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5 Design Secrets From The World's Best Hotels

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We may not be able to make your bed and put a mint on the pillow each night, but with these takeaways, you'll be able to create a home that's every bit as relaxing (and stylish) as your dream getaway.

By Candace Braun Davison

  • Take the Shortcut to Luxury with Accessories
    Photo from Jay Jeffers: Collected Cool (Rizzoli), 2014
    One of the easiest (and most affordable) ways to get the high-end, collected-over-time look of a boutique hotel is with the accessories you use. Choose items that bring in at least three textures in the room: one plush, one sleek and one natural, recommends Jay Jeffers, author of Collected Cool and designer behind the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Lake Tahoe. Cashmere throws—particularly in not-too-cutesy patterns like herringbone—and Lucite trays that catch the light are two of Jeffers' go-to additions.
  • Go for the Most Drama in the Smallest Spaces
    Stovall Studio
    If all-white bathrooms read more "bland" than "spa-like" to you, steal this decorating idea from the model bathroom in the Solaris Residences in Vail, Colorado: Cover the walls in a low-contrast, nature-inspired wallpaper. Vertical patterns, like the Lee Jofa tree wallpaper the Solaris uses (you can find it at Anthropologie), emphasize the walls' height, making the ceilings look taller, explains designer Susan Moon. As long as the colors are all in similar, muted shades—think pale gray and blue, not sunshine-yellow and burnt orange—the room won't look busy and jarring. (The unconventional look pays off: the Solaris won Best Hotel in the U.S. in 2013 by The International Hotel Awards.)
  • Add a Different Kind of Mirror
    Courtesy of Pottery Barn
    We've all heard that the bigger the mirror, the more spacious a room feels, but modern hotels are going beyond hanging them on the walls: "Mirrored dressers and side tables are becoming much more mainstream," Bashaw says. (You can find the one shown at Pottery Barn.) To make the room appear even bigger, choose side tables that are leggier (versus cube-like). The more space you can see under and around the table, the less space it seems to take up.
  • Pick Lighting That Doubles as Art
    Matthew Millman
    Many people worry about choosing the perfect painting to hang on the walls, which is why some hotels skip it altogether and hang a bold chandelier in the lobby. These lights do double-duty, brightening the room while catching your attention. Try hanging three pendants at varying heights in a corner of the room, or buying side table lamps with sculptural bases, says Jeffers. If you're looking for an overhead light, try a rock crystal style over the classic chandelier or uber-trendy star pendant.
  • Upgrade Your Lampshades (and Wake Up Feeling Gorgeous)
    Courtesy of Congress Hall
    Part of the feel-good experience at a hotel is making sure you look good, too. At Congress Hall in Cape May, New Jersey, the lampshades in the bedroom are lined in pink silk to cast a soft, warm light. "It makes your skin glow when you're in bed," says Colleen Bashaw, the resort's interior designer. She recommends painting the inside of an ivory paper lampshade a pale pink, like Benjamin Moore's Ballet Slippers.

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