Friday, March 16, 2018

16/31: A Hotel Interior Decorator's Memo

I am currently killing time before my flight back home to St. Louis. I'm a little obsessed with noticing hotel interior decorating choices, so I decided to imagine what a memo written by this hotel's designer would say.

Re: interior design of Washington Capitol Hotel lobby in DC

In the style of a minimalistic, tasteful artist. Bland enough to disappear into the background for harried businessmen. Interesting enough for the observant young teacher to appreciate. Intentional. Modern. Subdued yet intriguing. Let me paint you a picture...

A cool palette of slate, cream and dove gray should swirl across the carpet in a pattern reminiscent of static or pixelated fog. A pop of blue in the art hanging on the walls, a smudge of cerulean against darker abstract shapes. Light fixtures should be airy, circular, pendulous. If they're not, they must be recessed as far into the ceiling as possible. No middle ground.

Furniture: modern shapes take precedence over function. Sure, we want people to sit, but we don't want them to get comfortable enough to stay longer than they have to. Too many sitting patrons means we aren't efficient enough to have rooms ready promptly. Square leather cushions without backs in pure black, arranged in neat rows. Ground-grazing chaises in muted gray. A coffee table that's far too low to easily reach your cup...bright reflective aluminum, shaped like a tree stump. Booths lined with cushions that are merely suggestions of pillows. Comfort isn't our goal here.

A sculpture here, by the smooth marble tables. Mobius strips intersecting with each other, gentle twists, uncertain endings and beginnings. It's symbolic, of course. Where does your normal life end and your vacation begin? We make the transition seamless. White? No. Black is better. Black is always better.

Add greenery under the stairs. A lone pink orchid, stretching up to the steps above. Subtle, yet poignant. After all, we're not going for sterile.

These are all merely my thoughts, of course. But whatever you velvet, no '70s carpet patterns and, above all, no red. Red is too aggressive. Hotels are about suggestion. Consider taking mine into consideration when making final design decisions.

I So Don't Do Holiday Inns


  1. Oh my, you write so well. I am in a hotel right now, not able to describe much. Big, brown and beige mostly, rectangular, golden frames on mirrors and pictures. That's about it. Not only did you describe well but added the twist of perspective. Awesome.

  2. I loved how you painted a picture with your words. Creativity and fun peppered your detailed descriptions.