MASTERCLASS: Giving your interiors a refresh

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Trends come and go, but your interior design must remain contemporary, exciting and eye-catching and withstand constant use. So how do you mix up your style without breaking the bank? We get some insider secrets on how to update and refresh your interior schemes to make maximum impact for minimum effort.

When you have tired guests arriving at your hotel after a long journey, they will not want to be greeted with interiors that match their mood.

The wear and tear of your property will be under scrutiny as soon as a guest walks through the door, and if it’s not up to scratch then you’ll hear about it.

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For hoteliers it’s a struggle to know the best time to refresh your interiors and give them new life with a few design tweaks that can make all the difference. The drive to keep things looking new, contemporary and overall pristine is at an all-time high as guests become more discerning, so ensuring that your interiors don’t look tired and outdated is crucial.

The hard bit comes when deciding whether to invest and renovate, or to simply make a handful of adjustments to revitalise a space. And all of the above with minimum disruption to guests.

“Hoteliers should allow to regularly update their soft interior elements,” explains Abi Perry-Jones, creative director, Jones architecture+design (AD), “whether it be artwork, soft seating, drapery or scatter cushions to keep up with current design trends. These small changes in detail can make a huge impact of the overall look and feel as it constantly keeps interiors looking stylish and fresh.

“Larger scale refurbishments in our experience often take place every 8/10 years. It makes sense to plan ahead for this and focus areas individually to minimise disruption,” she adds.

Sarah Daniels, director at DO Design agrees: “It depends on how the rooms were designed originally. If a room has been designed to meet the fashion of the year then it will date more quickly and require a full refurbishment. Design which has a timeless feel will last longer and can be enhanced with small touches to keep it feeling current.”

The personal touch

Lean on your own personality and the personality of your building to pick out points of interest and introduce new ways to update your design with a few tweaks. Delve deeper into the history of your location and use stylish touches to engage guests with its past. For example, the new Oddfellows on the Park in Cheadle Manchester has a subtle equestrian theme, with design nods to its history as one of the greatest stud farms in the north. Home to the Galloping Major restaurant, the ‘Bridle’ suite and other clever references to horses, the hotel has drawn on its history to really create a sense of place.

Perry-Jones says: “In our projects, we research the surrounding areas and understand the history of the building. This history can help to stick to a theme without mixing too many ideas, as well as building character to the hotel. This makes it a unique and desirable destination that tells intriguing stories to visitors.

Oddfellows on the Park opened its doors for the very first time only this year, so the whole building was redesigned, and a lot of anticipation was built up surrounding the launch, bringing in guests as the hotel made its media splash.

But by using small design adjustments to update your interiors can give you something to shout about, and a new angle to promote to both guests and the media. Colour and lighting are the best ways to update a space without diving in for the full overhaul, and can make a big impact on how items look in a room.

“We usually mix in complimentary colours to help balance and harmonise interiors,” explains Perry-Jones, “whilst concealed LED lights highlight features such as back bars and wine stores in restaurant areas. Mirrored wall panels bounce this light around and increase the sense of space.”

Soft furnishings, flooring and wall finish refurbishments can also help to change the look of a space dramatically without hefty investment.

Cash flow

Budget will be a major factor when it comes to updating your interiors and when you’re strapped for cash you may have to prioritise which items you need to replace and refresh. As Sarah Daniels explains, the pinnacle product of a hotel bedroom is the bed, so be sure to get this right.

“Ensure the bed is comfortable and enhance the feel of the room with fresh white bedding,” she says, “add a new or reupholstered headboard, bed throw and cushions. Add new bedside lights and paint or wallpaper the walls; this will give the room an instant uplift.”

Perry Jones adds: “Many arrangements can be dated and this hugely influences the atmosphere of a room. Therefore, rearranging the furniture layout is a quick and free solution which can eliminate bottlenecks so staff can move efficiently.

“Another affordable way is to accentuate areas with area rugs, which is much cheaper than buying a new carpet. This warms the interior and softens hardwood floors. Rugs can be used to separate and define a space by adding a visual and textural contrast. Try using patterned rugs in high-traffic areas and sophisticated cowhide rugs in guest rooms and lobbies to create a stunning feature.”

Abi and her team recently spearheaded a project to refurbish Kings Court Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon. Working with owner Georgie McGrath, phase one saw the traditional ‘Twisted Boot’ pub transformed, with new furniture and signage, which proved a hit almost immediately. Panelled mirrored walls were designed for the lobby and brasserie and helped to illuminate new places to sit.

For phase two of the project, Jones AD reused a lot of existing furniture by repainting and reupholstering to give items a new lease of life and helped with budget constraints. Removing clutter and dated pictures was also essential.

“One of the biggest challenges is to link together different areas yet still give each space its own personality,” Perry Jones says. “All areas have to all be designed to harmonise each other whilst at the same time bring about different functional needs. Sticking to accents of the same colour palette will help tie in the interiors and so link all these areas together. This will also help to make the spaces seem less cluttered.”

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