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5 Design Tips to Steal From Hotels for a Cozier and More Inviting Home

Interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins tells us how to recreate that special hotel feeling at home

By Morgan Noll Published on February 8, 2024


There's just something about settling in to a nice hotel that feels like the peak experience of coziness. Maybe it's the relaxation that comes with setting an OOO status or the luxurious feeling of arriving at a place that's been freshly cleaned and prepped for you. But we think the interior design, in particular, plays a major role in creating that comforting feeling.

Hotels have all sorts of design tricks for curating an environment that's both inviting and primed for relaxation. To get the low-down on hotel design secrets, we talked to celebrity interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins, who partnered with IHG Hotels & Resorts to design their immersive Winter Chalets. Jenkins filled us in on some of the biggest hotel design trends and shared advice on how to recreate the cozy, special hotel feeling right at home.

Use Dimmers on Your Lighting

Lighting makes a huge difference in how we feel in certain environments. There's even a science to it. Take it from nature: Exposure to bright daylight energizes us and wakes us up, while the setting sun and low light starts to relax us and helps prepare our bodies for sleep. The same can apply to the effect of lighting used in interiors. (There's a reason office spaces and spas don't use the same lighting design.)

"Hotels often have a great way of using light to create their vibe," Jenkins says. The best kept secret, he says, is the use of dimmers in hotel lights—and these can easily be used at home, too. "Dimmers are always a win," he says. "It’s such an easy solution and creates an immediate shift in ambience."

And while you're at it, take a look at the color temperature of your light bulbs. Soft white vs. daylight bulbs, for example, will have different effects on the atmosphere of your home.

Add in Statement Lighting

While the right color temperature and brightness of your lights will help create a cozier environment, the light fixtures are what can make a place feel special. Picture your favorite hotel and all the different types of lighting—whether it's the sconces on either side of the bed, a sculptural fixture in the lounge area, or modern table lamps in the hotel bar—all of these are intentional.

"Creative lighting options like beautiful pendants have a way of changing the ambience in any room," Jenkins says. "Consider thinking about exchanging a flush mount for a pendant in the right place and you’ve added a visual layer that changes people’s experience of your home."

Play Up the Sensory Experiences

Now that we've covered visual comfort, it's time to talk about the tactile side of coziness. Texture—and plenty of it—is key to creating a space that you'll want to settle in to and never leave. "Hotels often employ fabulous sensory experiences with fabric selections like soft velvets and smooth matte leathers to plush pillows with playful passementerie," Jenkins says.

This is perhaps the easiest way to make your home feel cozier. If you're currently lacking texture, start by adding a thick knit throw blanket or some velvety pillows to the couch or bed. Even adding in more natural textures, in the form of woven baskets or rattan decor items, can give a space a more inviting feeling.

Curate a Conversation Nook

Hotel lounges and lobbies can also teach us a thing or two that we can apply to our own homes. While the various clusters of chairs and sofas may just seem like a way to squeeze in the maximum amount of seating, Jenkins explains that it's a bit more intentional than that. "You’ll notice that hotels often use interesting seating arrangements in their designs that help to create sections and nooks for conversation," he says.

While many living rooms are simply centered around the TV (and, trust us, we get it), it's worth considering alternate configurations. If space allows, consider breaking up your living room area into different sections with a couple separate seating arrangements, Jenkins recommends. (Maybe one section is optimized for TV watching, while another section is the perfect cozy reading nook.) This can be an especially great way to make the most of large, open floor plan living rooms—and it can also work well in outdoor spaces, too.

Incorporate More Impactful Design Elements

As mentioned above, intentional design swaps—like changing a flush mount for a pendant light—can help draw people in. So, part of making your home cozier and more inviting is about adding those design elements that show that care and thought were put into curating the space.

If you're not sure where to start, try taking inspiration from these four design trends that Jenkins says are having a moment in hotels and home interiors alike:

  • More Color: "After years of dominating interior design trends, I’m seeing all-white and neutral tones take a step back in favor of color," he says. "Adding pops of color to an interior space helps brighten up a space and brings a sense of joy that can sometimes be lacking in traditional hotel spaces." 

  • Monochromatic Bedrooms: "Monochromatic styles will make a big impact on interior design for hotels," he says. "When blended together with the right tones and textures, a monochromatic room can create an environment that disarms a guest and makes them feel calm and relaxed."

  • Dark Woods: "Similar to the all-white tones, I’m seeing more hotels say goodbye to light-colored woods and bring in dark-colored woods that really help add warmth and coziness, and encourages guests to stay a while longer," he says. 

  • Fluted Details: "Fluted details can be used to create unique texture and sophistication without drawing too much attention," he says. "They’re so versatile and can work with almost any style." 

Original article can be found at REAL SIMPLE here:

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