Monday Musings: Boutique Hotels
Let's face it, most of us will never live in a mega or mini-mansion in our lifetime. Our homes are often small, awkward dwellings, riddled with decor challenges. It's a setting that I, and most of the people I know are familiar with.
If you've read some of my previous posts, by now you know that a running theme of this blog is creating a highly customized, tailored look in your small home. What better place to look for instruction on how to do that than a tiny, well "dressed" hotel? Boutique hotels serve as this week's inspiration.
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Principles from Boutique Hotels for Decorating Your Home
Boutique hotels are cozy, one-of-a-kind, independent establishments that rank just above an upscale bed and breakfast. What they lack in commercial hotel amenities, they make up for in personality, and attention to detail.
There are several principles employed by boutique hotels that make them distinct. When applied correctly, the end result is a cohesive, warm, sophisticated space that screams luxe. Here are some principles found in boutique hotel designs:
- A Crisp and Clean Look
- Embrace Color
- Smart Double-Duty Solutions
- Use of Layers
Go for a crisp, clean look
One noticeable characteristic of boutique hotels is that they are totally UN-cluttered. They are carefully styled with books, accessories and artwork to look like a lived-in home, but all the unattractive objects of daily life are hidden. So the first step to achieving this look in your home is to get rid of, or hide your clutter.
- Put extra blankets in a basket or storage ottoman.
- Hide remotes in simple closed boxes, and place them on the coffee table. For a personal touch, purchase an unfinished box from a craft store like this one here and paint it yourself, or have your children paint it. Consider it their personal contribution to the space.
- Whenever possible, get magazines off the floor and onto the wall.
- Have a designated place for umbrellas, mail, keys, purses and wallets.
- Instead of having a pile of shoes at the door, place them in an attractive storage box or basket with an easy-open lid. TIP: Unless you want to be whacked by unpleasant odors every time you open it, I suggest dabbing your favorite essential oil on a few cotton balls and placing them inside. Trust me.
These are great ways to store everyday items in plain sight. Having a designated place for everything will also make it much easier to clean and tidy your home. For more ideas on storage, see my previous post here.
Smart Double-Duty Solutions
Every suite at Mama Shelter Hotel in Lyon, France (shown below) has a 27-inch iMac computer, mounted on the wall. It is equipped with Skype and internet access, and doubles as a television, and radio. The desk thus serves as a work space, dressing table, or even a nice place to enjoy a private meal.
Can you see someone using this setup in a studio apartment? Do you have a guest/office combination room where this technique can be implemented? I LOVE this idea!
I've noticed that boutique hotels give a lot of attention to layering. What do I mean by that? They mix lots of different textures, like wood, fur, metal, glass and cotton in the same rooms. This gives the room an expensive, yet homey feel. Can you identify the different layers used in the room below?
I took the next photo when my husband and I stayed at the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs, California. It's the perfect example of all 4 of the above-mentioned principles in action. The sofa next to the bed converts to a sleeper. And notice the very heavy layering of different colors, textures and prints.
The fifth and final principle is ambiance. Soft music via bluetooth speakers, candles, and aromatherapy are inexpensive ways to create warmth in any space. They're also remarkably effective in improving the overall mood of everyone in the home. Don't believe me? When I was a little girl, my parents always played music on Saturday mornings. Even if I wasn't quite ready to get up, I would lie in bed with my eyes closed, singing and wiggling my little body to the beat of whatever was playing. No one came to the breakfast table grumpy. My point? You should seriously consider giving this a try in your home. You will be amazed at the difference.
These are my favorite things about boutique hotels. Now it's your turn. I'd love to hear from you. Tell me - what tips have you taken from hotels and used in your own home?