3d illustration showing hotel lobby with tables and chairs

The Ultimate Hotel Lobby Layout Guide

Not only does the layout of a hotel lobby create a first impression, but it also determines how the rest of the hotel’s design will look and feel to guests. A hotel lobby should serve as a place where everyone can feel welcome and secure while also providing an immediate sense of your brand. Being so, we put together this hotel lobby layout guide, which will help you discover new ways to strategically maximize the impact of your lobby.

Let’s start with the basics of designing a hotel lobby.

There are a handful of things guests expect from a hotel lobby layout. A place to sit, an area for the front desk, and maybe an outlet or two to plug in phones and computers while waiting. But if you want to impress today’s travelers, you’ll need to design a hotel lobby that goes above and beyond. 

There are lots of creative ways to arrange a hotel lobby. But before you start sketching your outline, start with these straightforward yet important steps:

  • Consider how it will be used. The truth is, there is no such thing as a hotel lobby that exists only for check-in. And as online check-in becomes more and more popular for guests during this era of digital transformation, hotels will need to get more creative with what they do to their entrance spaces.
  • Know who will be using it. It’s important to consider the different types of guests who visit your hotel when designing your lobby area. Families may need extra room for luggage. Couples may want a romantic area as they wait. And business professionals may rely on your hotel lobby WiFi or tables to squeeze some extra work in. 
  • Have a clear why. Why does your particular hotel brand need and want a lobby that stands out? If check-in goes entirely digital five years from now, what will guests use your lobby space for? Although this may never happen, answering these questions now will help you develop a clear vision as to how this design fits into your bigger goals for the hotel. 

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How to design a hotel lobby layout:

1. Develop a strategy.

Creating a lobby that is both functional and beautiful can help a hotel develop a sense of community. It can also elevate its overall brand image. Decide the top one or two key ways you’ll create a memorable experience for guests through your hotel lobby layout before you begin designing. 

2. Remember scale.

Due to the increase in the number of rooms at hotels, the average size of the lobby has also decreased. Although this trend has increased the overall profitability of hotels, it has also led to a reduction in available space. With that in mind, consider the proportions of your furniture and decor pieces when placing them in the space. Our industry-leading diagramming tools can help you visualize your hotel lobby layout so you always know how your choices will look in relation to everything else in the room. We also offer real-time collaboration, drag and drop elements, photo-realistic 3D rendering, and much more.

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3. Create zones.

Creating zones that flow seamlessly together can give your lobby the space it needs to perform its intended function no matter how much or how little space you have. By strategically laying out furniture and devices, one lobby can offer all the features that guests need.

In addition to being functional, creating a space that provides clear zoning is very attractive to both guests and the hotel’s bottom line. For example, you may choose to turn part of your lobby into a co-working space. This would allow guests to stay in the hotel and enjoy all of the amenities that a rental office has to offer from the comfort of the lobby. 

4. Consider the senses.

Sensory experiences are the difference between a good hotel lobby layout and a great one. Here’s how to perfect each one.


Scent is linked to both emotions and memory. Having the right scent can create a pleasant atmosphere in the lobby and leave a strong impression for a long time after checkout. And if you aren’t already using smell as part of your hotel lobby experience, you might need to catch up. According to a 2015 Bloomberg report, hotels spend around $300 million annually on their scent branding. 

Not sure where to start? According to Business News Daily, researchers found that simple scents are preferred over complex ones and that hotel brands typically choose scents based on the emotions they want their guests to feel. For example, lavender promotes calm, eucalyptus creates refreshment, and rosemary provides invigoration. 


The lighting scheme of a hotel has a significant impact on how we feel. In today’s world, functional task lighting is often not enough to make a space flow or function seamlessly. 

For example, if you want to create a social space, you can use more ambient lighting to encourage guests to sit and relax. Social seating areas also encourage people to hang out in your lobby, which can make your hotel seem friendlier and more community-oriented than others.

Other visual elements to consider are color and clutter. Each plays a role in how we feel consciously and subconsciously about the spaces we occupy. 

Last but not least, the furniture you choose is also an integral part of the overall look of your lobby. It can either make or break the success of a particular zone or section.

In general, you should choose lobby seating that encourages collaboration and provides guests with the chance to move things around and create their own groups of seating. It’s important to note that while one style of furniture may work for some functions, it may not work for others.


A great lobby playlist is another important aspect of a hotel lobby’s layout and design. An overall sound system should also be incorporated into the planning stages to ensure that the space is as comfortable as possible. The speakers should be evenly distributed and not overwhelming in any one area for maximum comfort. Add some hotel background music to set the mood. 


Fabrics and table surfaces should be both stylish but functional. Consider using a variety of textures in your couches, pillows, and decor items. And, whenever possible, choose materials that are easy to clean, otherwise no one will feel comfortable touching your hotel lobby at all. 


Some hotel lobbies include refreshment stations. At the very least, offering something as simple as water with sliced lemon and mint can be a refreshing lobby experience. Make sure you leave space in your layout for water containers, snack sales, and side tables for setting down cups. 

Frequently asked questions about hotel lobbies:

Developing your hotel lobby layout requires a thorough understanding of your brand, your audience, and your property all at once. The process is one that may take some trial and error. And in the end, you may have a few different layout options that you’ll want to compare side by side with your team. 

Although it’s tempting to Pinterest now and plan later, knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions first will help you avoid common hotel lobby layout mistakes.

What is the purpose of a lobby in a hotel?

A hotel lobby’s purpose is to greet, check in, and serve the needs of your guests. The needs of your guests will be unique to your location, the structure of your hotel, your brand, and the types of customers you serve. Your hotel lobby’s design is a key way to provide all of the above. 

What should a hotel lobby have?

At the very least, a hotel lobby should have a desk for check-ins and customer service, a water station, a seating area, and clear signage. It should also take local weather into consideration (don’t place lounge chairs in the way of a door that opens to a drafty tundra landscape) as well as what you want your guests to do while in the lobby (don’t put a live jazz band next to all your laptop and phone outlets). 

What makes a good hotel lobby layout?

A good hotel lobby design focuses on how it makes people feel and what it encourages people to do while they’re there. 

How do you design a lobby?

Use diagramming tools to design your hotel lobby layout. Layout and diagramming tools use accurate measurements of the space and objects to scale. They also make it easy to collaborate with your entire team to find the best options. 

Get started creating a winning hotel lobby layout today!

Looking for even more hotel design inspiration? Check out these hotel gift shop ideas that will help your store stand out and help boost your business in the process.