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Styling a hotel room

Have you ever stayed in a hotel room that you wished you could put secretly redesign and decorate?
Yeah. Me too. It happens all the time. Sometimes the rooms may be beautiful and have everything you need but they just don't feel so welcoming and friendly.
I got the chance to make a few changes to a hotel suite over the weekend
for a special project with my friends at GMC.

GMC asked me to be a guest designer
for project with the 2015 Yukon Dream Drive in the wine country
I was so excited to see my GMC friends again
and how fun to help them with a little bit of decorating at the same time

All week long~ GMC is hosting an amazing Denali Dream Drive introducing the 
2015 Yukon Denali- the cream of the crop of their large SUV line


 The project? 
Making their hospitality suite at the hotel be a little less hotel like
and a little more comfy like home with a dash of 'Denali' flavor.
We jumped on a call and talked about what we could change and what we couldn't change
(for example- we couldn't really hang artwork, or lighting
 or bring in furniture, etc.) 

We also talked about what they would like to bring in to the room
like metal, wood and leather 
to incorporate some of the elements of the Yukon Denali
Photos courtesy of GMC- to learn more about the 2015 Yukon Denali
 you can read about it here
Something inspired a little by the HGTV Dream Home living room in Tahoe-
geometric patterns, plaids, warm colors and green accents
courtesy of HGTV
 Of course- we had to work with what was there already
 like the existing furniture, colors, etc so that dictated most of the direction
Another thing~ we didn't get to see the room ahead of time
There were examples of what the suites looked like online
 but there were several layouts and different pieces of furniture in the examples
 so didn't know exactly what I would be working with until I got there
which was going to be the decorating day.

So I basically shopped for the room based on photos 
and tried to keep a feeling of what a luxury SUV like the 2015 Yukon Denali says to me.
Something that has all the sophistication and elegance
 to take you to the opera in SF 
and to the wine country for a pampered spa day or wine tasting weekend
But that also has that youthful edgy feeling that takes the family up to Tahoe to go skiing
or for a fun day driving in the sand on the beach in Pismo.

I got started with a little online shopping,
local stores and then shopped the big chain stores as well.
A definite mix and match of items!

Here is the room before.

Not bad- but not all that cozy or inviting for sure

Here are some of the changes that were made

I started with several different pillows - somewhat inspired by
a California Craftsman or Mission style

The pillows also worked well with the existing orange sofa and tan chairs
(thankfully they were tan and not the bright color I saw in another room photo)
I also added the navy blue pillows behind them as well.

and a rich, warm golden chunky throw.
I loved the color paired with the navy blue and orange
 and those rope details on the ends of it.

I brought two large chunky cedar tree slices for using as fun accents
and this hand carved bowl created from a whole tree root was one of my first inspirations
 for the space.

A large woven basket filled with big California pinecones
brought a little more nature in 
 GMC loved the wild hair pinecone - so he stayed.  :)

On the side table
 accents such as candles in a tray with river rock

and grass in a glass jar 

On the other side table
a small wooden bowl filled with river rock
 a chunk of a beautiful geode - loved it
and stack of coasters for glasses of water 

 To bring in some of the metal

Loved this vase for the room
 Polished and shiny and interesting in shape
perfect for the tv area.
There was a big shortage of flowers this weekend in the market
but luckily we were able to find alstroemeria in white and orange
which is sophisticated and friendly at the same time.

On the dining table- a large metal vase and piece of driftwood
were all that were needed.
(there will be food and dishes set out for use)

The hotel room kitchen was stocked full of dishes and everything else
that would be put out on the table in preparation for the guests- so I didn't pick up any of those.

A touch of 'Leather' and 'Chrome' in this serving tray was perfect on the island
I always think of presentation for entertaining so I would have loved to have set a table but they weren't  sitting down to eat- it was more informal.

So instead I thought of things like this wood cutting board for cheese and crackers
 to welcome travelers to grab a bite with their glass of wine

 There is also a large basket for placing treats like bags of chips in that was on the island 
and GMC was bringing in catered food that would be placed there.

So here is the before again:

and the after.

Even though this room is definitely not French Country Cottage style or colors
and totally not my normal look - I love how it turned out.

But there was one more area needed some attention before wrapping up.
There was a small seating area outside on the patio
that was perfect for a few more pillows and warm throw 

I completely loved these plaid pillows and that warm chunky throw in ivory when I found them
and luckily- they were perfect color wise for the exterior of the hotel as well.
A happy design coincidence 

Another larger log slice almost seemed to be made to fit on the glass top table 
and it brought a little bit of rustic charm
 Another pretty bouquet of white alstroemeria 
and wine waiting to be enjoyed by guests completed it.

There were so many more things I would have loved to have brought in 
such as rugs, side tables, dishes, artwork, living plants, etc
But keeping in mind that they would be shipping pieces back to Michigan
and that the decor was temporary for the hotel room
I stayed with simple items to warm the room up and make it feel more welcoming.

