“I’ve been fascinated with hotels since I was six,” says Sara Bliss, the author of Hotel Chic at Home (Monacelli). Her father often traveled for work and “loved a great hotel,” so Bliss spent her formative years bopping around designer digs. Since then, she has made a career out of visiting new places as a freelance journalist, design blogger and book author, enjoying incredible accommodations along the way.
“I love how you can walk into a hotel and it becomes its own world,” Bliss says. “You can literally be transported!” Design-heavy boutique hotels have popping up around the globe over the last 20 years, so there’s no shortage of inspiring new worlds to discover. Bliss says she believes this boom in special accommodations has prompted hoteliers to “be braver and bolder in their design decisions.” She adds: “Hotel design is the most exciting kind of design happening right now.”
And as the name of her blog-cum-book suggests, Bliss believes that it’s possible to infuse home interiors with the thoughtful touches that make hotel design so inspiring. We tracked down the globetrotter to get her best tips for giving your bedroom the five-star treatment.
Get the Lighting Right
“The right lighting can jazz up a classic space,” says Bliss, who believes adding dramatic light fixtures goes a long way to transform your bedroom. To wit, Sean MacPherson’s Marlton Hotel in New York combines traditional French-inspired elements like a gilded bed frame and fluted lamp shades with an ultramodern Serge Mouille ceiling lamp. That juxtaposition “takes the room from stuffy to cool.” It’s these types playful elements that make hotel rooms feel unique and memorable and adding an unexpected collection of lighting choices to your own home will get you to your own sweet style spot.
Play with Patterns
When it comes to home interiors, Bliss says that “our natural instinct is to play it safe.” She prefers to go bold, particularly in the form of a major wallpaper moment like the one at the Hotel Henriette in Paris, designed by Vanessa Scoffier. The brilliant textured blue plays off the vintage brass wall sconce in the most alluring way. If you do go the wallpaper route, Bliss recommends keeping your bed a serene oasis with crisp white linens.
Find a Great Chair
Bliss points out that most bedroom chairs aren’t ever used as chairs — and she loves them all the more for it. Instead, they’re a place to set out clothes, tie our shoes or store our bags, so they “can be sculptural instead of functional.” She points to the ornate peacock chair in a room at the Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech, Morocco, as a favorite. “Look for a great bedroom chair with a great personality,” she says. In this room, the hotel’s designer and founder, Maryam Montague, based the stenciled ceiling pattern on Uzbek embroidery.
Paint with Color
“There’s a lot of beige out there,” Bliss says of bedroom design and says that “the recipe to update your bedroom is simple — just invest in a great paint color for your walls.” Whether you go for a mint green or deep purple, Bliss says that “good hotels are colorful, inviting spaces that beckon you and look so cozy that you don’t want to leave.” You can easily translate that design tenant in your bedroom by painting the entire space, a single wall or a dramatic stripe down the center.
Have Fun with Wall Art
“Bedroom art should be really personal,” Bliss says. “I love a gallery-style wall against a dark pop of color.” And art doesn’t necessarily have to be hanging up. At the Philippe Starck–designed Le Royal Monceau in Paris, hotel rooms are outfitted with brightly painted modern canvases set on an easels.
For a more casual, effortless look, Bliss likes leaning large framed photographs against a wall. The colorful art in this bedroom is offset by a pale acoustic guitar and a wingback chair in cognac leather.