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JLeslie's avatar

Why are there so few Bed and Breakfasts decorated in a contemporary motif?

Asked by JLeslie (47500 points ) February 29th, 2012

The reason I rarely stay at B&B’s is because of the decor. I have had wonderful experiences at B&B’s, the few times I have stayed, so this is not a comment on their services in general, but I rarely find their rooms appealing.

Do most people actually find the victorian or more traditional decor appealing? It seems most hotels are trending towards modern furniture and fabrics. Maybe it is a completely different client base? Is it just that the places have not been updated? My biggest pet peeve in any room I might stay in is bedspreads, I hate them, and avoid any hotel with a bedspread if I can.

I’m interested in your thoughts on the matter, please discuss.

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16 Answers

jca's avatar

I think it’s because people perceive a traditional or Victorian decor as being cozy and warm, and a contemporary decor as being cold and austere. In general, I think people expect cozy from a B&B, as opposed to cold and austere, so they decorate in the style that they think will appeal to the majority of guests. Also, B&B’s are usually in Victorian houses, so the decor has to match the architecture. It might be hard to incorporate contemporary decor into a house that has fireplaces, lots of wood trim, molding and wainscoting.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I agree it makes sense to match the house to the interior decor, but are there newer B&B’s being built that are more modern? I don’t mean I expect the house to be decorated in a sparse cold manner. Last B&B I stayed at was a log cabin style, we loved it. I kind of like the theme priented idea, I just don’t enjoy very feminine looking interiors I guess, and again the bedspread is a big deal. I need to feel like it it is not triple shetted that the blankets are washed after each client.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Your question was worded asking why they’re not decorated in a contemporary style. Log cabin style is not usually classified as contemporary, it’s usually somewhat traditional (a style of it’s own, yes but more cozy and traditional than what is known as contemporary).

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I agree about my wording, I was just pointing out it is ok if it is not typical contemporary. The log cabin I felt unsure if I would like it, because it was a log cabin. That particular place happen to have fantastic reviews and there was little choice of hotels in the community so I risked it. More modern furnishings I would have more confidence I would be happy there, and so more likey to choose it.

janbb's avatar

I’ve stayed in a wonderful B&B that was Shaker style in decor. Not modern certainly but simple and lovely. You cna usually see rooms and check out decor online. I agree with @jca, however, that most people are looking for cute and cozy when they are booking a B&B.

thorninmud's avatar

I find it a little cloying, too. To my mind, it’s yet another example of the way Americans take a nice, simple idea from another culture and remake it in an over-the-top version.

In Britain, B&Bs are most often very modest affairs with no froufrous. They’re cheap for the guest, and a bit of extra pocket change for the hosts. But here the host feels obliged to make the B&B a victoriana theme park. It costs a fortune, no doubt, so they’re never cheap for the guests either.

Americans have done the same kind of thing with the bistro. In France, it’s an informal place to get decent food and wine without spending much. Here, it’s a fancified “concept” place that will clean your wallet out for you.

JLeslie's avatar

@thorninmud Interesting take. I never thought of it like that.

janbb's avatar

Well, B&Bs have evolved into a whole different animal than they are in Europe for sure. There used to be something called “tourist homes” in America that were more like the simple and cheap European B&Bs that @thorninmud talks about.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I enjoy B&Bs – not for the decor but for the people. In general, the type of person who owns a B&B is naturally friendly, outgoing, trusting, knows the area and can carry on a great conversation. Even the guests tend to have similar characteristics.
Sure the breakfasts are usually nice but it is the conversation over breakfast that really makes the stay enjoyable.

wundayatta's avatar

I happen to love victorian. I live in a house from that era.

However, I have seen many B&Bs with more contemporary furniture. Not as many is in the older styles, but that’s because the houses that are turned into B&Bs are mostly older, and modern furniture doesn’t look right inside them. I really think it depends on the age of the B&B.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Like @LuckyGuy I am more into the folks and the food, I rarely notice the decor. The one thing that seriously bugs me though, about the “Victorian” decor is that the beds are usually way too high and as a result are awkward for me to get in and out of. Most people, however, are not as short as I am, so I guess they find it charming.

YARNLADY's avatar

The business goes where the money is. Since there is more of a demand for the traditional kind, that is the choice. This list give some excellent examples of what you are looking for.

Many hotels are now offering a similar setting, but they are hard to find. I have discovered that renting a condo is very rewarding, but you don’t have the central dining area you might find comfortable.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY Interesting link! Thanks. I actually am fine staying in hotels usually. My points rack up at Marriott and I get to stay free quite a bit. The times I wind up at B&B’s is when we are in rather remote places near racetracks and the hotels/motels are extremely dissappointing. I would be shocked to find a modernish B&B near one.

I’m not sure the business is where the money is at. I don’t think there are enough more modernish options to test it. Impossible to know if people would choose the modern B&B over a hotel if it doesn’t exist in most markets. The one thing that does bother me about B&B’s is sometimes they are just as or more expensive than the hotel. I kind of expect a B&B to be more economical. When I stay in Wisconsin near Road America the B&B is more than the hotel, about $40 a night more. It is closer, a mile from the track vs 4 miles away.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Some B&Bs are much more expensive and luxurious than hotels; I think some people are looking for that cozier, more individual experience and willing to pay for it.

linguaphile's avatar

The Victoriana decor is one thing—for me the turnoff is the granny smell that some B & B’s have. Antique furniture often have a different type of stuffing than modern furnitures and I don’t mind the smell, but not the overkill.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

The concept of a B&B comes from days gone by. I would assume that is why they aren’t decorated like a Jetson’s space house.

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