A lot of hotel owners write Blanche Garcia, interior decorating expert on Hotel Impossible and principal and interior designer of B. Garcia Designs, asking her to renovate their properties in the same amount of days and within the same budget as she does on the show. Garcia might make it look easy on TV, but updating a hotel on a tight budget and creating designs that offer longevity requires logic, meditation, and experience. Here are a few tips Garcia offers for owners who want to improve the guest experience:
Cleanliness: Ensure that the guestrooms are clean. “You should literally be able to eat off of the floor. That doesn’t cost money, it just costs diligence.”
White bedding: White sheets are always preferable because it feels cleaner than, say, a passé polyester quilt that looks like your grandmother’s bedding. “You’re never going to walk into a room and see this cushy white bedding and say, ‘Oh, this is bland.’ You’re going to think, ‘Wow, I want to lay in that.’”
Fresh paint: At around $25 a gallon, paint is an affordable way to freshen up a room and the best way to draw attention away from imperfections in a space. “A fresh coat of paint isn’t going to cost you much, and you can take a small set of rooms and have those down while others are working.”
Color: Big brand hotels often use rich woods and light colors because the quality of the space and materials are high. Bold color is the independent hotel owner’s best friend, and has the power to impact a guest’s mood. “If you don’t want guests looking at your furniture or carpet because it’s a little shabby, pull the eye where you want them to look. Pick a beautiful accent color—maybe do a chair rail or something on the headboard wall. It doesn’t have to be crazy.”
Lighting: As long as a room is clean and crisp when guests walk in, the second thing they’ll notice is how the room makes them feel. Aside from smell, lighting is an often-
underestimated element that evokes a particular mood in a guestroom. A fluorescent light bulb can make a guestroom appear dingy and hospital-like. “If you don’t have a lot in your guestrooms and they’re not flashy—which is fine—just make sure you have dimmable lights.” An adjustable bedside table light is an inexpensive and easy way to update a room’s style.
Ask for help: A consultation with a design expert can be extremely valuable for owners who need a push in the right direction. “If owners can cue into some of the experts in the field for different things that they need, even if they can’t afford a lot, a couple of hours can help them reposition things in a different way.”