It isn't just any reception area—a hotel lobby is an important first impression that sets the tone for guests' visits, introducing the hotel's aesthetics. From wall art to paint colors to flooring and beyond, you must perfectly coordinate every design choice to tell your space's story without words.
For this reason, it's easy to go all-out and run through your budget in no time. While it's worth adding a few extra bucks to your estimates, it's also important to stay within guidelines to ensure that the newly-curated or freshly-refreshed space is both feasible and beautiful.
Furniture is one of the most endlessly customizable choices for a great greeting area, yet it remains one of the priciest. Make careful choices while embracing new-and-now trends without forgetting about the future.
While truly timeless trends are few and far between, some design sensibilities have stayed en vogue for longer than others. Look to the past and see what stuck around—vintage style is currently "in," but high-traffic areas demand the durability of modern build quality and materials.
Companies have embraced Scandinavian slopes for ages, elaborating on the tradition of high-quality pieces with a modern flair. Similarly, midcentury modern may have a variety of distinct visuals, but its core tenets—such as hairpin legs, knife edges, and affable mid-tone finishes—are consistent.
When in doubt, embrace simplicity. Clean lines will always stay chic, and simple angles aren't going anywhere. Simple shapes and basic builds allow less expensive, easier-to-replace décor to shine, making a design face-lift easier to execute and less weighty on the wallet. Select high-quality pieces to ensure your furniture will stand up to even more years of use.
Durability by Design
Some materials are better suited to heavy traffic areas than others. By their nature, hotels see high turnover and necessitate rigorous, quick, and intensive cleaning beyond guest rooms. Lobby furniture—from couches to countertops—faces the same demands. Scratch and stain-resistant high-pressure laminate is an ideal alternative to veneers or costly wood solids, pairing perfectly with high-quality upholsteries that have been tested, treated, and certified to stand up to rigorous use.
While it's ideal to mix-and-match collections to avoid a static, boring look, it's also worth pursuing lines and brands with a wide variety of pieces. Maintaining cohesion can go beyond the entryway; coordinating benches and storage in a hallway can keep the hotel's vision clear beyond the lobby and throughout the building.
Larger lines of furniture also allow for expansion when necessary. If a future refresh comes up, it's easy to keep your existing furniture in rotation while adding new pieces that weren't previously required. Choose several series of seating, tables, and storage that can be supplemented or replaced as needed.
For a quick update and change of pace, there's nothing easier than switching up the lobby's layout. Modular, reconfigurable collections are designed to be rearranged repeatedly, coming together in endless configurations while maintaining cohesion in casual seating and waiting areas. Keeping up with consistent finishes and upholstery will further enhance flexibility, giving you the option to move any of your pieces all around the space.
The Bare Necessities
While seating areas, lobby bars, and business centers might put the "fun" in "functional spaces," you still need reception mainstays that need to be cohesive, durable, and ready for long, hard hours of work. Every guest will inevitably step up to the front desk at least once during their stay, filling out paperwork, setting down luggage, and knocking into corners during chaotic check-in and checkout times. A well-made reception desk is worth the splurge. Look for a few must-have features to ensure both guest and employee comfort:
Extremely durable, easy-to-clean laminate or thick, shatterproof glass construction
Ample wire management grommets and raceways to accommodate computer terminals
Wide enough stations to accommodate multiple employees and computers
ADA-accessible service stations with low-set, ample overhangs
Ample storage space to keep supplies and files at arms' reach
While desks and files are important, consider office chairs rated for 24-hour use to accommodate every shift from early morning to overnight. Furthermore, remember employees beyond the front desk agents, and ensure that security stations and valet checkpoints are outfitted with the right furniture to stay safe, comfortable, and content on the job.