Allyson Lupton, category manager for Office Depot’s furniture and interiors team, discusses the latest furniture choices in the hospitality industry, including the benefits of modular furniture and, in particular, how it allows interior designers to be flexible with spaces such as waiting areas in restaurants or hotel lobbies.

In terms of furniture and design trends within the hospitality industry, modular furniture is increasing in popularity, especially in spaces that are dual-purpose.

Modular reception furniture is agile enough to bend around awkward corners, and some ranges come with an upholstered table that can stand individually or sit between chairs. For businesses looking to incorporate the latest design trends, modular furniture can be made into various configurations with natural backgrounds and pops of colour used across the furnishing itself or building structures.

The flexibility of modular furniture pieces allows firms to change the look and feel of reception areas as furniture can be moved around to modify design layout. In particular, this lends itself to hotel lobbies as they have a multi-functional use and, depending on the target market of the hotel, the reception area can be used for meetings or simply as a social hub for somewhere to enjoy refreshments.

It is rare for the hotel lobby to be used for checking in alone. For example, softer stools and pouf seats are proving popular for hotel reception areas as they take up little space, but can be dotted around lobby areas to provide comfortable seating while customers wait to check in or be shown to their rooms. Another trend we are noticing is the use of over-sized and high-back chairs in hotels and restaurants, as they can provide customers with a secluded waiting area due to their soundproof qualities. This means that customers feel like they have their own space while waiting to be seated in a restaurant or seen at a hotel reception.

The main theme that runs through the latest furniture design trends in the hospitality industry is that businesses are continuously looking to make better use of available space, while ensuring style remains up-to date. Whatever space you’re working with, it’s important for businesses to remember that the design and style can change, without necessarily carrying out a refurbishment or procuring new items.