Hotel Lobby Design Tips Using Wood Carvings

Posted  on by Heartwood Carving, Inc.

Hotel Lobby Design Tips Using Wood Carvings

After a long day of sightseeing and travel, a knackered vacationer just wants to fall into the covers of a soft bed. Naturally, the hotel experience is as important as any other holiday activity, as a restless sleep is sure to get in the way of an otherwise joyful vacation. A hotel should be comforting and inviting, as it serves as a temporary home base for rejuvenation.

Now as we all know, first impressions are everything. Once you walk into those hotel doors, all the day’s activities should melt off your shoulders and allow you to clear your mind and rest. Therefore, it’s important that your lobby serves as an immediate invitation for rest. There are different ways to create a welcoming atmosphere in your lobby—one of these being through the use of wood carvings. In this article, we delve into the different ways in which you can use these to your advantage.


Before you determine the placement of carvings, you’ll want to start with choosing the wood type as well as what appearance you want them to take on. There are a few common designs you may see on wood carvings, such as pineapples and roses. Designers don’t just use them because they’re pretty, but because they developed a deep meaning across the ages. Below are a few different carving designs as well as what they symbolize.

Pineapples: This fruit is one whose likeness adorns many carvings and paintings, and it may initially seem confusing to some. However, pineapples were once a rare luxury, since they were perishable and did not easily grow in many climates. As a result, over time, this became a symbol of luxury and wealth. It also represents hospitality, as giving this rare fruit to a quest served as a show of generosity. As such, the pineapple has long been one of the most popular welcoming symbols.

Oak Leaves: These are another popular symbol of hospitality, and we can link them to virtues such as strength and endurance. Oak trees grow slowly, which symbolizes endurance, and the shade provided by their leaves suggest hospitality. The combination of these qualities creates a sense of safety and calm for anyone who views them.

Fleur-de-lis: The fleur-de-lis has been a symbol for historical figures such as Joan of Arc and various French noblemen. Amongst its several associations, it acts as a prideful display of perfection and life. As any business establishment would naturally want to emulate as much perfection as possible, this dainty symbol is one that graces many walls.

Four-Leaf Clover: As children, we become aware that a rare four-leaf clover is a sign of good luck, and this ideal doesn’t wear off in adulthood. As a resting place for travelers, the four-leaf clover wishes one good fortune on their travels, and it’s sure to inspire such emotion in anyone.

Roses: People oftentimes associate this bloom with romance and passion, but there is another meaning the flower holds. Roses suggest confidentially and secrecy as well, and privacy is essential in a hotel setting. It’s for this reason
carved wood rosettes typically adorn the rooms and lobbies of hotels.

Carving Styles

While you now know what wood carvings you’d like, you should know why you should use different pieces as well as where to place them. In this section, we provide an overview of some commonly used wood carvings that look good in any hotel lobby.

Keystones and Moulding: It’s only natural that you’ll see many buildings with different types of moulding, but you can add a touch of elegance by enhancing them with carved keystones. There are different types of moulding, including baseboard, casing, and chair rails. You can make the trim look even more extravagant through the use of weaving or Celtic knot patterns.

Onlays and Appliques: Onlays and appliques are some of the more decadent types of carved applications. Woodworkers craft shell, fleur-de-lis, or hibiscus shapes to adorn different areas of a room. Common applications include door frames, fireplace mantels, or cabinets. Appliques are an incredibly effective way to instantly add elegance and sophistication to an area.

Columns: Though extravagant, you can play columns up or down, depending on the situation. Since an entrance is so incredibly important, it’s likely you’ll want to add them here. Consider placing columns right outside or inside the doorway, or use them to frame a staircase.

Carved Wood Panels: These are one of the most versatile options regarding wood carvels, as woodworkers can carve any design into them and place it virtually everywhere. Be it doors, cabinets, fireplaces, or kitchen islands, panels can easily enhance any part of an area. The pattern you choose determines their effectiveness, how many you purchase, as well as their installation.

Quick Tips

Wood carvings have the ability to be jarringly tacky or peacefully elegant, depending on the types used and who installs them. When you make the decision to use wood carvings, you’ll want to do so in a thoughtful manner. Once you determine the types you’ll need, you have to carefully evaluate how to use them. Below we leave you with a few additional tips before we wrap up—we hope you create the lobby that truly speaks to your aesthetic.

  • Don’t go overboard. You want to use wood carvings to create elegance as well as balance. It’s easy to use too many carvings and completely overwhelm a space. If anything, they should be a suggestion more than a statement. Let them bounce off the rest of your décor and pull the entire area together.

  • Consider stains and finishes. Typically, companies you outsource to will send the wood unfinished, so you’ll have to request this accommodation. You don’t necessarily have to purchase the most expensive wood, as a professional can stain other varieties to take on the appearance of more desirable options. Additionally, many experts highly recommend you apply a sturdy finish so your wood can hold up against the inevitable wear and tear that comes with a high-traffic environment.

  • Stick to your aesthetic. Make sure that the carvings match up with each other to create cohesion. We listed the symbolism behind certain pictures above, but you likely wouldn’t want to use all of them—at least not in one room. Consider carefully what design will work best for your space.

Hotel Lobby Design Tips

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