How technology and TVs are changing guestroom design

(Four Seasons DC)

The ever-increasing size of TVs can play an important role in the future of guestroom design, said Buddy McDowell, president of Design Directions International. “Marriott is using 55-inch TVs in their suites. We’re doing mini-hotels that have 40- to 48-inch TVs. As we design our room, we not only want to accommodate the larger TV, but also plan for the future when they become even larger yet.”

Emily Morley, senior interior designer at ForrestPerkins, agreed. “TVs are being exposed and no longer concealed in a casegood piece, so that their size can be expansive as possible.”  The layout of the room, she said, must be designed to incorporate the ideal view for the screen.

McDowell said Design Directions works with an audiovisual company to make sure that everyone on the team is aware of what technology is on the horizon—and how it could affect their work. “Technology happens so rapidly now,” he said. “What’s important today will be obsolete two years down the road. So we try to anticipate what may happen from a technology standpoint.”  The way a TV is mounted and what surrounds it can greatly affect the future aesthetics of a room, he said, and hotel companies don’t want a design that is obsolete within months.  

The growth of “smart” devices is also changing the way TVs are incorporated into guestrooms, said Tim Hepworth, senior associate and colaboratory studio leader at EDG Interior Architecture and Design. “Smart remotes are on our list of must-haves.  These all-in-one remotes allow you to control lights, temperature, blinds and your TV all with a few scrolls across the remote. In the future, we see low-profile devices being used more. Keep an eye out for wallpaper screens, televisions built into furniture (like coffee tables) and rollable screens.”

To make future additions possible, McDowell said that access to the components in the back of the TV is vital. Still, he emphasized, guests should never see the wires connecting the TV to whatever new device is being added. “You don’t want to see wires hanging down,” he said. “When we design the casegood piece that would be mounted on the wall, we leave enough of a cavity within the piece that the wires can go behind the TV, between the millwork and the wall itself.”