Tips and Guides

Design School: Designer Tricks and Furnishings (Part 2)

These designer tricks used in commercial spaces can be applied to your dream home, too


Last week, we learned a couple of designer tricks from interior designer Kristine Neri-Magturo. This week, we focus on design tips applied in a hotel. 

International hotel chain Marriott has always been synonymous with well-appointed interiors in their branches across continents—Manila Marriott Hotel is no exception. The lobby lounge area, in particular, is notable for understated elegance that’s not supercilious. The Design Alliance Architecture and Planning, in coordination with foreign consultant Hirsch Bedner Associates, has created an area that’s in line with the standard Marriott look, but with cozy nooks here and there that emphasize a Pinoy feel. Thus, the use of wooden furniture and pieces with reference to beach, like the white coral décor sprawled on the shelving unit.

Photographed by Vincent Coscolluela and Miguel Nacianceno (Marriott Hotel).

Read the original article ("Commercial Break") in the August 2012 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.  

Moody, cozy nook

Designer Trick #1: Cozy up with colors and lights.

Count on warm greens and yellows to bring out a room’s intimate quality. Manila Marriott Hotel’s lounge area feels more like a private reading space housed in a grand estate rather than a cold, intimidating common area because of the wall painted light olive and the subdued mustard-colored upholstery. Warm lighting is a big deal, too. Add pieces in neutral colors to avoid a “murky” outcome.

Designer Trick #2: Show off silhouettes.

This area owes its charm primarily to the long customized shelving unit, whose irregular, slightly retro lines instantly heighten the visual appeal of whatever décor you put on it. Ditto for the coffee tables with chiseled, sculptural bases. The no-nonsense floor lamps with simple shades and slightly curved wooden bases are likewise big in appeal.

Designer Trick #3: Aim for symmetry.

The clean, cohesive impact brought about by juxtaposing two identical items is hard to miss, especially if done in a repeating pattern. Such is the case in the pair of uniform armchairs set together, facing another pair of identical chairs in different style. Apply the same principle in decorating shelves. 

Opt for a shelving unit with striking lines, to make it the focal point of an area. It should be good enough to stand out without anything on it. Fill the shelves with an edited array of décor, with ample spaces in between to let each piece “breathe” and be adored. For the lounge chairs, buy in pairs to create a stronger recall. 

Excited for more designer tips and tricks? Watch out for the last part of our story next week!


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