Five key design trends

For the Independent Hotel Show, trend forecaster Vincent van Dijk visited various new hotels in Belgium and the Netherlands to capture the key design trends.

Interior design is becoming increasingly important for hotels. While hotel rooms used to be primarily functional, now it’s more about beauty. The design of a room influences how the guest feels. Whereas hotel interior design used to follow trends a few years ago, there’s now a focus on creating a unique identity and timelessness. Constantly updating hotel rooms and restaurants every few years is not sustainable.

Interiors Reflect Our Escapist Behavior

Never before have crises and threats seemed to follow each other so rapidly. This undoubtedly impacts the way we approach design. Interiors, in a way, reflect our escapism. Here are five key design trends we cannot ignore this year.



In these turbulent times of economic uncertainty and conflict, people sometimes want to retreat into an environment that offers tranquility. An interior where they can momentarily leave behind the daily worries and hustle. No busy designs or bright colors, but shades of white and natural tones. Functional design, with a focus on shapes, tactility, light, and scent. This is reflected in the interior design of hotels and also influences the decor in people’s homes. They turn their bedroom and bathroom into a hotel suite, where they can retreat. A place where there are no clutter, but complete zen.



Another way people want to escape from the world is through nature. This is ingrained since ancient times. We seek out luxurious places surrounded by nature and bring trees and plants into urban environments and interiors. As the weather warms up, we spend more time outdoors. Terraces, patios are furnished like interiors, and the boundaries between inside and outside blur. A hotel room without plants is seen as cold, and bars, restaurants, and common areas are overrun with greenery. The greenery serves as a reminder of our love for nature, something that is becoming increasingly important for hotel guests. Plants are not only used for decoration; we also see a growth in the number of vegetable gardens where plants and herbs are grown for consumption.



Art and fantasy also serve as an escape mechanism. While hotel rooms used to feature paintings of flowers to avoid offending any guest, we now see rooms filled with art. Each room acquires a unique identity through the paintings, photographs, and sculptures displayed within. Additionally, other spaces in hotels are utilized for exhibitions. This not only contributes to a pleasant interior but also supports the art world. Moreover, it attracts more locals as well as international guests interested in culture. Furthermore, we increasingly witness collaborations between museums and hotels. Artists are also being commissioned for interior design, blurring the line between art and functionality.



The fourth way of escape is a dive into the past. Whereas hotels used to struggle to come up with marketing concepts, they are increasingly opting for monumental buildings with a rich history, where stories abound. This is a sustainable development, as leaving them empty is a waste and tearing them down is out of the question. Churches, monasteries, banks, and castles that lose their function are given a sustainable makeover and used as hotels and restaurants. A few additions are enough, as you want to preserve the building as much as possible.



After two years of working from home and experiencing loneliness, people are eager to meet each other, preferably not at home or in the office, but in an environment filled with luxury and service. Hotels, bars, and restaurants are increasingly catering to this desire by creating pleasant spaces where you can work for hours, meet like-minded individuals, gather with friends and colleagues, and order throughout the day, from coffee to cocktails. Instead of sterile meeting rooms, we see inspiring spaces emerge where work, food, drinks, and socializing blend seamlessly. Where international guests can meet locals, and where it becomes clear: the boundary between homes, offices, and hotels is disappearing. In 30 years, we will all be living in hotels. It’s time for the final escape, into the future.

Picture header: Le Grand Mazarin, Paris