How does hotel interior design work?

A thorough design process is vital in making sure your property’s aesthetics are in keeping with your brand requirements, vision, and hotel operations. Our in-house hospitality interior designers at ID Studio follow a detailed, six-step method for every design project to ensure success and stunning visuals every time.

The Six Stages of Interior Design for FF&E Projects

step 1 preliminary planning

1. Preliminary Planning

The design process begins with a kickoff meeting between all project team members, including interior designers, hoteliers, general contractors, architects, consultants, and the brand. Each part of the team takes on responsibilities to determine ownership of the necessary steps for project completion.

At this time, an interior design partner will incorporate both brand requirements and the hotel owner’s vision and objectives to establish a scope for the project. The contractors will then use this information to propose a construction schedule based on purchasing lead times and what the design process entails.

step 2 schematic design

2. Schematic Design

This step is where the owner and brand’s vision start to actualize. A project’s interior design team develops a design concept with sketches, space planning of public areas and guestrooms with proposed furniture layouts, and conceptual imagery boards that showcase ideas for color palettes, furniture, and fabrics.

The interior designers then present this schematic design concept to the hotelier for review, and afterwards submit it to the hotel brand for approval. If either the owner or franchisor has hesitations about the schematic design, the designers will make revisions until all parties are pleased with the proposed design plans.

The Six-Step FF&E Interior Design Process [Infographic]
step 3 design development

3. Design Development

After agreeing upon a schematic design, the team refines the public area and guestroom plans to be more specific to the hotel and include details of the FF&E that will bring that original concept to life. The further development of a project’s design scheme will consist of specific product selections for furniture, fabrics, finishes, artwork, lighting, and millwork and running trim.

In addition to showcasing actual products, interior designers also give input on the hotel’s space planning by using their vast experience in hotels to guide hoteliers to make the right layout choices for successful and efficient operations.

step 4 design documentation

4. Design Documentation

During the design documentation phase, the interior design team will complete project drawings and listing of specifications. These documents will include floor plans, finish plans, power and data plans, reflected ceiling plans, interior elevations and details, and millwork and running trim drawings to ensure the team accounts for every detail. 

In addition to these drawings, the project’s architect and procurement provider receive a complete set of finish and FF&E specifications, including decorative lighting, artwork, and accessories, to reference in their construction and purchase orders, respectively.

step 5 bidding and negotiation

5. Bidding and Negotiation

In the bidding and negotiation phase, a select group of qualified General Contractors and their subcontractors, along with FF&E procurement providers, bid competitively to ‘win’ the project. The project team takes the owner’s budget and the contractors’ quality of services into consideration to decide which contractors and products to use.

In the event that the winning contractor’s bid exceeds a hotelier’s budget, a process of value engineering will take place on all project items. In regards to interior design, value engineering involves selecting alternative finishes and FF&E that still fit the design vision while allowing the project to remain within budget. It should be noted that value engineering can affect all building components ranging from architectural building materials and size of spaces to equipment specified by the engineering consultants.

step 6 design implementation

6. Design Implementation

The final stage of the FF&E interior design process takes place while the hotel property is under construction. During design implementation, the interior designers will review and approve sample submittals, as well as shop drawings from subcontractors and manufacturers based on the original drawings and field measurements. The interior designers will carefully vet these documents to ensure they meet the project’s design intent for materials, finishes, and dimensions. Coordination with a hotel project’s purchasing department also takes place at this time so that all product orders and deliveries go according to schedule.

During construction, your design team will make on-site visits to administer direction for installation to guarantee everything is placed properly. Many things can change throughout the construction process, such as unforeseen site conditions during renovation projects. The interior design team will work with the owner and GC to help solve these issues and keep the project on schedule.

Are you ready to take your property’s designs to the next level? The ID Studio FF&E interior designers have a keen eye and an express knowledge of hotel functionality to guarantee aesthetically pleasing property design schemes that are fit for operations. Contact ID Studio today to make sure your hotel design scheme meets the mark.