Hotel guests like familiarity and designers and brands have taken note. More and more, guestrooms are laid out to mimic a residential bedroom, with the guestroom TV acting as the focal point. As homeowners cycled out their CRT TVs for modern flat screens, the hotel industry followed suit, but will the same be said for the growing popularity of mounting TVs on the wall?
According to Jennifer Farris, senior design director at interior design firm RD Jones & Associates, mounting TVs is not always feasible in hotels due to sound concerns and aesthetic limitations. While many hotels prioritize designing around a wall-mounted TV and getting it off the dresser or a tabletop, Farris said that renovated properties in particular are limited by walls that may not be prepared to properly transfer sound—or block it from entering adjacent rooms.
“The technology and its relationship to the guestroom space is very complex, and is getting more complex,” Farris said. “Trends change as residential changes, so it continues to morph.”
The takeaway is that hotels no longer want to cover up their TVs, but display them. Holly Kappes, design principal at hospitality FF&E procurement company Innvision, suggested pulling TVs off the wall slightly when mounting them, or placing acoustic panels behind them. These panels can help mitigate sound between guestrooms, but also aesthetically frame the TV. “Hotels have to make the TV part of the guestroom’s overall design, as an integral component of the space,” Kappes said.
“A wall element on the other side of a TV can minimize its presence in the guestroom, otherwise it can come off as cold equipment,” said Christine Shanahan, managing director of design for design consulting firm Jonathan Nehmer + Associates. “This takes the TV into the millwork and minimizes its intrusion.”
Despite the trouble, mounting a TV can have a range of benefits. Shanahan cited the Lennox Hotel in Boston, where guestrooms were outfitted with 55-inch TVs, and placement on a dresser looked not only comical, but dangerous. “It could have fallen on housekeeping or a guest trying to reposition it,” he said. “It was better to have it hung.”