Styling: 16 Boutique Hotel Tricks to Copy at Home
These five-star design secrets could help you turn your own home into a high-end retreat
While at home many of us have bare boards or engineered wood these days, upmarket hotels often stick to more traditional carpets or large rugs.
A long-piled rug can bring a subtle softness to a space, as well as adding some restrained colour, as with this velvety mauve number. In bedrooms, sinking toes into a carpet feels far more relaxing than cold tiles or boards, reinforcing that leave-your-cares-behind feel.
The polished boutique hotel look is all about combining luxurious materials in subtle shades. Key here is textured silk wallpaper with a luxurious sheen – ordinary matt wallpaper wouldn’t have the same indulgent effect. And while at home many of us automatically go for pale walls, a deeper colour, like this purple, has a more opulent, restful effect.
The paper also tones with the satin bedspread and plump cushions for a pulled-together feel that avoids being too matchy-matchy. The much-imitated pile of artfully arranged cushions on the bed may feel something of a hotel cliché these days, but there’s no doubt they are still an effective style touch.
Tip A pair of tasteful matching prints on adjacent walls is another way to mimic the hotel look.
A well-upholstered upright armchair in a formal shape is a hotel classic, whether it’s in the whisky bar or a superior suite. A contemporary take on the traditional wingback armchair in a strong colour, such as this bold blue, is always a winner. Don’t scrimp on quality: choose fabrics that are hard-wearing and luxurious, such as tweed, velvet or wool.
Modern rustic style has become a favourite in boutique hotels, and the chunky wooden table, animal head and exposed brickwork here all work brilliantly together
The best boutique hotels manage to combine old-school restrained elegance with a little modern glamour. In this room, the side lamps, bureaus, doors and sofas are traditional, but the high-shine pendants, tables and zebra print rug and cushions add some bling, for a larger-than-life, escapist feel.
It’s the little details that make life better when you’re staying in a hotel, such as having a large, comfortable, padded headboard to lean against while you read or have a cup of tea. If you’re in the market for a new bed, consider an upholstered number with a buttoned headboard like this one for some everyday luxury. You can also buy separate padded headboards to add to existing beds, or have a bespoke headboard made, covered in the fabric of your choice.
This smart room also pulls off a number of other neat hotel touches. The plush cushions include a long bolster for neck support, while the elegant shaded wall lamps provide a soft, filtered light, with an adjustable spot for reading.
Make a style statement with your headboard
While white, bright spaces have their place, hotels often tend to favour an atmosphere of intimacy. Covering walls in dark paint or paper can be a short-cut to a cosier, retreat-like feel.
Here, the navy walls have been brightened with a mirror, crystal chandelier and white armchairs for an effect that’s formal but not overly stuffy.
If you want to imitate that hushed hotel lobby atmosphere, choose subtly structured furniture that’s carefully positioned for an ordered, designer feel. Here, the low sofas in a biscuit shade have a pleasing shape that’s linear without being stiff or stuffy. The twin compact armchairs complement them perfectly.
Well-stuffed cushions in contrasting patterns are another device that exude upmarket style – saggy cushions simply don’t cut it in boutique establishments.
A low, well-proportioned coffee table slotted between two mirror-image sofas is another hotel lobby trick to copy. And the wooden panelling in this room also adds some crucial ‘retreat’ factor.
Most of us are big kids at heart when we check into a posh hotel, revelling in that thrill when you check out the bathroom and find a pile of fresh rolled-up towels, and fragrant mini shower gels and shampoos. Rolling towels is an easy trick to re-create at home. Here, using towels in purple as well as classic white adds elegant colour to the pale space.
Planning-wise, this bathroom pulls off a number of other hotel-chic tricks to mimic. Well-thought-out lighting is crucial in hotels, and these large mirrored cabinets have subtle in-built lighting to complement the ceiling spots. The shallow twin basins are practical and luxurious, and feature rails hung directly underneath for easy access to towels.
Thick, floor-length curtains have a timeless formality that exudes hotel style. The key to getting them right is choosing heavy, quality material that hangs well, and making sure the curtains are substantial enough to block out the light. Hanging them on a concealed track also means they look neater and subtly more expensive. If you want to hang sheer curtains behind your drapes for privacy, look for double-hung rods.
Tip Timeless velvet has instant luxury factor, this corner sofa in purple being a case in point.
Having a bath in the bedroom isn’t for everyone – especially if you’re a private soul who prefers to soak in total isolation. But there’s no doubt that, done well (and kept sparkling clean), it can create a five-star suite vibe, as seen here.
The secrets to success are choosing a freestanding bath you absolutely love; decorating in a style that clearly spells glamour and metropolitan sophistication; and, crucially, having a well-ventilated space large enough to comfortably accommodate both bed and bath.
Find more ideas for working bath-in-a-boudoir style
If you’re a bath kind of person (and I know I am), and have the space, then investing in a truly special tub can make every day feel like a weekend away. A freestanding roll-top is a boutique staple – and this white and silver number is simply beautiful.
Even if you don’t possess a room with spectacular original features, like this one, you can still copy some of the other hotel-chic touches, including fitting double mixer taps on an extra-wide basin and hanging a glorious gilt-framed mirror.
When times are tight, buying flowers can feel like an unnecessary indulgence. But upmarket hotels know that a few well-placed vases of blooms add up to more than the sum of their parts. They create an instant feeling of luxury and wellbeing, lift the spirits and give rooms a sense of being ‘finished’.
If you can’t afford extravagant five-star-style bouquets, think outside the box. Could you use cuttings from your garden, or a relative’s? Sometimes all you need are a few leafy sprigs, as this simple, flower-free table centrepiece shows.
What is it that makes dinner or breakfast in a hotel so deliciously indulgent? Obviously not having to clear the table afterwards helps. But taking the time and effort to dress your table hotel-style can help re-create that sense of occasion at home.
Here, a traditional lacy tablecloth, a bowl of fresh-cut flowers, candles in holders and colourful glassware add up to something special. Also think about replacing hard dining chairs with comfortable upholstered armchairs, as here, for a more relaxed dining experience.
A four-poster bed might seem over-the-top for ordinary nights at home, but, actually, if you have a high enough ceiling, they don’t necessarily take up any more space than an ordinary kingsize.
A model like this one, with extended bedposts but no canopy, can be a good compromise, re-creating some of that country manor grandeur, but with no extra dusting duties.
Country hotel style is all about classic touches: lamps with fabric shades, plaid cushions, candlesticks, a glass of Scotch by a roaring fire.
If you’re not lucky enough to have splendid period oak panelling like this, consider whether your living room could work it – you can source reclaimed panelling through architectural antiques specialists.
Why do hotel beds (usually) feel so wonderful to sleep in? Because the owners know that a quality pocket-sprung mattress and bed linen with a high thread count really do make a difference to how we feel when we slip between the sheets.
On average, we spend 25 years of our lives asleep, so it’s worth considering whether you could upgrade your current set-up for that hotel feel at home.
Have you pulled off the hotel look at home? Please share your ideas and photos in the Comments below.