As a rule of thumb, the hotel design is a multidisciplinary class of design. A modern hotel lobby, which we’ll be focusing on here, is a very important aspect in its overall design.

The hotel lobby design will undoubtedly reflect the image of the entire hotel. There are a few categories of hotels, and each have a specific image to maintain.

When it comes to hotel lobby designs, the interior should present the image that the management wants to convey to the guests. All lobbies, from cheaper hotel lobbies, to fancy hotel lobby designs and even luxury hotel lobby designs, have a couple of universal qualities which we’ll dive into below.

For starters, think about your potential guests

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Who is going to walk into your hotel and ask for a room? Do you expect individuals, or families? Are your target business people who travel, or couples on vacation?

Every type of guest has different needs, and they want to see a specific something when they walk in. Find a way to use your modern hotel lobby to cater to your target audience.

Make it unique

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From the lighting, to the artwork, to the hotel lobby furniture, your hotel should be “the one with the ______”, where you fill in the blank.

The lobby isn’t a mere gateway for people that enter your hotel, but it should also be a place that makes your guests pause for a moment, and want to explore it. This can be done through inspiration artwork, colourful fish tanks, or anything that will cause your hotel to stand out among the demographic you’re trying to serve.

The lobby is an additional source of revenue

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Add unique and interesting shops and services which make your guests want to spend a few extra bucks in your hotel. A snack bar, gift shop, or a coffee shop are great additions, and you can use your target demographic to ascertain which one to go for.

Find a way to improve the overall structure

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Some of the best lobbies you’ll find are large and spacious, but too much space will make it look empty.

Try to separate it into stations, different ones for different activities, and try to incorporate your entire buildings’ unique architecture into the lobby’s design. Find an expert that will show you the positive details to accentuate, and minimize any potential problems.

Make them feel relaxed, immediately

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Your guests may be tired and weary, from a work conference, or from a long distance travel. They might’ve had a long week and want to start their vacation at your hotel. Before they even make it into their room, make sure they feel relaxed as soon as they walk in.

This is easily done by placing big, comfortable armchairs and love seats in the lobby area. Guests can now take a break for a few minutes, and sit down. The lobby doesn’t just anticipate guests and their needs, but it also sets the tone for the style throughout the whole hotel.

If you have luxury furniture, that’s one of the best ways to get what you need, as you want the guests to feel dragged in by the atmosphere of your hotel. First impressions matter, and the guests’ first impression will be formed a few minutes after they walk into your lobby.

Go beyond traditional

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There are things in a lobby, such as a check-in desk, concierge stand, and waiting area, that you must have. However, that doesn’t mean that once you have a plan for these things, the planning is over.

It is exactly the extra touches that make your hotel feel memorable. Talk to design teams at luxury furniture manufacturers, they can undoubtedly help you make your vision a reality.

A layout of a hotel lobby

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The layout is extremely important here. It’s basically a blueprint of what is inside the lobby and where it goes, and it greatly depends on the circulation space, as well as the estimated number of people that might be using your lobby at any given time.

The layout should be designed around the aforementioned circulation space, and it should look spacious and wide. The furniture is often sidelined and there’s a large space in the middle, so guests and management can easily move around.

The reception

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The reception is the main feature of the lobby, and must be an impressive formation. The reception’s image is quite possibly what defines the first impression of your hotel.

The main component is the desk, and the wall behind it. Both should be stunning, and you may even emboss the hotel’s name on the back wall for an added impression.

The waiting area

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All lobby designs come with a waiting area. It doesn’t have to be large or encompassing, you can put it along the sidelines, or design it in an alcove.

The furniture in the waiting area should follow both the lighting and the color scheme of the whole lobby. This area can also serve as a follow-up counterpart to the reception desk, where you put them on opposite ends and there is plenty of circulation space between the two.

The final image of a hotel lobby design

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The final image does appear a bit holistic. Everything should look cohesive, from the reception, layout and waiting area, which are individual elements, to the visual anchor that holds them all together.

The visual dynamic should project a feeling that attracts your guests and leaves an incredible first impression, and you should always go with a careful contrast of all design elements, materials, lighting and colors.

Space attributes

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The first impression of your visitors is often influenced by the function and character of the lobby. Some key concerns as far as design goes include balancing the security, aesthetics and any operational considerations. Some typical features include a couple of applicable design objectives which we’ll discuss below.


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  • Use the appropriate furniture, finishes and signage, to reflect the nature of the entire space
  • A spatial experience enhances the aesthetic experience
  • A well-designed lobby will give both the workers and occupants an opportunity to relief, and grab a break from spaces that are more confined

Operational / Functional

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  • Design your space so that it can accommodate peak loads
  • Combine the employee and visitor entrance to spaces
  • Any equipment you must have in the lobby should be low profile, and coordinated with the other equipment for minimal bulk
  • Use durable finishes so you can accommodate maximum traffic
  • In order to mitigate the stack effect with tall building entrances and elevator lobbies, consider the air pressurization and the entrance door design

Historic preservation

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  • A public building almost always has historic features in the hallways and lobbies, and that both requires, and deserves, a special treatment during renovations
  • The historic character of the space should be maintained when modernizing everything for enhanced accessibility, security, as well as general pedestrian circulation
  • Any equipment that you’re installing in a historic lobby must be carefully placed in order not to alter the original spatial configuration of the lobby


  • If a lobby space requires 24-hour operation, it should have a dedicated HVAC system
  • If a lobby space is at the exterior of your building, you should have a dedicated air-handling unit in order to maintain the positive pressurization
  • Your workers and occupants should see the lobby as a relief opportunity from spaces that are more confined, as mentioned above

Safe / Secure

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  • If you have high-risk facilities, non-secure and secure areas should be separated with metal detectors or turnstiles, or any other device that you can use to control the access to those secure areas. You should also have a control desk, as well as a bag checking area within the secure area. Any mechanical ductwork, main electrical conduit runs or piping shouldn’t extend from one area to another, and you should have flexible and portable traffic separation devices
  • Control points should be designed so the secure areas can’t be bypassed. Security personnel should be able to properly observe all areas of the control points
  • When you have large security screening areas, locate them in conjunction with visitor seating, art installations and exterior entrances. Set aside enough space for queuing, and if you expect queuing, enclose the area in a blast resistant construction
  • Things such as mailboxes or receptacles, that can be used for hiding devices, shouldn’t be installed in non-secure areas
  • Raised floor systems should be avoided in non-secure areas
  • The fire command center, as well as the emergency elevator control panel should be integrated with the BAS systems, fire protection systems, as well as the building communication systems
  • The lobby doors to street’s design should account for egress from the higher floors in case the stairs exit in the lobby instead of the outside


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  • To prevent heating/cooling loss, consider vestibules or air lock at the entrance doors
  • If the lobby space is at the exterior of the building, make use of the daylight in order to reduce the electrical lighting needs

Ending thoughts on modern hotel lobby design

By now you know that your hotel’s lobby is your chance to make a good first impression. What this means is that it’s one of the most important design aspects of your hotel, as you only have one chance for that first impression.

And, there are plenty of options when you want to put a unique personality in your hotel’s lobby. Personality is, after all, what guests are looking for in an

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