Showing the goods: Six trends in casegoods

As designers, we often don’t change the furniture in a room as often as we change the softgoods—the fabrics, floor coverings, window treatments, and fixtures. Our ultimate goal is to create a timeless design, not a space that will ultimately look dated and reminiscent of a passing fad in just a few years. However, furniture and casegoods styles do change, and as we’re creating new spaces (and refreshing older ones) here are some of the trends making their way into hotel guestrooms around the world.

Grand One Bedroom Suite

Grand one bedroom suite, Fairmont Quasar, Istanbul


Guestroom, Fairmont Quasar, Istanbul

Sophisticated metals

From finishes to hardware, the emergence of champagne colored metals, rose gold, and rich copper lend a sophisticated touch to the furniture pieces they grace. I love the mixed metals trend—juxtaposing different elements to give a furniture piece texture and depth. Incorporating varied inlaid metals, many etched in contemporary patterns, add even more exquisite layers to the piece.

Once upon a time, you sourced from the same old hardware catalog so everything was essentially the same, and now there are so many different options to choose from. Each designer can truly customize a furniture piece to convey the intended design story.

Natural woods

We’re seeing more and more natural woods being used in casegoods, especially trending toward medium-toned woods like walnut, and less white woods. It’s the idea of things being more natural, sourced locally or regionally, still somewhat raw yet also refined—using woods with heavy grains.

But we’re also seeing the blending of materials—resin and wood for example. It creates a balance when you’re setting the tone for the space and allows the space to be timeless rather than too trendy. Designers are creating unique spots and opportunities with their custom casegoods. It’s fun to see pops of color, lacquer, and other treatments come to fruition—they really stand out as statement pieces in a room.


Swissotel, Singapore


Swissotel, Singapore


Swissotel, Singapore


Swissotel, Singapore

Combining artisan techniques with the latest technologies creates endless possibilities for crafting furniture pieces beyond your wildest imagination.

The cellarette

Instead of the traditional dresser unit that houses the minibar and small fridge, I’ve noticed that designers are celebrating the beverage center by instead designing “cellarettes” for guestrooms. It’s like having a proper bar in your room! This drink center, which first appeared as a piece of furniture in the 15th century, is making a comeback and really celebrates the minibar rather than hiding it. We’ve designed cellarettes for three projects alone very recently. It can really become a statement piece for the room.

King presidential suite

King presidential suite, Hilton Jinan, China

Multifunctional furniture

Single-purpose pieces, such as the desk and office chair once seen throughout hotel rooms, are disappearing in favor of more multifunctional or transitional furniture pieces. For example, designers will customize a piece that can serve as a workstation with a laptop or mobile device, while also being a highly accommodating place to dine. Even the hallway closet is transitioning to more of a furniture piece, with open wardrobes or armoires, sometimes built-in, that create a more layered, eclectic look in the room and can hold more than just your clothing.

Royal Suite

Royal suite, Lotte World Tower, South Korea

Lounge Rosewood Inn

Lounge, Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe

Eclectic and collected

Everything speaks to the design story of the space, but rather than a homogenous look across all of the rooms, having a collection of different furniture pieces— often a different medley in each room—enables designers to create more layers and textures. Of course it all depends on the design story and how you put all of these things together. There are so many unique products available, and we have the capability to create truly bespoke pieces that, when mixed with timeless pieces, create a balance and tell a story.

When you’re selecting casegoods for a room, you want a look that is eclectic but also timeless. We’re trying to create a more residential feel and layered look in the design to define the story. As more hotels look for that “home away from home” or residential feel in their spaces, a great way to achieve that is with the casegoods. Curating a group of pieces that appear collected over time, not matchy-matchy, achieves that tasteful, well-traveled, wellcollected version of a timeless residence.

Artisan meets hi-tech

Technology has given us innovative and interesting materials to work with, and we can create some truly unique pieces for the space, rather than just relying on a big chunk of wood. Furniture pieces that incorporate metal plus wood, or high-gloss lacquer mixed with heavily textured wood and mixed metals, add touches of detail. Engineered finishes and laser-etched patterns can achieve an artisan look. Also, mixing with laser-cut stone, CNC-milled wood inlay, high-performance fabrics digitally printed in computer-generated designs and vibrant colors, and even 3-D printed components really add drama to the space. Combining artisan techniques with the latest technologies creates endless possibilities for crafting furniture pieces beyond your wildest imagination. This is ideal because designers always have the desire to create at least one quirky piece for a room.


Amy Jakubowski is managing director and design director of Wilson Associates. A talented visual storyteller, she loves to see how a sketch on a napkin comes to life as a physical space. Based in Los Angeles, she finds inspiration everywhere—from amazing color schemes in nature to textures in urban streets.

Amy Jakubowski


International hospitality design firm Wilson Associates has a global footprint, which includes eight offices across six continents and more than 300 design and architecture professionals.

Images courtesy of Wilson Associates.