Smaller boutique hotel owners enjoy more freedom than franchised hotel firms when it comes to interior design, granting them the chance to implement unique designs and refurbishments.

As many of their novel lots find their way into the rooms of quirkier hotel owners, the antique experts over at Featonby’s have kindly outlined their tips for adding both vibrancy and individuality to a boutique hotel room interior.

Restore the fixtures and fittings

Hotels based in older buildings often boast more character than newer builds, due to historical fixtures, flooring and in-built details generally using more decorative and patterned designs than modern minimalist counterparts. Try to amplify these signature attributes by revitalising their look and surfaces. Examples include:

  • Fixing broken vintage tiles - and even keeping them slightly cracked - creates a rustic look which guests will love. You should, of course, make sure the tiles are clean and free of mould, though.
  • Removing flakey layers of paint from wooden furnishings such as floorboards, doors, skirting boards, window stiles, muntins and aprons, to reveal the original wood. Then proceed to restore the woodto bring a more natural look in the room.

Understand colour and ambience 

Aimlessly covering every wall and ceiling in a single-coloured emulsion will certainly save you money if you purchase tins en masse, however, it won’t do much to sculpt an ambience. If you want repeated custom, guests of wealthy milieu or exceptional reviews, it’s essential that you pay attention to the tone (or vibe) that each room generates.

There are an array of themes you can pursue in your room design, depending on your target demographic:

  • If you’re seeking to attract couples or newlyweds, alter your rooms to imbue a romantic feel. Think darker shades, and the option to dim the lights.
  • A family hotel room, on the other hand, can be brighter - so perhaps make use of pastel shades or wall murals to create a lighter, more social atmosphere.
  • Rooms with single guests in mind - perhaps business travellers - should be comforting and warm. Think dark oranges, neutrals and earthy tones.

Try to make use of the natural skeleton of the building’s structure - exposed beams and bricks are a great way to add country charm or urban cool to your hotel.

Revamp furniture and soft furnishings

Does the furniture of your hotel really say what you want it to? Mould a decor style that’s true to your hotel's values, environment and visitors. If an older, dated carpet or rug is in the room, don’t necessarily look to throw it away or replace it immediately. Instead, hire a professional carpet cleaner to inject fresh life into any weary furnishings - as, this way, you could perhaps reveal a vintage chic design which looks gorgeous when paired with modern furniture.

Rather than buy a brand-new stockpile of 10 identical chairs, swing by the flea market or local vintage stores, or browse through sites like eBay, Gumtree, FreeCycle or CraigsList, to get your hands on one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.

Don’t be put off by items in seemingly poor condition: take a look for yourself and see if you can refurbish and upcycle the pieces for future use - as this is likely to be more affordable. And, best of all, this allows you to put your hotel’s own personal touch on its interior.

You don’t have to go completely antique to make a statement, either. Decorating with new products can add a fresh touch to a space and, as mentioned earlier, they can complement older items nicely if done properly. Some newer items you could include are:

  • Minimalist lamps
  • Bright, thick rugs
  • Blackout blinds
  • Bean bags or futons

Of course, quilts, sheets, pillows and cushions should be purchased new, too. Choosing bedding that is bright, eccentric or arty is a great way to grab a guest’s attention immediately when they’re browsing online and looking for somewhere to stay. Just ensure you opt for colours and patterns that are cohesive with the rest of your decor - or risk putting guests off, instead!

When it comes to the mattress, make it comfortable and replace it every 5 years. Online reviewers love to comment on a cosy mattress - and, although it may not make your rooms unique on the surface, it can make all the difference when people are hunting for accommodation online.

Add memorable extras

Finally, the added extras that can sometimes be remembered over excellent service, top-notch food or beautiful scenery. We’ve saved the best until last and listed some of our favourite interior extras which can help transform a basic hotel room into a truly special space:

  • Game consoles, new or retro. Both will appeal to a huge gamer demographic that exists across the world - and families with children, too.
  • Avant garde art in the form of sculptures, paintings and canvases can make an impactful centrepiece of any room.
  • Nods to local culture. If you’re based in Manchester, perhaps a Stone Roses album cover on the wall or, for a Newcastle upon Tyne hotel, a mural of the Tyne could offer an appropriate and charming welcome for guests checking in.
  • Make the room as practical and convenient as possible by including a range of local maps, books with things to do in the local area and a ‘suggestions itinerary’ for guests to read on arrival - offering local knowledge from the moment they get there.

By putting some or all of the above tips into practice, hotel owners can be assured they’ll stand out amongst the crowd and really hone in on who they are and what they represent.