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Common Rooms – Time for a Transformation?

How often are your common areas used and which ones? Do your guests use your dining room for anything other than breakfast? I believe these are some good questions that may start you thinking about how your public spaces can be transformed into “Spaces that are open to interpretation-places to relax, think, create, meet and make your own.” This may sound a bit esoteric but it is what Marriott is doing, transforming their lobbies and dining areas to areas that reflect “comfort and connectivity in every corner.” Marriott’s goal is to attract the Gen X and Y travelers. They believe, and I agree, that this generation of travelers have an interest in design and look for spaces that they feel comfortable occupying for work and play.

A recent Marriott property lobby transformation. Intimate?

A recent Marriott property lobby transformation.

Your public spaces are valuable. They should be used, not just passed through.

I like the thought of creating spaces that are ’open to interpretation’. Example would be to design your dining/breakfast room to be inviting any time of the day. Bright and cheery for the morning and cozy and inviting for the evening hours. Lighting is very important for practicality and ambiance.

The Living Room at The Swag  Photo by Jumping Rocks

The Living Room at The Swag
Photo by Jumping Rocks

This living room or great room at The Swag in North Carolina is a great example of a room that could go from breakfast to evening wine, a game of checkers or checking your emails.

Your guests may not be on a business trip but they will bring work with them or just prefer to be connected at all times, even on vacation. Providing a space with good WiFI, comfortable chairs and tables with good lighting and plugs galore is very important. All of us at The B&B Team travel a lot and we know how important good and connected work spaces are!

Here is an example of the living room at the Maine Stay Inn in Kennebunkport, before and after.

The Maine Stay Living Room...before

The Maine Stay Living Room…before                                      Photo by Christian Giannelli



They have gone from a very traditional formal setting to a more contemporary lounge look. There is no right or wrong, the original room setting was quite nice but innkeepers Judi, Walter and Johanna wanted to make the space brighter and more inviting and they say the space is used more often now. The new chairs have wheels for ease in rearranging if necessary.

The hotel chains like Marriott are working to create more intimate spaces within their large spaces. Our bed and breakfasts and country inns already have smaller spaces, creating intimacy is not the challenge. Our challenge is to make the smaller spaces into a blend of style and comfort designed for the way travelers young and ‘experienced’ work and play today.


The Maine Stay Living Room...after

The Maine Stay Living Room…after                                        Photo by Christian Giannelli

Oh and when you transform those spaces, show them off. Good photography on your website is the best invitation for your future guests to connect to you.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

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One Response to “Common Rooms – Time for a Transformation?”

  1. Katherine Farquhar says:

    This is such a welcome emphasis, Janet — thanks so much!

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