The What and the Why

Societal and cultural trends have a way of demanding change in the industries around them. The hospitality sector is no exception.

2018 has ushered forth a slew of new interior design trends for hotels, driving renovations and new building projects alike. These changes are derived largely from the interests of Gen-X and millennial guests, who also make up the majority of business travelers – a key demographic and source of revenue for hotels. The end goal remains consistent across sub-trends and influences: a unique, personalized, and memorable experience.

The following list details pivotal design trends, many of which will likely carry on well into the following years.

  1. The Tech-Savvy Demand Tech-Access

This one hardly comes as a surprise to the current consuming populace. With a large portion of work and play dependent on electronic devices, tech-savvy guests seek convenience and accessibility to stay plugged in. Plentiful outlets and USB charging ports must be present in each room. The trick for designers lies either in incorporating these elements visibly into standard features of the room, such as headboards, or hiding charging stations and outlets behind subtle covers in desks and nightstands.

This trend extends to the accessibility of multiple and various ports on display devices for guests. Digital entertainment is consumed on-demand and hotel amenities strive to match the convenience of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now. Any extra wires, however, should be concealed from immediate view by design teams.

Some good news for designers revolves around the newest technology to hit the hospitality scene. Smart hotels feature personalized tablets capable of adjusting everything from room temperature and lighting to food service orders. Apps like OpenKey offer a keyless/cardless solution to guestroom entry. Internet connectivity continues to develop as Li-Fi threatens to replace Wi-Fi with the ease and convenience of web access through lights. No extra wires and cords – just easy accessibility.

Smart hotels further strut their technological stuff by removing reception areas and replacing traditional processes with online and iPad check-in. This comes with the added benefit of additional lobby space for designers to play with. Extra space is then, of course, best utilized in showcasing various other trends.

  1. Communal Spaces

Millennials in particular love to take advantage of open, public spaces, which provide opportunities for both social connection and professional networking. This affects hotel spaces upfront as competitors vie for open concept lobbies that leave plenty of room for easy guest interactions. This marks a definitive shift away from strictly professional and functional to warm and inviting living spaces.

For designers, a balance between luxury and functionality must be struck to achieve truly dynamic co-living spaces. Lounge areas transform with the addition of workstations and office features while simultaneously maintaining an atmosphere of comfortable spaciousness (not to mention sofas).

  1. Millennials Called It – Less is More

Minimalism is on the rise in interior design. Communal spaces take precedence over guestrooms as the generations now dominating the travel-heavy demographic spend less and less time in their rented space. This in turn results in bare essential requirements in the guestroom itself over bonus luxury furniture. While guests now desire additional charging stations, they DON’T crave extra couches, closets, and dressers.

For hoteliers, this means downsized living spaces, which in turn creates the opportunity for more rooms per floor. Meanwhile, designers are tasked with finding solutions to maximizing a personalized feel in a decreased amount of space. Handmade elements in the décor, mix-and-match textures and patterns, and whimsical styles leave plenty of wiggle room for mashing minimal with unique. And don’t forget – monochrome and terracotta color palettes are biggies this year, as well as metallic elements.

  1. Biophilic Design

The theory of biophilia proposes that humans possess an innate tendency to seek out nature and other forms of life. And what better way to tap into environmental awareness and wellness trends than with the inclusion of nature and natural elements?

Designers can achieve true biophilic design by incorporating an abundance of plants, running water, and re-purposed wood, metals, and stone. To be more specific, natural architectural patterns, vertical and walled indoor-gardens, preserved moss panels, indoor waterfalls, wooden furnishings, and multilevel terraces have soared in popularity for hospitality-centered interiors.

Natural views, where accessible, do much of the work for designers with the simple addition of optimally placed windows. Hotels with stunning views, especially those over water, charge more per night for even an indirect exposure to nature, benefiting hoteliers with additional revenue right off the bat.

Guests want to see authentic green and the result for hotels who capitalize on this desire include better air quality, reduced stress, lower energy costs, and a surplus of favorable feedback from visitors. Communal spaces with an abundance of plant life see more foot traffic to boot. The positives far outweigh the additional upkeep plant life requires.

As an extension of biophilic design, energy conservation methods have been on the rise. Hotels that boast eco-friendly, sustainable practices ensure positive reception from guests. Natural light, solar panels, recycled and organic materials, and locally handcrafted furniture and décor all feed into an environmentally conscious atmosphere. These additions also provide further opportunity to showcase local artisans, which happens to be our next trend.

  1. Crafting a Localized Experience

Generic elements are being pushed out the door. Guests emphasize the value of “experiencing”  their travel destination over having access to luxury within it.

One way to achieve an immersive and personalized experience is by featuring local artists within lobby and hotel room designs. Showcasing local products and art exposes hotel visitors to the surrounding area in a unique and memorable way. This design tactic veers away from cookie-cutter recommendations and features. For urban-based businesses, there’s room to toss in graffiti and street art. The added personality of a spray-painted wall sets a scene far beyond the capabilities of standardized wallpaper.

One-of-a-kind pieces introduce an originality factor that are singularly unique to a specific location. The point here is local immersion, which in turn paves the way toward rave reviews and return customers.


The What and the Why

2018 has seen the rise of monochrome palettes. This stylistic choice layers shades of the same color for a calming, minimalist interior. The pay off for the sheer discipline this requires is an air of clean sophistication.

For Example

The Wireless Experience in Manahawkin, NJ dropped a multi-colored interior concept in favor of the timeless sophistication of monochrome. The multi-functionality of the neutral-toned palette leaves the business and owner comfortable room for sustained professionalism, no matter where their work leads.

The strict boundaries of a monochrome style still leave room for unique expression. Precise, the business behind the designs, incorporated complimentary decor that left a big impact on the space without detracting from a minimal feel. Bold, enlarged lettering covers the walls. Sleek, modern lighting fixtures both illuminate and impress from above. Wall-to-ceiling graphics sit comfortably within the guidelines of their palette, neither distracting nor forgettable. Every piece fits in its environment while retaining personality and creativity.