Picasso masterpiece hanging on the wall, there is one thing I have learned from years of running a hospitality design firm. The curation of beautiful and thought-provoking artwork is a critical part of our hospitality design process, as the art helps complete the visual story. The reason for this is because art is expressive, art is a reflection of our lives, and for many of us; owning a great piece of art in our home is aspirational. Travel and vacation is built around our aspirations of how we envision our daily life to be. Hotels know this, hospitality design firms know this, and that is why there will always be art in the hotel public spaces, restaurants and guest rooms. The Silo hotel in Cape Town even went as far as to have their hotel above the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The trends that come from art in hotels always have one thing in common, like all good design the artwork needs to work cohesively together with the architecture, finishes and furnishings of the space.



Time Traveling:

With hotels celebrating and highlighting the history and culture of their location in order to build a connection and relationship between their location and their guests, one of the ways they do so, is through art. In hotels that have a strong cultural or historical influence, we are sure to incorporate design details that help to bring that connection to life. Art work is a great way to bring a time period to life because you are not only able to see the lifestyle of the subjects, but also their moods, and activities. With art work, it is relatively easy to tell the difference between contemporary pieces, expressionism pieces, abstract and modern pieces. Art is one of my favorite ways to enhance a space while using other design elements in the room to compliment the decor and really bring the concept to life.



Setting the Mood:

In design, we use color and texture to set the mood and feel of a room. The bluer the tones used, the more relaxed guests will feel and the more yellow, the more energized they will feel. When we use art to set the mood, we go off of those same key points, but then also look at the construction of the art and strokes that the painter used. Are the strokes soft and whimsical or are they straighter and more concrete. A good piece of art adds to the room, like a last puzzle piece, it should fit and enhance the aesthetic of the whole room and compliment it.


Room With A View:

When hotels have rooms with great views we try to play up that feature by adding in big windows and beautiful window treatments that prevent obstruction allowing as much natural light to shine in and to let the guests enjoy the view as much as possible. However, not all rooms are positioned with great views, so this is why I always call to artwork to create that feature, connecting a guest with the style and culture of the property, no matter what the view from the room. Landscape or cityscape artwork is a great tool we sometimes use to create a room with a view. By giving guests a nice piece of artwork to glance at when they are falling asleep or waking up, will make them feel as though they still have a “room with a view.” The landscape imagery should match the surrounding location or local flair of the hotel, but doesn’t have to be of the hotel specifically. Wide angle images typical in landscape photography, can work to create the illusion of more space and a more open feel in the guest room.



The relationship between hotels and their artwork is a beautiful one, that works to play up the style, mood and tone of the hotel. Elegant, carefully selected artwork in hotels tells a story without using any words.


New Hotel Design Trends


As an industry fueled by service, hotels are entirely influenced by the guests they serve. This means that they cannot escape current trends. When customers experience a shift in needs or interests, the hotel must act fast to meet with those patterns. The latest trends in hotel design show not only an adaptation of a lifestyle but the habits of today's travelers.

When designing hotels, I try to see these trends for what they are and separate ideas that will continue to progress from fads that will fade away in 6 months. With years of experience, I have become very good at it! Today, I want to share with you hotel design trends that seem to be sticking around for a while.

Social Oriented Spaces

I have noticed that many hotels tend to make spaces that are easily reconfigured for any occasion: events, celebrations, and special meetings. Similarly, the lobby serves as a meeting space for a cocktail hour or morning tea.

Hotels have increased their interest in making their spaces part of the hosting experience. Through small details and accessories, the common areas in hotels are increasingly multi purpose and currently seek to encourage communication and guest interactions.  The hotels understand the importance of creating experiences and environments that contribute value to the guests’ lives.

Bold Color Choices

Hotels have begun to incorporate dual-tone palettes and move away from monochromatic designs. Metallic tones are seeding in to contrast light colored woods for what I predict to be a lovely, fleeting trend in hotel design. However, the overall incorporation of various complementary shades and contrasting textures seems to be here to stay.

We’ve been impressed with many of the bold choices: Rich turquoise hues against a yellow-gold. Bright lime against a regal emerald. Light lavenders against an easter-egg green. A Warm olive against a coffee brown. Hotels are taking more risks with colors, but with great results. The shots of color bring a lot of energy to the rooms and add character.

Sustainability Matters

Lately, hotels are going the extra mile to leave a smaller ecological footprint. They're adding solar power, geothermal and biomass heating, building green walls, and installing water-saving toilets. Perhaps one of our favorite “green” techniques is using reclaimed and recycled materials.

