8 guestroom design trends that need to be retired

Guestroom design is moving forward. Don't get stuck in the past!

Hotel designers are always seeking out the Next Big Thing to make their guestrooms unique, and plenty of trends have both come and gone over the last few years.

Some design trends, however, are wearing out their welcome. Here are eight. 

1. Too Many Light Switches

If guests have to spend 30 minutes before bed just turning the lights off, they're not going to sleep happy no matter how nice the bed is. Caveat: Ignore this if you have a master-switch by the bed (and the front door, ideally) that let guests turn all the lights on and off at once. Those make everything easier.


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"Is this one the nightlight or the hall?"

2. Too Many Curtains

Some luxury hotels are still trying to evoke a Victorian drawing room. Even opulence has its limits, and guests (and your housekeeping staff) don't want to waste time fighting their way through valances and ruffles and whatnot just to see some sunlight. Simplicity is best—a single pull-string or even a button to open and close however many drapes there are will make everyone happier, and will speed up the housekeeper’s work in the room each day.

It took him two hours just to get to the window.

3. Open-plan Bathrooms

Sure, they look cool and post-modern, with the shower stall and the toilet stall opening right up into the bedroom, or with no wall to separate the bathroom and the bedroom. But not everyone is comfortable being completely exposed with their room companion (you can’t make assumptions about why people are sharing a room, after all), and bringing bathrobes into a shower stall is just asking for trouble. Sliding doors to a bathroom are a good solution—they let guests determine how much privacy they want, so the room can become open-plan or closed-off as needed.

A little privacy, please?

4. Bedspreads

They've had their day. It's time to move on. Duvets and bedscarves are not just the future, they're the now. Even if you want to evoke a gilded era with your design, you can find a nice balance between classic and contemporary with a clean white duvet and a contrasting bedscarf. Bedspreads are heading off to the sunset.

Farewell, bedspreads!

5. Storage Space Under the Bed

A lot of hotels do this, and it makes sense. We store things under our beds at home, after all, so why not in hotel rooms? I’ll tell you why not: bed bugs. There’s no foolproof way to keep bugs out of guestrooms, of course, but if guests regularly store their luggage under the beds, it will become much easier for an infestation to spread from guest to guest. You don’t want anyone to associate a stay at your hotel with bringing bugs back to their home. If guests are encouraged to store their luggage away from the bed, the likelihood of transference drops significantly. 

Trouble brewing.

6. No Charging Outlets by the Bedside 

It doesn’t matter how gorgeous that nightstand is, you still need to have some kind of outlet next to the bed. We all travel with numerous devices these days, and no one wants to leave their phone charging in the bathroom because there were no other available outlets. Get a lamp with outlets, or install a unit from Kube Systems (or any other supplier) that has some USB ports. You can still have an elegant, classic nightstand that suits modern needs.

Find devices that can turn a nightstand into a charging hub. (And the master switches in the background are helpful, too.)

7. Fluorescent Lighting 

LED bulbs are getting more affordable by the minute, so there’s no excuse for your hotel room to have ugly, glaring, garish lighting. Invest in some quality bulbs—your guests will be happier, and you’ll likely reduce your hotel’s energy consumption in the long run. 

Nothing will look elegant in this lighting.

8. “Narrative” Design

If you have to tell an hour-long story to explain the room's design concept, you're trying too hard. Not many guests want to stop and ask the concierge why their guestroom chandelier has eyes painted all over it, and not many guests will care that the designer wanted to pay homage to the ancient Greek legend of Argus. Locally inspired design is wonderful, of course, but if the guest can’t “get” the theme quickly, it’s probably not worth the designer's time.

Guests don't want a story, they just want a nice room.