I had tons of fun doing this and absolutely loved spending some time with my GMC friends again.
I want to say a huge thank you to the girls at GMC for such a neat opportunity
 to be a part of their amazing Denali Dream Drive.

I was provided a budget to use for decor but this post is not sponsored
and all opinions are my own

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  1. The changes you made are amazing and the room looked so pretty. Great job and sounds like a fun time. Hugs, Marty

  2. Great job! Soooooo much more cozy after you did your thing!

  3. You really did a terrific job on the suite. I know what the suite look like as I was a Director of Sales for numerous hotel and they can look very sterile. You really warmed up the suite with all the lovely items you brought in. Wonderful job.

    1. That is exactly why GMC wanted something to help warm it up. The suite was large and beautiful- but really lacked any warm personality.

  4. Great Job Courtney, where did you find the throw and the pillows for the outdoor space? love them!

  5. Courtney, I'd say the hotel should hire you to spruce up all their rooms. The difference is amazing! Your touches certainly makes this suite warm and welcoming. Well done!

  6. Very nice, Courtney. What a fun opportunity you were given. ~ Nancy

  7. I especially like the wood slabs and the metal vases with all the different planes. Beautiful job!

  8. Wow, what a bit of color, textures and nature can bring to a room. Outstanding work!

  9. You did an AMAZING job with this Courtney! I love the warm cozy feel you created with accessories! I can only imagine if you were given free reign over everything - art, furniture, dishes! Great job my friend!

  10. Great job! Loved both throws...where did you find them? Just curious, where you given a budget to work with?

  11. Great job! Loved both throws...where did you find them? Just curious, where you given a budget to work with?

    1. The throws are from Target and yes, I was given an allowance to work with.

  12. Wspaniała aranżacja:) Lubię szarość we wnętrzach za jej szlachetność. Gratuluję projektu!!

  13. I often bring fav things from home when we go on trips. Books, candles and throws. Music for sure. Platters for cheese and crackers and our own wine & glasses. And usually sea shells or pine cones. So being awa from home is a bit more comfortable. Thanks for letting the hotel know what we like.

  14. Gréât to be able to wear another hat in designs, your re imaging of the space brought it up to another level of a relaxing space.
    Beautiful job Courtney. I have to mention I did a post before my latest post where I found a Smith & Hawken wood tray and to age it a bit to my level I sanded of the wax like finish giving a look of old as if it has been around for years. Target has some surprising pieces that often wow! Making it a showroom piece with a little imagination and taking it from it element can add all the rightness to ones home in any mood.
    Always inspiring when visiting you and all you inspire.

    I have a question for you? In your quest cottage did you paint your floors, and are they just the cement slab foundation?
    If so how are they holding up for you, and would tos be a choice you would take to doing more of this design style?
    I am looking to paint some cement floors and doing a floor treatment to them. Love your vibe, tone and lusterment in your cottage.


    1. Hi Dore! Thank you for your compliments! Yes, the floor in the little cottage are a poured concrete that I painted with a porch and floor paint. The paint is holding up fine- though I do plan a re-coat this Summer because I like a fresh look to them. I would just say to use a good primer- several coats and then several coats of the paint to finish the floor. Since this is in the cottage the floors don't get tons of day to day wear like they would in a main house- so I would expect more work with them if they were in a main area. Originally we painted the floor as a temporary fix until a wood floor could be added- but we have kept it as is for several years and love the look of it. Hope that helps!

  15. Congratulations! What fun you must have had. Kathy at

  16. Courtney,
    You did a beautiful job. You made the room so much more inviting and gave it a cozy relaxed feeling. Just beautiful. Love the outdoor space with the throws and those beautiful pillows. So pretty.

  17. Courtney,
    Beautiful work, as always! The room is MUCH more welcoming with your added touches. Love how you sneaked in that gray/cream hint to French Shabby Chic outside! ;) It all looks so wonderful!

  18. Courtney,
    Amazing transformation and I surely like how you incorporated the elements of the region.
    Beautiful and also very interesting to see how it all came together!

  19. What a fun opportunity! Your transformation of the space is just wonderful. So much warmer and more inviting. It's amazing what a difference the right accessories can make. Great job!


  20. I just did a post on how I'm getting better at styling, not easy for me, but I'm so glad to be one of your followers and to learn so much from you and posts like this! You did an amazing job transforming this room, yeah, not your style but you totally nailed it!

  21. You did a fabulous job on this room! Love your soft touches, and welcoming items!! You really warmed up the room with your cushion colors, etc. Love the patio too! Great work, and fun!!

  22. Love the look you created in the suite Courtney... so homely and inviting. As owners of a resort, my husband and I try so hard to make the rooms feel like home, but sadly, every time we put nice adornments in the rooms they are stolen or wrecked. We keep all our pretties for our two superior suites... they sometimes still get stolen, but less often.

  23. Wow, what a nice difference! I love the color choices and touches of wood (especially outside on the little table)...brilliant! ...and how you added the tray as well as those great pine cones; is really nice!!!