In our process, we work hard to make sure the design fits your vision and budget, and it is as eco-friendly as possible. We encourage our clients to make informed decisions about their products by purchasing from distributors and manufacturers with sustainable practices. We also only buy products with a trustworthy ingredients list; you should know what chemicals you are putting in your hotel and how it will affect the environment when you are ready to get rid of it. If it is not sustainable and durable, we do not buy it!

Local Flair

Each design is made to tell a story. Hotel guests do not like to feel like they're staying in a generic chain. Another wonderful trend is to use the design to create an interest in the history of the building, the city, or the regional area. Throughout the design, hotels incorporate an identity into their aesthetic and make the stay a unique experience.

We can see small details that reflect the location of the hotel--accessories steeped with culture and history. The local plants, internal architecture, and stunning views are also ways to localize the design and differentiate the hotel from others. They allow us to include the storytelling inside the process of designing, making it a lot more exciting and unique.

My talent for spotting trends is one skill, but it is nothing compared to our knowledge and experience-back process to guide you from consultation and development to procurement and management. To learn more about how we help you tell your story, we invite you to read our process.  Together with careful planning, we can create a design inspired by today’s travelers.


Café Bar Interior Design


When I visit a café bar, I tend to look not only for the service but the visual appeal of the café and the atmosphere it creates. Sure, I know I am really there for the intoxicating aroma of hot coffee and to satisfy little cravings, but I am also subtly looking for a quiet, comfortable place to think or work.

Good coffee shops are easy to find, but the perfect café bar is hard to come by. For your customers, it should strike the perfect balance to become the third daily space that is neither home nor work. Café bars are social but relaxed, and generally have a great sense of style. Everything about the atmosphere is cohesive and inspiring.

When designing a café bar, the first thing we need to do is reconcile the interior design and the facade. The style you show outside must reflect and suggest aspects of the setting and tone inside. For example, if I see a café bar with a very rustic and historical facade, I wouldn't expect to find a modern and minimalistic interior design. A conflict between internal and external creates false expectations in the minds of customers, and they may be turned off just out of surprise. To keep customers coming back, you want your design and facade to form an integrative message about the café bar.

The café bar also needs to reflect the personal style and attitude of the owner and baristas. I have noticed that the best coffee bars are the ones that tell a story or create a distinct identity. Games on the shelves work well with playful lamps with bright colors or written phrases. Local paintings on the wall reflect a value for creativity and sophistication. Making the café bar fit your vision and personality is our number one priority.

A general design trend for a café bar is to use dark furnishings. Dark woods bring out the natural warmth of the coffee itself, while granite or dark wood floors create an elegance that is particular to the café bar. We are not suggesting ALL dark interiors, but indeed olives, tans, burgundy, and creams hide coffee stains and preserve the elegance of the design. Dark colors can quickly become overwhelming, so it is important to plan for light accents and pops of color.

Like most commercial buildings, café bar design is tending toward minimalistic style approaches--the idea that sometimes simplicity creates perfection. Of course, you have to find a way to unite the minimalistic design with the organic textures and colors of the coffee. This design trend integrates geometrical figures in furniture and architecture and de-clutters walls, using limited amounts of simple or abstract art. This simplification process can help make the space feel more relaxing for guests looking to get away.

Having a cup of coffee can become an escape from routine for many people, at least it is for me. Café bars are the place people need to find and share something more than a delicious beverage--I want a calm and serene environment to share my thoughts. The decor and ambiance is, after all, what separates a coffee shop from a café bar. Make your café bar a place that creates special moments.

Boutique Hotel Design


As a hotel interior designer, I understand that a guest’s interest in staying at the hotel goes beyond basic hospitality needs. Yes, the food and drink should be of high quality just as the customer service. However, the aesthetic, taste, and details are differentiating elements ultimately make us choose one hotel instead of another.

There are many types of hotels, and they bring with them variants of style and designs that mark key differences in the feeling they bring to the guests. Which hotels offer me comfort and exclusivity?

From a design standpoint, I am always more impressed with boutique hotels. A boutique hotel is practically a mini luxury hotel. Their principal is to offer a luxurious and personalized style experience with refined designs taking great care of the visual details. Each room offers something special, which makes them stand out from larger hotels or chains.

What are the characteristics of a boutique hotel design?

