Ms. Locke

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment

Putting the 'Hot' in Hotel Rooms

By Amy Locke, Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality

So what are the current "hot" trends in hotel room design?

Sitting Areas

In-room sitting areas add a lot of functional value, plus they add considerably in making a hotel room feel like home. So sitting areas are being enlarged by brands that already had them - and sitting areas are being added by other brands, even properties that cater to budget and mid-priced travelers.

Typically, the sitting area consists of either a sofa, recliner, or lounge chair and ottoman - and sometimes it's a combination of these pieces. Now small tables are being used next to the chairs, rather than just a lamp. This greatly enhances convenient use of the sitting area for paperwork, eating, or just relaxing to watch television.

Guest comfort is being further enhanced by lounge chairs that are overstuffed or that are covered in leather.

Desks/Work Areas

There is considerable added emphasis on in-room work space.

For example, almost all hotel rooms today offer internet access, usually near the work desk. Now many properties are adding internet access near the bed - specifically for travelers who like to work on their laptop computer while relaxing or watching TV.

Similarly, hotels are adding larger work desks. Some properties are using L-shaped desks and some - such as extended stay hotels - are using desks with built-in shelves, which offer a guest even more storage space.

And all this added work space is being enhanced with more and better lighting.


A good night's sleep is why travelers check into a hotel - yet the bed has often been the forgotten room amenity. That's changing - with plush, pillow-top mattresses, with higher thread count luxury linens, and with more and softer pillows.

A new trend, especially in upscale hotels and those with heavy business traffic, is the addition of "bed lap desks" for the convenience of people who want to work or read comfortably in bed.


Typically, guests spend more time in the bathroom than any area of the room, other than the bed, so a comfortable "at home" feeling is very desirable, if not a "must."

One way that hotels are making the bathroom comfortable is by replacing the traditional vanity counter with one that looks like a piece of furniture. Some of these new wooden vanities are in fact pieces of furniture that have been converted to hold a basin.

Another way to achieve a warm, attractive look is to use a granite or solid surface counter top instead of synthetic marble. One brand - Hampton - has actually made this a specification for new construction and renovation.

Lighting is another important way hotels are achieving the "home away from home" look and feel. For example, wall sconces and decorative ceiling mounts are in favor over the "boxed" fluorescents and "cloud" lights that have typically been used in bathrooms.

There you have them - the current "hot" design trends and tips. The objective is to make a "hotel stay" be a "hotel experience" - and with the help of your FF&E supplier, there's a way to do it effectively while keep one eye on design and the other on the bottom line.

Amy Locke is director of interior design at Hatchett Hospitality. She works with franchisers and franchisees on a wide variety of hotel brands, styles, and themes – from economy to luxury, from resort to business conference, and from traditional to modern. Previous to joining Hatchett, she held a position in interior design with Ethan Allen Interiors. Ms. Locke earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. She is completing a degree in feng shuiand is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Ms. Locke can be contacted at 770-227-5232 or Extended Bio... retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by

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