Plush carpets, luxurious bedding and swanky toiletries that smell like the French countryside — there’s nothing like spending a night (or two or three) in a luxe hotel. Whether you’ve stayed in one for business or pleasure (or you just admire them from afar), there’s something about a lavish hotel experience that feels totally different from sleeping in your own bedroom — but it doesn’t have to. Any homeowner can recreate the feeling, and you don’t necessarily need a huge budget to do so. Posh hotel suites provide plenty of cues for inspiration.
Here’s a look at some affordable bedroom updates inspired by luxe hotels that will make your sleep space feel like a posh retreat.
Create Seamless Zones
The first thing you notice about a luxe hotel room is that there are zones for everything. This creates the illusion that you’ve made the most of the space, so that it’s no longer just a bedroom but a retreat with a bedroom, a sitting room, a place to check email, a reading nook and a grooming area (just to name a few). Think about how you’re most likely to use your bedroom. If booting up your laptop to settle in for a Netflix sesh isn’t likely to happen there, focus on what is. Some prefer to keep the bedroom tech-free altogether and create a cozy environment for reading instead. Others need plenty of room for grooming, dressing and makeup. Once you know what you need, arrange the furniture into micro zones to get that upscale hotel room vibe.
Choose a Soothing Color Palette
Rarely do you walk into a luxe hotel room and find dark furnishings, textiles and accessories. “The vast majority of the time, the mood is set to make the most of natural light,” says Tessa McAuliff of Bungalow 2 Designs in Winter Park, Florida. Opting for light, bright fabrics and reflective surfaces helps light bounce around the room, making the space appear larger. Pale, neutral shades — which can include softer versions of traditionally dark colors like charcoal and moss — leave a clean, crisp impression that’s reminiscent of the polished look and feel of many hotel rooms.
Make Your Bed the Star
Not only is it usually in the center of a bedroom, but it’s most likely the largest piece of furniture in there. You spend more hours there than likely any other spot in your house, if you tally up the time spent sleeping, reading and simply relaxing. A pillowtop mattress and a simple dust skirt in lieu of a cumbersome bedspread is the good stuff luxe hotel beds are made of. Another must: High thread count sheets that feel oh-so-good to the touch. Companies like Marriott, Hilton and W Hotels even sell their own bedding, pillows and mattresses, so you can feel like a hotel guest every night of the week.
Go for Feel-Good Fabrics
If there’s one bedroom feature that can feel and look lavish without a high price tag, it’s textiles. The most luxurious hotel rooms layer textiles to create warmth and depth (it’s what makes most people want to “sink” into the furnishings). Try mixing soft, lush fabrics, like velvet and chenille, with crisp linen and buttery leather, and place pillows and throws where you’re likely to use them most. Long, elegant curtains with blackout capabilities are another luxe hotel signature.
Layer the Lighting
Light dimmers that help set the right mood, ceiling pendants in lieu of table lamps and sconce lighting designed for bedtime reading are just a few of the ways you can light up your bedroom like a hotel room. Multiple light sources make it easy to use every single one of these aforementioned zones. From closet lights to three-way switches by the door to bedside reading lights, luxe hotel rooms take every comfort into account. Just remember to have one major statement piece, such as a showstopping chandelier or a modern and sculptural table lamp.
Streamline Your Tabletop
Whether you have a small desk, a vanity or something in between, keep it decluttered with easy access to out-of-sight outlets if you need them. “Having a comfortable spot for everything from journal writing to makeup application is a key feature in most luxe hotel rooms,” McAuliff says.
Create a Lounge for Lounging
Even if you only have room for one accent chair, opt for a cozy one that’s conducive to curling up with a good book. A simple ottoman in a feel-good fabric can double as a side table if space is tight. Add cozy accessories to keep you propped up and warm on chilly nights, and you’ll be on your way to recreating that luxe sitting room vibe found in most posh hotel rooms.
Let the Walls Make a Statement
The walls in most luxe hotel rooms feature regional artwork that celebrates the destination, but elegant vintage photographs are also common. Other times it’s original work by a local artist. ”Instagram and Etsy are great resources for finding affordable artists,” McAuliff says. “I’ve found several that way.” Wallpaper, too, has been making a comeback in the design world in recent years, and some luxe hotel rooms use it to emphasize a particular zone. For example, you could install textured wallpaper behind the bed to create an elegant focal point.
Sweeten Up Your En Suit
Plush towels and scented toiletries are only the beginning when creating the feeling of a luxe hotel bathroom. Smooth, decluttered surfaces and ample lighting help ensure a good mood. Beyond any natural lighting, consider a dedicated makeup light, decorative wall sconces and overhead lights near the tub, shower and vanity areas. Fill any shelves and storage cabinets with luxurious towels in white or cream shades stocked in neat rows. Live somewhere cold? Splurge on a heated towel rack.
Even a few of these touches can go a long way to helping you recreate the feeling of a luxe bedroom retreat, right in your own home.
Ana Connery is former content director of Parenting, Babytalk, Pregnancy Planner and Conceive magazines as well as parenting.com.
While editor in chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine from 2006-2009, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market as well as travel destinations.
She’s held senior editorial positions at some of the country’s most celebrated magazines, including Latina, Fitness and Cooking Light, where she oversaw the brand’s “FitHouse” show home.
Ana’s expertise is frequently sought after for appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and CNN. She has interviewed the country’s top experts in a variety of fields, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and First Lady Michelle Obama.