Boutique hotels are not usually located in traditionally crowded touristic areas. We often find boutique hotels in the cities or very central sites nestled in metropolitan areas. In fact, the first hotels of this type emerged in cities like New York and Paris in the mid-1980s. Since then, it has been a distinction that sets them apart from traditional hotels. As a general rule, their designs tend to be less influenced by tourism than their large-hotel counterparts and are therefore a more immersive experience.

Characterized by a rich cultural setting of the region, these hotels reflect the regionalism and the arts of the city through their accessories and decorative adornments. It is one of the things that I love most of the boutique hotels--being able to know the local traditional heritage through the design and incorporating industrial, coastal or historical elements that represent the regional identity. When working with boutique hotels, we tend to pull in more local style including color schemes, architecture and local artists.

Boutique hotels often also occupy buildings that previously served another purpose. As a trend, they seek to preserve old buildings and restore them. That being said, they usually have incredible architecture and a rich history. Ask any boutique hotel owner about their building, and they are likely to give you a fascinating account of everything that happened in the building before they acquired it. We want the design to add to that historical value, and give new life to the building.

Because we want to preserve the historical experience of the building, we work hard to make sure the design style fits the historical period of the hotel. We tend us use furniture and decor relative to that period and research the original function of the building to bring a piece of that experience to the guests.

Perhaps the most exciting element of boutique hotel design is the flexibility and opportunity for creativity. When we talk to owners, they are not constrained by corporate palettes or brand images, and they are interested in bringing a story to life. They are focused on creating an experience more than design. With the collaboration of the team, we can channel this excitement into some of the most unique and incredible interiors ever imagined.

To see samples of boutique hotels we have helped transform into living art, check out our portfolio.

Interior Design Studio Essentials


Working as a hospitality designer, I’ve come to realize that our studio itself must always be equipped to handle everything we need to actualize a design. As a designer, there are elements of the office that aid my creative processes. As a style maker, and perfectionist, I consider how the studio evokes collaboration and inspiration.

Today, our studio has an incredible, harmonious, creative energy. But it has not always been that way. We had to design the studio of our dreams to help us create the spaces of our clients’ dreams. Here are some of the essentials I have discovered an interior design studio must have.

Table Lamps

Table lamps are particularly important for focus lighting. We absolutely cannot rely on natural light or overhead lighting. Our job requires precise lighting at all times to see the subtleties in shades and textures of the materials we are using. While windows play a huge role in lighting during the day, we often work late. Placing great lamps at every workstation ensures our ability to effectively and precisely set our designs.

Inspirational Books

Our office is my home away from home. It is often where I gather my ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, I look to blogs or Pinterest for inspiration. Other times, the computer screen can tend to suck out all my creative juices.

That's why I always try to have art design and interior books on hand that spark creativity or inspire different design styles. I love referring to my small design library to visualize details while designing. even from the initial stage of my projects. I keep the library small but diverse. I do not want to be overwhelmed or distracted by books. However, they should provide visions across different design styles in residential, commercial, and retail spaces and they also add to the aesthetic and overall décor of the office!

Copious Drawing Utensils

Depending on the task at hand, we like using different utensils. I find that I get frustrated when my tools limit me. We may use pencils of grades 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B for pencil drafting. However, I sometimes would rather use chalk. Other times charcoal makes better sense to the point of shading contrasts.

There are times when fountain pens, gel pens or ballpoint pens offer me the strength I am looking for. Dry pastels, oil pastels, water color, fuji colors, and permanent markers allow me to express color. The important concept here is to always have different thicknesses and grades of pencils and pens during this process. At the office, we keep all of our pens and pencils in one fixed location, so no one has to go searching for them.

Rulers of All Shapes and Sizes

We find it important to keep a variety of rulers at hand. A compass helps to draw arcs and circles to scale, while T-squares make fast right angles. Parallel rulers ensure perfect parallel lines. The key here is that we spend less time worrying about making our lines straight and more time conceptualizing the design approach.

While technicalities of shape and scale are essential, they kill creativity when you have to focus on them for too long. Having many different rulers on hand just makes life easier. If I do not have the right rulers and drawing utensils, I sometimes rush the process by running straight to the computer. However, I find this takes the intimacy out of the initial draft where I can see my designs flow directly from my hand.

Big Workspaces

Our desks are big, collaborative spaces, that allow us to work together in groups of as many as 5. We recognize that every member of the team has something to contribute. So,  we designed our studio to reflect a collaborative effort. Not only do the large workspaces allow us to put multiple designers on a task, but we can also bring in contractors and client, when not on location. After all, their expertise and visions are just as important. We believe that we must create a culture of collaboration to bring out the best in any project.