Setting the scene
Colour makes an impression and I love how colour and character can simply transform a space. Boutique hotels, country manors, inns, B&B’s and restaurants have the enviable position of being able to extend their brand to entice all the senses through the very nature of hospitality. It all starts with setting the scene to create the right impression; considering the colour, styling and finishing details that add character and charm; all as a seamless extension of the history and the brand.
The background story is the place I always start with my clients, so I thought it would be an insightful exercise to showcase exactly what kind of impression colours and styling create, without existing knowledge of the background story. This way my perception of the colours and details won’t be influenced, giving you a pure first impression.
Step inside The Minster Arms, found on Pye Corner in the beautiful Dorset town of Wimborne, and you’ll be greeted with ‘old world charm’ with a contemporary twist. A welcoming, informal space has been created with natural materials, textures and details from traditional rolled armed leather sofas nestled around wooden coffee tables, old writing desks, copper pipe fixtures, weathered wood cladding and more.
In addition, by varying the style and height of the different seating options, and arranging them ‘just so’, has achieved intimate settings and cosy nooks, whilst also providing the feeling of an abundance of space. This has been further enhanced by the placement of large ornate mirrors reflecting the natural light that streams in from the wooden framed windows and low ambient lighting around the room, providing little glimpses around the corners and adding to the nostalgic charm.
Pre-loved & loved
The tables each have a centre piece featuring a stack of pre-loved books. These continue the colour palette of rich earthy colours too; deep greens, browns, reds and dark blues. The stacked books were topped with candle holders made from up-cycled bottles which reflect the easy passing of time whilst sat in the restful surroundings. It certainly makes you wonder about all the stories they could tell! Potted greenery and fresh flowers displayed in painted glass milk bottles add a bright accent of colour which lifts and complements the colour scheme and characterful styling.
Traditional with a contemporary twist
The walls are painted in warm, sophisticated shades of dove grey and ivory throughout. This provides a neutral backdrop that wonderfully offsets the unique characteristics of the furniture and settings. Giving the traditional ‘old world charm’ an updated, stylish contemporary look, that’s calm, cosy and welcoming.
The details are quirky and intriguing, with a gentle nod towards ‘man’s best friend’, having spotted a selection of items within the setting featuring dogs. A charming way to inform guests more about the heritage of the building, which is part of the old market town, would be to add a little history snippet to the food & drink menus and website. (As a side note the food was delicious and presented beautifully too – and that was ‘just’ a hot drink and cake).
Colours make up to 90% of the initial impression, so could make a difference as to whether someone decides to enter your establishment and spend time there or not. So as you can see it’s vital to carefully consider your colour palette and styling to create the desired experience. Just like the welcoming feel the Minster Arms have created through their colour impression. Next then, is to consider the characteristics, as well as the unique service you provide – all the little details that enrich the experience, to transform it into a wonderful lasting memory.
The result? Well, I’ll certainly be recommending them (and already have) to friends and family, and be returning for another visit. Further more, get this experience right and your guests will be telling the world about it and coming back for more.
- Provide an experience your guests will love and they’ll do the same
- Design for your guests and anticipate their needs
- What can you do to set your brand apart from the rest?
- What’s your brand differentiator?
Likewise think about the colour impressions, the heritage, the unique features of the building and each room.
- What characterful styling you can add?
- What impression does your space make?
- How does it feel?
- Does it match the experience you want to provide your guests?
- Does it live up to expectations?
Design to tell your story.