There’s something particularly relaxing about staying in a nice hotel.
Maybe it’s the clean sheets and plush towels or the cool artwork and fancy bar. But whatever it is, I often find myself wishing my apartment gave me the same feeling I get from spending time in a boutique hotel or luxury resort bar. I know I’m not alone in this wish.
“The feeling of walking into a nice hotel evokes an excitement in all of us,” Jessica Lagrange, founder of Jessica Lagrange Interiors, tells HuffPost. “You feel as though you are somewhere special as soon as you walk into the hotel with beautiful design all around you and many perks and amenities we may not have at home.”
But it turns out there are ways to incorporate some of those perks into your own space. We asked Lagrange and other interior designers, as well as hotel experts, to share their tips for making your home feel like a fancy hotel.
Establish a scent
“Luxury hotels have a recognisable aroma,” says home stager and designer Leia T. Ward of LTW Design. “The 1 Hotels have a beautiful aroma and sell it in their 1 Hotel candles, and the Ritz Paris is another hotel with its own aroma that they also sell in a candle. This evokes a sense of calm and feels very inviting for travelers.”
Floral, woodsy, fruity – whatever your preferred scent is, make sure it fills your home.
“Candles can be placed in bathrooms, on coffee tables and even by the kitchen sink,” says Lisa Galano, founder of Lisa Galano Design Consultancy. “A warm scent throughout the home does wonders to elevate a vibe and mood. A few favourites are Otherland, Maison Louis Marie and Byredo.”
Invest in your bed
“Buy the best bedding you can afford,” says Liana Hawes Young, creative director at Wimberly Interiors. “Luxury, top-quality bedding comes in a range of price points and will provide you with a five-star slumber.”
We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s worth investing in our beds. If your mattress is due for an upgrade, invest in a new one that has a plush pillow top, as many luxury hotels use.
Interior designer Anouska Hempel believes a good bed gives a strong focal point to the space
“Ensure that your bed is extra-deep with a 12-inch mattress,” she notes. “Dress the bed beautifully with lovely toppers and six to eight pillows. It is important to make it an inviting and special place for yourself.”
As for the sheets, there are great options from Brooklinen, Frette, Safera and Matteo, according to BHDM Design’s Dan Mazzarini, who is leading the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead’s latest renovation.
He also suggests buying down inserts for decorative pillows that are two inches larger than the fabric to make the room “feel more luxurious and sumptuous.” And don’t forget to make your bed in the morning.
“I recommend finishing with Downy Wrinkle Release and a spritz of Fredrick Malle ‘Dan mon Lit’ bedding mist for a hotel-ready smooth bed and a subtle and soothing rosewater scent,” Mazzarini says.
Opt for warm lighting
“Lighting is integral to creating the most emotive environments, whether for a dinner party, relaxing in your living room or nighttime reading in bed,” says Selina McCabe, senior partner of architecture interiors at Winch Design. “The right balance between task lighting, architectural lighting and ambient lighting and its ability to transform a space should not be underestimated.”
Several designers recommended warm lighting for a luxurious hotel feel.
“Check your light bulbs,” Hawes Young says. “You want the color temperature to be a warm 2500K.”
As for the fixtures, look into adding interesting lamps, chandeliers, sconces and more.
“From a styling perspective, dimmers on everything,” Mazzarini says. “I especially love a picture light on a dimmer. They allow a space to go from day to night, with a softer, romantic sophistication.”
Galano notes that Lutron makes reasonably priced, easy-to-install dimmers.
Lagrange shares a tip for mastering your lighting scheme. “Black-out draperies with sheers is also nice to have as you are able to control the privacy and light within your personal space,” she says.
Create a nice bar space
“Everyone loves the hotel bar, so create your own bar at home for entertaining,” says Jay Jeffers, an interior designer who recently opened the Madrona hotel in Healdsburg, California. “This could be a full bar setup with a counter, fun barstools and overhead lights, or it could be a decorative bar cart stocked with beautiful glassware and a bowl of fresh citrus.”
Many of us dream of re-creating our favorite vacation cocktail and never get past the stage of looking up the ingredients. But with your own bar space at home, you might be more likely to actually make it.
Give your bathroom spa vibes
Creating a spa-like bathroom environment is a great way to make your home feel like a relaxing escape.
“Depending on your investment, this could be an oversized bathtub with intricate tiling or even just plush towels and a bathrobe,” Jeffers says. “Decorative mirrors that double as art add even more luxuriousness to your space.”
Don’t forget about your bath products as well. “I recommend investing in nice aromatherapy touches like Aesop hand soaps, Vitruvi diffuser blends, Crosby Elements candles, bath salts, a cozy Parachute robe, quality skin care,” says Devin VonderHaar, creator of The Modern Minimalist. “Anything that enriches the sensory experience in your home.”
