How to furnish a hotel: shabby chic and natural styles compared

How to furnish a hotel: shabby chic and natural styles compared

The decision on how to furnish a hotel is influenced by many trendy styles, and you can only achieve clear ideas about hotel furnishing by analysing all of them. Let us continue our overview of hotel furnishing by comparing another two moods: shabby chic style and natural style. These are two approaches that both evoke welcome but that differ in the features of the setting they recreate. The former aims for charm and romance, while the latter creates relaxing environments with the use of vaguely exotic elements.

This article aims to compare the characteristics of shabby chic style and natural style, two of the six styles already addressed in How to furnish a hotel: 6 proposals.

How to furnish a hotel in shabby chic style

The atmosphere the shabby chic style recreates is basically soft: white is the main colour on this style’s colour palette. Other colours are pastel colours, however, such as pink, blue, beige and light grey. Shabby chic style furniture must always look dated but not antique. More often than not, it has been repainted but still maintains a happily “unkempt” look.

The stars of this trend are indeed old objects and furniture pieces, resurfaced by surprise from attics and flea markets. It is a style that maintains warmth and creates a special welcome. Shabby chic is usually recommended for curious and romantic people, who love the refined vintage look with a slight touch of nostalgia. Indeed, people who like this style welcome and appreciate everything marked over time i.e. everything that is worn and has therefore become personal and romantic.

Guidelines for furnishing a hotel in shabby chic style

The decorations that best fit the shabby chic style are conspicuous accessories that create and enrich the atmosphere of a hotel room, making it timeless. Cushions and bedcovers may be embellished with sequins, and decorative items like vases and glittery candle holders can be placed at strategic points in the room.

The overall decor of the room will give the setting a dreamlike, enchanted air, in which childhood keepsakes can blend freely with everyday life. The chair should also have considerable importance when furnishing a hotel room. So the materials used must preferably be those generally seen as linked to an almost pre-industrial past: leather, canvas or wood – materials on which signs of the past can immediately be seen. Creation of a distressed effect is a detail that certainly cannot be overshadowed when furnishing in shabby chic style. In fact, the chairs and bed can have this feature, perhaps leaving the option of finishing everything with panel work in the shabby chic palette shades: white, blue, pink, beige and light grey. 

This style comes from recycling the aesthetics of French coast country houses (a particularly successful version of shabby chic is Provencal furnishing, or Provencal shabby), or even homes in rural areas of the American north-east or mid-west (the shabby version closest to country house style). Due to this vocation, shabby chic is often chosen precisely to furnish hotels deriving from renovations of farmhouses, country mansions, or in any case settings connected with a rural, bucolic context. However, big city hotels can also opt for shabby chic furnishing, but normally with toned down style choices.

How to furnish a hotel in natural style

Modern, trendy and ecological: the decision on how to furnish a hotel in natural style is made taking these three characteristics into account, and some other key elements that characterise this style. Among them is wood, of course, a green material par excellence.

Among the main colours, as well as the natural colour of wood, use may also be made of hues of green, beige and white, colours that go very well with wood-based furnishing, in addition to orange or blue. The general approach to furnishing the hotel room is to use colours and furniture that can create a warm and comfortable atmosphere in some way, for people who like to feel at home while at the same time feeling immersed in nature and its colours.

Guidelines for furnishing a hotel in natural style

Flowers and plants are typical decorative features for furnishing a hotel room in natural style – their presence and colours give the room vitality and naturalness. Another must is floral references in details and on accessories, for green-fingered enthusiasts and for natural beauty.

So the furnishing should evoke natural elements, proposing little-addressed solutions as far as possible linked to wood in its original version that is closer to its natural state. A choice of warm colours and natural fibres can be made, both for the upholstery and the centrally placed bed. Chairs and table tops are important. They should have a fairly large wooden surface, preferably with visible grain and an as organic and natural style as possible.

This type of furnishing is certainly suitable for hotels focused on food and wine or nature tourism, and for people mainly seeking relaxation and reconciliation with nature. However, this does not rule out the possibility of employing the natural style in city hotels, to allow guests to regenerate and find the right balance without going far from the city centre.


The choice of furnishing a hotel in shabby chic style or natural style shares naturalness and sobriety of the colours used, and wood as their main element. But these styles differ in the details, the desired type of experience to offer customers, and the underlying philosophy.

In any case, for your choice of furnishing you should take into account the hotel’s geographic position and the type of customers you wish to attract to your establishment.

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