Five Elements That Make Guests Feel at Home in Hotels

Photo credit: Carlos Perez López
Photo credit: Carlos Perez López

The days of matching décor and furniture in every hotel guestroom are fading away. More recently, guests expect their accommodations to act as a second home. Cookie-cutter rooms and mass-produced décor feels cold and sterile, and they want somewhere that puts them at ease following a long day of travel. In fact, a new term has been coined to define this trend of merging hospitality with residential: “hospidential.” Here are five elements that hotels can include in their spaces to create a more welcoming environment and help guests feel more at home.


Plants are an easy way to bring life back into a room. Biophilic design—a method to connect humans with nature—is growing in popularity as a way to positively impact guests’ wellbeing, from stress reduction to increasing productivity. More and more designers are using indoor gardens, organic building materials, scenic views, and water to bring the outside in.


Lighting control is becoming increasingly important to hospitality design. Lighting fixtures previously only used in homes—like floor-to-table lamps—are beginning to crop up in hotels. Lighting options with more character are also on the rise and dimmers have become more common in hotel rooms. Travelers used to smart home capabilities and lighting zones are demanding these same capabilities on the road.


The hospitality industry previously had limited fabric choices. Hotel designers once chose polyester fabrics from a selection of limited designs, but now have options that range from cotton blends to velvets that meet contract-grade specifications. Furthermore, with the advancement of technology, treatments and applications are available to turn fabrics into a commercial rating, creating even more options. Hospitality bedding is beginning to appear residential homes, due to its ability to endure the test of time while still being attractive and comfortable. Hotels are also providing luxury thread counts as consumer demands continue to rise. The line between hospitality and residential is blurring quickly.


Wallpaper is a great tool for designers looking to get creative when making a space warm and inviting. There is a seemingly endless supply of textures and graphics to choose from at the moment, whether in commercial or residential spaces. Manufacturing has also advanced so that wallpaper can be used in more humid environments.

5Area Rugs and Tiles

Hotel rooms used to blend together under mass carpeting, but area rugs are now being used to break up spaces and create separate zones such as a living area, den, library, etc. This is a common technique in residential design that the hospitality industry is now mimicking.

Technological advances are providing designers with high-end alternatives to porcelain tiles that are suitable for high-traffic applications like hotels. Porcelain tiles now come in large formats and imitate natural stones and marbles. This allows designers flexibility to use materials that were previously not appropriate for hospitality, and still attain that high-end residential look. The porcelain tile options are so realistic, practical, and cost accessible, that residential clients are choosing them over natural materials in their own homes.

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Cristina Villalón is the co-founder, principal interior designer, and director of Álvarez-Díaz & Villaló | Architecture & Interior Design, an award-winning firm based in San Juan and Miami. AD&V is dedicated to creating Places of Purpose: holistic and sustainable architecture and interior design that enhances people’s experience of the world and improves their lives.