Staging to Sell with Inspo from 5-Star Hotels

Hotel and interior design experts offer tips for staging primary bedrooms with touches of luxe.
Modern bedroom with white and gray accents

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Recently, furniture and home decor company, CB2, named “luxury for all” as one of the top three home trends of 2022. The brand’s popularity with millennials, who currently comprise the largest percentage of home buyers, means CB2’s insights are valuable intel for real estate professionals.

The use of staging can set a listing apart from the crowd and increase the amount buyers are willing to spend on a property, according to recent data from the National Association of REALTORS®. If homebuyers crave luxury and want it at a variety of price points, sellers would do well to stage their homes in a way that reflects these lifestyle aspirations. What better template for luxury staging than a five-star hotel suite?

Making a primary bedroom look and feel like a five-star hotel guestroom is “all about making mindful choices, keeping things really simple and introducing luxurious elements in very attainable ways,” says interior designer Rebecca Gitana, founder of Healing Through the Home.

Luxury hotel experts and interior designers offer suggestions for arranging and styling bedrooms like five-star hotel rooms.

Limit Art and Accessories

Removing family photos and personal items is standard protocol when staging a house. But retaining or adding a couple of thoughtful accessories can boost the aesthetic appeal of a primary bedroom.

“High-end hotel rooms often imbue an aesthetic of minimalized clutter—sometimes just a coffee-table book, single piece of art, or a design-centric lamp bedside are enough,” says Brandon Berkson, founder of Hotels Above Par.

“The hotel feeling is all about less is more,” agrees commercial interior designer Gerardy Cabrera. “You can go wild with artwork, not with quantity, but with size and color.”

Choose Crisp White Bedding

If there’s one thing that makes a bedroom feel more like a five-star hotel room, it's high-quality, high thread-count bedding, according to Brianna Glenn, luxury travel advisor and founder of Milk + Honey Travels.

Interior designers agree. “Crisp white bed sheets are the number one staple in any five-star sleeping situation," says Gitana.

Jaclyn Isaac, the principal designer and owner of Doni Douglas Designs, calls white sheets a no-brainer and suggests topping them with a fluffy white duvet cover. "Certain colors don't show well on camera, but white looks bright and clean and gives off that hotel vibe," she explains.

Pick a Signature Scent

Filling the kitchen with the smell of fresh-baked cookies before an open house is the oldest trick in the book. The idea has stuck around because it works. But if the scent of cookies makes a kitchen feel like home, what makes a bedroom feel luxurious?

Hotel candles, according to Glenn. These days, many hotels infuse the lobby with seasonal signature scents ranging from the distinct smoky-spicy aroma of Hotel Emma in San Antonio to the gentle waft of cherries and lilies in The St. Regis New York.

“I stayed at Royal Monsour in Marrakech, and I remember they sent me home with a candle that had their signature scent—I could light it at home and instantly be transported back to that magical place,” she recalls.

While any high-end candle will do, homeowners can infuse their bedrooms with scents inspired by actual five-star hotels with products from Hotel Lobby Candle, a brand launched by travel writer and influencer Lindsay Silberman.

Take Cues from Nature

Luxury lodging often brings the outside in. That’s the case with one of Berkson’s new favorite properties, Piaule Catskill, which he says features simple oak-framed beds and floor-to-ceiling windows that “allow you to wake up to the surrounding forest.”

Of course, staging a room isn’t the same as renovating it. But homeowners can still include nature with lush houseplants or simple arrangements of foraged branches. Isaac says she always uses fresh flowers when staging.

Gitana suggests taking it a step further by decorating with colors and textures that mimic the natural world outside the room’s windows. Natural fibers might include cotton, bamboo, silk or wool. Even a bedroom entirely staged in shades of white can include natural variety by mixing up the fabrics and textures.

Include a Seating Area

In the world of hospitality, consumers associate square footage with luxury. While standard hotel rooms clock in at 330 square feet on average, luxury guest rooms range from 430 to 4,000 square feet, according to hospitality management software company Cvent.

You can’t increase the square footage of a listing, but you can spruce it up for all it’s worth. Luxury properties do this by creating thoughtful sitting areas, even in heritage hotels with limited space.

“No matter the size of the bedroom, you can create a little spot to take a call, have a cup of coffee, or just stare out the window,” says Gitana. “Create this for yourself by introducing an interesting chaise lounge or love seat into your space. Have an even smaller space? A single chair also works!”

Balance the Layout

Not all primary bedrooms are symmetrical, but thoughtful furniture arranging can make the space feel balanced.

“Start with a bed frame that fits the room,” says Cabrera. Bigger isn't always better, as a crowded bedroom feels like the opposite of luxe. He suggests choosing a bed that leaves 3 to 4 feet of space on each side, even if that means staging with a double bed in place of a king or queen.

Once the bed is in place, position a nightstand on each side. It might sound like a simple suggestion, but the resulting visual balance evokes a luxurious sense of calm and comfort, according to Gitana.

Complete the look with a large enough rug to fit under the bed and the nightstands. "A too-small rug is a rookie decor mistake," Isaac warns.