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How I Recreated My Favorite Hotel Room at Home

Going from Pinterest board to reality was easier than I imagined.

January  7, 2020
Photo by Sarah Crowley

Many hotels boast about amenities and comforts that’ll “make you feel right at home.” For some travelers, this familiarity is exactly what they want when far from their own bed. I, on the other hand, am drawn to hotels that do exactly the opposite. I prefer transportive places that let me try different interior designs and lifestyles on for size. It’s exactly why I loved the rooms at Detroit's The Siren Hotel.

For weeks after returning from our stay there, my partner and I couldn’t get the romance of The Siren Hotel out of our heads. From the mermaid-shaped handles on the front doors to the halo set by a mint-colored Italian chandelier in the lobby, the jewel-toned antiques, and the fringe-trimmed furniture, it had such sticking power that we finally decided to use the space’s look as inspiration for decorating our guest room.

Photo by The Siren Hotel
Photo by The Siren Hotel

Naturally, the first step was to create this Pinterest board. That was the easy part. Getting it off the board and into our home took a bit longer. Longer, yes, but not that much harder, as I discovered. Scroll down to follow my process, from Pinterest fantasy to happy reality:

The Recipe for Success

The process started by figuring out exactly which decorative elements in The Siren Hotel (or whichever room you find yourself inspired by) we loved the most. We narrowed it down to three things: its use of rich color, interesting lighting and its mixture of design styles. The latter, in particular, was perfect for us as my partner and I have very different aesthetics. He prefers monochromatic, sleek finishes, and I’m drawn to ornamentation and eclectic finds.

Working with What You’ve Got

Photo by Sarah Crowley

Once we nailed down the aspects of the hotel that we wanted to replicate, I dove into our closets and under our beds in search of accessories that gave a nod to the hotel’s style. Our tortoise cup from Workaday Handmade, for example, was just collecting dust because it was a bit too bold for the other rooms in our home. It gives off the vibe of the leopard chairs that pepper The Siren Hotel’s lobby, though, so into the guest room it went. We also had a pair of homeless emerald curtains still boxed up from our move last year. Set against the brick wall, the room felt eclectic and cozy.

A Dash of D.I.Y.

Photo by Sarah Crowley

To make the room feel like it had been planned for many years—as hotel rooms are—I tackled some DIY projects. First, I tracked down a 1930s-era dresser with ornamentation similar to the furniture in the hotel. My mom helped me sand it, I replaced the hardware (also, the easiest way to transform any piece of furniture) and then I painted it in Behr “Rumors,” a bold red hue inspired by the hotel’s doors. Tada!

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Top Comment:
“Such a great story of transformation and inspiration - and was such a fun project! ;)”
— Aaron P.

I then used a decal and a vintage-inspired lamp (which we already had) to replicate the “Reception” light that sits on the front desk of the hotel.

High Brow, Low Cost

Photo by Sarah Crowley

I loved the black marble side tables at The Siren Hotel, but investing in something so expensive was off the table. Instead, I purchased Jonathan Adler upholstery fabric and my mom (see a pattern here?) generously turned it into a lumbar pillow. The pattern provides the same visual effect for a fraction of the cost.

The piped bedding it sits on harkens back to the hotel as well. While the pricey linens at The Siren Hotel are piped in maroon, we chose this rust-colored option from H&M because it was a cost-effective fit for the pillows and linen-colored bed frame from Interior Define that we already had.

Every night before bed, I do some reading to help my mind slowly unwind. I used to curl up in the living room, but since the renovation I find myself drawn to the guest room instead. Maybe it’s because of the room’s newness. Or the sense of accomplishment over having achieved the guest room of our dreams. Either way, if you need me, you know where I’ll be.

What does your dream room look like? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lauren Day
    Lauren Day
  • Aaron Powers
    Aaron Powers
  • Garrett Fleming
    Garrett Fleming
  • garlic&lemon
Garrett Fleming

Written by: Garrett Fleming

Interiors Editor & Art Director


Lauren D. January 9, 2020
Gorgeous!! It totally feels like the Siren. Great work Garrett!
Garrett F. January 9, 2020
Aw! Thank ya so much!
Aaron P. January 8, 2020
Such a great story of transformation and inspiration - and was such a fun project! ;)
Garrett F. January 9, 2020
It was! We done did it good!
garlic&lemon January 11, 2020
And your mom! Don't forget the mom!
Garrett F. January 22, 2020
I could never forget her! She is always helping me with little creative projects here and there. Growing up, she put an old dresser in a closet and dedicated it to holding art supplies, everything you need to wrap a gift, etc.

The red dresser in this room is my own version of that. One drawer is for gifting, one is for glue and painting, and the list goes on. Her version inspired mine.