Hotel walls gain attention with new materials

As hotel public spaces continue to evolve into social areas, the design aesthetic of these spaces is forced to keep pace with guest expectations. This means more variety—not just when it comes to designs, but materials as well.

Kelley Sanford, a designer with Moz Designs, attests to working with more three-dimensional and textural materials for wallcoverings, using them as accent pieces drawing attention to specific aspects of a room. “New or recycled materials are also becoming a popular choice for wallcovering materials,” Sanford said. “Newspapers, coconut shells and even glass fibers can be repurposed for design, and this is also popular with green or environmental properties.”

Daniel Nevitt, CMO for Armourcoat, believes that hotels are moving toward sculptural finishes or wall-paneling systems for a variety of reasons, including an increased durability, extended expected life span and a reduction in cost throughout the life of the product. Since the designs will be used in areas where guests could potentially touch them, using materials that have anti-bacterial properties and low fire ratings are also favorable in comparison to classic materials.


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“Products such as pre-consumer recycled Italian marble have even been used, and they can help a hotel receive LEED certification,” Nevitt said. He acknowledged that more unique materials are more suited for accent pieces. “Panel options are ideal for hospitality, where they create immediate impact for branding and feature walls,” Nevitt said.

Nevitt believes that nature-inspired designs are growing in popularity as well, characterized by simple, clean lines and calming accent colors assisted by lighting. “Natural flowing designs are by far the most popular,” Nevitt said. 

The use of wallpaper is also returning to hotels when a property is attempting to evoke nostalgia. “Wallpaper makes a room very statement based, they can create a warm feeling, oozing a quality of the past,” said Maxine Hall, creative director at Blackpop. “Wallpaper is excellent at creating a vibe for a space, and many hotels are looking to them for a feeling of ‘faded grandeur.’ But you get a different feeling from the more modern, formal settings of hotels.”