What is bed and breakfast design?

Bed and breakfast design plans form one of the keys to success for any B&B. From the interior design for guest rooms to the overall house plans for a bed and breakfast, the look and feel of your property can have a huge impact on the guest experience, or indeed whether you attract guests in the first place.

To successfully design a bed and breakfast you need to consider things like the needs, wants and tastes of your guests, the features and limitations of your property, how you might balance form and function, and last but not least, your budget.

The interior decor of your bed and breakfast is critical to your success. You want your guests to feel cosy and welcome. You want them to feel relaxed and comfortable. You want them to enjoy the luxuries that they may not have on a daily basis.

But did you know that your interior design actually plays a larger role in your overall business plan?

Given the fact that photographs of your small hotel and all of its rooms are online, your interior design might be the reason that some guests book with you.

Showcase the beauty of your B&B with Little Hotelier

Little Hotelier is packed with features to showcase the stunning design of your B&B, from gorgeous templates in our hotel website builder, to updating your OTA listings with ease through our channel manager.

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Bed and breakfast decorating ideas

On the hunt for designer bed and breakfast ideas? B&B interior design is an art form, but with a bit of guidance, any owner can become an artist. Use the following bed and breakfast room ideas as decoration inspiration.

Unique bed and breakfast furniture ideas

  • Retro furniture: What’s old is new again. Old, pre-loved pieces of furniture are just cool – a nostalgia hit for guests, they also add real character to your property, and best of all, retro items can cost less than buying new (if you know where to look!)
  • Hammock chairs: Add a boho, relaxed, coastal look to your bed and breakfast with a hammock chair – a more comfortable and functional version of the traditional hammock.
  • Swing beds: A staple in certain parts of the world, swing beds hang from the porch, patio or verandah and let guests soak in the serenity of your property.
  • Floating beds: A floating bed features a hidden platform that creates a hovering illusion – perfect for anyone looking for bed and breakfast bedroom decorating ideas that are more sleek and modern than rustic or retro.
  • Reclaimed wood furniture: Reclaimed wood is timber that has been salvaged (driftwood, pallet wood, timber from demolitions) then upcycled. It brings real character to your B&B, and works well with almost any design theme.

Fun bed and breakfast decor ideas

  • Themed rooms: A theme can simplify the design process by giving you clear direction. It can be anything: cowboy, superhero, puppies, whatever!
  • Mural art: Consider commissioning a local artist to create bespoke murals for your B&B.
  • Upcycle decors: Your local thrift shop can offer up both design inspiration and decor bargains.
  • Chalkboard walls: Let your guests play the role of artist, and have a bit of fun, by installing a chalkboard wall.
  • Floating shelves: Simple, subtle, sleek and stylish, floating shelves are an interior design go-to for a reason.
  • String lights: Add a bit of magic to your evenings with a simple string of lights, thoughtfully draped over your building or garden.
  • Custom headboard: Custom bedheads are simple additions that can have an outsized impact on the look and feel of your bed and breakfast.
Image representing bed and brekfast design

Bed and breakfast interior design tips

The interior design of your bed and breakfast should make a statement about your brand, and transform the atmosphere of your property. Your design will not only make a lasting first impression, but it will impact the entire experience that guests have with your bed and breakfast.

Here are some interior design tips to make your property shine online:

1. Put a conversation piece in the lobby

The lobby is where your guests will begin their stay, so it needs to make a positive statement. Your lobby should be a welcoming space where guests feel relaxed and invigorated — ready to start their trip.

By placing a conversation piece in the lobby, you will encourage your guests to begin interacting with the staff and with other guests in the property. 

A large sculpture or historical artefact would provide an interesting focal point that can lead to an instant connection between guest and accommodation.

2. Incorporate local art into your bed and breakfast design

Your small, boutique B&B will rely heavily on the support of the local community in order to be successful. In turn, you can support other local businesses by displaying their products throughout your small bed and breakfast design.

Local artwork in the lobby, dining area, common rooms and throughout the guest rooms adds an authentic ambience to your bed and breakfast design, and also proves that you support the community surrounding you.

3. Use fresh flowers for bed and breakfast decor

Fresh blooms will stimulate the senses of your guests, giving them something beautiful to look at and a natural perfume to enjoy throughout the halls of your bed and breakfast layout.

There is something calming about fresh flowers that will put your guests at ease, and will make them feel like they are welcome.

You should place fresh flowers at the front desk, within the lobby, on the dining room tables and even in the guest rooms. This is not something that most guests will expect, but they will be very impressed by this extra touch of floral beauty throughout the property.

4. Don’t ignore the details

Obviously, paint colours and the bedding play an important role in the overall interior design of your bed and breakfast, but sometimes the smallest details can make the biggest difference.

Rather than opting for a standard rectangular mirror in the bathroom, go for something more modern or ornate, depending on the theme of your property.

Change out the lampshades, and add small decorative items to the dressers. Your guests are more likely to notice interesting details than they are to compliment you on the linen.

5. Create a focal point in each room

It’s particularly important to make each room unique and special within your bed and breakfast. Dedicate a focal point within each room at your property and allow it to dictate the rest of the room’s design.

An example might be a fireplace with a renowned local masterpiece hung above it, or you may consider adding an antique armoire to the room to set the tone.

The atmosphere of your bed and breakfast will be heavily influenced by the interior design of the property, and you need to keep in mind all of your branding messages as you finalise your bed and breakfast design.

6. Consider the four elements

Mary White, the author of Running a Bed & Breakfast for Dummies, suggests that you use the four major elements to decor – colour, artwork, accessories, and lighting.

With artwork, always consider the scale of the pieces you add to any room and where it is placed. The hues you choose are an ideal way to accent your inn and complement its personality.

7. Choose furniture that meets the needs of your guests

If you cater to older travellers and retirees, then be sure to have accessible furniture that is easy and comfortable for everyone.

For families, be sure to include functional furniture such as sleeper sofas and portable cribs to increase sleeping space.

8. Add extra furniture when the room can accommodate it

A coffee table can add a touch of elegance to the room, while also making it a more welcoming place to stay.

A soft chair located next to the fireplace allows your guests to better use the amenities that you provide.

9. Take photographs of your property that shed your hotel in the best light

These photographs will show travellers who are perusing your small hotel website that you have plenty of space for them to stay, and that your accommodations are luxurious.

Some tips:

  • The best times to take photos are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, because natural light is the best kind when it comes to property photos.
  • If your small property looks a bit small in photos, position yourself at the corner of the room and take each shot from the corner. This makes the room look much wider.
  • If you or your photographer are using a tripod, set it low – below shoulder height and make sure to keep the camera level (not pointing to the ground).

10. Try to make sure you have a few well-chosen accessories

Mary White suggests adding accessories to enhance the space, without going overboard.

Too many accessories appear cluttered, and too much of a theme can look kitschy, and remember your guests need space for their things.

Consider talking to a design consultant or seeking advice from other innkeepers whose styles you admire because it’s important to make sure what you select fits the look and feel of your small bed and breakfast design  and its surroundings.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so initial perception and presentation will always prevail in the minds (and eyes) of your guests.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).