“Nice hotels always think of what you need and where and when you might need it,” Nikki Reed and Staci Inspektor, founders of Atelier Saucier, tells HuffPost in an email.
While your home might not come with a reception desk, concierge or housekeeping, there are ways to create a space that makes your life more convenient.
“Always having a charging station ready to fire up your electronics, a water glass situated next to the bed and a lamp switch in arm’s reach,” Reed and Inspektor advises.
Don’t ignore scale
“I am in a true believer of proper scale and proportions,” says Therese Virserius of Virserius Studio, who designed The Starling in Atlanta. “When you are trying to squeeze a large sofa, no matter how comfortable it is, into a small space, it just looks and feels unbalanced.”
Before buying a new piece, measure everything and try to visualise how it will look in your home. There are even room planner websites and apps that make the visualisation process super easy.
“Investing in the right size of furniture for your space is crucial,” Virserius says. “Small doesn’t mean uncomfortable, just as large doesn’t mean comfortable. Find the right fit.”
Bring in plants and fresh florals
“A touch of greenery or a live element of your choice finishes any space and brings in both color and fresh scent,” says Stephen King, CEO and founder of The Loren Hotels.
Even if you aren’t the plant parent type, you can still bring the outdoors in with some nice flowers.
“Whether it’s from your grocery store or sending yourself an arrangement, fresh florals make any room have a note of hospitality,” Mazzarini says. “I recommend massing out one kind of floral. A big floral always seems luxurious, seasonal and softening to a room. If you have the room, a centre table in a front hall with a floral says welcome, luxury, arrival and respite.”
Focus on nice presentation
“I think any time you can present your everyday items nicely you are on your way to that relaxing hotel feeling,” says Julia Miller of Yond Interiors. “Adding your Q-tips to a special ceramic holder, placing your soap on a nice teak tray or folding your towels can also create an instant calming vibe.”
Galano similarly recommends smaller items that don’t cost a load but serve a purpose and really elevate a home.
“Invest in bath accessories like tissue covers, soap pumps and toothbrush holders,” she says.
Use art as a visual tool
“Some of our favourite boutique hotels are known for their memorable statement art,” says Gail Dunnett, founder of Studio D. “Likewise, we recommend using artwork as an important visual tool to set the tone for your space. From the subject matter to the colour palette to the materiality, there are infinite ways in which you can use artwork to create the perfect energy in moments throughout your home.”
Special pieces of art that you select can make a hotel or house feel less like a sterile furniture store environment and more like an inviting home.
“I think art is crucial for a space as well,” Virserius says. “Without it the space feels bare and empty, no matter how nicely everything else has been put together in the space. You need that extra layer of warmth and comfort.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match
″[E]nsure that the different rooms flow together while never being too matchy-matchy,” Jeffers says. “Sometimes people feel that their homes need to totally match from one room to the other, and that just makes for a boring house!”
Although you want your rooms to work together on the whole, each space can have a different feel. Don’t be afraid to mix and match elements within the same room as well.
“Make sure there are layers and personality to the items in the home,” says Paul Price, design consultant for Mission Pacific Hotel and Seabird Resort. “Don’t make it feel as if it were all bought at the same time and place.”
The combination of colours, textures, big pieces and accessories don’t have to mimic what you see set up at a furniture store.
“Look into symmetry and beautiful fabrics – mix vintage with modern items to give you an eclectic style,” Hempel says.
Curate special pieces
“Curate, curate, curate,” Hawes Young urges. “Less is more. Purposely place items and objects in your home that you are fond of.”
She recommended buying only coffee-table books that mean something to you – such as an artist you like or a destination you’ve visited.
“Stack them on your bedside or coffee table in a tray with an object or two you found while traveling or during a special moment.”
These kinds of special “found pieces” are unique to your home and bring a sense of detail and finishing.
“Treat your home like your charm bracelet,” Price says. “Have different items from different times in your life or places you lived or visited.”
If travel books aren’t your thing, consider other accessories like throw pillows or blankets from local stores you like.
“Decorative pillows can also add a touch of pizazz, from a unique face pillow to a soft mohair lumbar pillow,” Mazzarini says. “The print, colour and fabric of these decorative accents are the icing on the cake to your home.”
Keep it organised
“A relaxing hotel vibe starts with a clean, decluttered space, so first I recommend an investment in organising and decluttering, which can lower your stress level out of the gate and is something accessible that anyone can accomplish with a little bit of time set aside,” Dunnett says.
Make sure there’s a place for everything in your house and that you can see all of your belongings when you open a closet or cabinet. “Cluttercore” might be having a moment, but visible clutter is not part of the fancy hotel look. Prioritise on function and organisation instead.
“If you want an intentional, calming vibe, then take away the clutter and let the pieces breathe,” VonderHaar says. “Beautifully designed furnishings speak for themselves.”