NEW YORK – You know that feeling you get when you walk into a hotel room and you just want to fall on that big white bedspread with the fluffy pillows?
Here are some tips from three hotel brands — Renaissance, Baccarat and Loews — on how to create that same serene and inviting atmosphere at home.
SURPRISE AND DELIGHT
Marriott opens the Renaissance NY Midtown hotel this spring in Manhattan. Its design concept involves creating moments of “surprise and delight” in public spaces like the lobby and dining areas, as well as in guest rooms. For example, open a closet door and inside you’ll find bold graphics livening up a space that’s usually unadorned.
Toni Stoeckl, vice-president of Marriott’s Lifestyle Brands, offers these tips for a similar approach in home design:
- Target all the senses, including “what you see, the music, the fragrance,” said Stoeckl.
- Pepper the environment with “moments to love,” he said. But remember: “Less is more: If you have too much art, you can’t pay attention to any one piece.” Good interior design is “more about uncovering beauty and decluttering space.”
- Keep design elements “real and authentic. No fake flowers, no fake candles.”
- Change artwork periodically. “Have a few pieces of art that you rotate,” said Stoeckl. Consider using the seasons as a scheduling guide for when to change displays.
- Showcase objects and art that have layers of interest or meaningful stories.
For example, a large, bright red work of abstract art near the hotel’s front desk is comprised entirely of buttons, but you can’t see the buttons until you get close. The button art was inspired by the hotel’s neighbourhood: It’s in Manhattan’s Garment District, and many of its design elements are connected to the apparel and fashion industries, from little ceramic sewing machine decorations in guest rooms, to quotes from famous designers placed on coffee tables in the club lounge. Another large artwork displaying a quote from Diane von Furstenberg — “Attitude is everything”— is made from tiny pushpins.
“We want you to look at the space, but there is another layer, and we want you to look again,” said Stoeckl.
PAINTING WITH LIGHT
Baccarat is not just a famous brand of French crystal. There’s also the Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York, across from the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Chandeliers, glassware and artwork made from Baccarat crystal are hallmarks of the hotel decor, but so is lighting. “The idea of illumination is one of the central reasons why we created the hotel,” said Kemper Hyers, head of design for Starwood Capital Group, which created the hotel.
Yet lighting is sometimes overlooked in home design. Lighting your home isn’t just about finding the perfect lamp, Hyers said. It’s also about “painting with light. How do I bring this room to light?”
- Experiment with tape embedded with LED lights. It’s inexpensive, easy to apply and remove, and widely available. The tape is not only handy for illuminating a shelf or dark corner, but it can also light a wall behind a piece of furniture or spotlight a work of art.
- When you buy LED bulbs, “don’t go any cooler than 2700 warm white,” said Hyers, referring to the numerical scale used to measure bulb colour. The higher the number, the whiter and cooler the light.
- Bulb design improves every few months, so look for the latest options and “play with a mix of bulbs.” You can even buy LED bulbs shaped like classic “Edison bulbs with the long filament, perfectly done,” Hyers said.
CLEAN AND COZY
Loews Hotels launched a “Loews Knows” campaign in December offering short videos at https://www.loewshotels.com/loews-knows with “hints and hacks” from housekeeping managers and other staff. Topics range from cleaning to entertaining to creating the right ambience.
- For “insanely fluffy bed pillows,” toss pillows in a dryer with a tennis ball.
- To dust “like a pro,” use a microfiber cloth (avoid terrycloth). Spritz cleaning solution on the cloth (not on the surface you’re dusting) and wipe in a circular motion from high to low.
- To create a cozy ambience for a relaxing bath, light a candle, add essential oils and Epsom salts to the water, and provide accessories, both functional and decorative: sponges, stones, body wash and handmade soap. Place a drink and book tubside, with a fluffy robe and slippers.
- To make a guest room welcoming, fold down covers, stand pillows up, put a bottle of water on one side and a glass of milk with cookies and sliced fruit on the other, close the shades and leave one light on by the bed.
- To remove crayon from walls, spray WD-40 and scrub vigorously with a rag or paper towel. To remove coffee stains from fabric, blot with light beer, club soda, white vinegar or baby wipes, then scrub with a toothbrush. To remove a red wine stain, soak a cloth in white wine and blot gently.