Experts from the UK's chicest hotels share their best home styling tips

Christina Quaine
·5-min read
Photo credit: Hampton Manor/ Fjona Hill
Photo credit: Hampton Manor/ Fjona Hill

From Good Housekeeping

Oh the joy of arriving at a fancy hotel room. The immaculately-made bed, the neatly arranged toiletries in the bathroom, the promise of a clutter-free existence for a night or two. The good news is that, with a few tweaks, you can achieve five-star vibes in your own home. It doesn’t require major refurbishment, but a bit of creative thinking, says Ian Taylor, owner of Bath hotels The Bird and Homewood. “It’s small things like moving cushions around your home, swapping with other rooms provided the colour matches. Pink and yellow, depending on the shades, can be very effective,” he says. “You can also display collections that you may have stored in a cupboard or shelf. For instance, a stamp collection can be framed and turned into a piece of art.” With that in mind, we asked the design experts behind some of the UK’s best hotels to share their insights for hotel living on your doorstep.

First impressions count

“With all the hotels we design, cloakroom storage is hidden from view and this should be no different when entering your own home. Try not to pile coats over the newel post as you come in, or dump shoes and post on the floor. Putting up hooks and storage for shoes creates a feeling of openness and space as you enter. A table with a mirror adds to the sense of space, and a lamp gives a welcoming glow as you arrive home, especially if it’s on a timer for your arrival,” says Dominic Barber, Director at MKV Design, the firm responsible for the design of hotels such as the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh and London.

Take your cue from nature

Love the way in which hotels do flowers and foliage arrangements really well? Try a natural arrangement in your hallway, if you have space, or in your living room. “At this time of year I go to the hedgerows and collect what is growing around me. Branches with shining berries and silver birch with gorgeous leaves turning and then the empty branches covered in fairy lights. Natural things should be left just as they are,” says Pauline Griffiths of the family which owns and runs The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny.

Give your bed the five star treatment

“The first step to a hotel-style bed is to swap your bottom sheet from a fitted to a flat sheet so that you can achieve hospital corners, says Marzena Dominiec, Executive Housekeeper at Sopwell House, Hertfordshire. You can learn the technique via this video tutorial.

“Once your bottom sheet is on, place your duvet on top, tucking in the bottom two corners, then fold the top of the duvet down. Add a decorative pillow to each side of the bed," Marzena adds.

Nicola Harding, the designer behind The Mitre, Hampton Court, adds: “Always have a throw on the bed as it makes the room look finished, otherwise the bed looks like a big block of white, And always, always go for white linen. Save the colour for elsewhere in the room.”

Clear your bedside clutter

Be honest, is your bedside table harbouring a pile of unread books/numerous phone chargers/that pillow mist you always forget to actually spray? Fear not, Dale Atkinson from Rosendale Design - which is responsible for five star The Stafford in London - has advice for streamlining your stuff. “Pick a bedside table with a drawer and compartment for hiding your less necessary items. On top, a nice tray with a carafe and glass of water is always an elegant and worthwhile investment. You can find inexpensive items at local antique dealers,” he says.

Add greenery to your bathroom window

“Adding hanging plants by the bathroom window helps to soften what can often be a forgotten area,” says Dominic Barber. “Golden Pothos is a good trailing plant, spider plants like the bathroom environment and look great when hanging in a window, while air plants thrive in moderate to high humidity. Monstera works well as a pot plant - it can handle low light and likes humidity. These choices would add a range of shapes and give a nice mixture between potted and hanging plants.”

Style up your towel storage

Say goodbye to soggy towels left languishing on a towel rail. For a chic way of stowing your bathroom textiles, follow this trick from Fjona Hill, co-owner and designer of Hampton Manor in Warwickshire. “Make a couple of leather straps and screw them into the wall or buy them ready made, then rest a piece of wooden dowel or a brass round bar into the loops and hang your towels,” she says. Towels are also one area in which matching is a good thing. “Hotels always have matching towels and bathrobes, so buy all your towels together so that you can maintain your look,” says Dale Atkinson.

Get creative with wall art

“Try playing with picture frames by employing different colours or patterns of mounting paper behind the picture. For a recent project, we removed the mounting boards and frame backing and replaced it with clear glass so you could see through the frame to the wall behind, giving the picture within the look of being suspended. You need to ensure the frame is thick enough so that you don’t see the fixings,” says Dale Atkinson.

Remember to accessorise

“They’re easy to neglect, but accessories are the final 10% of any room,” says Fjona Hill. “The tendency is often to pick a couple of colours for your room and then choose items in those colours but it ends up feeling a little matchy-matchy. A layered approach feels less contrived and accessories are an easy way to bring new, surprising colour. They are a small investment or can even be found already in your stash of stuff. Vases, flowers, cushions, a throw, a few books with bold covers used as display items, a picture your kid drew in a frame. They can all act as layers to widen your colour palette.”

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