Don’t use adjustable lamps!!
If my design existence had a bane, this would be it!! Every time I see a spec for a wall or floor lamp that has an adjustable or a cantilever arm placed in a hotel guestroom or lounge area, I immediately know that the designer has NEVER spent any time speaking with anyone from the engineering or housekeeping staff, like….EVER! The primary rule to designing for a hotel is that if it can be easily destroyed, it will be! Moveable parts in any piece of furniture or lighting that is used primarily by a guest are an invitation for destruction. Moveable arms on a lamp will guarantee that the guest will always try to adjust the angle because, well, they can.
Cantilever lamps, while very stylish, are structurally unstable & can be easily tipped over if the base is not properly weighted ( a minimum of a 25 lb base is recommended). If you absolutely, positively HAVE to use an adjustable lamp because you simply CANNOT find a lighting solution without movable parts, just make sure that the joints are engineered for heavy duty
abuse use, otherwise it will be a surefire guarantee that the hotel will need to replace this lamp within a few short weeks.
If there was one item that I saw consistently in the hotel “morgue” known as the engineering storage room, it was broken adjustable lamps. Anything that looks like “lamp-on-a-stick” will not hold up well in a hotel environment. Make sure that the materials specified are also good quality and have the proper metal gauge as well, oftentimes to save money some designers will specify aluminum for the lamp body and this will not hold up as well as some of the heavier gauge metals. It is best to stick with functional lamps that will provide enough lighting in the room but that have as few adjustable pieces as possible. The less interaction they have with the guest or housekeeping staff, the longer they’ll last!
In my years of working as a Hospitality designer from both the consultant side as well as the ownership side there are many lessons in Interior Design that I have learned, primarily what NOT to do when designing hotel interiors. Many designers present new and innovative ideas every time a hotel design project comes around, but few of them actually take the time to learn from past mistakes or consult with the Hotel staff or ownership to see what works and doesn’t work. This creates a repetition of common mistakes that occur over and over again in designing hospitality interiors. Here I will share a top 10 list of things that I feel are important to avoid, and my reasons why. While this is a generalized list and by no means the only issues, I want to be clear that these are solely my opinions and designers may take this advice or leave it. However, these observations are based on years of having to go back into project installations and addressing these issues time and time again. So lets begin:
It’s a fact that there are an infinite selection of supremely cool and fun fabrics in the market right now, but when it comes to headboards, designers should resist the urge and step away from the cloth! With the variety of sticky, gooey, & greasy hair products used by the hotel guests, the fabric headboard is a sponge that will absorb these stains and will proudly display them for future guests. This will give the automatic impression of a dirty, filthy room, decreasing guest satisfaction from the first impression. Instead, designers should source from the variety of vinyl products and faux leather options, which are both easy to clean and are very durable as well.
Another thing to keep in mind is the hygiene maintenance and this includes the ugly truth about bed bugs. Unfortunately with the increase in global travel and exposure to many new “critters” and bacterium, the bed bug epidemic has become an unpleasant reality. These bugs love to burrow into fabric, especially the nooks and crannies. By using fabric headboards it creates a more enticing atmosphere for these unwanted guests to take up residence, making it more likely to get bitten, or better yet, take them home as souvenirs! Using a vinyl product detracts bed bugs from snuggling in, decreasing the chances of spreading or being bitten.
Anything that can be designed for a guestroom that helps maintain the cleanliness for a longer period of time is always a better solution. Please keep in mind that if the mess can’t be easily cleaned in the 30-40 minute dedicated time slot a housekeeper has daily per room, it’s not going to get cleaned. A good night’s sleep is better spent counting sheep, not stains or bed bugs!