Island Hotel Furniture: How Humidity Affects Casegoods

Think life's a beach? Try designing furniture for an island hotel. Standard hotel furniture requires you to consider several variables; designing furniture for an island hotel requires even more thought and planning.


Simply put, it is your responsibility to create the perfect environment to house your investment and ensure that you get many years of use; and that unfortunately means you may not just be able to choose your favorite laminate, veneer, or hardwood to put into your guest room.

Guest Room Humidity & How it Affects Hotel Casegoods

Humidity in a guest room can have an effect on almost every fixture within the room; discolored walls, musty odors to linens, and breaks down appliances and electronics causing maintenance issues. And while the effects of these items are important the end result of inappropriate humidity levels on the overall guest experience.

So, here are the things you should consider when designing your island hotel furniture:

Wood expands as humidity increases and shrinks as humidity decreases.Unfinished (exposed) wood will exhibit the most dramatic changes (finished wood will change with long term changes in humidity.)

  • Finishes and other coatings such as laminate or foil temper humidity swings by slowing the transfer of moisture. They do not stop it entirely
  • Solid wood will dimensionally change more across grain than with grain
  • Plywood, particleboard and fiberboard are more dimensionally stable
  • Particleboard and fiberboard, exposed to water directly, will expand in thickness quickly and dramatically
  • As wood expands (swells) and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack
  • This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints
  • Where humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup or bow

By Failing to Prepare, You Are Preparing To Fail

As one of the single largest expenses in any hotel project putting your best-foot-forward is essential. Knowing that your island hotel furniture will have several enemies in the high-traffic hospitality environment and humidity is a big one.

Humidity in both directions, too much or too little, can potentially cause serious damage to your beautiful casegoods. Here are a few measures you can take to help preserve the longevity of your island hotel furniture:

  1. Keep doors and windows closed - guest room humidity comes from OUTSIDE.
  2. Avoid frequent and sudden changes in humidity.
  3. Hotel furniture does best in moderate temperatures of around 70 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit and about 50 – 55% humidity.
  4. Avoid storing furniture in a warehouse, if at all possible. (ask your manufacturer if they can accommodate storage of product until it’s ready to deliver directly to the site.)
  5. Keep furniture away from heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators.
  6. In damp rooms or during wet, rainy seasons, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air between guest stays.
  7. Keep furniture out of direct sunlight.

Sometimes, The Islands Aren’t Such A Vacation

There is no doubt that controlling humidity levels in a guest room, especially on an island, can be a difficult task. Luckily, we live in the age of technology and there are systems on the market that can help hoteliers manage these humidity levels.

Additionally, working with a team of professionals in the fields (i.e. furniture manufacturers) who understand the potential effects humidity can have on FF&E items.

Picking the material for your hospitality casegoods is not to be taken lightly. With so much to think about, you're going to need a comprehensive guide. 

This eBook covers:

  • Pre-installation guidelines for casegoods
  • Post-installation for casegoods
  • Cleaning considerations
  • + So much more

Click here for your e-Book!